Creative 52

Week 17 - Show Time, Change, or Transformation

I'll continue bouncing around with the projects but I still have high hopes to complete all 52. In week 17 the challenge was to show time, change, or transformation. I've been growing my beard out the last few months, so I thought I would have a little fun with that. I thought since I did the wifey's picture very Earthy, I would do the same with me. I setup a single light with a beauty dish because I wanted the background to fall off and I wanted a higher contrast look. Once I took it into my computer I converted it to black and white and upped the contrast, added some grit and texture. I then did a composite with various pictures of tree branches. I placed them in my beard and color corrected them to match . My take on the transformation of my beard into a tree.

Week 13 - Restrict Yourself to a $20 Budget

I'm back!! What a tremendous couple of months it has been. As you can tell I have fallen behind on my projects and my blog posts. I was dealing with multiple doctor and hospital visits and finally surgery to remove my gallbladder. But I feel fantastic now and I'm back at it! I'll be jumping around playing catch up, so I apologize for doing some of these out of order. I'll organize them here in appropriate order. So week 12 is still coming!

For week 13 though, the challenge was to stop by an Arts & Crafts store with a $20 budget and look for something that catches your eye and can help make an image more interesting. I found these nest looking branches and immediately thought some type of crown. Luckily I had my wife Stephanie with me , who also modeled for me, so I was able to fit the crown to her head. We then looked for some flowers that would complement the look. I was envisioning an earthy color palette and a more natural look. Besides testing lights and her other regular assistant duties, this was the first time she has modeled for me. I had a blast, she was a great help, especially because I know how much she hates taking pictures. I love the final image, she looks beautiful and confident. A mother Earth image of sorts, just in time for Mother's Day!!

Not sure what project I will post next, since I am so behind, so stay tuned!

Week 11 - Capture Movement

For week 11 I needed to capture movement. Once again I took advantage of my location and my senior portrait. Consider the last 2 blog entries as a sneak peek to Alexis' senior portrait session. Originally I had the intention of having her do the hair flip and using that to capture movement. But since we were at the beach I had her put in a little work too. It was a perfect moment being able to capture her excitement, her youth and her energy. I think I was able to freeze the moment but still relay the idea of movement.

Until next week, week 12's challenge is........Create an Amazing Silhouette.

Week 10 - Use a Location to Wow

Week 10 came and went in the blink of an eye. With plans all weekend, I wasn't able to squeeze in my challenge for the week. Looking at my calendar I knew I had a senior portrait the following week at the beach. So I was able to tackle 3 things in one photoshoot. So for week 10 the challenge was to use a location to wow. The beautiful Cali weather, a beautiful beach and an interesting repetitive pattern of the pier make for a huge WOW factor. All of this, plus my model and the first hour of daylight made it almost effortless for me to get this shot. I only had to make a few small tweaks, but it's very close to what I captured straight out of the camera.

Week 11, which I took during the same shoot, was to Capture Movement.

Week 9 - Make a Mess

Hands down this was the most fun I've had doing a portrait. When I first read the week 9 chapter and saw that it was all about making a mess, I knew instantly what I wanted to do. I could already picture my 3 year old hosting her very own cooking show! She loved the idea that she could be a cook and not worry about making a mess. We encouraged her to get extra messy and we loved every minute of it. Even the dog got in the picture! Honestly the most difficult thing about this shoot was settling on 1 image. So I just posted all my favorites, a little extra credit!

Week 10's challenge.......Use a Location to Wow. I may need some help on this one. If anyone knows a unique, interesting location in So Cal to shoot at, please let me know. Also any models out there, I am always in need!

Week 8 - Collaborate with Another Artist

These challenges just continue to get more and more interesting. This week I had to collaborate with another artist. Luckily I'm surrounded by artists at work.  I recruited Jose Legaspi, a fellow graphic designer, to help me out with this piece. From the minute I read the challenge in my book, I knew I wanted to relinquish control to the artist i collaborated with. I truly wanted it out of my hands before the control freak in me took over. So Jose came up with the concept of turning himself into an eCard illustration. I took a basic headshot of him and then handed off the files and let him work his magic. Below you can see the shot I took and handed to him and the final result. It was kind of nice to sit back and relax this week, although I did have to give Jose his daily reminder to finish the piece.

Week 9 will be a fun one..........Make a Mess

Week 7 - Go Beyond the Print or Digital Image

Another exciting  challenge this week but a lengthy one, sorry for the delay. I had to take a portrait beyond your standard print or digital image. I decided on searching for a way to transfer an image onto a metal surface. Once I found a do it yourself method, I figured I would use myself as the subject just in case my method backfired. So I used a simple one light setup against a wood panel wall for the image. I printed the image then went through the process of transferring it on the metal. (I used an aluminum sheet I found at Lowes, very inexpensive.) The end result was something I wasn't truly expecting. It transferred perfectly and I was extremely happy with the results. So much so, that I am considering including hand made metal prints as an option for clients. Below I posted the actual metal piece and also the original image that was transferred.

7 + weeks into this personal photo journey, and I am already pushing myself more then I ever have artistically. I can't wait until I complete the year and compare my skills, creativity and execution with where I was at when I started this journey.

Week 8's challenge............Collaborate with Another Artist

Week 6 - Go to a Museum

This week I was challenged to create a portrait inspired by a visit to a museum. I decided to base it on the famous painter Rembrandt and his lighting style. This was actually the first time I have worked with this lighting style and it was quite a challenge, but that is what this personal project is all about. I am really happy with the results and I look forward to using this dramatic lighting setup more often. This week's victim/model was my brother and he had to work just as much as I did to get the pose to work with the lighting to get the results I was after. He was a good sport about it and I'm sure you'll see him again before the 52 projects are done. If anyone is interested in being a model for one of my projects, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Next weeks challenge......Go Beyond the Print or Digital Image

Week 5 - Create a Symmetrical Image

This weeks challenge was to create a symmetrical image. Since I'm trying to focus mainly on portrait work, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to explore and expand my lighting techniques. With the help of our niece I used a 3 light setup to create a high fashion headshot. I tried to light her evenly because I knew I was ultimately going to mirror one side of her face to create the symmetry. The final image is a perfect reflection of her right side. I included the before and after to show just how drastic a change it is. This was a lot of fun, and I honestly didn't know exactly what the end result was going to be.

Next week's challeng is to Go To a Museum.

Week 4 - Use Negative Space

My thought process for this weeks challenge went through a bit of an evolution to get to the final product. Initially I was planning on doing something with my studio lights. Playing with silhouettes and various shapes and colored backgrounds. Then that changed when I planned on taking pictures of my daughter for her valentine's day cards the same day. My wife and I planned on using balloons for that shoot, so I started trying to concept something that would work for my project as well. My usual routine of pinterest and in this case looking at wedding photographer Sal Cincotta's work, I new that I wanted the subject to be a small part of the scene and let the negative space take over. I had every intention to get to an elevated location and use the sky as my negative space, but then I noticed this abandoned building for more then just an abandoned building. It's essentially these beautiful white textured walls with so  much grit and character. My wife (who by the way is my assistant as well, you may notice she is always part of my work process) and I both agreed this would be a great break from the beautiful sunset, green grass shot that we tend to rely on. So here we are! Im using this large building as my negative space and my daughter and a single balloon as the subject. To take it another step further, I was reminded of the graffiti artist Banksy as I was editing the image, so I decided to transform this into street art. I love the final results. This was definitely a break from the norm and I had a lot of fun with this one.

Next weeks challenge will be ......Creating a Symmetrical Image.

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Week 3 - Telling a Story

This weeks challenge was taking a portrait that told a story. This could have gone in many different ways, but I instantly thought of and researched portraits of the elderly. They have experienced so much more and lived through so many different eras, that all of that is visible in their face and eyes. I also thought it would be a great chance to photograph my grandmother. She was just the perfect model, gave me excellent expressions versus the traditional smile. I really wanted to make the image black and white and up the contrast to accentuate every wrinkle and age spot and really build the character of the image. Just looking at her eyes you can instantly start your story. Every viewer can have their own interpretation, which is what art and photography should be about.

Next weeks challenge.....Using Negative Space.

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Week 2 - Faceless Portrait

Week 2's challenge was to create a portrait of someone without showing the face.  I immediately thought of using my daughter as the subject. Kids move at such a fast pace that I knew I had options. I considered shots of her on the swings, playing sports but what stuck with me was watching her twirl like a princess, as she says. I had the vision of a warm, sun drenched scene, of course the day I took this it was gloomy and overcast. That made for a better exposure, I just had to add the warmth afterwards. The result is actually one of my favorite shots of her. I managed to capture her energy and spirit. Without seeing her face it still paints a pretty clear picture on the type of kid she is.

See you guys in a week. Next weeks challenge........Telling a Story.

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Week 1 - Image Based on a Single Color

Hope everyone had a great holiday and a happy new year!

So this year in an effort to help my creativity, I decided to challenge myself with a weekly photo project.  I purchased Lindsay Adler's book Creative 52 and I'm using that as my weekly guideline. (She's an amazing fashion photographer, look her up when you have the chance!) I figured I would create a blog to showcase this project, and give a little insight on how I solved each challenge........So for week 1, the challenge was to create an image based on a single color. After searching the web and pinterest endlessly, I jotted a few keywords and ideas down. I chose the color blue and tried to evoke the emotion the color gives. A very dark, cold, alone feeling. I sketched the idea of the umbrella and thought that it would work to my advantage on the technical side of things. I knew I wanted to make the image of myself, mostly because I never take self portraits. So first I rigged my gelled speedlight into my umbrella, using tons of gaffer tape, as my main light. I then gelled another flash, camera left, to use as a fill light. Finally I placed a silver reflector, camera right, to bounce some of that light back in. With the help of my wonderful wife/assistant, we set focus and I used a remote to trigger the camera. I shot tethered so I could see if my vision was actually working. Once I was happy, I took it to photoshop, to put some finishing touches on it. I mean, you can't have a picture of someone with an umbrella and not have rain!

Until next week!


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