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BTS, retouching, Timelapse, Video

Product Retouching – Furniture

Product Retouching – Furniture – BTS Timelapse

Product retouching is all about fine tuning the subject to ensure it looks as good as possible.  A majority of the post production work on this shot is aimed at cleaning up the area so there are no distractions whatsoever.  The beauty of a simple background like this is it really lets the product command center stage.  We knocked down the glare on the right chair and enhanced the highlights and shadows on both chairs to further define the shape.  Beyond that it was cleaning up the floor and dodging and burning the areas that were recessed.  Then there was the white wall.  At first glance its quite hard to see any problems.  By pulling down a curves layer you can quickly see the areas that need attention, mainly the top of the frame where the shadows were inconsistent.  There wasn’t to much heavy lifting in post but rather a refinement and cleanup of what was already there.


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BTS, Photo,

Trafford – CD Photo Shoot

Trafford – CD Photo Shoot

We love shooting portraits, so when Chris Trafford asked us if we wanted to shoot the imagery for his new album we were totally on board.   We’ve worked with Chris in the past on a few aerial projects but this was the first time he was in front of the camera.  This guys is chalk full of ideas and concepts and had a pretty clear vision for exactly the type of cover he wanted to create.   The concept for the cover was based around the lyrics of the song (and album title) “Rebel For Hire” which can be heard here.  Pick up a copy at Bull Moose or on iTunes, its good stuff!!

Trafford CD Cover Trafford CD Trafford CD Inside

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BTS, retouching, Timelapse, Video

Retouching a Panorama Commercial Interior

Retouching a Panorama Commercial Interior – BTS Timelapse – Trent Bell Photography

The process behind retouching a panorama commercial interior is a lot more detailed then editing a single un-stitched image.  This method makes for a great image but also requires a bit more work in post production (especially with added strobes).   The new panorama feature in Lightroom is nice but it is completely useless when in comes to building up layers in Photoshop.  The Lightroom process relies to much on automation and doesn’t give enough control over how the image should be processed.  Luckily there is still the ability within Lightroom to export images to Photoshop where they can then be combined as panoramas (much more control).  This method is a lot more predictable when stacking layers and ensuring they line up correctly.

Post Production

Once we had 4-5 different (panorama, natural light) exposures stacked together in Photoshop we began constructing our base image.  There were a few areas that didn’t quite line up but we handled this with a little retouching.  After we had our base image completed we started adding in strobe layers.  To accomplish this we dropped a single strobe layer on the base panorama layer and manually lined it up by turning the strobe layer blending mode to difference (once the layer is lined up perfectly it will go dark).  We checked this after the fact by toggling the layer on and off.  This only works if the initial panorama was blended using the re-position method in Photoshop.  The re-position method ensures the image hasn’t been stretched or altered to create the panorama but rather re-positioned and blended (otherwise adding additional layers wouldn’t line up).  We went through this process every time we included a new layer or element to the image.   Once everything was in place we added all the adjustment layers and did the retouching.


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BTS, retouching, Timelapse, Video

Retouching a Commercial Interior

Retouching a Commercial Interior – BTS Timelapse – Trent Bell Photography

The process behind retouching a commercial interior is like putting together a giant puzzle; it takes a lot of time but once all the pieces are in place you then see the overall vision.  Its extremely rare for us to process an image in Adobe Lightroom and call it good.  We take time on site and in post production to make images that speak to our aesthetic as well as the needs of our client.  For the composition below we photographed at least 50-60 images (not including lifestyle).  This gave us tremendous flexibility in post production to craft an image that felt 100% natural while staying true to what the client envisioned when designing the space.  There was easily a good 3-4 hours worth of retouching involved with this image.  We’ve condensed it down to 10 minutes for your viewing pleasure.

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2014 Handmade Promotional Mailer

Handmade Promotional Mailer

Back in 2013 we were sitting in Elements coffee shop throwing around ideas for a handmade promotional mailer that we could send out to perspective advertising agencies.  It had to be attention grabbing as it needed to cut through the sea of promotional pieces that land on the desk of advertising’s most creative people.  The idea of photographing prisoners and attaching the prints to a clipboard was one of the ideas that came up.  We knew that if done right, we thought it could spark that interest we were looking for.  With this loose concept in hand, the REFLECT project was born.
Of course it was one year ago when the idea was conceived, and since then, the REFLECT project has developed into much more then we ever anticipated.  The end goal of the project shifted from a marketing piece to a gallery showing that garnered local, national, and even worldwide attention.  The response has been amazing and the REFLECT project continues to visit galleries around the state while still generating a lot of interest.
Fast forward to August 2014 and we are just now taking the REFLECT project and turning it into the promotional marketing piece that we had originally conceived.  How were we going to take these portraits and present them in way that stayed true to the concept?  Well, we started off building a few prototypes to see what we could come up with.  Below is the process we went through while constructing the 2014 promotional mailer.

We decided to print six of the most intriguing portraits from the REFLECT project.  They had to be engaging and thought provoking enough so that the person viewing them would want to reach out and learn more.

The images were printed four up on 13×19 archival matte paper with the back side detailing the corresponding information that went along with each prisoner.  We decided to do all of our printing in-house because we could proof our images. This gave us complete control over quality with the added ability to make last-minute changes without going back to a print house.  The detail that comes from the Epson R2400 is quite amazing and is why we use this same process to print our own portfolio.


We invested in a 12×24 inch RotaTrim so we could cut all the elements in-house, if you’ve never used one of these, they work fantastic.  Having the prints cut to exactly the same size was crucial because we wanted them to line up precisely when stacked together on the clipboard.


Six to a clipboard times 53 clipboards = 318 prints (double sided).

We stamped our logo on the bottom right of the clipboard just below the prints.

Prints assembled and ready for the next step.

We decided to use Kraft self-seal mailers rather than boxing them up.  The presentation of a box pales in comparison to the feel and quality of these durable recycled mailers; a box felt too much like anything else you might receive in the mail.  We couldn’t just use a white return address label on the front, so we had a custom stamp made.

The images needed to have some context for those who had not yet interacted with the REFLECT project.  We experimented with a few different options for conveying this information before deciding on wrapping a 2×11.5 inch vellum band around the whole clipboard.  This would serve two purposes, as it would give the recipient an explanation of the project before viewing the prints and it would also ensure the prints stayed fastened to the clipboard should they become dislodged during shipping.  Initially we experimented with using thin paper stock to wrap the images but it didn’t present well and hid the image we were trying to show.  After printing a few test prints on vellum, we decided the transparency gave a sense of depth when overlaid across the prints and allowed the viewer to see the print in its entirety.

Five up on 11×17 and cut down to a finished size of 2×11.5

Off to the RotaTrim.

Labels couldn’t be cookie cutter labels, there had to be some thought that went into the presentation of the package.  We didn’t want to take any shortcuts so we designed our own labels and cut them out of a sheet of 8.5×11 Avery sticker paper.

Rob Haggart Envelope

Of course Rob Haggart at aphotoeditor was getting one.

Handmade Promotional Mailer

Wrapping the bands around the clipboard took a little time to complete because we wanted the band to be tight enough to help hold the prints in place.  We secured them in the back with a piece of scotch tape but after looking at how they were held together it appeared unfinished and somewhat of an after thought.  We also knew there had to be an insert that explained who we were as well as a way to personalize the project.  Initially we were going to place the insert behind the stack so the recipient would see it when they removed the prints.  We decided on attaching the card where the band came together so it would be read before the viewer removed the band.

We also applied custom printed tape to the back of each clipboard.  The info card was printed on the same Matte paper as the photos.

And signed 53 times.

BTS Handmade Promotional Mailer

All of the clipboards completed and ready for packing.

We chose self seal envelopes because the finish was much cleaner than taping them shut.  They also had a pull tab that made it easier for the recipient to open.

Ready for the Post Office.

And they’re off……

The process of putting the clipboards together took a lot of trial and error.  There were many revisions before we had a finished product we were happy with.  By far the most time consuming and challenging part of the project was researching and building a mailing list of creatives that we were interested in working with.  Thank you for looking! Be sure to stay updated as we are currently working on the next installment of the REFLECT project.

List of ingredients:

  • Moab Lasal 13×19 DS Photo Matte
  • Univeral Memo 6×9 Clipboard
  • White 11×17 Vellum Paper 29#
  • Avery 8.5×11 Shipping Labels
  • Uline Self-Seal 9×11.5 Stay Flats
  • Custom Made Stamp From VistaPrint
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Custom Tape with our Logo
  • Lots of Time…..

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts: