As a photographic artist
and creative personality in general, I have come to meet a lot of people. And I don’t mean just in passing. I mean I’ve made connections and learned to understand how people who may not necessarily look or act like your “typical” person can be truly amazing despite negativity or discrimination that is often sent their way.
While there are many subcultures out there, for the sake of brevity and getting straight to the point, I’m going to delve into two specifically – Goth and Rave, which can sometimes overlap somewhat.
Even today, in our increasingly less judgmental society, a lot of people associate Gothic culture and style with evil and just about anything that that term might bring to mind. The fact is that this notion is far from the truth. As a matter of fact, Goth’s are really just like everybody else when in many ways, not really differing from the general population. Sure, many of them tend to have an appreciation for some of the darker elements of life, but what’s so wrong with that? In fact, I tend to think knowing the darker things more intimately helps one to appreciate, love and greater respect the brighter side of life. Perhaps this is why some elements of the subculture mix bright, vivid colors into the stereotypical all black wardrobe. Ponder this fr a moment – The brightest Sunlight also produces the darkest shadows.
Sadly and mostly due to misleading media coverage, the rave scene is often looked upon as nothing more than a series of drug-filled and sexually promiscuous events. That’s like saying that every Italian is affiliated with the Mofia, it’s outlandish and over exaggerating. Did you realize that one of the major notions within the Rave culture is a the acronym PLUR which stands for Peace, Love, Unity and Respect? This simple yet profound concept is a far try from the mainstream media view and in fact is the type of attitude or approach to life that could very well help make this troubled world a better place.
The bottom line is that the old adage still holds true today. You should never judge a book by its cover.
Within the art of photography, there are many sub-categories.
Most of us can probably come up with some of the more common ones without giving it much thought – portraits, landscapes, wildlife… But one of the ones that has a huge industry onto itself that may not necessarily rank high on your list is food photography.
Think about it, many major restaurants, grocery stores and other similar businesses use images in their advertising. And just like is the case with any other form of photography, a well shot, well edited image is essential.
Example of bad food photography:
Notice how the color is bland, the image is washed out and it is actually quite hard to even know what the item may be.
Example of bad food photography:
This image blurs out background distractions, features nice and even light and really captures the texture of the meal.
Here are a few tips that might just help anyone interested in delving into this sort of work.
1. Lighting and white balance
- Make sure you have an adequate amount of light for your shot but don’t do overboard. You don’t want to have hot spots in the image that can distract from the main focal point. Nor do you want to see harsh shadows.
2. Color and texture
- Do what you can to make the color as accurate and inciting as possible. Same goes for texture. A few Photoshop tools that can help here are playing with the satiation and using the dodge and burn tools.
3. Remove distractions
- If there are any items near your image that might take away from the food itself, do what you can to remove them.
Good luck and have fun.
For almost the last two weeks…
like many people across this planet, I’ve be captivated by the spectacle that is the Olympics.
And as a photographer and artist at heart, I truly appreciate the artistry of athletics and the creative wonders such an amazing event can produce.
Given my appreciation for such things, I thought I would include some scenes that both chronicle and inspire.
These first three photos where taken when workers at the Sochi games formed a giant heart on the halfpipe in honor of the late Sarah Burke, the woman who was instrumental in getting the event into the Olympic Games.
Canadian skier Alex Bilodeau celebrates with his special needs brother Frederic after winning gold.
The storied Jamaican bobsled team making their entrance during the Opening Ceremonies.
Maddie Bowman sailing her way to gold in women’s halfpipe skiing.
Bode Miller speeding down the slopes in what will likely be his last Olympics.
A unique perspective taken from the Bobsled venue.
An amazing long exposure shot of a downhill snowboarding race.
This one is of the beautiful Sochi sky over the Biathon course.
First off, I’d like to appologize to the readers of this blog for the delay since my last post. Thanks for being cool about it. And just for that, I figured I’d give you guys a real doozie for this one.
Anyone who works with studio photography knows that as a general rule, the setup includes multiple light sources. This is for a number of different reasons which include reducing shadows, evening out the exposure and thing along those lines. However, at times, the use of a single light – mono lighting, can produce some really awesome artistic effects.
One thing it can do is add a sense of drama to your shot.
Check out the image below as an example of a single light setup I used for a photo shoot last week.
In this case, I used a light on the left side and as it stretches across the model it fades into a darker shade. This accentuates the points closest while sort of leaving an element of mystery about the elements hidden in the dark distance.
Give it a try for yourself some time. You just might love the results.
Editing is crucial
For any photographer who takes his or her craft seriously, editing is just a fact of life. And while it has its creative qualities, a lot of shutterbugs would agree that it’s not exactly their favorite part of the process.
When all is said and done though, the time used doing a thorough editing job is well worth it when you see the final product.
Some causal photographers make the mistake of thinking that some of these “editing” apps, online tools or quick-fix type programs can get the job done almost instantly. While it might not take a long time to edit an image sufficiently, any real quality editing can’t be done with just a click or two of the mouse.
Below is a sample of some photography editing I did after a recent promotional shoot for a young lady starting her own life coaching business. I hope these before and after images along with the basic steps taken to get from the original to the final version will give you an idea of what I mean.
Please note that all edits where made using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and a program called Portrait Professional. However, some of these edits can be made using any number of other programs that offer a wide range of similar features.
General overview of steps taken to edit the above photo:
1. Adjusting exposure
- Started out with “Auto Levels” before increasing the exposure a little more.
2. Tweaking colors
- An increase in overall saturation was used to add color and vibrancy
- Using the “Dodge/Burn” tool also helped.
- Basic tuning with Portrait Professional softened the skin, reduced blemishes, removed pores and took care of assorted imperfections.
4. Small details
- It was necessary to use the” Clone Stamp” tool to match some skin tone areas and clean up shadows and glare cast by the glasses.
- Did some final burning to minimize hot spots and even out the color of her hair.
When I make plans to shoot artistic photos of skies, landscapes and architecture, I get out my professional-grade DSLR. However, there are times when a beautiful shot presents itself and you just don’t have the big gun handy. So, you can either miss the shot or make do with what you have. And what many of us have these days are mobile phones with workable cameras.
Here are a few pictures I thought I’d share that feature some amazing skies, a very cool rainbow and some stylish lights inside one of Pittsburgh’s largest entertainment venues. I hope you like them.
I was flipping through the channels this morning when I came across one of the non “Fast and Furious” films that stared the late Paul Walker. It was a 2006 movie entitled “Eight Below” and having remembered it vaguely, I decided to watch the last half an our or so.
Being a dog owner and nature lover, I can tell you that this movie really pulls at the heartstrings. Though sad in some ways, it is also quite inspirational. And in honor of this film and the amazing creature that is the dog, it seemed like the right time to post some beautiful and artistic pierces showcasing these truly amazing creatures. I hope you enjoy them.
For a while now…
I’ve been delving into designing some basic websites. But recently, I’ve invested some more time and effort into this creative venture.
From the first ever website that I worked with back in college more than a decade ago (wow I’m feeling old now) a lot of my friends did not like the dreaded acronym HTML. In fact, I generally held a similar opinion and to some extend still do. Back then, I thought of HTML as another one of those “four-letter” words of foul language. Now, I view it more like a fungus, it grows on you over time.
To keep the whole analogy thing going, I see HTML as being kind of like the annoying relative that you see a couple of times a year for holidays or special events. You can take him or her in small doses but wouldn’t want to have to deal with them all the time. They may be a bit difficult to handle but can have some redeeming qualities.
The “redeeming qualities” of HTML are all about the virtually unending possibilities for customization. And that’s something that no template or drag and drop setup can offer.
This customization is where the artistic quality of this coding system finally comes into play. A really good, easy to use source is the W3schools website. Give it a try and the artist in you might just be happy you did.