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In the summer of 2016 I had the amazing opportunity to visit Montjuïc Castle in Barcelona with my two sisters. I took a number of photos, but this was one of my favorites and I want to share how I shot, and edited this photo.

I am sharing this in hopes that it will help people interested in photography gain new ideas or inspiration, as I have been helped by others before.

I’ve shared a few other guides on how I shot other photos, so be sure to check them out if you are interested.

Taking the Photo – My Gear and Setup

This is fairly straightforward photo, shot on my Sony a6000 with 12mm Samyang (Rokinon) F2.0 lens. I didn’t use a flash and there was no need for a tripod.

What makes this photo work is the composition, and a little help in post-processing which we will get to.

I found these stairs while exploring Montjuïc Castle with my sisters and immediately thought it would make an interesting photo. My older sister stopped for a few moments on the stairs, and I snapped several photos. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people going up and down these stairs and I didn’t want to wait until everyone cleared out. As you can see from the original photo, there were a few extra people in the frame.

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The settings for the photo were ISO 100, 1/60th of a sec, f5.6 and it was shot in aperture priority mode with manual focus.

Editing the Photo

If I were on a job shooting photos at the castle steps, I would work harder at getting the image right in the camera, so as not to bother with extra editing. But this was a somewhat casual snap that I ended up really liking, and wanted to practice some editing techniques on.

I start my editing workflow by importing the RAW files into Adobe Lightroom, and going through to pick out the best shots. Once I’ve picked my favorite shots, I process each photo, making color, contrast, exposure and other adjustments as needed.

For this particular photo, you can see the basic adjustments I made:

castle-steps-editing-box

I didn’t need to do any significant dodging or burning, like I usually do for landscape photos, and here is the photo once I was finished with Lightroom:

castle-steps-after-lr-edit

As you can see, there are still some extra people in the photo that really take away from the overall appearance. But that is where Photoshop comes in.

Opening up the photo in Photoshop I primarily used the clone stamp tool to make the extra people disappear. It takes a little practice to effectively remove people or other things from a photo, but it is a handy tool to have available for when someone photobombs your shot.

The final result is a much more visually appealing photo than before, and more along the lines of what I envisioned when I took the shot.

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I don’t often use Photoshop on my images, unless there is something really distracting in the photo. One of my favorite things to remove are telephone poles and power lines, which are almost always distracting in a photo.

I hope this quick explanation of how I shot the photo was useful, inspiring, or at least interesting. I know I have learned a lot from others, and so I want to try and pass some of that knowledge on as well, even as I continue to learn new techniques and methods.

Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions, and check out the photo gallery for more of my images, or my Instagram (@petervanosdall) to see my latest work.

Thanks for visiting!

How I shot this Photo – Stairs of Montjuïc Castle
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