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Photoshop to the Rescue: Cleaning Up a Magnificent Icon

by Jim Zuckerman

© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
The famous Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, is one of the worldís great architectural masterpieces. I was anxious to add this stunning work of art - albeit unfinished Ė to my photo library because itís one of the most famous icons of Spain. In terms of stock sales, icons sell all the time. And even though itís been photographed for decades, I hadnít photographed it and thereís no telling when a client of mine might need a picture of this famous place.

Unfortunately, at the time, there was a huge amount of construction on it. Itís unfortunate for photographers but ultimately the finished cathedral will be even more magnificent than it is now. There were an unbelievable number of cranes above it, as you can see in the Before image, but those were easy to clone out in Photoshop. The crane and the scaffolding on the left side in front of the architecture were the real challenges.

© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
At, I teach courses in both Photoshop and in making money with photography. This photo exemplifies how Photoshop is a crucial skill needed to market your work. The cathedral with all the construction equipment (Before) is almost impossible to sell, but after two hours of meticulous work, the cleaned-up version (After) can sell in many types of markets. I chose to take this picture at twilight because of the dynamic colors and the beautiful contrast, and Iíve found that this type of lighting increases the sales potential significantly.

I used a Canon 1Ds Mark II and a 16-35mm wide-angle zoom set to 30mm. My exposure data was f/7.1 at 1.3 seconds and 200 ISO. I used a tripod, of course. Note how dynamic the graduated blue sky is compared to what a black sky would have looked like. This is what makes the difference between an average photo and one that makes a photo buyer want to use the image.

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About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Jim Zuckerman
Photography Instructor: Jim ZuckermanFew people are able to spend most of their time pursuing their passion in life. I'm one of them, and I feel blessed to have had a love affair with photography since I began taking pictures.

In 1970, I decided to abort my intended career as a doctor in favor of photography and have never regretted it. Photography has enriched my life more than I can tell you. My career has taken me to over 60 countries, and I've seen and photographed wondrous things.

I specialize in wildlife and nature, international travel, and digital effects. In addition, I also shoot nudes, photo- and electron microscopy, children, and other subjects that stimulate my visual or emotional sensibilities.

For 25 years, I shot a medium format camera, specifically the Mamiya RZ 67, for its superior quality. When I would lecture, Iíd project the large, glass mounted transparencies, and it was really an incredible experience to see the brilliant color saturation and resolution of these slides. However, I went digital in 2004 because the technology finally equaled or surpassed medium format. I now shoot the Canon 1Ds Mark II digital camera with a variety of lenses.

I am the author of 12 books on photography. My work is sold in 30 countries around the world, and my images have appeared on scores of magazine and book covers, calendars, posters, national ads, trade ads, brochures, and corporate promotions.

For many years I've led photography tours to exotic places. These include Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Burma, Greece, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, Spain, Morocco, and Peru.

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