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Workflow, building that photo

This primer is to help new students by providing a guide on how to develop your photo idea into a quality polished finished work.

I'll start with an idea that struck me as I was having a cup of coffee at a friend's dining room table. For a few years he was designing and manufacturing custom stringed instruments for rock bands. To this day he still has production samples all around his house. Leaning against the wall was an incomplete electric violin body, just the rough wood body really .Next to that was a large south facing window with horizontal mini blinds creating a cool grid of shadows on the carpet. I grabbed my camera and the violin body and started to play with position and the way the shadows fell across the subject snapping several shots trying to find a good angle that left the background with only the out of focus carpet

Once I had the composition I wanted it was time to set the mood. Setting the camera's white balance to cloudy added some warmer (yellow and orange) tones to the image. Changing the settings to manual mode and setting aperture wide open and bumping EV to -1 stop under exposed both darkened the image, increased saturation and the f-stop let the background fall out of focus. Some final position adjust ment and we get the final capture. With my D90 dSLR I could have pushed the contrast even more but my little P5100 was already maxed out and I still had not reached my vision, time for post procesing in the computer.

We take the final image into Photoshop and adjust contrast, brightness and saturation to make the image more dramatic and make the wood grain pop. Finally we adjust the white balance to get rid of a slight green tint.

Final camera settings
1/50 sec
ISO 100
zoom to 125mm (35mm equivilent)
Macro mode, flash off, EV -0.7

final violin
Finished photo
Original spark.
Early experimental shots
final composition
last tweaks and manual settings
Final after Photoshop

Michael S Richter © 2000 - 2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED