Developing an Image: Royal Exhibition Building

There is no doubting that I have come to Instagram much later than many others, but I am doing my best to catch up. I decided a while ago that I would post a photo everyday and see how I went. Luckily I’ve been doing photography for years, so I have years of photos to go back to. It is nice that many photos done previously can now get another outing.

While I was looking for a photo for today I went back to some I had taken at night of the Royal Exhibition Building here in Melbourne.


I processed this one at the time when I took it. I was thinking of putting it up, but when I looked I didn’t like how blown out the dome at the top was. I went back to the original photos to see if there was another one I could use as well.

The problem I found was that the originals that had the dome in nice light meant the rest was too dark. Then I thought, what if I did a HDR image, this is the perfect example of when it is useful. Images with lots of contrast between light and dark really do benefit from being transformed into a HDR image.



This (above) was the HDR with 5 images processed in Photomatix. It give the lighting a much more balanced look. Of course, if you know me, you know I couldn’t leave it at that.


I know before I start an image like this that I want to do it in Adobe Photoshop. I will want to work in layers and I want to do things to it that aren’t possible in Lightroom. I always do my “arty” images in PS.

I did some more work on it, mainly on the lower buildings to try and draw them out a little more. While they are fairly dark in the image and the dome is the star of the image, that didn’t mean the bottom part couldn’t stand out a little more. I also cropped it a little tighter.

It is endless what you can do on these kinds of images. When you decide that you are going to make it a manipulated image then it is up to you where you stop. In the end the only person that has to like it is you. I don’t think there is anything wrong with manipulation, but be upfront about it. Don’t claim the image is natural when you know you have done heaps of work to it.

I am reasonably happy with the final result. I might look at it tomorrow and wonder what I was thinking. I know there are definitely things I enjoy doing to images and since my trip to New York it has been wonderful to rediscover them.

I am so glad I found architecture again.

11 Responses

  1. A great image and edit Leanne … 😀

  2. I love how you’ve processed this shot! And thanks too for the explanation of your process. Melbourne is on our “must visit” list on our next trip to Oz.

Talk to me, it is too quiet.