Before / After – Cybertronic Spree




fter I drove two hours to Cleveland's Masonic Temple  to photograph this band I learned, this venue has a few concert halls where the bigger acts get the bigger rooms. This was a small, dark hall with poor lighting. On my way home the next morning, I came to the realization, I wasn't excited about these photos. After reviewing the images, I realized, I did my job, the band did theirs, but the lighting was enough to ruin the photos … almost.

I returned to these images several months later to realize, I might be able to make it work. Most of the images were backlight with a flood of blue from the front. If I went the usual route for editing these photos, I could not publish them.


I took these images into Camera Raw to make the usual adjustments to light, color, and effect, but the colors were still wrong. Setting my sliders all over the place, I compared each change like I was visiting the optometrist to get a new prescription. Oversimplifying it (because it took a lot of trial and error) ,I tried color grading, and in the end, I put the color sliders all the way to the right, essentially knocking out all the blue and green the app would allow me to eliminate. I could finally see some pink and white coming through.

After finally bringing it into Photoshop, i tried correcting the hue, color balance, and applying a selective color layer. More progress was made, but just not enough. After a short break from the screen and convincing myself to keep trying, I decided a final, desperate attempt by simply removing the blue channel completely. This still didn’t give me the results I wanted, but it was very close. I could envision it now. I had to remove some green to clear up the white, and brighten the entire focal point of the photograph.

Removing the green made the photo too monochromatic, so I brought back the original photo I imported from Camera Raw to Photoshop. I layered it on top of the corrected image and made a layer mask around Arcee.

It still isn’t perfect! I’m sure a few months from now, I’ll learn some more techniques that will make this entire process quicker and more accurate, but for now, it is good enough for me. That is what I came away with after this experience — keep editing, start over again, and know when to give up. Quitting too early or too late can result in wasted time and photos not worth sharing.


LOCATION – Cleveland, OH
VENUE – Masonic Temple
DATE – November 5, 2023

PHOTOGRAPHER – Harry Acosta, harryacosta.com

CAMERA – Canon R3
LENS – Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II 

APERTURE – f/3.2
ISO – 4000

SOFTWARE – Adobe Photoshop / Camera Raw


Photos & words courtesy of Harry Acosta — Website | Instagram | Facebook

Harry Acosta is a professional photographer who started out shooting concerts. He is an avid concertgoer and loves to capture his favorite musicians and unseen moments we take for granted in everyday life.