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Monday, April 27, 2015

Shape Shifting Food

One consistent thing that always occurs when I work with the Roma's crew is seeing something in the food that is not really there. It seems to happen at least once every shoot day. So far we have seen a smiley face within a fried onion loaf, blue berries that look like staring eyes and some other things too perverse to mention involving white asparagus. This one is the best yet and came as a fun surprise!

Below is an early stage photo of chicken and waffles, while the food was still in the styling phase. We were in the process of moving both the top and bottom pieces of chicken around to achieve the best angle possible. The team was working a little faster than normal because the waffles were dying quickly. The food stylist was struggling to find the best side on the top piece of chicken. She flipped the piece over and placed it down to see if it was any better. I snapped this shot, looked at it on the laptop screen and immediately told her to flip it back over because it resembled a lizard almost exactly. Never in a million years!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beauty Retouching Before and After

I don't typically share before and after retouching photos because most times the before image is just too raw. When you photograph someone this close, you are bound to see every little ugly bump and crevice no matter who is being photographed. This was a good image to share because it's very close to the original, just cleaned up quite a bit. 

The Steps:
  1. Skin cleaning (Healing Brush)
  2. Darkening holes in the hair above ear (Levels Adjustment Layer)
  3. Retouching under the eye (Healing Brush)
  4. Removing crease in the neck (Healing Brush)
  5. Correcting the neck silhouette (Liquify)
  6. Minimal arch on the brow (Liquify)
  7. Softening the shoulder and arm (Liquify)
  8. Softening and brightening the skin (Filter)
  9. Hair sharpening (Filter)
  10. Brightening highlight in the eye (Levels Adjustment Layer)
  11. Darkening the hair (Levels Adjustment Layer)

This photo is of BMG Model Angelica Streetman. Hair and Makeup by Simone Rosas with Makeover Station.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Johnson + Wales University Alumni + Prop Shopping

Had a fun yesterday morning with two graduates of Johnson and Wales University, Rhode Island. The first was Executive Chef Lenny DeGeorge with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts US. He had a great personality and told the story about the first thing he every cooked. At age 13, he followed a recipe in The Joy of Cooking to make artichokes that his father had given him. He was so meticulous about it, he even used a ruler a measure how to cut properly. Second was President of Capital Grille, John Martin. He shared a little fun fact that he has seven sisters! 

With Lenny DeGeorge, Executive Chef, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts US
With John Martin, President, Capital Grille

After the shoot, Lauren and I went prop shopping at Ikea for some "rustic" and textured items to use when photographing Florida citrus fruit for some Christmas catalogs. The $50 budget went fast, but I got some great things! (Who doesn't love Ikea!)
Prop shopping at Ikea.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Because Baby Goats are Cute

I spent yesterday morning at the goat farm of Simply Caprine Goat Milk Soaps photographing goats of all ages along with their underground soap laboratory. The mother-daughter team, Toni and Lily, were such a huge help with the goats. Running them back and forth, milking them and feeding them, all to get some great shots for Out Here Magazine, in-house magazine for Tractor Supply Co. They even sent me home with an amazingly scented bag of goodies that I can't wait to try!

I was determined to get one of the jaw-droppingly cute baby goats to come my way so I could give some scratches. I tried luring this little cutie with an empty milk bottle, but it only worked for a split second. She quickly realized that I had nothing for her. More wholesome cuteness soon!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Boosting Creativity

A fun day with Ted Torres - Elvis Tribute Artist

Recently, I attended a Canon Explorers of Light lecture with Rick Sammon at the Southeast Center of Photography. One of his tips for creativity was, what he termed, “stealing” other artists’ ideas. He gave a visual example that he created where he took Rembrandt’s painting The Girl With the Pearl Earring and replicated it as a photo. The model’s looks, the clothing and the lighting were exact. The only difference was that it was a photo, not a painting. If you are a true beginner in the world of photography, this is one way you can learn a specific technique. As far as using this technique to enhance creativity, I don’t agree. If you are a developed photographer, using other artists’ ideas to stimulate creativity makes more sense if you take one piece, such as their lighting, and put it into a photo of your own. You can never have your own voice if you are constantly replicating other people’s work. Find something that inspires you and make it your own.

I highly recommend that novice photographers use tutorials to not only learn techniques, but to learn new ways to use their camera and lighting equipment. Following tutorials will ultimately help you to develop your style, even if you don’t particularly like what it is teaching you. Learning what you don’t like is just as important as learning what you do like. You can also visually develop your style. By looking at other artists’ work, you know what you are drawn to. For example, if you walk into a bookstore, what section is your favorite for looking at photos? Keep your mind open and follow your instincts.

As a pro photographer, I actually stimulate my creativity by putting my camera down. I photograph so much for my clients that it’s hard to think creatively and come up with fresh ideas while I’m in the thick of it. I feel most refreshed when I’ve had time to clear my head and brainstorm ideas without any preconceived thoughts or notions. There have been studies done showing that the best brainstorming sessions happen when there are absolutely no interruptions. My favorite time is in the morning, just as the sun comes up. Sometimes I am inspired simply by seeing the way light hits different things.

Get creative and keep shooting!