Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Landscapes

I'm going to admit right here, I was a little bit worried when I was looking at the instructions for this assignment. We were supposed to try to get landscape photos without any man-made objects in them... And several years ago, I could have walked out my door and done that no problem! But there have been so many houses built that it's nearly impossible to look anywhere without seeing signs of civilization. So, I'm actually surprised with some of these. I love it when my ideas of what perception can do to a photograph are proven!

It's also incredible how much of a difference just moving around can make on a photo... The lighting in these is different, so many look like they were from a completely different shoot! I did do different types of processing on them, but mostly I stayed about the same.
Overall, I love these! Some of them remind me of paintings :) And even though there is a water... pipe... thingy in a few, I don't think it really takes away from the landscape feel.

I love to walk around and just find little patches of beauty like this one here... I don't even care that I had people staring at me from their backyards as I army crawled around this field with my camera. I mean, how is that weird? I think it's totally normal ;)
(I think this one is my least favorite :( Sad face!) 

And, here is my first attempt at an HDR photo... I can't wait to play around with this more!

P.S. - I am obsessed with Golden Hour. I already was, but I had forgotten how much I loved it until tonight! AH!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Retouching

I'm sure that all of you are aware of the skeptical nature of retouching... As a photographer, I'm faced with that subject every time I get on PhotoShop.
At least everyone has heard of the Dove Real Beauty campaign, and I would love for you to watch the following videos before you proceed in this post....



Of course we're all skeptical on this subject... How can we not be with how the media portrays beauty?
That's only made worse when we are shown photos like this (I simply googled 'retouched photos' to find these examples).
All of those women were just stunning the the before photos... The question that I have, as I'm sure every other person has, is why would they do that??

Now, on to my part of the post... This is my opinion on the retouching that I do.
I am all for retouching. Why? Because the way that I do it, I don't change who the person is. Acne? That's not a part of you, and I don't feel that I'm changing someone when I take it away.

I am an 18 year old girl, and I know just how much we can be afraid of how we look. The following image is me... This was taken by the very talented Wish Photography after she gave me my Elaina. I was 16, and was going through a very stressful time. My acne? It was absolutely terrible. Honestly, I'm even embarrassed to show you this photo. But I am, why? Because my acne does not define me. All that Kandis did was remove those to show who I was without it... She didn't change my face shape, take away my laugh lines (which I love, btw), or change who I am. She just helped me see who I would be without that acne.
Now look at these photos that I've taken. The before's are what I did for the basic edits, before I did any retouching or playing of my actions.
This is my beautiful friend Laura. Gorgeous, isn't she? She has eczema -- if you don't know what that is, it's a skin condition that can cause itchiness, rashes, etc... She's the second of my friends to suffer from it.
 It's very painful, and not something they feel is a part of them. By taking out these blemishes, I didn't change who she was, I took away something that was there at the moment the photo was taken.
This is Lexi, another beautiful friend of mine. (I accidentally put the before on the right side in this photo). She looks basically the same, doesn't she?
Look at that! How minor were those touch ups? You can't see very well in the after, but her freckles are still there too. Why? Because her freckles are a part of her, so I do not want to remove those.
Another beautiful friend, her name is Grace. Practically perfect? I think so.
Look at those laugh lines, how adorable are those?? I love laugh lines, and I will never remove any lines on a face unless specifically asked by the client. All I did was take out a few blemishes. Did it change how she looks overall?
Meet Jessica... Can you believe that this girl doesn't believe she's photogenic?
Seriously, I barely had to do anything! Oh, and you see that freckle on her forehead? It's still there. Because it's adorable!

I could continue to show you examples, but I'll stop with all of those girls.
Each girl that I photograph knows each of her own imperfections. She's scared to go in front of the camera and have them shown to the world. By taking out acne, eczema, etc... I feel that I am helping the girl to see her own natural beauty. Look at all of those before and after photos... Look closely. Do the girls in them look like different people? Does it look like I took out anything that defined who they are, as a uniquely beautiful Daughter of God? If I did, it was totally by accident.

Retouching doesn't have to be bad. Retouching can be used simply to enhance what everyone else sees each time they look at the girl. Because guess what? Cameras have a way of capturing blemishes invisible to the naked eye.

These blemishes will fade and go away over time... Because they are not a part of us. Would you like more proof? Look at this time-line of me over the last 3 years...
In each one my face is the same shape, I have the same features, but my skin is clearer and clearer. 

No one wants to have their awkward stages photographed, so I try to help a girl see that she's more than that. I want to help show my models -- my friends -- what I see every time I look at them.
They are beautiful. Their real beauty is there. I just help them to see it as well.

I hope that this has helped you to gain a new perspective on what photographers actually want to do when they retouch a photo!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Night Photography

I had so much fun with this assignment -- even though I froze my butt off (literally... I couldn't feel it when I got inside! sorry if that was TMI) and almost died.
Yes, I almost died! I was out taking photos in my backyard when I heard a growling sound... I'm not even making this up, okay. It sounded like it was only 3 feet away from me. I don't scare all that easily, but I almost had a heart attack. Soooo I ran inside and made my younger brother come out with me for protection. He brought our air soft gun to make me feel even safer. I have nice brothers ;)

Another adventure was shooting without a tripod... I know, I need one! Anyone want to buy me one?

Anyone? Anyone?

....Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

*sigh* fine. Moving on. So I was out in the dark, with my brother there, toting around a kitchen/bar stool and using my hat to balance out my camera if the stool was on uneven ground. It was pretty interesting.

But, at least one of these photos was worth it! So, without further... anyone, anyone?
Ado!

1. Nighttime scene of nature:
ISO: 200 || f/3.2 || Shutter: 5.00 Seconds
Canon 10D, 50mm lens
This is my FAVORITE. Oh my goodness I love it! I can't believe that it was almost pitch black when I took it -- or that the wind was blowing the branches every which way! I knew I had to do an edit like this on it... and I love it. Love love love it! Oh, that's kind of egotistical, huh?

2. Nighttime scene of architecture:
ISO 100 || f/4.5 || Shutter: 30.00 Seconds
Canon 10D, 50mm lens
This was taken in the very back of my yard -- the lights in the distance are actually a small airport that's down the street from where I live. Oh and... BOKEH. I love bokeh!!

3. Long-exposure with a flashlight/sparkler/lighter/or some other light source:
ISO 200 || f/3.2 || Shutter: 13.00 Seconds
Canon 10D, 50mm lens
This one I'm not all that crazy about -- I love the flowers, but the long-exposure flashlight just seems a bit too bright to me. I did all I could to make it not so overpowering! I like to think of it as a swarm of fireflies... It makes it better ;) Other than being a bit too bright right there, I think it's pretty!

4. Monochromatic nighttime shot:
ISO 200 || f/3.2 || Shutter: 20.00 Seconds
Canon 10D, 50mm lens
I would just like to say that I did not desaturate this in PS... I tried to get one that looked monochromatic SOOC, and I did it! I did some touch ups, of course, but this is basically SOOC. I saw this one star through the branches of this pine, and I thought it was gorgeous. Little did I know that a few others (invisible to my eye) would make a little appearance in the photo! Can you see them? This one is pretty fun for me, as well, because it's more abstract. If you know me and my photography, I don't do much abstract work. Still not my favorite, but it's fun! And pretty legit.

5. Free style! Whoo:
ISO 400 || f/13 || Shutter: 30.00 seconds
Canon 10D, 18-55mm lens
Isn't that so cool?? Okay, lemme tell you what I did here... After the shutter started, I slowly zoomed in all the way (manually, with my zoom lens). Then, once I was in all the way, I slowly came back out. I did this until the shutter was finished, that the above was the product! Awesome, right?? To help show what it looks like without doing that, here is one taken without zooming in and out...

ISO 400 || f/13 || Shutter: 30.00 Seconds
Canon 10D, 18-55mm lens (at about 50mm)
 Still cool looking, but not nearly as legit, right? I do love the clouds in this one though. It looks like someone (maybe He was!) is painting the sky right there.

ISO 400 || f/13 || Shutter: 30.00 Seconds
Canon 10D, 18-55mm lens (at about 20mm)
And, because I was thinking I had to do a portrait while I was out there, here is that. For this I actually set it all up, then went and got into position then had my brother push the button for me (I had to walk quite a ways to get here). That still counts, right? I just had him push the button. I'm not sure...

For all of these I used the timer, so that my camera wouldn't have any shake from me pushing da button.
It was nice to see that I can actually do pictures in pitch black -- as long as there isn't moving from it or the camera. Or, at least as little as possible. I love these assignments that push me to test my limits!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cubomania

Have y'all heard of Cubomania before? I hadn't before this week! That was our assignment in Photography, and let me tell you... I've never felt more like Pablo Picasso before. Why? Take a look at what it is!
Trippy, right?? But super fun. Of course, I went a bit more extensive than we needed too so it took me forever!
And if you want to see a color version...
I'm not entirely sure what I was going for in this design... I knew I wanted to focus around her camera in the middle, and then I just wanted it to be fun and whimsical. And super random! That's why I did the varying sizes in the squares/rectangles. For the black and white, I just wanted something sort of vintage and whimsical -- like the old abstract paintings. They all display some sort of emotion, and I guess I wanted to portray something like that too? I'm not really sure.
(Fun fact: my image contains over 55 shapes, all making up the original image)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Food Photography

Hey everyone!! Sorry I haven't posted in a while -- you know those times when life just takes over and you kind of lose all control? Yeah, I've been having one of those times. But, I'm bouncing back!!

Have you ever thought/learned about food photography? If not, look it up. I'm serious, even if you're not a photographer, it is pretty fascinating! And it explains why the food you order never looks like it does in the menus ;) I never thought about how much work goes into food photography... it seems like it would be really straight forward, right? Wrong. Despite having Instagram convince everyone that they're a food photographer, food is not necessarily photogenic. Once you can understand the basics, it gets easier, but it's not something you can just snap a photo of and have it look delicious! Weird, right? I'm not even kidding, go look it up!

I don't know if this is something I could ever do professionally, but it was really fun to play around with it! I used my giant reflector I got for Christmas two years ago to help get the light I needed -- after I set myself up by a window in my house.
Here are my attempts, perhaps not Food Network worthy, but I feel like I captured the juicyness of the grapefruit/s! They've been a favorite of my Dad and Brother lately, so I tried to capture what our favorite way to eat them is: just sprinkled with sugar. I felt that these ones came out the best, because they displayed what I pictured in my head the best -- I tried to keep this shoot really clean and simple, but maybe in the future I'll go for a more rustic feel. I don't know what I'll try next, and that's what I love about photography!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lighting Experiment

I'm a little bit late getting this up, but here it is!
Last week for photography club our assignment was to experiment with lighting, to try something that we've never done before. SO, I wanted to shoot in pitch black. I went and got some candles and shot in the middle of the night -- some of these are outside, and some are inside. Both of them were shot with no light except for the candles, and a little bit coming from the moon. I'm actually really proud of how well I did, I haven't been able to shoot in the dark ever. I suppose that the next step in trying this out is to shoot with an actual model!
And, just to show you that I didn't do all the recovery in PhotoShop, here are the Before and Afters!
{ SOOC = Straight Out Of Camera }

Friday, February 15, 2013

Finding Home

This week in Advanced Photography our prompt was Home. Our wonderful teacher, Mrs. Ashley Webb, asked us to think about what home means to us; what makes a home? And this week, for the first time in the last 4 weeks I didn't have an idea right away! And you know what?
I loved it!
This topic was a challenge to me, it really made me step back and think! I went through so many ideas... And then suddenly I knew what I wanted to do.

I'm going to introduce you to one of my very best friends: Shana Gardner of Starlit Photography.
We actually met through Facebook, but we really only live about five minutes away from each other; she took some photos of one of my friends and that's how I was introduced to her.
Immediately, after having maybe two interactions with me, Shana treated me like we had always been best friends! She even emailed me when I hadn't been active on Facebook for a while, just to make sure I was okay. And when I wasn't, she truly wanted to help. We quickly became friends, and then after that I became friends with her family.
And I have to say it... Her family is the most loving family I have ever seen! Of course all families love each other, but I've never seen a family willing to express it the way that they are. Every day they not only tell each other how much they love each other, but they show it! They write each other love notes, give hugs and kisses all the time, and just make each other feel loved. It was truly amazing!
But beyond that... They took me in without a second thought and treated me like one of their family. There were a couple times I called Shana in tears asking for help, and she immediately made plans to get me up to her house to help me.

And that's what home is to me. Home is not just with the family you were born to. You don't have to have one set home... Home is wherever you feel love. And I know that many people say that, and it may seem overused, but it's true. Home is with my Daddy, my brothers and sisters. Home is with my best friends that are practically my family. Home is behind my camera. Home is in my bed. Home is where you can be yourself without fear, because you know that no one will judge you. Home is where you can feel happy, where you can relax and dry your tears. Home is where you love to be. To me, that is home.