Think like a digital ninja.
First of all I’d like to thank Scott and Brad for inviting me to write – I’m a big fan of what they do and how they empower the world to be better creators. Without people like them spreading the amazing wealth of information we have at our fingertips it would have been more difficult for me to migrate from a zoological career catching snakes in the Australian outback to where I am now – creating conceptual imagery for brands and magazines.
We live in a time where what we imagine, we can make – there has never been a better time to be an artist. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about my digital workflow in the hopes that you will find it useful.
I deal in high-impact imagery. I try to photograph ideas more than portraits – directing scenes and characters to tell a story. I started out as a photojournalist shooting first wildlife, then wild places, and now; wild people and stories. I have a background in retouching and compositing, skill-sets which I now leverage to create images that would be impossible to make happen otherwise. As far as aesthetic qualities, my work is characterized by contrast, depth, rich color and texture. I also incorporate compositing into many of my images, one of the components of a digital workflow that we’ll be dealing with here. Rather than talk about them, you can check out my images here.
Photography, particularly in the commercial world, has become far more than just shooting film and handing it off to the client. The digital revolution has not only led to the incredible democratization of creation we see today (I highly recommend you watch press pause play), but also an entirely new way to approach creating images.
The digital workflow allows us to create anything we can imagine. I can shoot elements in Africa, Australia and Southern California and blend them seamlessly so that the image looks like it was shot in one frame. For example, I just finished a campaign working with Art Director Jethro Ames and local ad agency Parkerwhite where I built 8 different images that communicate the beauty and heroism of athletes in moments of peak action. About half the talent we shot in a studio on green screen and the other half were on location – where the background was remixed beyond anything we could have achieved in a single frame. This allowed us to create scenes in the same way that a painter or illustrator would build a scene. It’s difficult to describe, so check out a highlights video we put together here:
I’m going to go over some of the fundamental elements in a digital workflow the way that I see them.
I refer to it as green screen, but…