Archive for ‘Photo tips’

September 16, 2011

San Antonio Photography: “Breaking the rules” SOOC-Edited photos

Last night I had the pleasure of having a group of creative folks in my living room. We were there to do a project for another local photographer and I will share more of our night and photos of that project later. Rick Rooster Garza and I were chatting about how we shoot and how our images come straight from the camera.

I break a lot of the traditional rules of photography sometimes and my white balance settings are not what most photographers would probably choose. I was explaining to Rick that because I know what my editing style is, I set my white balance to work with what I know I’ll do later. I love the play on colors and light in photography. I like to manipulate it to look as “I” see it and not necessarily as it appears in real life. I like being able to get the image I want straight from the camera so I don’t have as much post processing to do.

I also don’t mind sharing. I get a lot of questions at times about my settings/lenses/shoot style. Below is an example of a few shots I took of the lovely Lacie Dawn while I was helping with production of Rich O’Toole’s music video shoot. Lacie is a local Bad-A makeup artist who was working on the shoot as well. She’s so pretty and her makeup always looks great so I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get some shots of her.

Here are the images SOOC (straight out of the camera) and my camera settings for both. I normally shoot in raw but I was low on card space:

I shot each of these photos with a white balance of 3600 Kelvin. It was noon and the lighting was extremely bright/orange. I loved Lacie’s makeup so I didn’t want to mess with what she had done. I shot a little brighter on the photo of her close up because I loved the softer feel. I also shot with my portrait setting a little less saturated so she would stand out in front of the bright greenery.

I then pulled them both into raw and corrected some of the lighting, used the unsharp mask tool to add some clarity and used photoshop to run some of my own actions. I also cleaned up some of the distracting elements in the b&w photo.

I’m not saying that this style works for every photog’s style. But after chatting with Rick last night and getting his insight on his own techniques, I thought it would be good to share some of my own. I really don’t understand that old school way of thinking where we must keep secrets and be so competitive as photographers and artists. It’s unnecessary because you can find out pretty much anything you want to on the internet. I hope I can continue to work with people like Rick who are not afraid (or intimidated) to share.

We are all in the same boat. Learning, perfecting our craft and running businesses to support our families. I think we can help one another get to the place we really want to be; to be the artists we know are within us.

I’d also like to share a sneak of my last two engagement sessions…

August 6, 2011

15 Minute Photo shoot: Nicolette Winfield

I am in the process of changing up my website/blog, so I’ll be posting here for a while until the new design is ready:)

It was brought to my attention that I haven’t actually shown most of my work online. I get lost in the day to day shooting/planning/editing that I forget. Because of publication dates and waiting for my website, I have paused posting things online unless someone wants to use if for their profile pic. So I’m going to get a lot better about that:)

I get a lot of emails about the creative process of my shoots and what kind of locations I shoot in, etc. I don’t always have the time to write everyone back and explain that there really isn’t a science behind doing creative shoots.

If I’m going to do a bigger concept shoot, then I like time to plan and get the details of a shoot worked out. If I am working with a creative director, I work the details out with them. But sometimes, I decide I want to do a shoot, or even have things happen at shoots where I have to regroup and work with my surrounding environment.
I’ve always worked this way. When I started out, I didn’t have all the equipment others photogs had so I learned to adapt to what was available to me.

There is more to a shoot than pretty things/people/dresses/makeup to me.
If I have a beautiful model and she looks great and her hair and makeup is great, yet the shoot didn’t capture her spirit, it’s a waste to me. I want to be able to see past the theatrics to the person.
Also, when I’ve had access to amazing equipment but the shoot was just in a room with a black background and lighting, I did not feel as if the results represented “me” as a photographer.

This past Wed was such an occasion where I had not planned to do a shoot. Nicole (a friend and model I had worked with once) and I went to lunch and decided to do a shoot.

I had a commercial to shoot that night and traffic got us to my house much later than I had intended. Coming off of a mentally draining week, my brain was a bit hazy as to what we could do creatively in such a small amount of time. We had no make up artists, no wardrobing, no hair stylist, and my studio was not setup for a shoot.

Nicole being a pro and my determination to do the shoot we said we do, lead to us pushing through and deciding to do it anyway.

I keep a little notebook of quick shoot ideas and had an amazing vintage dress that I had been wanting to shoot in my bath tub so we had wardrobe.
My mom was a cosmetologist (as they called it in her day) so I knew how to do a little makeup (nothing like the pros though.)
We didn’t have time for hair so I just had her wet it down.
I chose red lipstick to add to the drama of a somewhat slim concept.

I took one light, Jonathan holding one reflector and we started the shoot. Once we started, we literally shot for only about 15 mins. She is a great model when it comes to taking direction, so I told her what to do and got the shots. About two shots in, I decided it was a bit flat visually so I went outside and got some Ivy growing behind my house to add some texture.

Now would this shoot have been better had we had more time? Maybe, maybe not, but I am glad to have been able to get the shots I got and I would have regretted not getting them because I wasn’t “as prepared” or “as inspired”.

Sometimes we have to force ourselves to think, even when we don’t want to. We have to look around and see things in a different light, from a different perspective and think about what they would look like together. I put all of my random ideas down on paper when I can manage it, because I WILL forget.

I am happy to have had this 15 min shoot with Nicole. I might just do more of these random, lets-see-what-happens shoots:)

I was able to see my work and Nicole in a different way and for that I’m grateful.

If you made it through all of this…Here are the shots I liked the most:


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