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The Eleventh Day: The Editing Process

When I shot this image, I wanted to create this story about a character that was trapped, his past behind him and his future in front of him. I wanted the image to be that in-between moment of indecision. Should he go back to the house and stay there or should he venture out into to the unknown where it could be dangerous or potentially harmful? I called the image The Eleventh Day because I wanted to insinuate that the character has taken a long time to consider what they are going to do and they have left it to the Eleventh Day to decide.

In terms of editing, I looked at a lot of film stills to give me an idea of cinematic grading. I had a specific colour palette in mind- blues and greens- and I stuck with it but I added a few colours that I hadn’t intended to. What I like most about my post processing is that it is such an organic process. I start out with an idea of which colours I would like to use and a general idea of what I want the end image to look like, but I’m extremely open when it comes to editing my images. Sometimes the end result is completely different to what I had anticipated.

Here is my editing process for my image, The Eleventh Day. As you can see, I use a lot of curve adjustment layers, solid colour layers and a few textures. The stormy sky was added right at the end on a whim. I’d never planned to put it there but I felt that the image needed a bit more drama and I like to think that the storminess of the sky reflects the character’s clouded mind.

 

The Eleventh Day: The Editing Process

When I shot this image, I wanted to create this story about a character that was trapped, his past behind him and his future in front of him. I wanted the image to be that in-between moment of indecision. Should he go back to the house and stay there or should he venture out into to the unknown where it could be dangerous or potentially harmful? I called the image The Eleventh Day because I wanted to insinuate that the character has taken a long time to consider what they are going to do and they have left it to the Eleventh Day to decide.

In terms of editing, I looked at a lot of film stills to give me an idea of cinematic grading. I had a specific colour palette in mind- blues and greens- and I stuck with it but I added a few colours that I hadn’t intended to. What I like most about my post processing is that it is such an organic process. I start out with an idea of which colours I would like to use and a general idea of what I want the end image to look like, but I’m extremely open when it comes to editing my images. Sometimes the end result is completely different to what I had anticipated.

Here is my editing process for my image, The Eleventh Day. As you can see, I use a lot of curve adjustment layers, solid colour layers and a few textures. The stormy sky was added right at the end on a whim. I’d never planned to put it there but I felt that the image needed a bit more drama and I like to think that the storminess of the sky reflects the character’s clouded mind.

 

Stop Shooting, Start Thinking

I’ve been coming up with a lot of new concepts over the past few weeks and as excited as I am to go out and shoot them, I decided that it would be in my best interests to do the complete opposite. This is because I don’t want to start shooting any random image that springs to mind; I want to create image that are both considered and I want to make sure that the images fit into the themes I explore through my photography.

Also, as I have a lot of different images floating around my mind, I was unsure of which image to shoot first and how I should go about deciding upon which idea would fit, both visually and aesthetically with the images I have already shot. The last thing I want to do is to shoot an image that is practically the same as the last one I shot. By considering what to shoot next, it means that when my images are placed side by side in chronological order, they will all differ but retain similar qualities and attributes. To figure out what to shoot next, I decided to analyze my work:

imagesanalysis

As you can see, I have made comparison between my images and wrote down key words that describe what I see within my work. By doing this, i have came to the conclusions that I need to shoot images at a more of a ¾ angle as well as use a range of camera angles. I feel that by doing this, it will really diversify my work.

I also decided to type up a small statement about my work and what it means to me as the creator. I feel that this was something that was long overdue. I’ve been shooting a lot without thinking about what I am saying with my work. Now that I know exactly what my work means, I can start tailoring my ideas towards my themes and making them more polished. As well as considering the themes within my work, I’m also trying to create my own visual style, more within editing and through colour choice. My work is influenced heavily by cinematography and cinematic grading but I feel that the ‘colour palette’ for my work is still a work in progress. The only thing I can really see in my work at the minute is that I shoot and use a lot of blue clothes in my images. This is actually something I like as I feel that my work is both blue in colour and in mood, so it works.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.14.19

Looking at your work as a collection and making notes on how they fit together is something that I would recommend to all photographers and creative to do. What better way for you to define your work by looking at the actual work itself in context with one another. I’d also suggest that you should really think about what your work is saying and how you can make it distinguishable from others. You don’t have to be fully original (I don’t believe originality exists) but you should want people to recognize your work when they come across it.

A great way to do this is to think of a photographer that you like. Picture their work in your mind and write down all of the associations you apply to that photographer. Now think about your own work. What associations do you want other people to make with your work? Write down a list of associations and then look at your work collectively. Do your work and your associations match? If they don’t, how can you change your work so that they do fit together? If they do fit together, think about how you can build upon your associations so that you can create new and exciting images.

Once you figure out what themes are within your work, you can then go out and shoot, knowing that your images fit together cohesively and collectively. That way, when someone asks you what makes your work different from other photographer’s, you can confidently tell them exactly what makes you different.

Stop Shooting, Start Thinking

I’ve been coming up with a lot of new concepts over the past few weeks and as excited as I am to go out and shoot them, I decided that it would be in my best interests to do the complete opposite. This is because I don’t want to start shooting any random image that springs to mind; I want to create image that are both considered and I want to make sure that the images fit into the themes I explore through my photography.

Also, as I have a lot of different images floating around my mind, I was unsure of which image to shoot first and how I should go about deciding upon which idea would fit, both visually and aesthetically with the images I have already shot. The last thing I want to do is to shoot an image that is practically the same as the last one I shot. By considering what to shoot next, it means that when my images are placed side by side in chronological order, they will all differ but retain similar qualities and attributes. To figure out what to shoot next, I decided to analyze my work:

imagesanalysis

As you can see, I have made comparison between my images and wrote down key words that describe what I see within my work. By doing this, i have came to the conclusions that I need to shoot images at a more of a ¾ angle as well as use a range of camera angles. I feel that by doing this, it will really diversify my work.

I also decided to type up a small statement about my work and what it means to me as the creator. I feel that this was something that was long overdue. I’ve been shooting a lot without thinking about what I am saying with my work. Now that I know exactly what my work means, I can start tailoring my ideas towards my themes and making them more polished. As well as considering the themes within my work, I’m also trying to create my own visual style, more within editing and through colour choice. My work is influenced heavily by cinematography and cinematic grading but I feel that the ‘colour palette’ for my work is still a work in progress. The only thing I can really see in my work at the minute is that I shoot and use a lot of blue clothes in my images. This is actually something I like as I feel that my work is both blue in colour and in mood, so it works.

Screen Shot 2014-06-20 at 10.14.19

Looking at your work as a collection and making notes on how they fit together is something that I would recommend to all photographers and creative to do. What better way for you to define your work by looking at the actual work itself in context with one another. I’d also suggest that you should really think about what your work is saying and how you can make it distinguishable from others. You don’t have to be fully original (I don’t believe originality exists) but you should want people to recognize your work when they come across it.

A great way to do this is to think of a photographer that you like. Picture their work in your mind and write down all of the associations you apply to that photographer. Now think about your own work. What associations do you want other people to make with your work? Write down a list of associations and then look at your work collectively. Do your work and your associations match? If they don’t, how can you change your work so that they do fit together? If they do fit together, think about how you can build upon your associations so that you can create new and exciting images.

Once you figure out what themes are within your work, you can then go out and shoot, knowing that your images fit together cohesively and collectively. That way, when someone asks you what makes your work different from other photographer’s, you can confidently tell them exactly what makes you different.

The Pressure To Be Popular

It is no secret that in order to sell photographs and to make money as a photographer, you need an audience who are willing to buy your work and clients who are willing to pay you to shoot for them.

The problem is, there is no set formula for how you achieve this level of widespread attention and ‘popularity’ to get those paying clients or that print buying audience.

Sure, you may have 2,000 likes on your Facebook page or 500 followers on Flickr, Twitter and 500px, but they mean nothing if no one is going to pay you for your work. The next problem is that there is no way of knowing how many of your followers will really buy your work until you announce a print sale, that is assuming that all of the people who follow you/like your page actually see the print sale announcement. Furthermore, that is assuming that the people who follow your work have the money to buy your prints in the first place.

I would love to start selling limited edition prints of my work but I don’t want to start selling if no one wants to buy and I would love to teach workshops but I can’t if people don’t know me or my work. This is why I feel the pressure to be popular. Surely, if I have 50,000 followers then I should be able to easily sell an edition of 45 prints or find 10 people who are willing to pay me to teach them about photography?

Sadly, it just doesn’t work out like that.

I fully understand that it really doesn’t make a difference if your Facebook page has 50,000 likes or 500 but that doesn’t stop me checking how many people like my page and it certainly doesn’t stop me feeling down if I’ve uploaded an image and only a few people have seen it on the various social media sites I’ve uploaded it to.

So how exactly do you become ‘popular’?

A good friend once told me that the best thing to do was to share your work. Everywhere and anywhere. Whilst this is good advice, you can only put your images on social media and wait for people to discover you for so long, You could find other photographers who create work within the same genre of you (which is a good way to see what others are doing and it will give you an insight into how to tailor your work so you are creating work that is different) but this comes with the problem that other photographers, just like you and I, want to attract people that will buy their work and not just look at it on an uncalibrated monitor.

I may look at other (wildly) popular photographers and pretend that their growing fan base doesn’t make me feel as if though I’m doing something wrong, but it really does. But I have to remember that most of the photographers I’m referring to have been photographing constantly for at least 4 years, not to mention all of the online and offline press they have received about their work.

My advice to anyone else who is feeling the pressure of being popular is to just get on with creating work that you are proud of and are happy to call your own.

I would love to say that you should keep continuing to create work and your audience will eventually flock to you but that may never be the case.

Maybe my friend was right. Maybe sharing is the best way.

 

How Busy is Busy?

The other day, I messaged a friend to compliment them on their work and how cool it looks. Even though we’re at the same university, I haven’t seen her for quite awhile. Her reply to me was that my work looked good to and that it seems that I am keeping myself busy with it.

I found this statement to be quite funny, as I don’t think I am anywhere near busy with my work. I am the kind of person who would happily doing photo shoots every day of the week and I often get annoyed with myself if I haven’t done anything photography related within a day.

My friend’s response led me to think about the question: How busy is busy?

I know people who are busy; they update their social media sites almost every day and are working on several projects, meeting and shooting models as well as getting on with their work for university. I also know people on the complete opposite end of the scale; people who have not updated their portfolios for at least a year. This really makes me question where I fit in onto the ‘busy scale’.

It also makes me think about what it means to be busy. I am I busy with my photography when I am out shooting client and personal work? Or am I busy when I’m browsing the never-ending realms of Pinterest and saving images for inspiration?

I think being ‘busy’ means a different thing to everyone, and I know that I won’t be classing myself as busy until I am shooting at least 3-4 images a week.

What do you class as being busy?

Miss Aniela’s Surreal Fashion: True Art or False Photography?

Migration of the flock

 

I have been a big fan of Miss Aniela’s work for a long time. I really admire her self-portraits but I feel that her latest series of work, Surreal Fashion is really exceptional. In fact, I think it could really change the way photographers shoot fashion. But is it really about fashion?

 

I understand that Miss Aniela is a fine art photographer, who has ventured into creating these amazing fashion events, but realistically, what is her work really about?

 

When I look at her series of work, I see images of amazing clothes worn by amazing models shot at amazing locations. But I don’t see a fashion photograph; I see an image that hasn’t fully decided if it belongs in the realms of fashion or fine art photography.

 

The taking and reusing animals from old paintings is a wonderfully creative idea, but at the end of the day, these images (in their own right) aren’t really Miss Aniela’s work. I like what she’s done and in no way am I condemning her for creating such visual photographs, but I feel that taking art and placing it in a photograph does not make it your work. Sure, she may credit the artist’s but I feel that that doesn’t really translate the vision and passion they used to paint these animals, which has been completely forgotten in translation.

 

Miss-Aniela-Surreal-Fashion-photography-11

 

Yes, I respect that she has given a new life to these animals but I feel that in most of her images, they serve as a distraction to the initial focus as the image rather than add to it. If the image is about fashion, they why the animals? Surely they aren’t there only to add a surreal context to the image? Surely Miss Aniela is much more creative with her images (as her self portraits suggest) and can create a surreal atmosphere without adding tons of postproduction into her images. In my opinion, her best work in the series are the ones where she has used no animals at all.

 

In fact, I really worry about the amount of postproduction in her images. Sure, her images are amazing because of it, and sure, she can sell each image for £1000 because you know that they are worth in in postproduction alone, but realistically, why does the original image need to be altered so much?

 

More importantly, what affect will that have on the future of photography? If thousands of photographers are looking at her work and aspiring to create work like hers, and fashion designers are looking at her work and wanting that look for their garments, then where will fashion photography end up?

 

I respect the merging of fashion and fine art photography as they are both genres of photography that I find myself creating, but by merging them together, Miss Aniela has created images that are neither. They seem to be stuck in a weird limbo of reality and unreality, where you are looking at neither a photograph nor a painting. Calling her images photographs does somewhat of a disservice to photography, as her image was not made in camera. Even if her images were not made in camera, the fact that the animals are not photographs she has taken means (technically) that she cannot call her images photographs as it retains elements that have not been taken with a camera, which is what, ultimately, photographs are.

 

At the same time, Miss Aniela does not paint her images (albeit you could argue that the painterly quality she achieves through postproduction could count for something) so the images are not paintings.

 

Is it a piece of art?

 

I’m not sure. Her work seems to have the painterly quality and visual aesthetic that is associated with art but it’s being sold a  photography. (I don’t really want to go into that whole “what is art?” debate right now, but I’ll create a super long blog post about it sometime, soon. Maybe). I can see why it could be considered art. She certainly seems to have taken a huge amount of time to post process the image. So much so, she probably could have painted it in that time.

 

To be honest, Miss Aniela’s surreal fashion series confuses me. It seems to be photography, posing as art, without having been painted, whilst remaining limited to the viewfinder of the camera.

Is it art? Is it photography?

It may be awesome but to be honest, I think it’s both and neither at the same time.

 

 

An Experimental Edit

Because the prop I had ordered on Amazon arrived late, I had to postpone my photo shoot for next week.  This meant that I had nothing to do.  Out of sheer boredom, I decided to edit a random image from an old photo shoot.  Halfway through, I decided that I wanted to edit the image differently to how I normally edit an image so I looked at the image, Dark Lands and Evil Plans by photographer Brooke Shaden for inspiration (which just so happened to be the first image I came across looking at the images on my Mac).

I really wanted to use the dark blue/purple tones and yellow highlights of this image and apply it to mine. Most of the editing consisted of Curves and coloured layers.

Dark Lands & Evil Plans

Here is the entire process of the 37 layers from this:

IMG_9182

To this:

An Unplanned Edit

THE PROCESS:

Layer 1:

0Start

Layer 2:

The first thing I did is add a bit of contrast to the image.

1

Layer 3:

I raised the highlights a little bit more.

2

Layer 4:

I added a blue curves layer  to the darker parts of the image.

3

Layer 5:

I then changed the contrast on the RGB  curves channel to make the image more ‘blue’. I also made the shadows darker and the highlights lighter.

4

Layer 5:

I then adjusted the contrast on the blue channel whilst adjusting the RGB channel slightly.

5

Layer 6:

Added a slight contrast ti the RGB curves channel

6

Layer 7:

Darkened the overall image.

7

Layer 8:

I added a light yellow layer and set the blend mode to light and the fill to 18%.  This gave the image a slight yellow tinge without being too obvious.

8

Layer 9:

I made the highlights lighter.

9

Layer 10:

I then added a deep purple coloured layer and set the blend mode onto Darken and set the fill to 28%.  This darkened the image adding a deep purple to the shadows of the image.

10

Layer 11:

I then added another light yellow coloured layer and put the blend mode on overlay and the fill on 36%.  This meant that the highlights had a yellow tint to them whilst the shadows remained deep purple.

11

Layer 12:

I then decided that I wanted the image to be a lot darker so I added a dark blue layer and set the blend mode t multiply and the fill to 19%. This gave the whole image a slightly darker blue tint.

12

Layer 13:

I then raised the Red and Blue curve channels to give the image a strong purple tint.

13

Layer 14:

I then darkened the image using RGB curves.

14

Layer 15:

Raised the highlights slightly.

15

Layer 16:

Darkened the image further.

16

Layer 17:

I raised the mid tones of the green curves layer and raised the mid tones of the RGB curves channel.

17

Layer 18:

I then darkened te mid tones slightly.

18

Layer 19:

I then Raised the red curves and darkened the green curves.

19

Layer 20:

I then darkened the blue curves layer.

20

Layer 21:

I then added a light green layer and changed the blend mode to multiply and set the fill on 16%. This added a greenish tinge to the highlights on the umbrella and back of the subject.

21

Layer 22:

Raised the blue curves slightly.

22

Layer 23:

I then adjusted the levels to lighten up the image.

23

Layer 24:

I added a curves layer to the image and then layer masked it so only the face was lightened.

24

Layer 25:

Raised the blue shadows whilst darkening the blue highlights using the blue curves channel

25

Layer 26:

Darkened the shadows.

26

Layer 27:

Darkened the blue shadows

27

Layer 28:

Lightened the red curves.

28

Layer 29:

Lightened the highlights to make them stand out.

29

Layer 30:

Lightened the red curves channel and darkened the blue channel.

30

Layer 31:

Darkened the blue channel further

31

Layer 32:

From here, the overall editing was done, but I decided to play around with the selective colour tool to enhance the colours. Here I edited the green colours, making the highlights look more yellow.

32

Layer 33:

I then edited the yellow colour to make the highlights more paler.

33

Layer 34:

Edited the blue colour to make the umbrella a deeper colour.

34

Layer 35:

I re-edited the yellow colour so that it was less paler.

35

Layer 36:

I then decreased the saturation of the whole image.

36

Layer 37:

This is final version of the image.  I opened it on a PC and found that it looked a lot lighter than on my Mac. So i decided to darken it but i didn’t like it looked on my Mac. I decided to re-lighten the image and leave it how it was!

37 opened on pc (looks lighter)