Creating Creativity

August 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I'm behind the ball on tons of images that I need to edit and get out to clients.  What's worse, I've been struggling with my own internal creativity.  This doesn't help one bit in my workflow or editing, in fact, it's much worse in editing because it feels monotonous.  So today I took a break from the images, in a sense.

I've been feeling this for the last couple of weeks, and like everyone else, I took to the Internet for inspiration.  I hit the usual sites like Fstoppers; I review this one for BTS clips, various other artists works, I also hit up the Busath site for real honest portraiture and posing, I'll hit Dan Winters (love this guy's work, truly solid stuff here), always a swing by David Stoecklein's site for cowboy inspiration as well.  Bottom line, nothing was doing it for me...just seemed like the same stuff...over and over.  So then I went to YouTube.  Yea, yea...don't start!  I went here to listen to a song, not look for insiration.  As it turns out, I found some, in a music video.

What song, you ask?  Should I admit this, sure, why not.  Since I was in somewhat of a pissy mood, I wanted to listen to something pissy.  I chose Not Ready To Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks.  This is an emotional song, regardless of what you may think due to political controversy.  It's raw, I shoot in raw...ok, dumb joke.

There are several times in this video where the women are standing in front of a blue background flanked on either side by black borders.  I liked the look...and that's where it started.  I thought to myself; wonder what I could do with something like that.

I started with my softbox, camera left, metered at f4.0 - then I added the background light, opposite side of the main aimed towards the center, metered at f6.3.  Just slightly more than a stop from the main light.  I added the blue cellophane (purchased a roll for $1 from expedex before they closed) with a rubberband over the reflector on the light. My fill was a white board opposite the main.  From there, well, I didn't have a model so...selfie time.

I shot with my 5D classic (because my remote works with this one and not my MKII) between f4.0 and f7.1, shutter speed of 1/200 sec and ISO 100 - these two were at f5.0.  I uploaded to Lightroom 4, and did the editing in Photoshop.  I didn't have any specific recipe, these were all to taste.

Starting with Lightroom, I added a preset I created call Dan Winters (email me if you want it).  I adjusted the vignette then opened the image, with those adjustments, in Photoshop CS6.  The first thing I did was clone out my toothpick (that's been there for a year or so).  After that, I opened up NIK's Analog Efex Pro 2 and played until I found something I liked.  Too long to get into here, use it and explore, there are endless possibilities in there!  Bringing the image back to Photoshop, I eased the layer by erasing out stronger contrast.  Adding final adjustments with a curves layer, flattening, and converting back to an 8-bit (from 16) image and saving back into Lightroom.

I am happy with the results and I was able to break myself out of the creative funk I was in.  You know every time you're in this situation, it's entirely your choice to get out of it.  Force yourself out.  I don't particularly care to be in the images myself so I forced myself to be.  As a result, I am happy with my images and happy with myself.  Ok, this is getting weird, enough said...I hope you're able to find creativity in your own unique way.


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