How I Made That Image

IN THE BEGINNING…

When I started in this incredible industry over 10 years ago, I hunted for inspiration. I really had to go out of my way to find images that made me say “Wow! How the hell did they do that?”

In 2020, we are bombarded by information and image overload, whether we search for it or not, with all of the exponential growth of social media, Google and AI. All we have to do is mention something to someone in passing and our smart devices will be listening, only to freak us out at the first opportunity with its findings in the form of posts, pop-ups and adverts the moment we look at our screens.


HOPELESSNESS IS IRRELEVANT

How is this relevant to the topic of this article you may ask? Today we face an onslaught of outstanding and awe inspiring images on social media that can leave many photographers feeling paralyzed with fear that they’re not capable or good enough to compete in a marketplace that has never been more competitive or fierce.

That said, there really is no need to worry; help is at hand! Particularly with amazing resources like Scott Kelby’s blog, its vast reservoir of knowledge and experience; there’s really no reason to feel like you have to go it alone, or indeed feel alone period.


PROVENANCE

In this feature I want to share how some of my award-winning images were created by breaking down my thought processes on the shoot, technical settings, and lighting setups to try and provoke thought and inspire ideas for you. The key here is to understand my thought process; after all, camera settings and lighting setups replicated in isolation are as good as knowing nothing about the image at all if you don’t understand what triggered certain ideas or decisions under the pressure of the situation.

This is the essence of authenticity, of provenance; using your vision, experience, expertise and ability to cope under pressure… basically you’re extracting the best of your personality and ability as a professional and as an artist and imbuing the image with something truly unique.

This is my approach with each of these images – I use what I know about my clients, their story, my equipment and my understanding and belief in my own tastes; I know what appeals to me and what doesn’t to create a solid start point.


‘FROM LONDON WITH LOVE’

Canon 1DS Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/11, ISO 50, 24mm, 3x Profoto Strobes

For example, this image was from the couple’s engagement shoot in London’s Hyde Park. They wanted an image that embodied their love, their cool relaxed demeanour, their style as a couple and their lifestyle which was achieved through the way I posed them alongside his car (which in this case says a lot about him) in an area of London in which they live. The emotion in this image is embodied in their pose, connection and expressions and enhanced with dramatic lighting.

I only had moments to set this image up because of the extremely tight security in London. Despite this, I used 3 lights to create this image because the impact of the concept demanded it. I used one gridded flash to camera left in front of the car set low down to illuminate the front of the Aston Martin and to provide a rim light for the bride. I used one unmodified bare bulb flash to camera right at a high angle to light the rear of the car and provide a rim-light to the groom. The third light had a quarter CTO gelled light on the couple to give them a soft, warm, comforting tone. I had to slightly underexpose for the failing light of the sky by stopping down to f/11 and setting the shutter to the cameras’ sync speed at the lowest possible ISO. The small aperture had the added effect of creating the star bursts from the light reflecting off the car in camera.

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Of all the visual arts, photography has historically been most prized for capturing reality. Snapshots that preserve the truth of the way life was. Black and white impressions of caissons wheeling bodies off the field of battle during the American Civil War gave mute but powerful testimony to the horrors of battle. From unsmiling tintypes to migrant mothers and now ubiquitous sunset family portraits, we instinctively see these images as depictions of reality.

But, of course, they’re not.

Almost since the inception of photography, people have been trying to capture the world not as it is, but how they saw it. From the “decisive moment” to staged poses and careful post production manipulation, photographers have always aimed to create visuals that represent their own ideas. Certainly there is truth involved, but of a much more complex sort that is, more often than not, exaggerated in some way.

Rather than being a form of falsehood or “cheating,” this ability to infuse photography with some level of the fantastical reveals truths about the photographer, who they are, and how they see both their subjects, and the world. How they choose to frame an image, what they shoot, where the focus is, all these things give the viewer clues about the creator of the work.

Now that photographers have more powerful post-production tools at their disposal than ever before, this ability to reveal truths through fantasy is in the beginning of a golden age. And for those of us who focus on the fantasy genre, it is a particular blessing.

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9 Top Tips From For Taking Better Photos in 2021

Hi from England, and I hope that you are safe, well and warm wherever you are.

I don’t seem to have taken many photos in 2020. The global pandemic has not helped but doing other stuff has also restricted my opportunities in what has been an incredibly difficult year for all of us.

Time to look forward to better days I say. I have decided that 2021 is the year that I get back to taking more photos, both for my clients, my business and also for myself. And with that thought in mind I am going to be making a concerted effort to take better photos as well. And this leads me seamlessly into this post (blimey – it almost sounds like I know what I am doing here), which I am delighted to be writing for Scott’s website.

These are my own words, thoughts, and opinions based on well over 30 years of photographic experience.

Ok let’s get in to all this good stuff.


1. Get Out and Take Photos

Yep, this is my number one tip. The number one way for you and I to improve our photography is to get off our collective backsides, get off the sofa, computer, tablet, phone, TV or games thing and get out there and take photos.

And it is so good for our physical and mental wellbeing to get out and about. Sure, there are restrictions that are in place now, but they will be gone hopefully and in 2021 we can all get back to normal life.

I still love doing this.

I find this one thing exciting even now, after well over 30 years of practising and enjoying my photography – I still get a buzz from packing my (small – see later) camera bag knowing that I am off to explore somewhere new.

And fresh air is good for us of course.

It is all good.

There is no negative to going out taking photos, unless you spend all your time doing this and neglect your nearest and dearest that is. And I am not advocating that of course!

Or if you still use film which is not cheap these days!

You will feel better for getting out and about, refreshed and invigorated, and you never know you might have some great photos to enjoy forever and a day.

So, get out and take some great photos with me in 2021. Well not actually with me but you know what I mean.

Talking of which, this is me photographing the wonderful Durdle Door.

There is only one thing that I can guarantee though – if you do not get out and take photos you will not get any great new images.


2. Stop Looking at New Gear

I spent years doing this. I would buy some shiny new gear and use it and then be on the lookout for something else.

I even bought gear that I never actually used.

And do you know what – I spent more time looking at gear than I did taking photos.

And where did that get me?

Poorer and with cupboards full of stuff that I did not need. And my photography at a standstill.

Yep I did this for years. And then the penny dropped.

I was looking for something specific, and in looking for it I had to go plough through a whole heap of gear that I had either hardly used or not used at all.

The One-Year Rule

I put all this gear in a box (or three) and put that lot in the garage and invented the one-year rule.

And one year later the stuff was still there unused. I sold it all.

And unusually for me I learned from this lesson, and now only buy something if I specifically need it, or if I see something that will help me take better photos.

Ongoing Gear Lust

OK I’m not perfect – I have bought the odd thing that I did not need. But the real takeaway from this is that I do not look for gear any more – what I do is look for gear to fix a problem when a problem arises.

This is where I prove myself.

I am still using a Canon 6D Mk 1 – it took great photos in 2014 when I bought it and it still takes great photos in 2020. And will do so in 2021.

Which takes me nicely on to the next point…

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A Community You Should Get to Know

Hey everyone! I’m Cidgy Bossuet- a visual artist/ photographer from Boston, Ma. During my spare time I run an Etsy shop called ARTLÔR. My inner love for interior design, homeware/ decor and functional art has led me to create unique handmade pieces to elevate homes, spaces and belongings. 


In celebration of Black History Month, I wanted to take the time to highlight an amazing growing community that I’m a part of. Some of you may have already heard about Black Women Photographers – a global community and online database of Black women and non-binary photographers, founded by Polly Irungu. Black Women Photographers aims to disrupt the notion that it is difficult to discover and commission Black creatives. Dedicated to providing a resource for the industry’s gatekeepers.

I specifically wanted to share that the Black Women Photographers community is currently having a print sale, which I’m also participating in. There are so many beautiful prints to choose from (50+).

Check out some of the photographers/ images from the BWP community below. These prints are available for the month of February via blackwomenphotographers.darkroom.tech!


NTUTU by Taesirat Yusuf

The Photo-project Ntutu is about celebrating the vintage hairstyles of different tribes in Nigeria and showcasing them to the world.

Havanna Fisher, Dancer by Maria J Hackett

2017 portrait of dancer, Havanna Fisher.

Smile Beautiful by Daija Guy

Self portrait of Daija.

Red Promise by J. Pamela Stills

Vow to Stand Tall, Shine Bright, Be Seen

Hair by Daniella Almona

This image is from a larger series ‘Hair’, that highlights the different hair types, colors, and textures of women around Daniella.

Bright Travels by Shameika Ejiasi

Snapped right across the street from the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, at a little pub that offered just the right amount of light.

Mirage by Ayesha Kazim

December 2019: Stephanie stands for an experimental, in-studio portrait at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. During Ayesha’s third year of university, her focus and passion for photography shifted towards portraiture as she began to realize that her love for the art form materialized through the relationships she was able to build with her subjects and worlds she was able to create through set design.

Vector by Aisha Bada

Represents strength, courage, power.

Nappturality by Cidgy Bossuet

These images are from a photo series Nappturality, which explores the complex history of African American hair and its legacy for current expressions of identity.

I hope you find a print to add to your print collection, or if you haven’t already started, now is your chance with the BWP community :)


Cidgy Bossuet is a visual artist/ photographer currently based out of Boston, MA. She holds a BFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Arts & Design. Her work evolves from a journey of self-discovery and self-expression. In the process, she often draws her inspiration from life experiences, people, and observations/ the world around her. With her work, she experiments with different modes of photography and digital imaging.

Cidgy’s work has been shown at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, PULSE Contemporary Art Fair (Miami), The Roman Susan Gallery (Chicago), Anacostia Arts Center (Washington D.C.), Upstream Gallery (New York) and the YoungArts Gallery in Miami. Her work has also been published in The Washington Post Magazine, New York Post (Alexa Magazine), seen on Photo Vogue Italia’s “Best Of”, GirlGaze Project, Miami Rail, BostonVoyager Mag: Boston’s Most Inspiring Stories, The H Hub’s “36 of the Best Photographers in Boston” and Art Hive Magazine.

You can see more of Cidgy’s work at CidgyBossuet.com, and keep up with her on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Keeping Creative During COVID

As photographers how do we stay motivated to keep taking pictures when we’re living under lockdowns and restrictions because of COVID-19?

In this video I’ll show you how I, as a Portrait Photographer, am doing everything I can (except take portraits) to help keep me ‘in the creative zone’… I hope in some way this helps.

Keep well,
Glyn


You can see more from Glyn at GlynDewis.com, and keep up with him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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