GingerWorks Photography

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City View Before & After…

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Quick and dirty – that’s how I shoot these days. Life is fast and moments are fleeting, so get the best possible shot you can, and then move on. Things can always be cleaned up and punched-up in post processing….

These words probably make most professional photographers cringe because they seem to deny some of the most basic principles of photography. The expectation is that those who are truly “serious” about photography always plan their excursions meticulously, always carry their gear with them, always use a tripod, and always, Always, ALWAYS spend the necessary time to get the exposure just right. Well, I’m here to say that as much as I wish that were the case, it’s often just not feasible. Especially for those of us who have to balance our creative endeavors with a day job and a family. In short, it boils down to making the best out of the time that you have in the field with your beloved DSLR. Sometimes the elements converge to produce just the moment you were looking for. Other times, you simply need to grab the best shot you can and then do a bit of editing in the digital darkroom.

In short: post processing…. that’s what it often boils down to for me. It’s really one of the more fun and engaging parts of being a photographer because A) I can do it when time allows, and B) because it really opens the floodgates to creativity. And then suddenly a purely mediocre shot transforms into something really special. Here’s an example of an out-of-the-camera shot that just doesn’t work on its own. But then add a little contrast filter, a little digital lighting and some dramatic cloud elements, and the base image transforms into something much more eye-catching.

City BeforeandAfter_subtle

*The base image was taken on a typically dreary San Francisco day from the 21st floor of my office building in the Financial district. 

Sony R1, 320/f5

 

Before & After

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Here’s an example of what a little touch of Photoshop can do to make your image more visually striking. Discussion after the pics…

Presidio Path (Before)

Presidio Path (Before)

Presidio Path (After)

Presidio Path (After)

This is one of those before and after instances where I guess it really all comes down to personal taste. I’ve had several people tell me (quite adamantly) that they prefer the original version. Me, I prefer the modified one – but that’s just how I roll.

Bottom line: never let anyone else’s “likes” or “dislikes” dictate your own work (unless, of course, they’re paying you a boat load of money 🙂 At the end of the day you have an obligation to be true to your own aesthetic. By all means, try new stuff, take suggestions, ponder constructive criticism, experiment and be creative as hell. But when it comes to the finished pieces – the ones you would be willing to hang on the wall – I say create the stuff that you love! People in the professional and commercial realm might scoff at that particular notion because it doesn’t result in much revenue. I get that. But then again, my number one goal in life as a photographer is not to sell shit. In a perfect world, sure! PLEASE give me cash for doing something that I absolutely love! But realistic? No. People today aren’t necessarily willing and able to throw away their hard-earned money on something as frivolous as “art”, no matter how much they might like it. So for me, at the end of the day, I create the pieces that I personally get a kick out of. Will they resonate with others? I sure hope so. But I don’t (and I can’t) count on that.

I’m proud of this piece. In a year of relatively low productivity, I managed to crank this one out in time for the 2013 San Diego County Fair. Walked away with the second place ribbon for Scenic Black & White (obviously, a black & white version of what yous see above). Not too shabby….

Check out my next blog post where I will talk more about the techniques used to create the “after” piece. Cheers!