So here it is, my new blog project! Pic of the Week!! No I couldn't think of a better name for it!
It's been suggested to me by a few people, one in particular (you know who you are!) that I should start telling people a bit more about my pictures. Why I shoot them that way, how I did it etc. I never really thought anyone would be interested but I thought I would listen to others for a change and give it a go. So that's what this new series is going to be about. I'm going to take a picture from the past week and explain to you all about it from why I captured it, how I edited it to the final image. Warning!! If you don't want to know about the technical side of photography, fair enough, come back later in the week for more pics! For those that are interested, lets get started!
So this is a picture I took on Saturday night of Oscar from One Last Thrill. He doesn't actually know I'm using his picture for this but he wont mind! Check out the rest of the pics from that show in my previous blog. Shameless plug over and we're moving on!
Ok let me start by saying I know this shot isn't perfect, not by a long shot (pun intended). This was taken right at the end of a song. Oscar was having a great time going crazy playing his guitar very hard and I got this shot and another very quickly. I wasn't worried so much about settings or focus, I just wanted to capture that moment. Some of my shots I know exactly what I want to capture and I have it in my head before hand, some I just take spur of the moment because I see something happening.
So why did I pic this one out to edit? Mainly because I liked the motion blur in the image. A lot of music photography is static. Your freezing the motion, but the motion blur in this I feel really shows his energy on stage. It almost adds another dimension to the picture. Well it does to me anyway. Remember 90% of art is subjective so what I think is necessarily what you will think. That being said, its my picture so I can pretend to be as arty as I like with it!
So this is the image straight out of the camera. I will say here that I always shoot my images in RAW format. For those that arnt camera people. Raw is basically the most detailed file type you can get.. Your phone shoots JPEG. This has all of the data compressed into it so your limit with what you can change in the image later. RAW has all of the colour information available to me to alter things. (If i'm going be really pedantic about it the image about is actually now a JPEG. I had to convert it to upload it to the site!)
Settings!! Something a lot of people always ask about!
Shutter Speed 1/250th sec
This was also shot on my Canon 5dMkiii with 24-70mm f2.8 lens (I think, it might of been 70-200mm lens) The image was shot at 70mm either way!
Why did I pick these settings? I always tend to shoot at f4 for gigs. Gives me a bit more room for error with the depth of field (although it made no difference in this shot!). 1/250th shutter speed, because I wanted to try and reduce that motion blur, Oscar was moving very fast at this point which is why its still a bit blurry in the pic. ISO 3200 because it was darkish in the room and I needed to balance out the other settings. This is just a basic, why I chose these settings, it probably didn't make sense to any none photographers. I could and will write a full blog post about camera settings at a later date. In the mean time just google the 'exposure triangle' if your confused. There is loads online about it!
As you can see straight away there is a lot of purple and red light on the stage. Music photographers hate red lights. It messes up our pictures and I've personally never been able to colour correct a red image enough to get rid of it completely. I'm sure you can do it so if any photographers are reading this that have done it. Get in touch. Its always good to learn new things.
So as the colour from the lights messed the image up I knew straight away I was going to stick this in black and white. Now normally you would hit the black & white button and start your editing from there, but I do it differently.
I really like old school film black and white pics so a few years ago a purchased some film presets from a company called VSCO. (There's a big argument about presets with photographers, some think its lazy, some think it speeds up their work flow, I just use them as a starting point). First thing I do with my black and whites is select the 'C-Kodak TRI-X 400' present. Old school film shooters may recognise this film. The preset basically sets my sliders into certain positions to mimic this old film look, then I go through and change all of them to fit how I want it to look!!
So these are my end result settings. For anyone familiar with Adobe Lightroom you will recognise the side bar. Those that aren't photographers, I use a program called Lightroom made by Adobe. Bet you didn't see that coming! (It does actually scroll up and down in the program but it was easier to show like this)
I wont go through every single setting and why I did each one because I couldn't actually tell you. A lot of my pictures are edited of how it makes me feel and what mood I'm in at the time. I just kind of do it on instinct and I know what I like the image to look like. Again this is subjective so someone else will edit this picture in a completely different way to me.
You'll notice that the red have now become white when its been converted and I wanted to use this, I increased the white level and also boosted the contrast in the image. This basically crushes the blacks making them darker and making the shadows more defined. Another thing I always do with my black & white images is play with the tone curve. (That's the line in the box, middle column above). At the start the tone curve will always be a horizontal line from bottom left to top right. Top right being your highlights and bottom left being your shadows.
By bringing the top right down I am reducing the highlights, notice how rather than the whites appearing pure white they look grey? That's from that. By bringing the shadows up on the tone curve is adds a slight grey layer to the whole image. It also adds in noise (grain). Its similar to the fade option on Instagram, when you edit the filters. Its a bit more complicated than that but that's the only way I can explain it!
One thing from the preset that I don't change though is the grain amount and size. I want this image to look like it was taken from an old film camera so I deliberately leave these settings alone as its a film preset after all.
So why do i do all of these things to get this result? I don't know really. That was the vibe I was going for when I edited the picture on Sunday. I always go back to pictures later and think of how I would of changed it. For example with this image, if I was going to change it now I'd add more white and move that tone curve up with more highlights (less grey and more white). But I wont go back and change it after its been exported because I will be there forever making changes! You have to know when to walk away!
Here's a final side by side, before and after of what I have done to the image. I'm happy with how it turned out. Ok full honesty here, I like about 5 pictures I've ever done and everything else I've ever produced I think is mediocre or a piece of shit! But I think that's cause I'm Artsy and way to hard on myself!!
So there you have it people. The first in depth look into my pictures and my 'process'. I hope you found it interesting and I applaud you if you made it this far, I realise it was a lot to read, In fact I'm not even going to proof read it, I'm just going to send it to my friend! In the future I might make this a video blog but I've got to work out how to do it first! I'm going to try and upload one of these a week to give more behind the scenes details about my work.
Anyway I hope you liked this. Let me know on Facebook if you found it interesting/ helpful/ boring as shit! Share it with your photo friends and they'll tell you everything I said technical was wrong! If anyone has any questions about my work then feel free to get in touch! I'll stop writing now! Until next time, Like, share, re post, print out and put on your wall!!!