Friday, January 23, 2015

Flash and Motion

Tim Lewis Photography Eugene Oregon Color Blur Strobe Flash Motion

I’m a big fan of Oleg Ti, and one of the things that he likes to do is bring a sort of impressionistic feel into his pictures by mixing strobe and continuous light sources, giving a sort of murky feel to the finished image. Like in this one by him:

copyright Oleg Ti copyright Oleg Ti

I wanted to experiment with that technique, but didn’t have access to beautiful models, so I had to use someone a bit more humble in the looks department (myself).

Still, I got some interesting looks out of it. The biggest obstacle that I found in the setup is that my modeling light is a very warm incandescent bulb, and my flash pours out clean daylight balanced light (Much cooler than the modeling bulb). So there’s two different colors of light coming from almost the same place. I solved this by introducing a lot of blue tones in my post processing, and pulling the orange/yellow tones down quite a lot.

It’s a fun technique to play with. Gets you a bit of a jittery feel to the finished picture, which I quite like.

Flash and Motion

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Using Graphic Design Mood Lines in your Photography


I really loved this post about how different shapes in graphic design can lead to different feels to the final image. Using graphic design principles in photography can be a great way to get out of a rut based on following the same recipes over and over again.

I’m so inspired, I want to start a project creating an image that incorporates each of these mood lines into it. Should be an excellent way to get some new compositions in my portfolio. Stay posted, they’ll be coming soon!


Using Graphic Design Mood Lines in your Photography

Monday, January 19, 2015

Austin Kleon Talk about Creativity and the Process

Austin Kleon, Show your work from Confab Events on Vimeo.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Austin Kleon fan. His book “Steal like an Artist” is why I started this blog in the first place.  And this talk of his is just as great as you’d expect. Jump to about 13 minutes in for the really good stuff.


Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 6.03.23 PM


Austin Kleon Talk about Creativity and the Process

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Studying Man Ray - A Lesson in Solarization

I’ve been studying a lot of photographers lately, and one of my favorites from the very early years of modern photography is Man Ray. Trained as a painter, he brought that approach over to photography, and applied various effects to his images that were groundbreaking. One of his favorite effects was Solarization.

Copyright - Man Ray Example of Solarization – Copyright – Man Ray

In order to solarize an image in the darkroom, you expose your plate or paper correctly for the image, and then you remove the negative from your enlarger and shoot the plate or paper with just raw light for a brief interval. This added light would “push” everything in the image, light gray areas would become dark gray. White areas become off white. Shadow areas often become lighter than expected. It’s an interesting technique for a surreal feeling image. And of course, a master of the darkroom like Man Ray could block that raw light from hitting all of the plate or paper, thereby selectively solarizing the image, applying the effect only where he wants it to be.

Copyright - Man Ray A Solarized Self Portrait – Copyright – Man Ray

Inspired by Man Ray’s work in this area, I wanted to try some solarization of my own. Of course, I work 90% of the time in digital, and don’t have a darkroom in which to attempt solarization the way Man Ray did. But I do have Photoshop, and there are several ways to Solarize in Photoshop.

I started out with a fairly simple image I took a few days ago… I was testing out a new type of light and wanted to see how well it performed in a high key setting. It did allright, I got this image from it:

Tim Lewis Photography Solarization Headshot Eugene Oregon Photographer The Before Image

It’s not bad, but a kind of boring image all in all. Dropping it into Photoshop I immediately duplicated it and applied Photoshop’s Solarize filter on it. I’ve never been all that big of a fan of Photoshop’s solarize filter…. it has very little flexibility to it, and is sort of a one button trick. So I wasn’t expecting much out of it, and sure enough, I didn’t get a lot out of it. Here’s the result:

Solarization Via Photoshop Photoshop’s Not-So-great Solarization Filter

Pretty terrible, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Into the trash it went. I knew I wanted a high contrast result, with a lot of blacks that become white and that sweet silvery skin tone that you often see in Man Ray’s work. So I opened up a Gradient Map adjustment later and started playing around with it. This approach is pretty much just trial and error. I would create a new node on the gradient map and then just assign a tone to it… see if I liked it or not, and then change or move the node left or right, brighter or darker. The settings I eventually wound up with were:


These settings gave me a slick silvery look, very high contrast and gritty. I found some areas were going too far so I wound up masking off parts of the effect from areas like the sweatshirt and my neck. Then I did a quick bit of Dodging and Burning to get the tones where I wanted them and I wound up with this image, the finished product:

Now, those settings on the Gradient Map won’t work for every image. You’re going to need to come up with new settings for every image you put through this process, and that’s great because you won’t get the same result twice. My beginning image was fairly low contrast, and these settings bumped that contrast up really fast. If my starting point had been more contrasty this might’ve been too much, and different adjustments would’ve been required.

I encourage you to play with this technique. It’s a lot of fun, and obviously I’m just scratching the surface of what’s possible. Explore!

Studying Man Ray - A Lesson in Solarization

Friday, January 16, 2015

Joshua Davis Interview about being a Creative

Photo of Josh Davis by Catalina Kulczar Photo of Josh Davis by Catalina Kulczar

I really liked this interview with Joshua Davis by Ryan & Tina Essmaker for The Great Discontent. Joshua has some great things to say about being creative and has one of the most interesting back stories I’ve ever heard. The whole interview is highly recommended, as is Davis’ design work. Check it out!

Joshua Davis Interview about being a Creative

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baby Steps

Tim Lewis Photography Work Baby Steps to Greatness

It’s a good day when I figure something new out. When I grow in some tiny incremental way toward being a better, greater photographer. Today I figured out a new way to use my large softbox. It’s not a huge leap forward by any means, but it’s a way to get the type of mysterious, moody light I like out of a large modifier. It’s not a great picture, but it’s a picture of small improvement. And that’s always welcome.

Baby Steps

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tim Lewis Photography Portrait Headshot Eugene Oregon Photographer

Perry Headshot * Copyright all Rights Reserved Tim Lewis Photography 2015

One thing I’ve been wanting to add to my arsenal is the idea of making people look more “Luminous”. Shoot and edit them so that they almost seem to glow from within with light and energy. Really it just comes down to how you’re processing the image (in this case I pushed the blue channel a lot for detail in the face) and paying very close attention to the density of the shadow areas. You should always have a “core” of shadow somewhere in the image, to define shape and avoid the appearance of flat light…. but if that core falls off into black too quickly it can look odd. Controlling light during the shoot with reflectors and directional lighting is key, and then curves adjustments in post to ease the transitions gets you the rest of the way there.