I just took a quick look at the photos from Tuesday’s model shoot. As with the other three model shoots I’ve done, my initial impression doesn’t make me happy. It turns out that I took exactly 200 photos, and most of them aren’t very good.
The first time that happened, it was horrifying: All that time and effort and I got nothing. All those shots I had high hopes for turned out to be disasters. (This time, at least, I’m not letting the model down because she got paid. I don’t owe her anything for her portfolio.)
When I relax a bit and look at the photos with with fewer preconceptions, I start to notice that some of them are actually pretty decent. And as I get better with Photoshop, I begin to spot images that can be fixed with some image adjustments, or that will look better if subject to radical manipulation.
I’m starting to realize that this is part of the learning process. First I have to take the pictures and see what works. Next time around, I’ll know what works and I can spend more time refining those concepts.
Of course, picking out images after the fact that can be made to look good in Photoshop isn’t really skilled photography. The real goal here is to be able to envision the completed image, then plan the shoot, take the pictures, and post-process the images in photoshop to get the same image I had in my head.
[Update: I snipped out a few paragraphs here because they’ll work better in my next post.]
I figured I’d post a couple of images this time.
That’s a composition similar to real street photography. I could easily have taken it of a random woman in the street instead of a hired model. In an ideal shot, there’d be something a lot more interesting than a city bus, maybe people arguing or a street vendor or just an odd composition of passers-by.
In this case, I did get what I wanted before going into Photoshop. The base image has lots of high-contrasts and the right composition. I then used Photoshop to deepen the contrast, darken the dark areas a bit more, and saturate the colors a bit. Then I applied a grain filter to make the image look like I used high-speed film.
(The only real surprise in this shot was how the “Senior Citizens” sign stood out. It was even more glaring than you see here, but I knocked it down in postprocessing. I think it must have a retroreflective coating that bounced my flash back real strong.)
The next photo is probably the most model-shot-like photo I took all day. My direction to Jennifer was “Do some of that model stuff.”
Note the harsh and sometimes ugly shadows. That was intentional because I’m not going for glamour here, but I have to admit it’s not quite what I want either.
I’ll have to see what else I can find.