Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Great image or mistake?

Photography is often very subjective. Is it better to take a technically perfect image or to introduce “flaws” into a photo? And... What is a “flaw” anyway?

Check the image below. It has quite a bit of lens flare. The orange and green circles flying across the image are tell-tale signs. Also, lens flare as seen in this image causes a washed out look. Was this a mistake? No. I purposely removed my lens hood which increased the amount of light coming in from the sides of the lens. I positioned my model so I was shooting back into the sun. I checked the amount of lens flare through my viewfinder. I subtly lit from the front so she would not be a silhouette. The result is this slightly washed out image. To me, this is not a mistake as it was my vision of the image that I executed upon. You can simulate this look with photoshop although it is more fun to do and looks more natural if it is done in camera.

Check out various fashion magazines and this look is everywhere right now.

Check out the next image. Beautiful model, beautiful scene. It was approaching mid morning and the light was getting very harsh. My vision... a more sophisticated nighttime version in the middle of the day. I shoot digital, so I adjusted my white balance to something a little more blue and purple. I gelled a strobe orange to warm up my subject a bit and captured the image. I like the image and it does match my vision even though it is not true to what was in the scene at the time.

Next is a nice image. In the harsh light, the bricks are washed out and honestly, shadows would not be kind to my model. My vision is a warmer colored shot with flash off camera to get some directional light. I gelled orange again to warm the scene while underexposing the ambient light to get the look you see. I shot with one light camera left as you can see with the shadows from the model and trash can. The shadows to me add to the image instead of typical harsh shadows which are nearly black from many flash images. Again... This matches my vision, so I like it. It is not true to the color and brightness of the scene though.

Are any of these mistakes? It was my intent to record light as you see in each of the images, so they are “made” images and not mistakes. I don’t want it to sound like I don’t  make mistakes. I have my share of whoppers on images that could not be salvaged which are now in the electronic recycle bin. I have also often made “happy accidents” that have turn into some of my favorite images. These mistakes, leaning from those, and then crafting new images true to my vision using the learned techniques in my "accidents" is why I love my craft.

Also, special thanks to Ashley, my model for these shots. She was wonderful to work with and a natural at her craft.

Until next time...

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