My Best Photos – Comm 316
These are some of my best and favorite photos from Fall 2019 when I took Comm 316, an advanced photography class at Brigham Young University in Idaho.
I discovered that I really enjoy macro photography. I love getting close and finding things that most would miss.
Like I said, I like getting in close. The details of the grain on the bread and the rust on the chain look amazing.
I also really enjoy Product Photography. It’s different because you need to set up your photo with an audience and future text design in mind.
Landscape Photography is something I am not very good at and don’t necessarily love, but this photo is one of my favorites. The leading lines and triangles in the landscape are wonderful.
I am not a people person, so this class really stretched that for me. I gained the confidence to pose my models and set up lighting equipment.
This one was especially fun. I had a friend hold up a sheet of ice and took her picture through it.
I really enjoyed trying new things. This below is Scan Art, something I had never tried before. You place things on your printer and scan them.
This next photo includes both photography and vector drawing. This is a form of Mixed Media. I took a picture of M&M’s and drew in the house from Up.
Check out some other amazing photos from my classmate Christie Bryant.
Mosaic Mixed Media Portrait
Combining photography and vector drawing can lead so some fun and interesting portraits. Below is my original image.
After editing my photo, I added shapes with no fill and a white boarder that overlapped each other over my subject.
I colored each shape a different color and changed the opacity to 20%.
I merged my layers and used the Quick Selection tool to easily cut out each odd shape. I added a separate Hue/Saturation Filter to each shape so I could adjust each one individually. I went with mainly warm colors.
After I had my colors how I liked, I moved over to Illustrator and used the Brush tool to draw in white lines to outline my subject. Below is my final image.
To see more beautiful mixed media portraits click here.
Mixed Media – Food
I recently got the chance to try some mixed media art and I found that I really enjoyed it. It combined two of my favorite things together, photography and vector drawing. I took pictures of items, and then I drew over the photos with vectors.
I began by searching around my home for things I could photograph. I chose a lot of different things to try out. These three made the cut.
A Ritz Cracker
I had so many ideas, but for this first try I settled with just these three things. Some other ideas I had were using chap stick (spaceship), a Q-tip (oar for a canoe), paperclips (ballet slippers) and a skittle (one-eyed monster).
To take these pictures, I placed them on glass with white paper beneath for a background. I set up two continuous lights, a light wand on one side and a LED on the other. I wanted a lot of light, but I don’t think I had enough as my images were a little dark. No worries though, post editing can be very helpful. In post, I lighted up the backgrounds and made them whiter using the Selective Color filter.
Here is a picture of my setup when I took the photos.
Let’s begin with the Ritz cracker. This one was a little easier than the rest, so I thought it would be a good starting point for me. I added a green background, legs and a sheep’s face using the cracker as the sheep’s body. Very simple yet super cute.
Next came the mandarin oranges. They were a little more tricky, just because I had a plan for them and then I changed my mind. I love emojis. I think they are adorable so when I realized I could turn these oranges into the eyes of a laughing face emoji, I got really excited.
This last one I was really excited for. I love the movie Up. I knew I wanted to make the house with all the balloons and I thought M&M’s would be the perfect way to go. I wanted the house to be simple and very colorful as it was in the movie.
I had so much fun working on these food photography and vector drawing images. Mixed media has so many possibilities and I look forward to doing some more in the near future.
Check out Neil Duerden mixed media artwork here.
Amazing Themed Outdoor Portraits
A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to go to Teton National Park and shoot portraits of models in themed outfits. Here are some of my favorites.
Just a reminder, when shooting outdoors, lighting both your subject and the background can be tricky. For tips on lighting outdoor portraits visit my post about Epic Outdoor Portraits.
For the image below, we were in a beautiful location and I wanted to include this amazing view in my portrait. My model was dressed as a hiker, so the mountains and trees in the background went well with her theme.
This next image is of a fellow photographer I was with. I’m not sure what she was looking at but it made her smile.
For this next photo, the model is dressed in Native American clothing and her hat looked amazing with the designs and details on her clothes.
Not all portraits have to be of someone’s face right?
For more tips on themed outdoor portraits click here
Lighting Tips for Outdoor Headshots
When shooting headshots outside, it is important to light your subject, but also have a well lit background. Natural light does not always allow for this, so adding in extra lighting may be necessary. In the image below, my camera settings are set to get a great background and then I added a continuous light and a reflector to light up my model.
While using extra lights can be necessary, sometimes you get lucky and get amazing natural lighting. Below are two images where I didn’t need extra lighting. This first one only needed some saturation edits on his face. It was cold outside and his face was red in some places.
This last one is almost straight out of camera. I bumped up the saturation a little bit to color the background and give his face a little color as well and then lit up his eyes.
For more ideas on headshots click here
How to Take Epic Outdoor Portraits
When taking portraits outside, it can be difficult to get good lighting that makes both the background and your model look great. A lot of times you end up with a photo where the model has enough light, but your background is overexposed, like below.
Other times you get your background looking great, but then your model is underexposed.
Now you could take a bracketed shot and merge them together, but when you are taking pictures of people, bracketing can be slightly off. The best way to get an epic outdoor shot is to add light with a speedlight and reflector. Your camera settings should be set to get a great background shot and then when you add light your model will be well lit as well, like below.
Above is an unedited shot, as taken from my camera. Below is my final image where I brought out the colors and made minor adjustments to the lighting on his face.
For more tips on epic outdoor portraits click here
Showing off a Cabin with Architectural Photography
Taking pictures of architecture is different than any other types of photography. It is similar in the fact that you have a subject that you are trying to show off, but showing off a building compared to a model or product makes a difference. Buildings are huge and there are so many aspects you want to show that you can’t just take one picture to get the job done. I spent a few days at Sky Mountain Lodge a few months ago and had the chance to take some architectural photography shots of the cabin to try it out. I started with a shot of the whole outside.
I asked myself, what are the interesting and marketable features of this cabin that I can show off. There is a back porch that looked amazing.
They have a huge kitchen.
A gorgeous fireplace with seating around it.
And a basic room shot.
These architectural photos could easily be used to promote the Sky Mountain Lodge cabin by showing off some of it’s amazing characteristics.
Check out these other architectural photos of cabins here
Models Interacting with Food Photography
Food photography can be a lot of fun. For tips and ideas on taking beautiful food photography visit my post here. Another way to make your food photography great is to humanize it. Add a model, whether it be the actual person, just their hands or whatever. Showing someone interacting with the food in some way can add feeling and personality to your image.
My product that I wanted to shoot was apple cider. I poured it into a small cup and put a cinnamon stick in it. I had the model hold the cup and just swirl the cinnamon stick in the cider. Below is my original image.
And here is my edited image. You can see that I dropped the saturation down, brightened her eyes and the rest of her face and darkened the background.
You might not be able to tell that it is apple cider in that cup, but this is a great image to use for a advertisement about that product. With some text and company information, you’d be able to tell what the product is more clearly.
For more ideas on human interaction with food photography click here
Beautiful Food Photography
Food photography can be very fun to do, but it can be difficult to get a shot to show off the item that also looks amazing. Here are a few ideas to think about when shooting food photography so you too can take beautiful photos.
Food has amazing details and textures. Getting in close and focusing your attention on what makes this particular food interesting can make for a beautiful image. Below is my shot of a loaf of bread. The seeds are what makes this picture great.
Add Beautiful Accents
Adding different items to accent your main subject can make your photo stand out. On its own, this cake below wouldn’t be very interesting. The edible flowers and macaroons introduce style and make this a beautiful shot.
Taking pictures straight on can look amazing, but it can get repetitive and boring after a while. Changing things up can make your image stand out from other similar ones. The image below is just a cake with flowers and chocolate, like the one above. What makes this one different, besides the subjects, is the composition. I chose to cut off half the cake and center the roses. This kind of composition makes for great advertisements later on as well with all the white space off to the side.
Similar to getting in close to look at detail, macro shots can make amazingly, beautiful photos. I love macro. This anise below is super small, but it looks fabulous when it is big enough to be the main subject in a photo.
Depth and blur can be a wonderful tool add value to your photo. The focus in the image below is on the flour and chocolate chips in the measuring spoons, but you can still tell there are cookies and milk behind.
Check out these other beautiful food photography shots here
Macro Water Drop Photography
There are a ton of different shots you can get when you zoom in close to a water drop. What is even better, it’s a pretty simple set up and capture these these images.
What you’ll need:
- Camera on a Tripod
- Speedlight/Trigger and Tripod
- Plastic bag with water
- Clear container (I used a 9×13 baking dish)
- Colorful paper
To start, place the clear container on a flat surface with the plastic bag secured over top. You can tape it to a shelve, use a clip, however works. You’ll cut a very small hole to allow a small, intermittent drip of water. You’ll get your camera set up on a tripod pointed at the water. You’ll need to get pretty close in, with zoom or moving closer physically, to where the drip hits the water’s surface. Tape the colored paper behind the container and set your speedlight to shine on the paper. The light will bounce off and be reflected in the water. For these images I set my camera settings to f/16, 1/160 and ISO 100. Now turn out the lights and start shooting. It doesn’t need to be completely dark, just enough to remove a bit of light. You’ll get a lot of shots without anything there, but you’ll get a few that look like these.
For more ideas about photographing water drops visit this site
Still Motion Product Photography
Water sprays can be a great way to show off a product. It associates a cool and fresh feel with the product. For my product, I have a Victoria’s Secret perfume and I thought a water spray would make a good product photography shot. I set up at a white counter top with a black fabric background and had two speed lights focused in on my subject. My camera was on a tripod with these settings: Aperture-f/4.5 Shutter speed-1/200 ISO-100. I asked a friend to be my hand model for me. She sprayed the perfume with one had, with it rested on the counter so it wouldn’t move to much, and sprayed water as well on the product. I was able to capture still motion water drops in the air. Below is my original image.
In post I cropped in and really sharpened the image. I also brought up the saturation in the purples.
Once I had finished, I noticed that not all the letters were visible. I used the Stamp tool to copy letters from the right side and put them on the left side. Luckily the water drops allowed for slight inaccuracies, so it was fairly easy.
For a look at more Still Motion Photography click here
How to Capture Sugar Sprinkling Photography
To set up a photo like this one, you’ll need a few things. First, you’ll need a subject. I chose strawberries. The spoon they are on is taped to a stick held in place with a tripod and a clip. I set up in front of a fireplace, which is what the red circles are in the background. My camera is on a tripod and I set my aperture to f/3.2, shutter speed to 1/100 and ISO to 125. I used a speedlight to light the strawberries up and had a friend pour sugar on the strawberries while I took a few pictures. It’s a little blurry as I used my phone to take this, but here is a picture of the set up.
This one turned out pretty neat. Here is the original image.
think it’s cool how the sugar up top is blurry and the sugar below is sharp.
For a look at other sugar sprinkle photography click here
Preparing my Fine Art Print
I love printing my images and displaying them for others to see. This week I was able to edit, print and display a beautiful macro image I took in the Spori Building on BYU-Idaho campus.
Here is my original image.
And here is my final edited image that I printed.
And here is me with my Fine Art Print hanging up in the Spori building.
There were a few things I needed to do to get my image ready to print as you can see a huge difference between the before and after image. I added in contrast to make the shadows darker and the highlights lighter using Adobe Camera Raw and a Levels Adjustment Filter. I removed the blue tint with a Photo Filter Adjustment Layer. Using the Clone Stamp Tool I took out some stray ice and stem pieces in the corners. I blurred the background and sharpened the flower and ice using the Blur and Sharpen Tool. Last, I made sure to brighten the overall picture with the Brightness Adjustment Layer. These last two things are the most important things to remember when printing images. Your prints will always come out darker and blurrier than they were on screen, so you need to slightly over sharpen and brighten your image to compensate. Unfortunately it is a little different with each printer and it does depend on the size you are printing. The bigger the print, the bigger the difference.
Thanks for taking the time to read about my Fine Art Print. Click here to read about other Fine Art Prints.
How to Create a Vintage Photoshop Effect in Camera Raw
I love this vintage look! The best part is, this Photoshop effect is super easy. And it is all done in Adobe Camera Raw.
This is my original image that I took at Bannack, Montanna a few weeks ago. I though a vintage look would go well with this cowboy image.
My image is a CR2 raw file, so when I open it in Photoshop, Camera Raw automatically opens. Click open image, which will bring you into Photoshop. To turn your layer into a Smart Object, so you can easily adjust your edits and keep your original image intact, right click on the layer and click Convert to Smart Object. Now go to Filter in the menu bar and click Camera Raw Filter to open it in Camera Raw again. Now we are ready to make some vintage edits.
The first thing you’ll need to do is change the Treatment option to Black & White.
Then open the Split Toning panel where we can add a great Sepia tone. For the Highlights, I changed the Hue value to 40 and the Saturation value to 20. As for the Shadows, I did a value of 45 for the Hue and 50 for the Saturation.
Now go to the Effects panel. There are 2 things we are going to add here: Grain and a white vignette. To add a Grain, I set the Amount value to 60, Size to 70 and Roughness to 75. Below the Grain settings are the vignette settings. I changed the Amount value to 50.
Now go back to the Basic panel. To make the image look worn and old, the highlights need to come down and the shadows go up. Overall, the contrast needs to go down. I also brought down the clarity. Here are the settings I put for my image.
Last, go to the Black & White Mix panel. Here you can adjust specific colors. Play around and lighten/darken areas you think look good. Here’s what I did.
Now when you open it in Photoshop, you have the option of going back to Camera Raw because your layer is a Smart Object, and also adding Adjustment Layers in Photoshop to further edit. I added a Brightness Adjustment layer and used the Brush Tool on a Layer Mask to lighten a few dark areas. Here is how my final image turned out.
Remember, all the value settings I used are not necessarily the ones you should use. They are a good starting point, but make sure to do what you like and what works with your image. I first learned how to do this Photoshop Effect here, and I made modifications where necessary too.
Blending Effects in Photoshop
Blending can be a great Photoshop effect that makes your images look fantastic. This image below had a boring grey background before I added in the wood behind them.
The first thing you need to do is choose which images you will be blending together and make any edits necessary. I choose this fitness couple and a wooden texture, which just so happens to be the floor in my apartment.
Pull your desired background into the same document as your main subject and place the background layer on top. Change the Blending Mode to either Overlay or Soft Light. Play around and see which mode works best for your image.
I chose Overlay, which makes my two images blend together like this.
The background looks great, but I don’t want that texture on their faces so I’m going to put a layer mask on the background layer (which is still on top) and mask out the models using the Brush Tool. Here’s how it looks so far. Almost done.
Now I’m going to add textures/colors using the Color Lookup Adjustment Layer. You’ll find it under the Adjustment Layers in the bottom right corner. There are a lot of preset filters you can choose from. They all start out very intense, just drop the opacity down until it looks better. I added three different Color Lookup Layers, (Fuji 2393, filmstock and Edgy Amber,) which turned my image into this.
While this looks pretty cool, I don’t like how much color is on my models. To fix this, I grouped my Color Lookup Adjustment Layers into a single folder and added a Layer Mask to that folder. Then I used the Brush Tool at about 80% to mask out my models. This is how my final image turned out.
For more tips on Photoshop effects and blending watch this video
Creative Photoshop Effects – Colored Dot Pattern
There are so many things you can do with Photoshop. Recently I came across this cool Photoshop effect where you can turn your image into a ton of tiny colored dots like this one.
To begin, open your image in Photoshop. This is my original image.
Solid Color Layer
Add a solid color adjustment layer under your image by going to the adjustment layers in the bottom right corner. Choose the color that fits with your image and you can always come back and change it later. For my image, I chose black.
To add a Mosaic Filter, go to the filter tab in the menu bar up top and choose Pixelate -> Mosaic. This will turn your image into colored squares like mine below. I set my cell size at 5px but you can do what is best for your image. I’d start around 60 and go from there. The more detailed your image is the smaller number you’ll most likely want. Just remember the number you choose as it will become important later.
Create Dot Pattern
Now you are going to create a new document. The size of this document is going to be the same number that you chose to make your cell size for your mosaic filter. My document will be 5x5px. Create a black circle and then invert the colors with the invert adjustment layer in the bottom right corner. Mine looks very pixelated because it is so small, but that’s ok.
With your ellipse layer selected go to Edit in the Menu bar and click Define Pattern. You can name your pattern if you want, I named mine 5x5px Dot. Then click ok and close the document. No need to save if you don’t want to.
Fill Layer Mask
Select your image in the layers panel to the right and add a layer mask. Select the layer mask and go to Edit and then Fill. Change the Contents to Pattern and select the dot image for Custom Pattern. Click ok. Now you have a dotted image.
Now that you have the dots on your images there are a few things you can do. You can add a stroke to the dots to help define them. Select your image and go to Effects below in the bottom right and click Stroke. The size is up to you and what fits your image. I only needed 1px since my dots are very small.
Last thing to do is to edit your image. Bring out the colors with the Saturation Adjustment Layer, lighten your image with the Brightness Adjustment Layer or the Levels Adjustment Layer. Find what fits for your image.
Once you’ve mastered this, try something besides dots.
Like I’ve said, make sure you modify my settings according to what your image needs. I learned about this effect here and adjusted where needed.
Don’t Forget the Fashion Accessories
Fashion models wear all sorts of accessories and bling during a photo shoot. You can get some great images by getting in close and capturing those products to use later for advertisements. Watches are very easy to stylize. Have your model adjusting his shirt, or holding his jacket like the images below.
Many women wear beautiful rings that call for some amazing fashion accessory shots. Have them do something with their hands, like holding someone’s arm or her jacket.
Don’t forget to look up and down. Hats and glasses as well as shoes are just as important fashion accessories as the rest.
Lastly, always make sure to leave some space for product information and logos.
Here are some fashion accessories without models.
For more information about fashion accessories click here
One of the easiest ways to get good couple fashion photography is to have them interact with each other rather than just have them both look into the camera. Having them look at each other can create a sense of admiration and love in your image, which is perfect for wedding fashion, like below with a skeleton bride and groom.
Another way for a couple to interact is to stand back to back. In the image below, the couple shows strength and power with their stance. This fits in well with sportswear and fitness companies.
So we have them looking at each other and looking away. The 3rd option is to have them both look in the same direction, like the image below of Frankenstein and his wife.
For more ideas about couple’s fashion photography click here
When shooting fashion photography it is important to always remember that your product is your key subject, not your model. This makes it very different than other kinds of photography, where you are specifically taking pictures of the person. One way to show off your product is to have the model doing something besides standing and looking at the camera. Like below, flexing her arm to give a sense of strength and power that can be associated with your product.
Another way is to get great fashion photography images is to get candid shots. This helps the model feel more relatable for your viewers and that makes them more likely to be interested in the product you are selling.
One last idea is to plan outfits around the time of year. Here is some Halloween themed fashion photography.
For more ideas on fashion photography click here
When shooting fashion photography it is important to show off the clothing and style of your model rather than the model. With this type of photography your objective is to create an image to be used to showcase and sell a product. The image below is a portrait, but the watch is in the foreground with light to show it off.
Having your models looking off camera can be a useful way to help viewers relate to the model and feel more inclined to buy your product. They just seem like everyday, normal people with this awesome item they now want to buy.
It’s always fun to mix it up a bit. Here are some fun Halloween themed fashion photography
Last thought, it is always important to plan in some white space in your fashion photography for logos and advertisement information.
For more thoughts on fashion photography click here