Don't just record an image, create one!
Tip #1 Maintain a visual hierarchy. Ask yourself what the main visual element is, the thing you most want your audience to concentrate on. Then use all your technical and compositional skills to draw attention to that element.
Layering images really is very easy when you know how and the possibilities are endless.
Using layers and the layer blending modes is pretty much all it took.
I offer one to one tutorials in house. Here's a little information on both:
So much of this medium is confusing, including the language used, it is my aim to de-mystify the technical jargon and introduce you to more meaningful photography principles and techniques.
We’ll get to know your particular camera by exploring the menu’s, the features and functions. We’ll look at creative exposure, lighting and compositional techniques, and gain an understanding of how changing various settings will produce more effective images, more in line with what you visualised.
By the end of the course you’ll be creating stunning images rather than merely recording the world around you.
I’m a see and do learner so that’s how I teach, the course is practical and hands-on, we shoot as we go. You’ll take home a straightforward guidebook containing explanations and directions for the common controls and techniques.
Just a few of the things we'll cover:
A great opportunity to explore your own photo editing programs at home or in the workplace. I teach a wide range of editing software but specialise in Adobe Photoshop & Adobe Photoshop Elements.
By the end of the session you’ll have a better understanding of how to enhance that ‘not so great’ image and make great images look fantastic!
We’ll cover the subjects of your choice at a pace and time that best suits you. You’ll have the confidence to navigate around your software with ease and reduce the time spent editing your images.
A no nonsense guidebook will be supplied containing explanations and step-by-step instructions for the common commands and enhancements.
I also run Photoshop courses through Waimea College. A six week programme Tuesday nights from 6.30-8.30pm. Contact them directly for enrolments.
I'm having so much fun layering my portraits with found imagery.
Pregnancy shots are fleshy by nature and can be quite confrontational as a result. Layering these photos with texture, type and symbolism can help take the heat off.
Black and white was always my favourite method of presenting images but now I like desaturated, high contrast colours and it couldn't be easier to achieve...
Photoshop has a number of ways to do one thing but for me I prefer the Camera RAW processor. I simply dial down the saturation slider to 60% and bump up the contrast slider to 80%, reduce the clarity a little and you're done! The best thing about the RAW processor is you can batch process all or some of the images in one hit without having to create and run an action.
If you're more comfortable with Photoshop itself the 'old style' preset in the Hue / Saturation adjustment is another easy way to get a similar effect.
A recent family gathering gave me the perfect excuse to photograph my own children and their gorgeous cousins.
These images were captured using the same daylight studio set-up described in my last post. Light from a large window directly in front of or slightly to the side of the subject. Simple but stunning.
Often we blindly scan through magazines or picture books knowing we like an image, but without spending some time to work out what it is about the image that appeals. Taking that second look can uncover clues to the way the photographer conceived, set-up and and shot the image.
Ask yourself; is it the lighting, the colouring - black and white, retro or vivid for instance, a particular highlight colour, the contrast - the difference between lights and darks, the subject itself or even the use of texture which appeals to you. Noticing these things can teach you a lot about composition.
Searching for the reflective areas within the shot is probably the most revealing aspect as far as lighting goes. The eyes in a portrait, and even the shine on a forehead, can reveal the type of lighting used. The shadows will give us the quality and intensity of the light. Small, intense light sources, for example on a sunny day, create strong contrasts and sharp edges to the shadow - great for highlighting texture. Whereas large, diffused lighting (e.g. cloudy days) produce lighter shadows with less distinct edges - great for sympathetic portraits.
My university students found this tip useful: find an image you like, notice where your eye lands on that image and then take note of where your eye travels around the photo. Often your eye will land on an area that is different, like dark hair in an overall light image (high key), then wander along lines, angles or even to where the subject is looking to other landmarks in the image. If there is continual movement around the picture, if those lines lead your eye back to the main element in the image and if that image holds your attention for more than a few seconds then the photographer has been successful.
So next time your flicking through a magazine or glancing through a book take some time to consider how the photographer made such a captivating image.
Sure staged photos are great but it's that instant right before or straight after that composed shot, when everyone has abandoned their 'photo face' and stopped putting on a show, that can often times deliver the most stunning results. It really does pay to stay connected and have your camera at the ready.
Mother of two