The Rewards of Diligent work in Comm316
Over the past year, I have been able to dive more into the vast ocean of photography. After taking Comm316 while attending Brigham Young University-Idaho, I feel more confident in my skills to go out into the world and take pictures that I am proud of.
I have found that I am still trying to figure out my own style, but I have found myself beginning to use dodge and burn in Photoshop on almost every picture that I edit. I find the effect it creates to be captivating especially used on fabrics, bringing out the colors and folds.
If I had to be excited about one thing going into the future after the past year, it would be that I have so many new ways to look at the world. I constantly walk down the street from work or school wondering what a car tire would look like from a certain angle or how I could capture the beautiful lighting on the mountains as the storm clouds break for a few minutes, just wishing I had my camera with me so I could try it.
I am very grateful for those who have been able to help me see that anything I make can be beautiful, even if it isn’t Nat Geo worthy.
I am extremely grateful to those in my class and to the phenomenal Caryn Esplin who pushed me to become the photographer that I am today.
Creating a personal style plan to jump-start a business
As a project, I created a look book so that I can start furthering my photography business.
In this look book I have three sections, fine art prints, product photography, and food photography. I hope to further my business by showing this look book to potential clients who might want to see my own personal style to see if they would like to have me photograph their products or provide fine art prints.
For this project I started with a mood board to get an idea of what I wanted it to be. This mood board included colors and layout ideas that I wanted to use.
Doing this project reminded me of the two years I spent as an athletics co-editor on the yearbook staff in high school. Those two years allowed me to learn a lot about the design principles when making a book that will be seen by a large group of people. It is crucial to remember that although there will be many eyes on those pages, it is still important to remember to add your own personal style. I really tried to add this personal style throughout the book as I added elements of my logo on each page as well as the style I had in the photography that I included in the book.
Check out my look book here!
Check out this article on how to create a personal style for your own business here!
How to get a captivating headshot
In the growing world of business and networking, having a good headshot portrait is vital to landing any kind of position in an organization. The ability to take a good headshot, therefore, is an important tool in a photographer’s arsenal.
On a recent photography excursion, we had the chance to take headshots of those who were in attendance. It was really fun to get these shots as we visited sites such as Schwabacher Landing and String Lake in Grand Teton National Park.
Two important tools to have with you when taking headshots are an auxiliary light such as a Godox light (which is what we used) or a speedlight. Either one will work perfect.
Another great tool is a reflector or a diffuser of some kind to help the light go where you would like it to, whether that be under the eyes or spread out on the model.
Knowing these skills can help you land clients that will allow your photography business to grow.
Check out some of Dylan Patrick’s headshot photography here!
What is the trick for an epic portrait?
An epic-looking portrait can be difficult to create, but if you have the right equipment, you can create a really captivating photo.
One of the common mistakes that people make when taking portraits is over-exposing the background. This can cause the model to look washed out and create confusion for the viewer.
Another common issue that people have it under-exposing the model. This will cause the background to look normal, but the model to look way to dark.
Many people think that these problems can be solved in post, but for the most part, it will not solve the issue completely. The picture will come out noisy or unprofessional-looking.
In order to accomplish an epic portrait, you will want to acquire a few pieces of lighting equipment that will help your pictures shine.
A reflector, speedlights, and flash benders will place the light on the model correctly so that you won’t have any under- or over-exposed areas in your portrait.
Check out some of Sam Hurd’s Epic Portraits here!
How to Make a Portrait Session Even More Exciting
One fun thing to do is to create a theme during one of your photography sessions. This will help you stretch your photography skills. During a recent photography excursion, I was able to take a few shots of some of the awesome models that we had.
A few of the models fit into the theme of hikers in the mountains. In order to get the shots to come out even more special, we used a reflector and a Godox light.
This allowed for the model themselves to pop out more. I also went in and sharpened the picture.
At the Mormon Row Barns, we were able to take a few shots of our Native America chief and girl. We only used reflectors for these shots.
This allowed us to get light underneath the hats and create a focal point in our photography.
Check out some of Cynthia Carter’s special themed portrait photography here!
Architecture Photography: An Interesting View on the World We Make
Architecture, in my opinion, is an art-form. This is shown especially in the town of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Each building has an interesting flare to it that adds to the artistic culture of the town itself with it’s many art galleries and vendors.
Capturing architecture can be really difficult when you first start doing it, but after spending a little bit of time looking around the area that you are in, you can start to see interesting angles and features of the buildings that will make your photography pop.
Sometimes playing around with the color of your photos can actually add a lot to the features of the architecture.
Whether you are only making one color pop out or you change the entire image to black and white, doing so can allow the different parts of the architecture to become more prevalent, making the viewer observe different aspects.
Check out some of Todd E. Swenson’s interesting architecture photography here!
Food Photography so delicious-looking, it’ll make your mouth water
Another thing that I was able to do on my the photo excursion that I went on last month was play around with some food photography.
Many of the people who joined my on this excursion made some delicious food and set them up in some beautiful displays, accenting them with different things such as sprinkling flour, macaroons, flowers, or fruit. These accents can really make a difference in helping you tell a story within your photography.
Another thing that I think is essential to food photography is adding certain elements to your picture through dodging and burning.
I think that this feature can bring out the texture of the food and make it look even more delicious.
It is important to remember not to do too much dodging and burning otherwise your food starts to look fake and unappetizing.
Finding just the right amount will let you create some fantastic food photography. It is all a matter of trial and error.
Check out some of Shanna Paxton’s delicious food photography here!
Playing with Frozen Motion Photography with a Twist
During a photography excursion I took earlier this Fall, I got the chance to play with some frozen motion and how to balance the light to capture that frozen motion.
When I started to plan what I wanted to do for this picture, I wanted it to be very unique. I wanted to get the frozen motion of the sugar, but I didn’t want it to simply come down onto the strawberry. So, I decided to flip the spoon upside-down and tape the strawberry to the spoon.
In order to get the frozen motion, I had my shutter speed at 1/100 (you can raise this to get even sharper frozen motion in your photography), an f/stop at f/3.2 and an ISO of 125 to compensate for the speed light we were using.
In post, I wanted to take a real artistic focus on this type of photography. I decided to flip the sugar stream, spoon, and strawberry upside-down, black out the background, and clone out the stream of sugar.
I wasn’t sure how the result would come out, but I was pleasantly surprised when this picture came out.
Check out some of Emily Rochelle Johnson’s Frozen Motion Photography here!
The Satisfaction of Putting a Fine Art Print in a Frame
Fine Art has to be one of my favorite types of photos to take and to edit. I took this photo during a photo excursion in October 2019. One of the people who came made this wonderful set up of an apple pie. Many people were taking the picture from different, lower angles so I decided to get on top of the counter and get an overlay shot of the pie.
The composition of this shot is really captivating in and of itself, but after adding some edits in Photoshop, it really started to pop.
One edit that I think really adds to a fine art print quite nicely is dodging and burning. I really focused on applying this especially on the fabric, making it look a lot better.
This last week, I finally got to put this Fine Art photo in a frame and up on a wall for people to see. To me, the satisfaction of seeing one my own prints up in a public place is so great! This fine art print is in the Spori Building on the BYU-Idaho campus in Rexburg, Idaho until the first week of December. It is pretty awesome to know that this photo gets to take its place alongside other captivating photos.
Check out some of Caryn Esplin’s Captivating Fine Art Prints here!
Making Images Pop with Post Photoshop Editing
A huge skill that any photographer should learn to develop is some post Photoshop editing. This can allow any picture, whether is looks great out of camera or needs a little more attention, to really stand out.
For this picture, I did a few edits on Adobe Camera Raw. These edits include bringing up the exposure, shadows, and blacks, and taking down the whites and the highlights. This will allow you to go into your post Photoshop editing with a photo that is a little easier to work with. This part of the process, usually takes no more than a minute or two.
Once you being your post Photoshop editing, you can start playing around with the different options and modes. For this picture, I started out by removing some dirt on her pants and on the backpack, just to clean it up a bit. I then sharpened the image using smart sharpen, then worked on some selective dodging and burning on the clothes and the backpack. I personally enjoy dodging and burning and like the effect that it gives, but it is your preference.
I then did a color lookup layer in which I selected the Crisp Warm color and brought the opacity down to my liking, just to add a little warmer color to the image.
The nice thing about post Photoshop editing, once you start to develop your skills, is you can do these edits pretty quickly and you are able to create your own style.
Check out some of Michelle’s post Photoshop editing skills here!