Tips And Tricks For Your First Fashion Photo Shoot

Although fashion shoots look complicated when the photos are finally finished. The actual shoot may be very simple. Sometimes usuing one light and one model can have amazing outcomes. Little usually goes a long way when shooting fashion.

When planning a fashion shoot there are a few elements that can help you get great shots instead of good ones.

I always suggest setting up a studio atmosphere. If you can work in a studio it’s always best but if not then a front room or dining area cleared out will do just fine. Using things such as bed sheets or fabric for back drops is great for a first time shoot.

Having a friend or relative pose for you is great for setting up, pharm but it’s easier for you to learn as a photographer if you are working with a model who knows how to move without to much direction from you.

If you do not have any connections for makeup or hair, ampoule you can always inquire to local beauty schools. Many students are willing to work for free to gain experience and make connections within the industry. I usually make my connections over the web. I like to use www.onemodelplace.com. Here you can view models past photos as well as get a feel for their experience and personality. I exchange websites and let them call me if they are interested in working with me.

When starting out I recommend that you offer a TFP situation. TFP means time for prints. Some models and artists work TFCD which means time for photos on a cd so they can print them out themselves. While it is cheaper to offer the photos on a cd rather than you printing them, viagra once you release the photos to them on CD you are giving permission for your images to be reproduced at the models or artists discression.

I usually only do time for prints ( 3 prints per model). This keeps my costs down and still allows me to work with high caliber models.

Another thing to keep in mind that many models are under age and I always insist that EVERY model under 19 bring an adult and every model over 19 brings a friend or relative. This keeps the model and you safe, as well as offers a feeling of safety and security when a model has yet to meet up with you. I try to arrange meetings prior to the shoot but this is not always possible.

You can use many sources of light including lamps, or studio lighting, even natural light. Use different types of light and do not be afraid to experiment with different things. Get to know your camera and your light before the shoot. I try to set everything up a few days before and have those friend or family come over to make sure your ready to go when the time for the shoot comes. Nothing is worse than everyone being ready to go and they are waiting for you to figure out why the camera is shooting all black or your flash is firing at the wrong time.

Let your model know that you are new and that you would appreciate any tips or ideas they can offer. Models that have been around for a while have working with photographers and can usually offer great ideas for the shoot and even help solve technical issues should they arrive.

Once the shoot is finished make sure to have everyone’s contact information. I usually tell the team members I will have the photos available for them within one week. I try to get them done within about 3 – 5 days but given peoples schedules this is not possible. It is important to make sure that you complete the photos and do get the models their prints as soon as you can. Nothing is worse than getting a bad reputation for not giving back photos or taking months to get back to the members of your team.

Another important thing is to make sure you ask the makeup if touch ups are allowed. Many artists need the photos in a raw form with no air brushing or Photoshop done. You may need to make separate prints for each of the team members.

A shoot such as this will usually costs around $30.00. This is for 2 models, makeup and hair. I like to work with the makeup artist and model and do our own styling. I started my collection of props, wardrobe, and accessories by searching the local thrift store and outlet stores. Many times you can get vintage designer clothes for only a few dollars. These can be used over and over by adding different accessories or backdrops and of course different models. Having a huge supply of safety pins and all purpose clips is the best way to get all the clothes to fit every model.

Many times models will pose with eh back of a dress open or even with it almost folded in half and clipped and pinned at the back to make the fit look perfect.

Building a book of contacts is the most important thing to do. Make sure to be happy, positive and easy to get along with. Then getting your name and your work out into the local industry will be a piece of cake.

About The Author

Trish Connolly has been taking photos for over ten years. Working mostly with nature and freelance work, she moved over into portraits and children. With a special gift and the never ending help and support of her father Bob, Trish now has two photo studios operating and is now working in the fashion industry as well as teaching local modeling courses. She has also trained for the past two years at Focal Point Photography, in Vancouver Canada. Visit her website at KatwalkPhotography.com

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Introduction To Fashion Photography

This photo turned out to be my first cover. The shoot was actually very simply set and easy to do.

This was my first lone fashion shoot. I had taken fashion workshops and classes where an instructor and other students were there to assure my ideas and thoughts as well as lend a hand to make sure everything attempted was successful. In this instance I was working with an agency for the first time and I had only met my model, buy cialis makeup artist and hair stylist that morning when I came in.

Having been blessed with a model that is open to being creative and feels comfortable with you and the rest of the team is the only was to getting great shots.

Models who are timid or unfamiliar with you or your work will be less willing to try different ideas and the way they are feeling comes through in the photos loud and clear.

When doing a shoot I always start with a self check. Am I ready? Do I know what I want to achieve? Is my equipment ready? Do I know where I want the shoot to go? If you are unsure of what you want, remedy or are doing, then the rest of the team who look to you for direction will also be very unsure of what they are doing. This leads to confusion and a loss of time and money, not to mention bad work.

I try and get the team together before the shoot or at least in one place at the start of the shooting day. The best time is while the model is in the chair getting ready for hair and makeup. I like to discuss the shoot and know my team’s ideas and input as well as what they want to achieve with the shoot.

In the case of this photo – the model was trying to get some creative shots for her portfolio and the makeup artist was trying to expand the types of looks she had already in her book. The model was very outgoing and open to trying different locations, poses and even was happy to play with creative wardrobe, since there was no stylist on board that day.

I usually also like to carry different props and accessories with me on all my shoots. Lots of shots can go from ordinary to amazing with the help of a fan, a hat or other items. I also bring things such as plastic fruit, ribbons, hair bows, clips pins, rub on tattoos, anything to make a shot extraordinary. Always try to push the envelope a bit. You always want your work to stand out from the crowd, not blend right in. I like to check and see what other photographers are doing; I then go as far away from it as I can.

This shot was taken in a small meeting room that had a tan painted wall. I turn out all the lights and used one medium soft box with a modeling light. I turn on my fan and just let the model do the movements she felt comfortable with.

The makeup we chose was very fresh and dewy using soft tones with lots of shimmer on her arms and body. Her hair was left long and loose to work with fan.

The model was not afraid to move and tried different things like jumping, hopping laughing, using her arms and legs, bending over and using her head and neck to make different angles for the camera.

Sometime models tend to get caught up in only use their eyes with the camera. They try to hard to connect with the photographer and the shots become boring. A models film should have a huge variety of movement and angels and a yes there will be some really bad shots hopefully mixed in with some really good ones.

This shoot was one of my most successful yet as another shot taken an hour after this one also landed me my second cover with another one of the shots used on a full page inside the magazine.

Teamwork, feeling confident and being creative are the most important keys to getting a good shot.

About The Author

Trish Connolly has been taking photos for over ten years. Working mostly with nature and freelance work, she moved over into portraits and children. With a special gift and the never ending help and support of her father Bob, Trish now has two photo studios operating and is now working in the fashion industry as well as teaching local modeling courses. She has also trained for the past two years at Focal Point Photography, in Vancouver Canada. Visit her website at KatwalkPhotography.com

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Black and White Photo Conversion

Most images were produced in black and white for nearly a hundred years after the invention of photography, tadalafil but now colour images have become commonplace. Creating strong three dimensional images on a piece of paper is one of the best attributes of black and white photography, generic as the effect can be more striking than with a colour photograph. Without the colour to distract us we become more aware of the subtle tones which can be found within a black and white image. In this article I will share the technique I use that will help you create beautiful, cure striking and moody black and white images from your colour photographs.

Digital cameras have a black and white mode but more information and detail will be recorded in colour, which will also create a higher quality printed image. This is why I always shoot in colour then convert images later. There are several ways of converting an image to black and white using Photoshop and many other image editing programs. You could simply desaturate the colours, but creating a black and white image with real tone and definition goes beyond this. Levels, curves and the Unsharp Mask can be used creatively with black and white conversion to provide further control over tones and contrast to create a stunning image.

Channel Mixer – I have found that using the Photoshop Channel Mixer is the easiest way to convert an image to black and white and produces the best results. The Channel Mixer allows you to control how much red, green and blue contribute to the final monochrome image.

The Channel Mixer can be selected from the adjustment layer popup menu in the layers palette or you can also access it from under the image menu.

Clicking on the left tick box entitled Monochrome will convert your photograph into a greyscale image, and gives you the ability to blend the red, green and blue channels. Adjust each of the sliders to produce an image to your liking. As a rule make sure that the total values for each channel adds up to 100%. This creates monochrome images that are the equivalent of ones shot on black and white film through red, green or blue filters. For example if you wanted to maximize cloud contrast in a blue sky, then a red filter would achieve this. I usually set the red channel to 0 and the green channel to 100 to cut down on the amount of noise, or sometimes a combination of red and green depending on the image.

Curves and Levels – Brightness and contrast can be adjusted in Photoshop by using the curves and levels tools, which can be found under Image > Adjustments Curves/Levels. Both curves and levels allow you to adjust the tonal range of an image. When using the levels command you can make adjustments to just three variables, highlights, shadows and midtones. I prefer to use curves as it gives you more precision. With curves you can adjust any point along a scale while keeping up to 15 other values constant. By adjusting the black point and white point in curves you can give your image more contrast. At opposite ends of the diagonal line you will find a small dot. When you grab hold one of the dots with your mouse and drag it around you will see the image change. To create more contrast drag the black point lower and the white point higher, so that either end of the diagonal line is curved. Practice using curves and levels and explore the different effects you can achieve with your images.

Unsharp Mask – The Unsharp Mask is my preferred tool for sharpening images, which can be found under Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. It is a traditional film compositing technique used to sharpen edges in an image and corrects blurring. The Unsharp Mask locates pixels that differ from surrounding pixels by the threshold you specify and increases the pixels’ contrast by the amount you specify. In order to get the look which I desire in my images I use the Unsharp Mask twice. I begin by using a high radius and lower amount, such as a radius of 50 pixels and an amount of 30%. This gives the image a much more intense look and details will stand out. The second time I use a lower radius of 1 pixel with a higher amount of 30%, which will correct any blurring and sharpen the image.

About The Author

Peter Horner has years of experience in photography and digital printing technologies and also co-created the large format printing company DesignerPrint. Using large format printing technology DesignerPrint create canvas prints, block mounts, and poster prints. Canvas Printing from DesignerPrint.co.uk

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Shooting Light at Night

Daytime is not the only time to use your camera. The next time you are feeling bored on a Satureday night, pick up the camera and hit the streets for a light show. Slow down the shutter speed for cool effects. Be it city streets, a commercial building or the setting sun at the beach, images near dusk or into the night make striking images on film. The deep blue azure of dusk always seems to bring out the strongest saturated colors on print film.

At night a host of different exposures can give a myriad of different and impressive results. Anything can happen, and that’s the beauty and excitement of shooting at night. Each shot is unique. The hour after sunset is usually the best time to shoot. City lights start to dot the landscape, yet enough light from the setting sun remains, enough to soften harsh contrast on subject matter. I use high speed film when I shoot at night, Fuji 400 to 800 ASA or Kodak 400 to 800 ASA. High-speed daylight color film intensifys warm city lights and deepens the deepest blues of the twilight sky.

When I shoot in low light, I travel light. I get by with a tri-pod, my wide angle lens, and cable release. Shooting at night is a whole new way to paint with light on film. I find my subject and open up the aperature and slow down the shutter speed. I usually shoot at 1/60 sec. or slower with aperature set to the largest f/stop allowed. Colors remain rich and adding a flash to the mix can bring out some unique results.

If you’re looking for exact or correct exposure of your subject, move in close enough to meter the lighted area of the subject. Avoid any stray light that may directly enter your lens. Stray light will throw off your reading. Often shooting at twi-light or into the night is educated guess work. I like to bracket my exposures. I leave the f/stop fixed and alter my shutter speed one stop on either side of the metered exposure. If I want to increase the effect I’ll extend the exposure by two shutter speed stops. If your shooting with slower film or have set your ASA/ISO reading to 200 to 125 on your digital, doubling your exposure time is suggested.

The photo of this office building was shot at 1/30 sec. at f2 using Kodak 400 ASA film. This shot was taken within 30 minutes of sunset.

About The Author

Bill Bales has been in and around photography for over 20 years. He attended Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, where he received his bachelor of arts, and invaluable experience from working professionals in photography, film and television broadcasting. It was there that he honed his documentary/photojournalistic approach towards picture taking. Currently, he resides in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL where he finds himself photographing events such as weddings, doing portraiture, as well as freelancing for various print publications. You can visit his web site and see his work at www.balesphotography.com or e-mail him at info@balesphotography.com

Creative Use of Depth of Field

Back in the 1930s Ansel Adams along with a group of his comptemporaries joined together to form the f/64 Group. The aim of the group was to emphasize and capture the maximum depth of field on film negative. The clarity of those images produced on these negatives were stunning. The detail tack sharp and crystal clear on the printed paper. One could lose oneself within one of Adams photos. I was awestruck looking at the detail in images from Yosemite National Park and photos from the Southwest U.S.

The term f/64 refers to the smallest aperture setting on a large format camera, usually f/22 on 35mm cameras, which produces maximum depth of field, and a photograph evenly sharp from background to foreground. The group’s philosophy was to produce straight forward photographs, rebelling against the more customary pictorial soft focus images of the day.

Adams was one of the first photographers I was exposed to when I picked up the camera in the early 1980’s. It was at a time when his star was reaching its zenith. His name was becoming well known outside of art and photography circles. The general public was giving him recognition. I was intrigued with the philosophy of his f/64 group. My own photographs for a time became influenced by his philosophy of this extended depth of field and the small aperature setting. I\’d use my camera to cram as much detail in a photo as possible. I became obsessed with this approach. Little did I realize until years later that I was actually limiting myself to the creative use that different aperature settings and shallower depths of field / larger aperature openings offered.

Depth of field is defined by how much of a given picture, from near to far, will appear sharp. Not only does aperature size effect this phenomenon but so does lens choice. Depth of field is greater for the shorter focal length of lens. What this means is a wide-angle lens will reproduce a greater portion of a scene in front of the and behind the point of focus with acceceptable clarity, while long lenses will reproduce a much smaller range in sharp detail. This also makes it harder to focus the longer length lens but easier to throw backgrounds purposely out of focus…a nice creative effect.

It really hit me when I started working with a studio/event photographer 20 years after first seeing the Adams photos. The studio photographer owned a Canon 300mm f/2.8 L Series lens. The compression that was created with the zoom at 300 mm combined with the fast 2.8 lens, lent for some beautiful imagery. I was astounded. Printed images popped off the paper when we got them back from the developer. A photo of a couple set against a dark background with pin lights made for good subject matter. The couple was sharp and the lights behind were dapples of blurred light. It was a striking effect. My eye had been reawakened to new possibilities through the creative use of depth of field. It didn’t hurt having access to this high-end Canon L Series lens either.

When I shoot events today I try to utilize shallow depth of field for striking visual backgrounds. Sometimes you never know just what you’ll get but be pleasantly suprised when you get your prints back.

About The Author

Bill Bales has been in and around photography for over 20 years. He attended Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, where he received his bachelor of arts, and invaluable experience from working professionals in photography, film and television broadcasting. It was there that he honed his documentary/photojournalistic approach towards picture taking. Currently, he resides in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL where he finds himself photographing events such as weddings, doing portraiture, as well as freelancing for various print publications. You can visit his web site and see his work at www.balesphotography.com or e-mail him at info@balesphotography.com

Reducing Red Eye In Photos

How many countless photos have you taken at birthday parties, weddings, or bar mitzvahs that came back from your film developer with annoying red eye? The same thing can happen with animals, however, the result is usually a greenish or silvery glow. One of the most common problems novice photographers encounter when photographing people or animals is red eye. The problem is caused by the flash of the camera illuminating the rentina of the eye. With people the retina is made up of hundreds of tiny blood vessels. When lit by the camera’s flash it reflects the red color of these vessels.
Today many point and shoot cameras offer a red eye reduction feature. A tiny strobe light will pulse from the camera prior to the camera shutter opening and closing. The theory is that the iris of the eye will narrow when exposed to the bright light. This offers a smaller area of the retina, containing the tiny blood vessels, to be exposed while the photo is taken. However, this doesn’t always eliminate the problem. The reason is the proximity of the flash to the camera lens, it’s just too close.

I have a friend who is now on his fourth camera within the past five years due to photos coming back from the lab with red eye. The red eye reduction feature on these cameras has never been consistent and still continues to result in red eye more often than not.

One of the ways to eliminate red eye if you own a point and shoot that doesn’t allow for an attached accessory flash, is to either photograph the subject in the brightest ambient light possible or make sure the subject is not standing directly in front of you. Bright ambient light gives you, the photographer, the advantage of narrowing down the iris naturally before the strobe goes to work. The other option is to photograph the subject at an angle, so the lens will not have a direct line to the back of the eye’s retina. This decreases the chance for the film to see the red retina.

Now, if you own or use a higher end camera, you most likely have the opportunity to utilize an external or accessory flash. These are usually mounted on a bracket off to the side of the camera. The advantage here is that the camera and the flash have some distance between them. We want to create as much distance between the flash and the lens of the camera as possible, this way the lens won’t see the light bounce directly off the retina. The result is little to no red eye.

My biggest breakthrough in regard to reduction of red eye came when I was introduced to a diffuser that mounts to the top of the flash unit over the light. I use what’s called a 80/20 (80% / 20%) diffuser. When photographing people or animals, I use it in the following manner. I aim my flash at a 90 degree angle up from my subject, basically into the sky. Because I am utilizing the 80/20 diffuser, 20% of that light is directed, in a diffuse fashion, back down at my subject. The results are fantastic! I eliminate red eye and create a softer more natural looking light for my subject. Not only does this reduce red eye but produces a softer light for the subject without harsh or annoying shadows behind them.

A couple of last things to consider would be the difference between photographing children and adults as well as complexion. A rule of thumb is that the younger the subject the wider the retina and the greater opportunity for red eye. The other point is that fairer skinned persons and people with blue eyes have a tendency to produce the red eye effect more than their counterparts. Consider these and the other suggestions the next time you photograph people and animals and you should have better results when you pick up your prints.

About The Author

Bill Bales has been in and around photography for over 20 years. He attended Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, where he received his bachelor of arts, and invaluable experience from working professionals in photography, film and television broadcasting. It was there that he honed his documentary/photojournalistic approach towards picture taking. Currently, he resides in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL where he finds himself photographing events such as weddings, doing portraiture, as well as freelancing for various print publications. You can visit his web site and see his work at www.balesphotography.com or e-mail him at info@balesphotography.com

Capturing the Image

The entire process of capturing a photo is a different experience for every person. Sometimes the shot of a lifetime happens by accident; sometimes it has been planned out for days, no rx weeks or even years in advance. Other times its something seen after the photo is taken, generic something hidden and brought forward from the background. Many people take photos to try and hold onto a special moment in time. A vacation, shop a birthday, awards, a new car, a wedding or even a new baby.

My process for capturing most of my freelance work comes from a little bit of everything. I do plan on where I am going. I usually like to select a place with lots of activity. A park, a public market, a fair or even a busy downtown street. Once I get to that place, I sit and watch what’s going on around me. Where are people coming from, where are they going, and what are they doing.

I get my bearings on the flow of the place, and then I walk around looking for spots of interest. Is there nice filtered light coming from under the tree, is the water bouncing of the sidewalk in the water park and twinkling in the sun, Is the sky reflecting off the glass windows of a building, is a bench creating an interesting shadow on the children sitting on the grass near by?

Once I have noted my places of interest, I select my lens. I usually like to use a long range lens, I like my 75 – 300mm for freelance work, as you can get in close without getting in too close. Anything bigger and people think you’re a private detective or the paparazzi. Anything smaller and you can’t get in close enough without then noticing you.

Most of my best work is done when the people don’t even know I am there. Many times I have had to look away and pretend to focus on a pigeon or a taxi cab, in order to avert the sudden glare from someone who has spotted me. If you get caught, the person will usually shy away from you, clown around or get angry. There are a few people who will just ignore you and keep doing what they were doing, but those people are far and few between.

I have never taken a tripod with me on these expeditions, as I find it hard to move around freely while weighted down with too much equipment. I pack light and take only what I need. I make sure to be prepared with extra batteries, lens’s, and am always ready for a change in weather. One of my instructors said “it sucks to be wet and cold” and it really, really does.

The most important thing is to take your time when shooting. Don’t have any other place to be, don’t be in a time crunch. Patience is the key to great photos.

I usually shoot a full 1 GB card (jpg) and only look at the photos when I get home rather than viewing them as I go. I have a different perspective after I am out of the situation and it also curbs me from deleting things I think are bad at the time but might be gems in a different place and time.

The finished photo here was taken in the summer at a popular public market. A street performer was getting ready to perform and people had gathered around and were waiting for the show to start. I saw these two sets of children so different but so alike. One set had huge ice cream cones and the others did not. I knew it would not take long before the ones without, couldn’t resist watching the other two eating those cones. I only waited a few moments before I had the shot I wanted.

The last step is going over the actual shots you have taken. Once I have selected the ones I really love, I will crop them out and make any corrections if necessary. I always try to leave the photo in its rawest and purest form even though shooting digital always offers the temptation to change things around. This photo is now hanging at my father’s summer home after winning an honorable mention in the International Photography Competition last year.

Freelance is about getting out there and taking photos. Just remember that anywhere, anytime – great photos happen, you have just got to be there to catch them!

About The Author

Trish Connolly has been taking photos for over ten years. Working mostly with nature and freelance work, she moved over into portraits and children. With a special gift and the never ending help and support of her father Bob, Trish now has two photo studios operating and is now working in the fashion industry as well as teaching local modeling courses. She has also trained for the past two years at Focal Point Photography, in Vancouver Canada. Visit her website at KatwalkPhotography.com

Cross Processing

Cross processing is, as Forrest Gump would say, like a box of chocolates. You really don’t know what you’re going to get. And that’s what makes it so fun. The results will depend mostly on what type of film you use and what your lighting source is .

Something that can really make photographs more interesting is to cross-process the film when developing it. Technically this means shooting C-41 (negative print film) and processing it as E-6 (slides) or visa versa. You are purposely developing your film in the wrong chemicals. This changes the color palette. How much and to what colors will depend on the film you shoot with and the type of lighting you’re shooting in (sunlight, indoor light, tungsten or flourescent light, etc.). In this case, I shot Fuji Sensia ASA 100, a consumer-grade slide film, under tungsten lights, but had it developed as regular negative film. That is why the colors are different. A little punchy, more saturated, those yellow skin tones. Fuji films, in general, will give you lots of greens and yellows. Kodak film tend to be warmer giving you more reds, roses, pinks, and peaches.
When going from slides to film (E-6 to C-41) you do not need to compensate exposure. You shoot it like you normally would. However, when you are shooting film and developing it as a slide (C-41 to E-6) you must OVEREXPOSE it two to five stops. This, of course, will depend on the type of film you’re using, but I usually push it 3 stops. Bracketing is good in situations like these where you don’t know how much to push the film.

About The Author

Heather graduated from Utah Valley State College with a BFA in photography. She is currently working for Rubberball Productions as well as freelancing. Her clients include the Los Angeles Times, Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Regional Ballet, and Utah Valley State College. Heather was the featured artist in GrayMatter Magaizine and has been a finalist in the Nikon International College Competition the last three years in a row. She has been shooting a lot of fashion, editorial/travel, and fine art photography. See more of her work at www.heathershimmin.com.

Capturing Drama and Story on One Frame of Film

I have a personal favorite photograph and it hangs on my office wall. It’s this black and white photo of the young girl and her little red wagon (Radio Flyer). The photo was taken nearly twenty years ago.

I lived in an ethnic neighborhood in Chicago at the time, and would often go out into the street and try to document my surroundings. My focus at the time was to document the heavily populated Latin American residents and their incorporation into the U. S. culture. The majority of these Latinos didn’t speak English and had only lived in the States for several months. I saw them as outsiders until I photographed the girl and her little red wagon.

I knew the moment I turned the corner and saw this girl I had to take the phototograph. As Cartier-Bresson would say, it was the “decisive moment”. There was more than just an image here, there was story. And that has always been a goal to strive for when I take a photo. In this image the story was the wagon, the girl, and when juxtaposed together, the creation of a metaphysical bridge between two cultures. I had a red wagon when I was a child and I’m sure a great many of you had one too. I was able to identify with her. This photo in so many ways tells me how much alike we all are.

I should note here, and this is stating the obvious, that this is a black and white print. This image lent itself to black and white film. I don’t think color would have given it quite the impact that the starkness of black and white accomplishes. I mention this not to discourage anyone from using color, however, to point out the effect one medium might have versus the other. One of my current interests is photographing horse races. I love the pagentry and the presence of color. Black and white might have a role at the races but color is almost always my first choice.

To this day I try to continue to capture images like I did of the girl and Radio Flyer wagon. I look for images that are narrative in nature. They capture a story and drama. Today I often find myself at events for clients where I’m asked to do just this. One of my little tricks is to put myself in a specific frame of mind. I literally tell myself to “capture the drama”. It becomes my mantra for the event. I try to follow the ebb and flow of the proceedings. There are highs and lows at these events, which means that not every moment is meant to be photographed. This is how I watch and wait for drama to unfold.

If you’re planning on photographing an event either as a serious professional or a weekend enthusiast I might suggest several tips that will lend to more fullfilling picture taking. Approach the event, party or ballgame as if you are making a film, which you actually are, just not at the usual 24 to 30 frames per second. Consider the linear aspect of time and what will take place, a beginning, a middle and an end. Then throughout the event say to yourself…”capture the drama” as you look through the lens.

About The Author

Bill Bales has been in and around photography for over 20 years. He attended Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois, where he received his bachelor of arts, and invaluable experience from working professionals in photography, film and television broadcasting. It was there that he honed his documentary/photojournalistic approach towards picture taking. Currently, he resides in Tampa/St. Petersburg, FL where he finds himself photographing events such as weddings, doing portraiture, as well as freelancing for various print publications. You can visit his web site and see his work at www.balesphotography.com or e-mail him at info@balesphotography.com

Photo Montage Fun

A montage can make an excellent design element for nearly any type of material – print, web, or even a beautiful piece of displayed art. For the designer or artist, this type of project may be a little challenging, especially the first time. However, with a little practice and a keen eye, the final product can turn out to be a masterpiece.

I have been in the graphic/web design industry for over 8 years. One of my most challenging and rewarding creative endeavors was that of the montage. I found that the elements that go into the creation of a montage are far less important than the ability to place them and seamlessly blend each element into one another. After trial and error, I finally managed to get it right. I learned that I could take digitized photos, no matter what quality, subject matter, or else and combine them into an interesting piece of art.

In addition to skill, the designer must have the right tools. There are many pieces of software available to designers, I happen to prefer Adobe Photoshop for this type of work.

So, where do I begin? Photos. I like to select three to four photos to begin with. After selecting the photos, I place them on the stage. This is one of the important steps. When working with multiple photos, the designer must be sure to balance them. (fig. 1) There should be a natural flow in the focal points of the photos. If there is not, rearranging may be in order, or try selecting a more compatible photo.

Once the photos are posed, the fun begins – masking. Layer masks in Photoshop are an effective way to produce different results that can be manipulated on many levels. It might sound easy at first, but…there is a trick to it that a person must discover for their self through trial and error. Even now, it often takes me 2 or 3 tries to get each photo exactly the way I want it. I start by selecting the photo that I want the others to blend into. For this project I chose the center photo. On the other two photos, I added a layer mask and used the airbrush tool to create my blends. After airbrushing, I put a ‘screen’ on the middle image in order to complete the effect. (fig. 2)

So far, the composition is nice, but there is still something missing. Notice how the color differentiates between the photos a little too much and does not create the streamline effect I am looking for. At this point, I am going to merge and convert the photos to grayscale (fig. 3) so I can then add a filter, to get the “rustic” look I’m going for.

I’ve added the filter, and now have decided to add some text to the montage. At times, I may add only a word or a symbol or I may add a large quote, it all depends on the montage theme. For this piece I’ve included a small quote and title that fits well with the rustic theme I was going for. The text breaks up the piece as a whole and also adds a design element to the composition. (fig. 4)

In the end, my composition turned out exactly how I wanted it to. Any designer can realize the ideas in his or her head and at the same time have fun creating it. The end result is well worth the effort.

About The Author

Leslie Fredericks-Leamon has been in the web design business for 8 years. During that time she has freelanced as well as taken full-time in-house design positions. Currently Leslie runs a freelance operation under the name of Muz Media, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. What started out as primarily a web and graphic design studio, Muz Media has turned focus onto other aspects design and development, such as multimedia, SEO and online marketing, and integrated them into the business, bringing many important elements of web-presence to our clients without the politics of a large advertising agency. www.muzmedia.com

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