Friday, 30 November 2007

Composite images - advantages of shooting in RAW

Shooting in RAW & using a program like adobe lightroom has some fantastic advantages when you are shooting in difficult lighting situations in particular.  This shot for example was taken with the intention of showing the dramatic sky & gathering clouds, however because of the low light level but high proportion of white in the shot the SOOC shot is drab and uninspiring.  Using a program like lightroom several versions of this shot were created, some using presets and some just by adjusting the exposure, these were exported in JPEG format and opened in photoshop.  This allows all the most dramatic elements of each treatment to be combined into one image and produces a vastly different shot showing off the colours and textures off all the elements in it.  Although the end image I created in this case has an unnatural feel this does not have to be the case and much more subtle treatment and blending can be used.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Some movie magic in lightroom presets

Another free lightroom preset tested today.  This one brings a little movie magic, it's inspired by the visual effects from the movie 'The 300' and is available through clicking the title link.

This image came about through my involved with the flickr project365kids groups.  This is day 256 for my daughter and inspiration is running low!  When I asked her for inspiration she asked me to take her photo with the light off, hmm that doesn't exactly make for an inspiring shot as the flash on my nikon d40x is in fact as bright as the sun!  So having asked her to at least jump in the air I used a quick crop in lightroom to focus attention more closely on her then tried out this action.  This product image has no further adjustments made other than the watermark and I think it looks much more like the photo my daughter probably intended!  It looks much more like the flash has stopped time and not the bleached out version that was SOOC.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Negative space.

Negative space & atypical framing are some of my favorite composition techniques when working with children and babies.  It give a fantastic hint of their small-ness and vulnerability but also requires a good eye and technical skill to execute properly.

There are some points to note when using negative space, particularly when shooting with children.  Colour is an important factor.  In this I converted to black + white because there were two other colours in the shot that did not compliment each other.  I also chose a high contrast conversion as the last the the interest focus of the shot should be is greyscale.  It should provide a stark image against the space around it.  If you're staying in colour be careful to choose colours which are light and do not darken the shot too much and do not detract from your main subject.

There is more information on negative space and other aspects of composition through the title link.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

In a dream

This is another of Kelsey Smith's lightroom presets (accessible through the title link) which I just love.  Its absolutely perfect for portrait shots giving fantastic colour depth and drawing the focus of interest centrally.

Thanks Kelsey is all I can say!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Inner beauty - some great lightroom presets

These are some fantastic & free presets for lightroom.  This one, called lean on me, is one of my favourites.  It enhances contrast fabulously, while cutting down distractions on the edge of the frame and evening skin tone.  Together with the saturation increase gives her a cute porcelain doll look.  You can find this preset and others free on Kelsey Smith's site through clicking on the title, have a look around its a great site.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Nostalgia smells like ice cream and cigarettes

I was so sad to read that this place might be closing, I spent many, happy, greedy hours in here as a child with my grandmother.  It was a treat when relatives came to visit that we have a 'minchi's' in the cafe on the way back from the beach. Or any other day out actually.  It was always full inside & out, I always spilled syrup on the table and there was always a full ashtray on most of the tables.  Smoking seemed synonymous with ice cream.

When I heard the reason this place was likely to close was due to custom dropping since the smoking ban came into force I laughed, it seemed ridiculous that smoking was ever aloud in a place I assumed aimed to attract children as customers.

However when I think back to my time spent there it seems virtually everyone my minds eye can see had a cigarette in their mouth, even now when I taste raspberry syrup I smell cigarettes.  This might seem like a case for supporting the smoking ban, but what I realize as a parent myself now is that it was actually a place for the adults to connect and the children be safe and occupied.  These places are few and few between these days that are not covered in bright yellow plastic and branding.  Perhaps we should allow adult to take responsibility for their own behavior and not treat them like children, even in ice cream parlors.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Rain rain go away, water my wooden flowers another day...

Outdoor and well lit photography opportunities are extremely limited and all the real flowers have drown so these are my wooden roses.  Rather than showing off my manual focusing skills I believe it has actually become a dust bunny showcase, oh well!  Find your own through the title link :)

Monday, 19 November 2007

Homeward bound.

Well, I have now given up my job to spend more time on the things I love, my children and photography.  So with that in mind my first post combines to two.  This is my beautiful daughter, she's full of cold at the moment and bright red & blotchy.  I used one of michelle black's pro preset for lightroom to even out her skin & emphasize her eyes.  You can find this action free by clicking on the title of this post.