Photography is a wonderful thing. To take a photo, tweak it, and publish, print, or show it is a lot of fun. But sometimes you want to go beyond a simple photo. You want to create truly unique art. Well with the computer it is easily possible to take your photography to the next level. Well easily is a relative term. For some transformations it will be as simple as just a few clicks. But for other changes you will be working for a fair amount of time, especially at first.
At the recent portrait workshop I was at I took a photo of one of the models leaping into the air. I really did not have anything particular in mind for the photo at the time. I was just trying different things. She was more than happy to do the jumps, but she was not overly pleased with the results. Since we did not have a lot of time at each booth, I really did not have time to perfect the jumping photos. So I got a couple photos of jumps, but nothing I found phenomenal. Well later on I was scrolling through the photos from that night. I came across the jump photos and found I did kind of like one. Not the way it was shot. It was definitely not all that great that way. But I was seeing potential. I had always wanted to try some more intense transformations using Photoshop. Actually I use Photoshop Elements (PSE). It is a fraction of the cost of Photoshop, and so far I have not found a need to spend the additional money for full Photoshop CS5.
So I went up on line and started to scroll through some different tutorials on line. I had a general idea what I wanted. I just kept looking through tutorials imagining my photo in them. I eventually found one I liked. I started to work through it, but found I was struggling too much. There were a couple steps that were calling for features that I was not finding in PSE. I have a feeling that as I get to know the program better I will find a way to do that one, but decided to chose something else. Eventually I found a pretty cool tutorial
that I thought would work pretty well. My photo was a little different, but I decided to give it a try. I had some backgrounds that I had downloaded from a royalty free site. I chose a blue space sky one that I liked. I did the selection, put the background in a new layer behind the model, created the rings and stars, and had a pretty decent finished product.
It did seem a little bare though. So I went back into PSE and added a border, a thicker black bottom border, and a title. I am not completely sure I like the way the title came out. I will probably redo that part with a different font. But I love the basic finished product for sure. I think that the border gives it a bit more of a finished look. I wonder if one or two more rings would look a little better too. Maybe one angled opposite of the lowest one. It might balance things a little better. I suppose artists regularly second guess our work. Can it really be good enough to be satisfied with? Maybe that feeling is what helps us to constantly get better.
The biggest thing I think I would do different next time is have the end point in mind before taking the photo. I would have shot a slightly different jump to start the process if I had thought of this idea before the shoot. But sometimes we take what we are handed. I suppose it is like that old saying about taking lemons and making lemonade. I do think that a jump that shows the legs a little more extended would be better. And maybe the arms more open and reaching up also. Feel free to leave your comments below. I would love to hear your opinions.