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Lichfield Cathedral

By Bajob3
I don't photograph architecture much and would love critique. It was shot hand held in natural light. I have uploaded the original and a mono modification, to be honest I am not sure which I prefer.

Tags: Architecture Exhibitions 2020 Exhibitions2020



HobbitDave Plus
14 10 10 England
30 Jul 2021 9:30AM
The lead image works really well for me. Excellent subtle colours and tones.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2021 9:43AM
A quick comment as I am on holiday and will be going out shortly. You did well with the original. With regard to the processed image (main upload), it enhances the sense of depth but is a bit cold to my eye, I'm losing the warmth of the honey-colour sandstone. Cathedrals with their mix of artificial and natural light are always tricky... B&W works best for me.

You did well to crop the foreground, to get rid of that bit of furniture bottom right and reduce empty space. I would not have cropped at the top though, you have lost the unity of the arch.

Correcting verticals has worked, it gives a formality without becoming top-heavy, as can easily happen when applied to less careful compositions.

I might try a modification later today, but others will have arrived by then...

pamelajean Plus
17 1.8k 2289 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2021 1:45PM
Hello again, Trevor.

My choice would be your lead image, perhaps with just a tad more of that original warmth, but I also like the blue. I feel your lead image is the more natural, but only you will know that - you were there.

I think you could have raised your camera slightly at the time of shooting, not only to avoid the intrusion bottom right, but also to give a bit more height, a bit more of the arch at the top. That would also have given that wonderful hanging cross more presence.

I keep wanting the shapely platform on the ground to have a bit more breathing space, i.e. a little space between it and your frame. Oh! I've just noticed that you did have that bit of space in your original. Maybe you didn't need to crop the sides? Unless, of course, the cropping was due to the straightening.

You did well with the symmetry, and the bit of straightening has also been nicely done. Hand-held and using available light has given you a good result, so well done.

dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
30 Jul 2021 1:50PM
The mono works for me.

You've done a good job with the colour but my first thought was similar to Moira's in that it's rather cold. However, it looks like the colours are quite accurate in the foregeound which is fair enough and a perfectly good aim.
The issue is that mixed lighting, interior light and daylioght here, mean there are multipleinterpretation that all have their own merit, and to be fair there's no 'right' or 'wromg' as it comes down to personal preferences. Some prefer warmer, some cooler.
That said I'd go for something between your original and the lead image.

What was your original White Balance setting?
My preference in these situations is leave it on Daylight (as it's a known point) and adjust later (especially flexible if shooting RAW but easy enough with jpgs). In fact, even if you shot Auto WB it's likely you'd want to tweak the white balance.
It is possible to adjust (I se that term rather than 'correct') the different areas of the image. That becomes more complex the more light sources are involved but I think you then lose the subtelty and atmosphere that those diffeent light sources bring to the image.
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
30 Jul 2021 1:57PM
My mod reduces the yellow but retains some warmth.
I used an Adjustment Layer and masked the area lit by the daylight for a mor even tone.
I didn't correct the verticals as I was concentrating on colour adjustment.
Bajob3 2
30 Jul 2021 2:18PM
Thank you all for the feedback,
I had used auto white balance but shot in RAW and correcting the verticals had caused the tight crop. I believe I had a few more images which were wider but didn't want to to be cropping too much in case it increases the noise with it being inside.

I had looked at aiming up more but it was throwing the verticals out more in the view finder so was trying to minimize the processing, I hadn't though of live view and raising the actual camera.

I could have a look at warming the sandstone slightly and see how it looks and will have a look at the other images to see if I have any with the full arch in it.
Bajob3 2
30 Jul 2021 2:21PM
Thank you for the mod, our posts crossed. Love the colors in it.


mrswoolybill Plus
16 4.1k 2606 United Kingdom
30 Jul 2021 2:51PM
Thanks for your detailed feedback, it makes all the difference!

I've now added two modifications. For the first, I used Skew to tweak verticals (it allows flexibility!), and then Free Transform to stretch the image down, so keeping the sense of height. I cooled colour by 20% and also shifted it a bit away from magenta towards green. Then I desaturated on yellows by 10%. For me it keeps the warmth of the sandstone, but may be too warm for your taste.

B&W was worked in Nik Silver Efex, with +7 on the Structure slider, darkening on the yellow channel, a hint of burn edges and a frame to enclose. I used the Coffee toning options which gives a hint of sepia-ish without the pinkness.

Just my take, it's a lovely image.
banehawi Plus
19 2.9k 4354 Canada
30 Jul 2021 3:29PM
Youve done very well for what is a challenging image architecturally to shoot handheld.

I agree it seems overly blue, which is due to RAW correction I believe. It depends on what reference you used for white with the dropper; I used that table top in the foreground, assuming it would be covered in white cloth. Using candles, or the loincloth on the figure resulted in an overly blue image, so the tablecloth worked best.
The mod is a little less blue and still some warmth. It needed quite a bit of sharpening (I used your warmer original to modify), and I suspect you reduced the file size a lot, - you dont need to do that, it can be uploaded much larger. Apart from verticals, overall tone and sharpening, I reduced highlights in some areas.

Hope this is helpful,


Bajob3 2
30 Jul 2021 4:45PM
Thanks Willie,

Love the mod. It makes a big difference when it isnít as blue. I had used the auto rather than the eye dropper so will try the eye dropper to see the difference.


dudler Plus
19 2.0k 2018 England
30 Jul 2021 5:47PM
The colour is a matter of personal taste - it should be an artistic decision, rather than a technical one. What was your impression of the colours on the day?

I would like to see the top of the arch, and it would be worth stepping back a pace or two, and accepting a little bit of cropping or cloning at the bottom. While you don't have the highest pixel count in the world, 24mp gives a good bit or room to manoeuvre on both definition and noise at higher ISO.
ctxuk 13 18 3 England
31 Jul 2021 1:28AM
Mod 7
Hope you do not mind me doing a version as I am not a critique team member. I found it interesting as you struggle with colours dependant on what you sample, the two chrome stanchions, white candles centre or on right side, or the table top in centre. In the end I combined two versions I did in raw to get the stone colour I wanted. I checked it against this 'virtual tour' online "" just to see how close my guess at the colours was.
I like the blue version you did but to my mind it is too strong a blue.
The floor stone though in my mind in most far too orangey, it bothered me on my own attempts, I did around 4 or 5 before doing the finished one of mine. The Cathedral has a new lighting system apparently and is not a dark gloomy place.
Anyway, that is my take on what I percieve the colour rendition to be, not saying it is right or wrong, just how I think it is.
Bajob3 2
31 Jul 2021 5:46AM
Hi Ctxuk, thank you for doing a mod. I appreciate all feedback, good or bad, as it is the best way to learn and see things from another prospective. I hadnít thought of doing 2 versions to get 2 different colour balances and combining them, I was just trying to get a happy medium. From the previous comments I did do a selective mask in lightroom and change the temperature of the blue but hadnít thought of doing it as 2 separate images and combining.

Thank you again

ctxuk 13 18 3 England
31 Jul 2021 10:26AM
Hi Bajob3

I uploaded the two images I processed in ACR and combined to make the final result offered. It allows you to see what I did to get the result. I resorted to it as unable to get what I wanted otherwise, that orange tint too stubborn to remove despite adjusting individual colour values. I 'look' at an image and its contents to see the values I think correct, the woodwork and chairs in 9 too orange as too the floor, the whites are not white. Adding as a screen layer brightens the oranges a bit, makes the whites better and combines the two upper arches to remove the blue caste enough, a happy medium between them. The figures legs on Jesus suspended on the cross open out, and the skin colour to the torso loses an orange tint. Candles are no longer yellow/orange tint and the lectern cloth is more white also, upper arches/colums remain around the same colour yet darken as if less light falling upon them.

Artistically I like the blue upper vaults, yet know it is incorrect

Layer I used as base processed in ACR, full opacity. Too orange and despite liking it blue caste is wrong really.

mod 9
Layer I blended in 'screen' attribute @ 52% opacity processed in ACR. Even more orange yet upper caste to building more preferable imo. Adding it as a screen layer brightens the image as a whole removing the orange appearance to the stone a little. Off to both sides parallel with the table are strong lights, and beyond that there are a series of windows letting in light.

So that is how and why I treated it as I did, I still think the stone too orange to the floor yet unable to reduce further as woodwork requires it on seats and table to appear natural..
I did no masking at all as unsure the level of your own ability in PS otherwise I could have kept more orange to woodwork chairs and reduced level orange overall to make the stonework whiter which the video walk round indicates it to be. I googled after doing 4 renditions to see what an official photographer had come up with.
Bajob3 2
31 Jul 2021 10:55AM
Thank you for the detailed breakdown on the approach it has been really helpful. I am ok in PS but only really use it when I canít do something in lightroom. I look at what others can do in PS and realise how little I know

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