29 Mar 2011

Answers to those frequently questions | Kirkland, WA Photographer

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I am open and willing to share-just ask!  I get a couple of emails throughout the week asking about a location or a process.  I feel like there is this unwritten rule that you can’t ask other photographers their so called secrets. We all have our own styles, we are all working on our own styles.  I am flattered that you would be interested in my work and want to know more about it.  Please feel free to ask, leave comments or continue emailing me.  Either way, I will provide the answers!  In my humble opinion, I think it is crazy when people won’t answer questions or keep locations as a secret.  That’s all I will say about that (trying really hard to keep my fingers from typing and typing and typing on this subject).

1. Where is the junkyard located? The junkyard that I like to visit is on the southwest corner of Ray and Higley in Gilbert, AZ.  BUT, the last time I was there, there owner was not pleased.   I did get permission 2 days in advance but the one to give permission (who is always there and barely speaks English) is not the owner.  Apparently, the gentleman who tends the lot allows anybody to walk on and that has caused some damage and some loss.  I chatted with her and she was understanding of my goals.  If you anticipate shooting there, please ask a few days in advance.  Please be courteous of private property.  Don’t ruin it for those who do take precaution and use respect.  You would hate to be in the middle of a photoshoot and be asked to leave.  The place to park is on the side street which is west of the junkyard and across the street from Joe’s Farm Grill.  One more word to the wise… get a liability waiver signed if you will be shooting there.  There is too many opportunities for something to happen.  There is barbed wire, broken glass, sharp metal, protruding nails, etc.  It is a great place with textures, colors, grunge, and creative bliss.  BUT, be careful.

Portraits at The Junkyard in Gilbert, AZ

2. How do you get your colors to pop?  What actions do you use? I’m not an action girl… I like fast processes but I don’t like to pay for actions that work for everybody else.  I like a simple color pop and usually the steps I do give me the look I like so I have created some of my own actions and they go something like this; 1. unsharp mask (portraits are at about 75, 2, 3 and other type images are at 15, 45, 5 and I tweak as needed). 2. curves layer (pulling down my darks just a tad and bringing up my highlights just a tad to increase contrast).  You can adjust the opacity of your curves layer if it adds too much.  That’s it.  Well, generally speaking that is it.  If skin needs to be touched up, I do that.  Sometimes I run my own version of a vignette.  AND sometimes I make a copy of the current layer and change it to be a soft light or screen layer (depending on what I need) and reduce the opacity to be around 20%.  I used to run a Kubota action that I learned from Melissa Jill blogsite but I haven’t gone that route in a while.  It was the KevX-process combo (not sure if that was the exact one that she was using) and I would then reduce the opacity to about 20% but it made the images too “cool” for me.  (ha, cool meaning color).  So, I suppose you could say my style is pretty simple.  I love color.  I like contrast.  I don’t do any wicked processing on my images-it doesn’t represent me or my style.  I’m not saying that I never will-but at this point in my journey I’m not.  : )

rain on the windshield, night

3. Do you use Lightroom? Well, yes I do.  I would never refer to myself as the LR master but I like what it can do for me-how’s that for selfishness?  (I recommend following Jared Platt on Twitter if you are interested in learning more tidbits each day). I am obsessed with organization and LR gives me just that-control and organization.  1. load to lightroom and copy as DNG.  2. gently boost contrast  3. reduce clarity a bit on portraits  4. change camera calibration to camera standard on portraits (I don’t remember where I learned this but I like what I see with this simple change)    5. sharpen a bit   6. check color and exposure  7. sync them  8. review them individually to check for any spots, blemishes, etc.  9. move to PS to do the things mentioned above.   I think that is what I do-I’m trying to step through it using my memory.  : )  I am teaching a webinar on Lightroom in May.  If you are new to LR or deciding if you want to use LR, come join me!  Use this link to go to the registration.

Adobe Lightroom screenshot

Photo A Day is going strong!  Here’s the Flickr page.

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