Flexing the 'Photoshop' Muscle

Anyone who has seen my work on facebook lately will notice I've been 'doctoring' surgically removing most of their original being and replacing with transplanted organs of my other photos to form something completely different.

You may also have noticed that in general this doesn't fit with what I generally produce.  Well, someone said something not so long ago and it got me a little 'spooked'.

Read on to be transported to more 'unreal' compositions and the real deal explanation on why all the heavy editing...

Firstly; what I read that got me spooked was on a photography forum I frequent (as I mentioned in my post "Great Photography Reads"), and someone raised the topic that photographer's will find it increasingly difficult to get by on just taking great photos.  As the quality of camera goes up, so does the overall quality of everyone's images and  'When everyone is a pro, there will be no more pros'  Regardless of the validity of these statements, it was enough of a reason to test my manipulation skills, or flex my 'photoshopping' muscle if you will. Since apparently, your skills here will truly set you apart from the rest, or your blend in with the crowd (using a large feathered brush).  Remember, for most manipulations, all it requires is the software's ability to make layers with different blending modes.

Of course, like food, start with a sh**ty product and you're going to have a sh**ty meal.  Manipulation cannot be an excuse to take poor photos with intent to fix them up - start with the absolute best product you can, and take it further.  I will never lose my original philosophy of 'getting it right in the camera' and neither should you.

When you get into this realm of photography, you will notice that you can draw upon photos from eons ago. Take for instance the lime one above. I shot Johanna just this week, but the other photos in the composite - the lime, and water droplets came from last August and November 2008.  The lime is actually an orange, and was shot during my slow days at work in the kitchens of the Chateau Lake Louise. The water droplets came from high speed shutter frames of the water fountain in Downtown Kelowna.   Unlikely candidates at the time of shooting for an application like this.   So remember - shoot everything, you never know when you will use it.

Another useful tidbit to remember - "proper planning prevents poor performance".  Photos that go start to finish with little more than a curve adjustment can handle being taken with a whimsical approach, but in order to make effective manipulations you need to envision all the way through.  Matching lighting intensities, lighting directions, white balances, all help to achieving a more realistic composite in something that is totally 'unreal'.
Composites can also make particularly compelling images when done as scenics.  Fairytale like landscapes can be constructed, although this realm is beyond my reach.  A better place to start is somewhere like replacing blown out skies or adding more dramatic shorelines in the foreground of waterscapes.  The example below exhibits steps to replacing a semi-drab sky, and correction. The other exhibits a base image (the dock, water and mountain's silhouttes), with a new sky and rocky shoreline foreground added.

Well, that should be enough talk. If you want to see more, there have been a lot more uploaded here.

Next post in the works about maximizing your landscape photography potential! So stay tuned. 

Happy shooting!

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