Picking up your camera and shoot a series of portrait of your peer and of someone you don’t know, capturing different feelings:
Head and Shoulders
(All Photos are unedited)
1st Someone I know
Head and Shoulders:
This photo is underexposed but is an alright headshot. The composition respects the rule of thirds, his eyes are on the dominant points of the image, and he is symmetrically framed.
As this is a personal friend, the photo is taken in his bedroom. I wanted to give a personal effect to these photos as I am close friends with the subject.
I have also attempted to utilise lighting to reflect the situation. The warm colours connote the intimacy of the photo and the smile the subject has. This is a kind photo of a welcoming subject and the lighting reflects this.
This was the photo I attempted to get of my subject doing an activity. He is playing a game, as this is a familiar setting, but it is not a good portrait of this. For one, the game or anything relating to the game is not included in the photo and for two, the photo is a bit blurry. I did not do enough to compensate for his movements with my shallow depth of focus.
2nd Someone I don’t know
This next subject was my friend’s flatmate. She likes cooking so I took her portraits in the kitchen.
The first portrait I took of her was an extreme close-up. This best shows her emotions of polite confusion. She was not expecting to have her photograph taken and so was not ‘ready’ for it.
For the next photo of this subject, I altered the white balance to reflect my relationship with this person. The subject’s facial expression is not anger, but not greeting either.
For this reason, I stopped taking her photo at this point.
There is a lot to consider when taking someone’s portrait: composition, location, lighting and trying to capture the subject’s feelings. If the photo is just of them, all aspects of the image should convey the subject’s emotions and the relationship between the subject and photographer.
I have decided that I will instead do this ‘text effect’ for my project
This text effect edit was a private project of mine but I have realised it is a perfect medium to convey my photography project. I will be taking portraits of musicians I know or friends to whom music means a great deal, and interviewing them on how music has helped or affected their lives.
One key idea that I am keen to pursue is asking each subject for a song that they love or means something to them, a significant song, and then using the lyrics or sheet music for that song to create this effect.
Researching this idea
I have found a number of variations of this same idea that all look slightly different.
This first portrait is interesting in its difference to my own photo. It does not have the layering or depth that I have gone to, but it coats the subject closer to a tattooed man. This photo reminds me a Diane Arbus photo recommended to me when I decided for my project to take this turn.
This is also similar to the next photo edit I looked at in relation to this new project.
These two photos have something that I want to capture in my project that I did not do in my original test shot, direct interpolation. This makes the person in the photo appear to be addressing the viewer of the photo. This adds layers of meaning in terms of representation and gaze and is a feature of these photos I want to carry into my own work.
This shot of John Lennon is quite different to the other photos in the series and provides an interesting concept. His face is only half made up of words and half his own, unedited face. The effect is less his face being made up of words, and more his face can be seen in the words. Again, this shot uses direct interpolation and has the effect of making the words seem more directed at the viewer.
These last few shots are black and white, the first is not, but I believe this lack of colour gives more meaning to the words and creates a better overall effect.
I am going to continue this line of photography for my project as I believe it better relates music’s effect on people and it is a line of photography that I am interested in, editing to make an impossibility, possible.
I have had another idea of a photo that would visualise music. It is based on an edit I completed a few months ago.
My idea is to have this same effect, but instead of words about cinema, to instead have either words about music, or to have musical characters such as crochets, musical bars, treble clefs, bass clefs etc.
I would take a portrait of someone who is devoted to music, to whom music means a lot, and add this effect that I have tested on this shot of me but with musical notes. This would show how important music is to that person that it makes them up. They are made of music.
After shooting in just jpeg’s, I moved onto shooting in RAW. This is a photo file format that colours each pixel rather than in blocks of one colour, as a jpeg does. This means the photo will never decrease in quality as a jpeg will when saved and re-saved. It also means that the file is a larger size, but is better for editing. This is Adobe’s Raw editor, ‘Camera Raw CC’. I used the histogram of the image to adjust the image.
Editing the photo
I began with exposure. This image was over-exposed by around a factor of 1.08 so I used the slider to reduce the exposure using the histogram to check by how much to get a correct exposure.
I next boosted the contrast slightly, just to add a bit of depth to the image. I just eyed this myself.
I then reduced the highlights in the image (mainly on the right side of the record where the natural lighting hit) and boosted the shadows slightly.
After that, I added to the whites and reduced the blacks in the image, this assisted the boost of contrast I adjusted earlier.
Finally, I turned the vibrancy and saturation down whiles adding some clarity to compensate. This was because the other alterations I made to the image boosted the saturation so I reduced this factor to compensate.
I tried to get the best exposure I could whilst shooting, this is not a tool to fix photos, but to get a better exposure within reason. To make major edits I would use photoshops tools, but to fix small issues and save photos that would potentially have been unusable, Camera Raw CC is a great programme.
I have been editing photos for a number of years now and so thoroughly enjoyed this process. I wanted to show how I would go about editing a simple photo to get the result I desired, this is the first photo I edited for this series of photos.
1. Original Photo
Unfortunately, I shot this photo before learning to shoot in a RAW format and therefore, did not make any adjustments in ‘Camera RAW CC’. This file is a jpeg and so I imported this file directly into photoshop.
2. Levels Adjustment
As I did not have the opportunity to edit the photo in ‘Camera RAW CC’ before bringing the photo into Photoshop, the first step I took was in adding a ‘Levels adjustment’ layer. I looked at the histogram of my image and adjusted the levels to add contrast to my image and get a better exposure (the image was originally underexposed). I could have used a ‘Curves adjustment’ layer or a ‘Contrast/Brightness adjustment’ layer to alter the contrast, but for this photo, I found the levels adjustment gave me the look I wanted.
The photo after this adjustment:
3. Adding a LUT
A LUT is an acronym for ‘look-up table’ and adds a level of dynamic range to a photo. They are often used for bulk editing photos because once you’ve designed the look you desire for your photo, you can apply to multiple images without having to edit each photo individually.
For this image, I chose ‘Crisp_Warm.Look’ as enhanced the dark shadows in my image whilst maintaining detail by boosting contrast and adding an almost autumnal glow.
I then lowered the opacity to around 50% so the effect was not overwhelming.
The final layer I added to this image was a ‘high-pass’ filter. This adds depth to my image and increases fine detail which is exactly what I wanted as I wanted to emphasize the chips on the drumstick.
This effect is achieved by creating a new merged layer, (cmd+alt+shift+e) which takes all layers and creates a new, single layer.
I then set this layer to blend mode overlay and reduced its opacity to 60%.
All of these edited still make the photo ‘real’. I have not created any false truth, but merely emphasized the aspects of the photo I wanted to as these convey the meaning I wanted to convey in this photo. For this photo, I wanted to show how deep the chips were as this conveys another method in which music can be ‘seen’.