A Study in Color

Years ago, for my birthday I got myself at the time was Canon’s new 7D. And was itching to play with it. My plan was simple. Set up a subject, take a shot and change the background. All the while, getting familiar with functions of my new camera. I went out and bought two small bouquets of flowers along with five sheets of different color of art paper for backgrounds. Looking back, this exercise taught me more than the functions of my new 7D. It showed me how colors effect the mood of an image. Along with the importance of composition and spacing.

Color_0048

The exercise is easy to set up. Here’s a list of needed things.

  • A camera with a shutter release and a tripod. You can use the timer if you do not have a shutter release.
  • A table for your subject. Along with a vase or something to hold your flowers up right.
  • Colored paper. Any non glossy color paper will do. I used Canson Colorline art paper because it’s inexpensive and large enough to use as a background. You can find it at most arts & crafts stores. Also, tape to hold up them in place while shooting. If you want to have a black background, I suggest using a piece of felt cloth.
  • Flowers. I just picked up whatever was in season at the local grocery store. Get whatever catches your eye. But be sure to pick out the healthy-looking flowers you can afford. As you don’t want to have to heal damage petals and leaves in Photoshop.

Me being a natural light shooter. I set up my exercise inline with a window to the outside. Not next to it yet far enough to softly light my subjects. Set up your selected colorful little beauty closer to your camera then the background. Now, take a few test shots to narrow down your depth of field to just your subject. For now, don’t worry about composing the shot. With your depth of field just covering your subject, this will make your background read as solid color.

With your scene set up, it’s time for the fun to begin! Carefully compose your image and take the shot. Be sure not to disturb your scene, change out your background and re-shoot. Repeat and rinse until you have gone through your backgrounds. You will see what works well and what doesn’t. Along with how a simple color swap can alter the mood of an image. Explore some different yet interesting compositions. Don’t hold back. Switch it up, play around and have fun. This can easily be a lock-down project for photographers who want to keep their skills sharp and honed.

Stay safe and busy,

Steven

What does photography mean to You?

I stumbled upon a thread on one of Flickr’s group discussions. Asking a simple question; “What does photography mean to you?” I found it interesting reading all the different meanings from one photographer to another. And during these endless days in lock-down, I’ve found myself ceaselessly pondering and struggling with that pure and simple question. And after a few lackluster routine filled days, I’ve managed to sort out my brain stew of thoughts.

For me, photography is one of my many passions. As a creative individual, it’s something I cannot live without. It’s a means in which I can creatively capture significant moments in time. This is an ongoing life-long struggle of trying to create unrepeatable images. I have hundreds of photos that I can remember that very singular moment I shot it. Like having a splitting migraine, how ridiculously hot it was, or how good someone smelled. But… most of them could be duplicated somehow or another. I’m profoundly drawn to unique imagery, like a neodymium magnet to steel.

My love for photography has initiated my desire to travel more. To start crossing out those places on my bucket list. Like the ancient traditions and modern society of Japan along with the rich and over saturated colors of Antelope Canyon. And when this global crisis has come to a close, I’m going to continue to see the world with the hopes of capturing it differently. Having those images to be deeply woven into my personal experiences.

“What does photography mean to You?” Along with, “What do you want from Your images?” I think it would be wonderful if you guys would leave your answers in the comments below.

Until next time, stay safe and busy!

Steven

The Importance of Post Process

Now that you have managed to sort through your images, it’s time to start Post Processing. This is where you can refine your images to what you envision. It has been around as long as photography itself. Getting rid of spots and blemishes, leveling the image, lighting and darkening, along with dodging and burning in details. Photographers still do it today; we just gave the steps in the process modern terms. If you are purist and don’t believe in doing any Post Process to your images, that’s 100% OK. No one can tell you how to show your work. But if you want your photography to grow stronger, try to find a post process routine that works well for you. Here are a few suggestions that was shown to me that helped me develop as a photographer.

Lightroom screen shot

Basic Post Process edits

  • Know your Post Processing software! If you’re using Photoshop, Lightroom or Elements, you have to know how to use it properly. How to import and export images, to have a basic understanding of the tools, how to adjust the exposure, and the list goes on and on. I’ve said it before, YouTube is your know it all friend. Use it and search, “How to use whatever tool or function in whatever program you are using?”
  • Removing dust spots. You got a dirty sensor and it shows. Clone out all those little distractions, they’re taking attention away from your subject.
  • Level your image. If you intended the horizon to be level and it’s not….it draws your viewers eyes away from what you are trying to show. With an unintentional tilted horizon, it can give the illusion that everything in your photo is going to slide out of the frame.
  • Adjust exposure. I can not stress how important it is to get your exposure right in the camera. When it comes to how to adjust your exposure properly, if you look online, it’s like all the members of a church choir are all singing a different songs and at different volume. There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there about exposure. YOU must filter through it, find and try what works best for you.
  • Resizing and sharpening. Most likely you are not going to upload a full-size image. If it’s for Instagram, a Facebook post, or your personal website, you’re going to have to resize your images before posting them. After you have your resized images, you’ll want to do a tad bit of sharpening to them. You just want to sharpen up the details soften from resizing.

This is just a few basic items of post processing. There are far more advanced and complicated attributes to it. I’m just trying to crack open the door to the larger world of post process.

Until next post,

Steven