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How To Create Your Own Fine Art Image

Hello fellow curious individual!

If you're reading this, you are probably on the more creative side of the human spectrum, which is great, because there is no better place to fit into. I think anyone can create their own reality, technical aspects are much less important than you may think. How does one go and create a visual that can be both satisfying and fun? There are endless ways to do that, and I'm happy to share mine, so here we go:

The world of photo art and image manipulation is endless and basically has no rules. The fact it's an "anything is possible" world means that one can get lost relatively easily. And what I mean by that is when a visual contains "too much" freedom and is all over the place, it can end up to be not so interesting. I have learned, it is extremely important to focus on a CONCEPT.

A concept can be a word, a general notion, or an idea. I feel like out of all the elements you choose to build an image from, the concept should be the most precise and constructive one. It needs to be strong and "well established" because it is the idea behind the image, it's the foundation that "carries all the weight".

Think of the WHY behind your image

It doesn't matter if the viewer knows what the concept is, you as the creator, should know. Moreover, YOU as the creator will be less confused throughout the creative process if you have a clear concept in mind.

I would say the concept is the hardest part. It just is. Because we live in a world where good ideas worth gold. Think about it.

BUT, putting all of this aside, this process is enjoyable, and liberating, so have fun with it. Allow yourself to play and go crazy with whatever comes to your mind.

My main IDEA (which is the concept in this case) for this image is the framed butterfly. I had it at home for a while and looking at it one gloomy day inspired me to create an image with it. This frame by itself is already rather thought provoking as a symbol. Since a butterfly represents freedom and change, and the frame represents a border/cage/death. But to us humans, a frame is a device for art, memories, and stories. A frame elevates these elements into a piece with a meaning. That's when my husband, after having a brief conversation about it, introduced the narrative of "Framing Device" to me. It's a technique to tell stories; a story within a story more precisely.

Isn't that a wonderful concept to explore? Think about your life, your story. If you told your life story, how many stories would it consist of? Would you take things out of context by telling it? Do we do that when we tell other people's stories?

The other elements I chose to have in this image are helping me to stay consistent with my style: my subjects are people. I use natural elements. I shoot on cloudy days (diffused light) if I shoot outside and not in studio. I love photographing a nude body, or using clothing that has a "timeless" feeling to it. I love exploring dynamic OR awkward and uncomfortable postures.

At this point...

I let the visual form and speak for itself

don't hold your imagination back at this point. Let it run. You just did some rather hard thinking. It's time to let the mind play. The hard part is over.

The next step is picking up the phone and calling Chad. Chad is a dancer (I love dancers), and he is also my friend, and I was happy to discover he was willing to model for me! But with all seriousness, he is a rather talented artist, you can check him out here.

We got together in Central Park, in New York City (where I live), and started walking around to find a space that will fit my vision.

At first, I put him on a tree (I love trees):

He was very uncomfortable, but lucky for me he pushed through, and we actually got some interesting visuals. Non of the above though (I might still edit some of the ones from the tree later on).

He spotted this gorgeous bark with a beautiful opening in the trees right above it, creating a gorgeous fall of light from above, directly on top of him. THIS WAS IT. I got my camera ready and went for it.

Shooting tips for composites:

The frame is held by the model on his head and around it. Remember: it looks real beacuse it's actually there.

1. Photographing the prop: I want to create a sense of anonymity, so I want the frame covering his eyes. Next, I want to create a pattern of frames around him. I don't know in advance where i'd place them in space, so I made sure to create a small "stock library" of frames held in different points in space.

Don't take short cuts. Only duplicate a prop in post when you have to. If you hold the prop in space where you want it to be, it will look real. Take many photographs in different angles to pick from in post.

2. Background expansion: Dont forget to take some shots for for a frame expansion (they are always good to have). Simple hold your position and tilt the camera up,down,left,right, and on each tilt take a shot. That's it. Do not move it up and down, it won't stitch together well in photoshop. Tilting is the key.

Also, take a photo of the background without your subject! This is important. It's very useful if one needs to "delete" the subject and see the background behind it. It's also important if you want to remove parts of the subject, replace limbs, etc...

**Using a tripod for this can be very useful, but isn't a necessity**

Editing in Photoshop

The general steps for this composite:

  • Choosing the main shot.
  • Extending the background.
  • Retouching (removing/refining any details you don't want; I used the clone stamp tool to remove light spots from the background).
  • Placing the frames in space.
  • Color adjustments

Naturally, there is a lot to say about every step that is listed above. The idea is not making the editing process complicated. It's important to take it one step at a time while using the same simple tools (Healing brush, Pen Tool, Move Tool, Clone Stamp tool, Lasso Tool, Etc...) over and over again.

As much as it is important to keep a playful mind in creative work, the compositing part is not the time to be creative (I am aware of how this sounds, almost like a paradox). This is the time to be 100% technical. Cutting, Pasting, Moving, Blending. Literally putting elements together. And as I said before, using the same tools, over and over. The compositing part in the process of creating an image takes the least amount of time.

Once you are done with compositing, resume your creative thinking and it's time to play around with adjustment layers, lighting effects, colors, textures, etc. Whatever supports your vision.

For more details take a look at the speed edit video! And of course, don't be shy, I'm here to answer your questions in the comments below:)

 

(music by bensound.com)

I honestly believe that creation has a healing power on everyone. And If you are reading this, you are either already doing it, or you are on the verge of doing it. Take what you are passionate about and celebrate it, you make art by being you.

“...when we move out of faith into the act of creation, the universe is able to advance.” ― Julia CameronThe Artist's Way

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