Moody Photos in Atlanta

A church turned office building in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of AtlantaThe little church turned office building at the end of the block

Moody Photos of Atlanta

One of the things I love doing when I'm editing a photo is changing the mood of the photo through creative editing choices. 

When I'm out shooting, the conditions aren't always perfect for getting "good" shots. It doesn't mean the shot is bad, it's just that the light may not be great or the day is boring with no texture in the sky. It's not the shot I want. 

I can take hours with a photo trying different textures, colors, and lighting in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Luminar. I keep finding new software programs I'd like to get that are full of different textures and lighting effects. 

It's the closest I can come to painting without needing the skills of a painter! 

Here's how the above photo started out:

A plain, underexposed photo of a church turned office in Atlanta

The photo straight out of the camera

The History of the Little Atlanta Church

This office building is near the end of my street. When I moved to my little house in Atlanta in 2014, this was still an active church. 

I used to love walking by on a Sunday and hearing people singing. It was nice having a little church in the neighborhood. 

Eventually, the congregation moved to a different building somewhere else. The building sat empty for a long time. 

I've walked by it nearly every single day since I moved in because it's so close to my house. If I walk anywhere in that direction, I walk by it. 

The building was built in 1954 and housed several different congregations over the years. 

Here's a photo I found online of the original church:

The Shooting Process

I think I have a few photos of the old church but I have so many photos, it's hard going through them. 

I took Bauer and my camera out near sunset yesterday because, as I mentioned last week, I've been practicing with the autofocus on the Lumix. It was a gorgeous evening out. It had the beginnings of a nice sunset but I didn't take my tripod.

I didn't want to deal with that and Bauer. I just wanted a little practice and some walking. I decided to get a few photos of the former church. As you can see from the photo straight out of the camera, I purposely underexposed this photo so I wouldn't blow out the highlights in the sky. 

If I'd had the tripod, the best way to take this shot would have been to put it on the tripod and take one underexposed photo of the church to capture the sky and then an overexposed photo of the sky to capture the church.

I would have taken a nice shot in the midrange to capture the mid-tones as well. Then I would have merged the three photos. You have to be sure and leave the camera in the exact spot without moving it so when you merge the photos they line up correctly. 

It wasn't that dark out yet, so I could get away with just underexposing the photo and bringing up the shadows later in post-processing. I also knew I was going for a moody look, so bringing up the shadows adds a little noise and gives it that painterly look I love.  

The Editing Process

What else did I do?

I did my initial editing in Lightroom where I brought up the shadows. I also desaturated some of the colors from the lawn and the building. I wanted a more muted look for the colors. 

I also sharpened the photo a bit. Since I shoot in RAW file format, all my photos need a little sharpening. 

After that, I pulled the photo into Photoshop where I removed the power lines.

Then I put the photo in Luminar and added some birds. I also played with some gradients to darken the photo a bit. After that, I closed out of Photoshop and went back to Lightroom. 

I played around a little more with the light and gradients and finally ended up with the finished photo!

I could keep playing around with the photo forever but at some point, I have to stop myself! Even now, I see some things I'd like to go back and do. 

I've said it before and I'll say it a million times, I love photography because I love learning, and there's no end to the things I can learn when it comes to photography. 

Have a fantastic rest of your day!

See you between the raindrops!


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