As some of my friends know, I’ve been working on creating a photography studio in the past few months. Things are slowly coming together and I have begun snapping a few “practice” studio portraits, one of which I’ve attached to this blog. I’m really excited about opening up a portrait studio because it is giving me and Austin Americana Photography a new outlet for photographic creativity in a whole new environment. A studio allows a photographer to slow the action down a little bit and create a special style and a mood in a quiet space that the normal action and excitement of a wedding or other event sometimes miss.
This weekend as I began making all the necessary preparations for lighting and equipment in the new home portrait studio that has been assembled, my wonderful wife agreed to be my “on-the-spot” model. She quickly sat in for me as I tried out a couple of lighting techniques and perfected the lighting intensity in front of the black muslin cloth prior to the arrival of my maternity client. I really like this particular photo because not only do I love black and white, but I also love the minimalistic lighting technique that is created by using only one or two small lights. It creates a special mood that is quiet and deep, capturing what is ethereal and emotional about the photographic subject. It lends simplicity to the subject and yet brings out a raw, calming quality that words don’t really do justice.
I’m not sure if my lovely wife approves of the photo, but I’m posting it because I love the image. One other note: my wife did not prepare for the shoot in any way, with makeup or getting ready. She is simply as she would be on any given Sunday afternoon around our home. The photo is a snapshot in time of the real her. It’s genuine and it’s honest.
I frequently get requests by my photography clients to “Photoshop” – in or out something related to a photograph. This could be a bad tan, skin blemishes, teethe whitening or any number of other issues that can make people self conscious about their photograph. There are definitely some amazing things that you can do with Adobe’s famous Photoshop software, but my studio doesn’t use it. We use Adobe Lightroom – a powerful photo editor and manager for photographers who take lots of photos, especially for wedding photographers like myself. Although Lightroom doesn’t have the breadth of options provided in Photoshop, it still allows photographers to make amazing edits to photographs. Recently I photographed individuals for portrait sessions where the photograph would be featured in highly circulated publications (read: magazine). That means that my clients not only wanted to look their best, but they wanted to look even better – and that’s where the magic of photo editing comes in.
Originally, when I visualized writing this blog I wanted to talk about the specifics of what I did during the editing process and show the before and after photos of my clients. But there is such a marked, visual improvement when comparing the original photo and the processed photo that I decided against showing the original, mostly to avoid being flogged by my clients – which is a good thing! 🙂 Why? Well, first of all I don’t enjoy getting flogged and not getting flogged is always a good thing. Second, I’ve noticed that such impressive improvements in a persons portrait always brings about smiles and a sense of well being in the client. Everyone wants to look and feel 10 years younger, so when I can provide a little help in that department I’m always glad to do so.
Like I said, these are the “after” photos, subsequent to the editing process. I was very pleased with the outcome and I hope that my clients were too.