Advanced Photoshop tips to instantly improve physical-model or product photos

Have you ever wondered how you can make your architecture physical models look better on photos? Here are a few advanced Photoshop tips on how to make images of your physical model look extra crisp for your printouts and presentations. 

In the example below, we have used the photo editing process of our publication for architecture competition #mOOO3 ISO[NATION]: 

Full Video Guide

Tip 1 – Taking Photographs

  • Use a flat background colour with good contrast against your model
  • Use a good light source: LED (does not flicker like lightbulbs) / Sunlight 
  • Make sure you allow enough space around the central focus to crop it afterwards
  • Control your camera aperture to create the optimal depth of field and focusing on the best spot

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Tip 2 – Cropping

  • Straighten (straighten tool at the top toolbar) the crop to the focus of your model 
  • Scale the crop box with fixed proportions (hold shift) if you want to align a set of photos

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Tip 3 – Desaturating & Re-colourising

  • The best way to make your model pop from the photo is to desaturate (Ctrl+Shift+U) the background
  • and to re-colourise with layer masking tool 

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Tip 4 – Auto Toning

  • Duplicate existing layers & Merge (Keep old layers underneath) 
  • Use the Auto Tone (Ctrl+Shift+L) Tool to maximise light & colour contrasts
  • Adjust the effect with the opacity of new layer (Shortcut: Number key 1-9 = 10%-90%)
  • Clean out image impurities with paint tool / clone tool / content-aware fill

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Tip 5 – Smoothing Grains [Advanced Manual Filter]

  • Duplicate the top-level layer & Apply Gaussian Blur (Just enough to create a tiny bit of colour bleed)
  • Select Screen Filter in the Layers Tab
  • Adjust the effect (30% here) with the opacity of new layer (Shortcut: Number key 1-9 = 10%-90%)

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Tip 6 – Exporting

  • Save the layers as a PSD file
  • Save as a new JPG file (without overwriting the source file)
  • Control JPG quality (1-12) to adjust the file size
  • Most modern screen displays are roughly capped around 5MB & large displays at 10MB in resolutions (or 2560 pixels & 4096 pixels in length)
  • Any over-sized JPG files are just slow to load with the same resolutions on display

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Before & After

Before & After

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