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How the magic is done - Walking in between

Dutch photographer Ria De Heij will take us on a walk through her interesting photo "In Between". Consisting of two different photos, it is a fine exampel on how clever editing can be used to create strong images without drawing attention to itself.


NIKON D80, 10–20 mm lens, ISO 100, Exposure time 1/80 sec.


Architectural photography is my passion. I just try to find out which cities that have interesting modern architecture to photograph. Strolling around, I try to find the most interesting and original angles to capture the building. This photo has been made in Amsterdam at the so called 'Zuidas'.

The image is the combination of two photos: one with the architecture and the other one with the person. I added the figure to give the image more strength and depth. Both photos were made with a NIKON D80 (in the meantime I switched to a NIKON D700) with a 10 – 20 mm lens. I always make my photos in RAW (to have more possibilities in processing afterwards).

Personally I like this image a lot. I wanted to show in some way how small a man is amidst these huge modern buildings. I got a lot of positive reactions in that direction. And of course it makes me feel good.


I basically use Photoshop CS 4. The first part was done in the RAW module (basic tab): mainly an exposure and contrast increase. The photo has then been been rotated 90° and the tone levels were further optimized. Additional processing was then done in Nik Color Efex Pro: IR preset /method 1 and optimized settings for it (to my taste).

The figure was taken from a separate image, selected with the pen tool and pasted into the architecture photo and given an appropriate scaling. To give the figure a shadow, a copy was made, filled with black and rotated in the right perspective. A slight gaussian blur (2%) and an opacity reduction to 70% gave it the finishing touch. Finally all layers were merged and sharpened with the unsharp mask filter (90/1/0 settings)


– When doing architectural work, it's always interesting to have a map with e.g. building structures and different skies. You can use them afterwards in other photos.

– Don't be satisfied to easily with a certain result. Try other croppings of your image or even rotate it (as I did here).

– Try to look for an original approach.


Ria De Heij is an amateur photographer residing in the Netherlands. She is well known for her architectural work, but is also a skilled nature photographer.