The evolution of an image

Richard Charpentier Arizona, Notes from Rich, Photography, Photoshop, RLC Design 2 Comments

Over the course of my 629 postings here on the Airstream Chronicles Continued I’ve shared a great number of images. Here and there I’ve shown “before & afters,” but today I wanted to share the evolution of one of the selected shots for the Sweet Nasty album, “Life on Fire.”

For those excited to know, this is not the final selection for the cover.  This will be going on the back of the CD.  So, the back cover so to speak.  Don’t go getting all excited, the cover is still open!  🙂

Let’s start with the image as shot.  2 430EX II’s were camera left shooting through a translucent umbrella.  Underexposed -2EV in aperture priority mode.  The flashes were set to 105mm manually and were at a 0EV for output.  I like the initial result, but needed to do more with it.

The album is titled “Life on Fire,” and that’s a pretty cool title if you ask me.  The image is a pretty cool image, but it certainly isn’t on fire.  It’s there, the band is there, and a washed out blue sky greets the viewer…….  What to do, what to do?

So, what I did was this……  Pushed the color temperature up to the warmer side on the guys.  Threw the image into photoshop and tried to do something better with the sky.  Unfortunately, the sky didn’t do it for me.  Something had to be done with it to add some more drama in my mind.  Oh, and finally I cropped the image to get rid of the smaller window that was cutting into Mike’s head.

This morning I finally struck onto what I wanted to do.  Life on Fire, right?  Well, I stole the sky from another one of my older shots in Vulture that had some super cool cloud formations.  I rotated the sky, stretched it, and then masked it into the window scene.  Of course, the sky was super blue, so I did a hue adjustment and got it to a yellowy orange.  I liked it.  A few blend mode changes and then a heavy assault on the sky with some dodging and burning, and suddenly I was a happier guy.

Oh, and I warmed the guys up just a little more.  After all, they were now looking out on a scene that suggested some fire in the distance!

There you have it.  Hope you enjoyed seeing the phases the image went through.  🙂

Comments 2

  1. Thank you for sharing the photos and comments on your progress with the image.
    I think the final image looks (and I don’t use this word often) magnificent!
    Good move on; removing the window behind Mike (it was distracting), the final warm up of the subjects, and adding the sky from another shot. I know you don’t add clouds to your images….but, doing it for this project was a definite must….and it paid off.

    Kudos to you Rich!

  2. Post

    Hey Jay! Thanks for the compliment. Always appreciated!!!

    The sky in that window just wasn’t working. Even if I’d dialed it in more it was still dull. So yup, snatched from another sky in an old Vulture pic (hey, it was from the same location just different month) and worked the firey sky angle there.

    And you’re right. Normally I don’t add or subtract from a scene. But I figured this is for an album and artistic license could be used. 🙂

    Thanks again Jay!!!

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