Alan Barnett, NYC architectural photography
Alan Barnett, NYC architectural photography
These photos are for a new suite of offices in Nomad to be rented to psychotherapists to meet their patients.
Alan Barnett, NYC interior architectural photography
Most of the interior architectural photography I do is for interior designers, but from time to time I do real estate photography for an agency in Queens. This time the seller happened to be a friend whose taste in decor I admire, and we worked together to make the project a hybrid real-estate-interior-design shoot. Instead of quickly photographing the rooms as they were, we paid attention to styling the decor, and we included a few vignettes which are not normally done for real estate purposes.
Alan Barnett, NYC real estate photography
When photographing the work of interior designers and architects, I try to get each shot as close to perfect as possible in the camera to minimize the time spent in post-processing. But all the work my clients and I do to tuck lamp wires out of the way, hide window treatment cords, and camouflage pulls in rugs, one post-processing necessity is inevitable: removing color casts.
A color cast is an unwanted tint in an image caused by lighting or the camera’s white balance setting. In rare circumstances, a photo with consistent lighting may have an overall color cast that can be corrected simply by adjusting the white balance in post-processing. But most of the time there will be multiple color casts in different areas of a photo from multiple lighting sources and reflections from colored objects.
You’ve most likely encountered color cast when choosing paint colors. If you apply a sample patch of color to your wall and observe it throughout the day, you’ll notice it changes as the room light changes, either by the time of day or with window light versus artificial light. Your brain does a lot to compensate for color casts. Consider your perception of a white object. No matter whether the ambient light is warm (more orange) or cool (more blue), you will see the object as white because your brain knows it should be white. But take photos of the object under different lighting conditions, and you’ll see the difference when you view them side by side.
Unless I specifically want a photo to have a warmer glow for a cozy nighttime feel, I set my camera’s white balance for a neutral feeling to better represent the designer’s choice of paint colors and fabrics. However, when there are multiple lighting sources, I can set the white balance to neutralize only one of them, causing undesired color casts in other areas of the photo.
For daytime photo shoots, I like to turn off the artificial lights and shoot with available window light whenever possible. I think having the lights on when it’s clearly daytime just looks stupid, plus the lights blow out the detail in the fixtures themselves, and that detail is exactly what I’m trying to show for the designer’s portfolio. But even with the single source of sunlight, there will be color casts in the photo. In spring and summer, the window light tends to have a green cast from reflections from the landscaping outside. And large objects of furniture inside often cast unwanted reflections on the walls and other furnishings.
The photo above appears as it came out of the camera. I set my camera’s white balance for an accurate representation of the rug and the fabric on the sofa in the foreground. My client wanted the room lights to be on which added warm light form the chandelier, the ceiling spotlights, and the floor lamp in the corner. It was a bright and sunny morning, and cool blue-tinted daylight streamed through the entire wall of windows off-camera behind the sofa. This explains the red glow on the white ceiling from the chandelier and the blue glow on the fireplace from the windows behind the sofa. In addition, the beams in the ceiling add a magenta cast, and there’s a cyan cast outside the window on the left, on the bookcase, and on the gray wall in the upper right of the photo.
There are multiple ways to remove color casts in Photoshop, some more complicated than others, and I use whichever is appropriate for the situation. Very often, it’s a matter of identifying whether the cast is red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, or yellow, then dialing down the saturation of the offending color and painting a layer mask to desaturate the color only in the affected area of the photo. That worked for the four color casts in this photo.
To remove the blue color cast, I created a hue/saturation adjustment layer, dialed the saturation of the blues to minus 100, and then painted a mask to reveal the effect only on areas of the photo that had the blue cast.
In the shot above, the blue cast is now fixed, so I moved on to what I thought was only a red cast in the ceiling from the chandelier.
Notice in the photo above that once the red cast is removed from the ceiling, a magenta cast is revealed reflecting from the beams.
After I fixed the magenta cast, the photo was overall much more neutral, though there was still a sickly tint on the gray wall on the right, plus the view of greenery out the window on the left was distracting and had a blueish glow to it. That turned out to be a cyan cast, which I neutralized in the same way as the other casts.
Above is the final photo with all the color casts removed. Refer to the before/after photo at the top of the post for a side-by-side comparison and you’ll see that the difference is remarkable. Below are some more before/after examples of color cast removal in photos from the same project in Westchester County, New York.
In this photo of the entry, the window light caused an overall cyan cast on the white painted surfaces. The landscaping outside the living room window cast a green glow on the frame of the archway between the entry and the living room. There was a yellow cast in the reflections in the wood floor, and a red cast from the artificial lights on the lampshade and the far wall of the living room.
The kitchen photo had an overall blue cast from the window light, plus a little bit of cyan cast. The under-cabinet lights caused a red cast with a little bit of magenta that appeared after removing the red.
The hallway photo was simple to fix, with just a blue cast from window light at the far end.
Alan Barnett, NYC interior photography.
This is my most recent work for Jeffrey Kilmer Design. He did a complete design makeover for his client in Greenwich, Connecticut, and I photographed his work for his portfolio.
Alan Barnett, NYC interior photography