Jenny

This weekend I had a shoot with Jenny. I wanted to do something in Game of Thrones-style, and use a friends dogs to be “wolves” (small, but still). I had a clear idea of the final result, and we had a lot of fun trying to achieve the right poses, fight the mosquitos, get the dogs to cooperate, keep the dresses up (a bit too big), and keep little sister busy…

Behind the scenes a shoot can look something like this:

2018-06-26_0001

After about 90 minutes, I had all I wanted and more. Finished result after some work in photoshop to get the fairytale feeling:

_DSF6004-w

_DSF6035-w

_DSF6067-w

_DSF6073-w

_DSF6147-w

_DSF6214-w

And, of course, little sister got a quick portrait 🙂

_DSF6058-w

It’s a lot of fun to get to work with a theme like this! Thank you all those involved in the process!

 

Halloween is closing in!

I love to do theme-photos. Halloween is extra fun because there are no limits! Inspired by a favourite book this is my Halloween contribution for this year. I hope you like it!

_DSF3541-w_DSF3594-w_DSF3605-2-w

It’s a bit obvious, I know, but it was a lot of fun! Happy Halloween everybody!

Brighten dark dogs eyes, Lightroom and Photoshop

Often when I photograph dark dogs, I can’t get the light to perfectly enhance their eyes. (It’s hard to do when you are outside and the dog is moving very fast…) But, I can easily fix that in my computer!

_DSF6297-w

Let me give you a walk-through of my go-to-tips, in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop:

I hope you found some new tricks, and keep experimenting!

Exercise in creativity

Creativity is not something that “just appears”, or that “some have and others don’t”. It’s easier for some, but it really comes down to learning how to think differently. And that is a training thing!

I often do little exercises to boost my own creativity. and I will share a really simple one here:

Take ten photos of the same object, all different. End of instructions.

Now. What can you change? Let me give you some ideas:

  • Composition
  • How big the object is in the frame
  • Light
  • Angle
  • Environment
  • Background
  • Props
  • Depth of field
  • Is it moving or not
  • Focal length

And that’s just when you take the photo. Add editing, and your possibilities are endless…:)

I did this exercise with a tennis ball (to Midoris great joy). Which one do you like the best? (Click on them to see them individually!)

 

So the question is:

Are you up for a creativity challenge?

 

Behind the scenes: create photo art with a piece of cheap fabric

I still have two photos left in the Content Creation Challenge, and this weekend I got some beautiful fabric that gave me an idea for “time”.

Yesterday I worked at school all day, and I felt totally empty when I got home. I love my students, and I give all I have…

So, a perfect time to do something that requires a whole different mindset than teaching! The dogs followed me, curious about what I would do. I really liked this sky, but soon saw that the light didn’t work at all.

So I moved, and soon learned that horses are 1. very curious, and 2. easily scared.

But I got some shots to use, the light was perfect, and I liked the sky even better!

Now, I wanted some extra shots of the fabric and moved to an area with shorter grass. I was careful to use the same angle, to get the same light.

It was windy, and that means I would have to flip the photo later to get the flowy fabric on both sides. Not a problem. Much harder to get the fabric to cooperate! I have 50 shots of me holding fabric in the wind…

And the final photo looks like this:

_DSF1114-print-2

I am really pleased, this is almost exactly the image in my head 🙂

So to make this photo you need:

  • Two dogs as company (absolutely necessary for the creative process)
  • Two skittish horses (optional)
  • A piece of fabric, about 100 kronor (10 dollars)
  • Patience
  • A tripod for your camera
  • Remote (I use my phone and Fujis app)
  • More patience and stubbornness
  • A few hours in Photoshop (three, I think it took me)

 

Challenge (almost) completed!

Today is day 15, and I have done my last photo. Well…almost…I’m still two days short, and I will do them. Some day 😉

I have really pushed myself, done things I have never done before, and learned a LOT!

Some photos I’m really proud over. Some not so much. Live and learn 🙂

Here they are, in order!

2017-08-16_0001

And the challenges:

  1. Rebirth – enclosed space (inside my mind)
  2. Emotion – no face (fear)
  3. Endings – door
  4. Beauty – my idea
  5. Spellbound – warm light
  6. Potential – open space
  7. Breaking – shattered (my self esteem)
  8. Curiosity – new location
  9. Being alive – rope
  10. Pressure – water
  11. Forgotten – paper
  12. Flight – wings (mine are made of light)
  13. Growth – myself

Some of these are very emotional to me, and I have put a little (or a lot) of myself in every one of them (visible or not).

What have I learned?

Apart from the technical stuff (thank you, youtube!) I have started THINKING differently. And that is always interesting! Let’s see where it leads…:)

 

Content Creation Challenge

Almost ten days ago I joined Brooke Shadens Content Creation Challenge. Create a new piece of art every day for 15 days. Make sure it has some kind of content. And then there’s a theme for each day, and a challenge to use or do something special.

Interesting. Hard. Crushing my self-esteem to smithereens at times, but also making me try new things and walk new roads. Frustrating. And fun.

This is the one I like the most so far (potential and use open space)

 

SONY DSC

Keep reaching for the stars…

 

This one was most self-reflecting (breaking, use something shattered – I guess it’s my self-esteem that is in a million pieces…And it’s two “me”, representing my constant struggle within)

 

_DSF0915-w

Not. Good. Enough.

 

And I still have six more days to go!

So…why did I choose to do this (and why do I continue creating, even if I feel like I lack both time and talent)?

Because: I don’t feel good enough.

YET.

And that three-letter word is all that matters. The fact that I lack skills and that I feel that I want to create MORE and BETTER is a matter of practice. Practice does not automatically make perfect, but it makes better. It’s the ONLY way to get better.

I may not feel like I’m good enough yet – but in the future, I will be better than I am now.

To be creative, to me, is a constant struggle and I think most people strive to get better. Some give up and say “this is all I am. This is all I will ever be.” and they may or may not be content with that. Giving up is not for me though 🙂 I will keep on practising till the day I die, and probably after that as well.

If you want to see all my photos, you find them on my Instagram. If you like any of them please let me know, that makes me happy.

How to create a photo collage

I like to make collages with multiple photos, I think they tell the story and often give each other a context.

 

2017-03-23_0001

Susanna, Fajsty and Dupont

I use Blogstomp to make my collages, and find it easy to use and love the results (and I get absolutely nothing for saying that, they don’t even know it).

However, there are two pages that offer free collages:

Pixlr is easy to use. The result is OK, but I find that it is a bit limited.

Canva has a free basic editor that is a little bit harder to use but more versatile, and you can upgrade to get even better results.

 

2017-03-01_0001

Midori, Princess of kelpies

 

A collage can be a diptych with only two photos, or it can be as many photos as you like.

 

There are a few things to consider when you choose your photos, if you want the collage to actually tell a story and not only be a row of photos. I always try to get a mix of landscape and portrait orientation (horizontal or vertical), and I always try to mix details with overviews, and action with portraits.

If there is a “timeline” (beginning and end) I try to make that easy to read – normally we start to read at the upper left corner and finish at the lower right corner. Think comic book.

Most of the time I just try to get the “perfect look”. I think about the composition, and try to keep the viewer “active” and lead the eye from photo to photo but never out from the frame. I also try to keep nice lines, and colours that o together. The photos should look as a coherent collection.

 

2017-04-07_0001

My beautiful colleague, Maria Hallin.

 

When you try it yourself – change places of your photos until it feels “right”! It can take some time, but it’s worth it.

PSD, JPEG, TIFF…the short guide to choosing the right file format for your image.

I have finished editing my photo, and it looks good. I want to save it. Now…what file format to choose? Why are there so many? And most importantly:

which one should I choose?

 

_DSF9960-w

Don’t ask me! I have no idea!

 

Well…The formats exist for a reason. And which one you should choose depends on what you want to do with the photo!

I will give a short description of the ones I use:

PSD is Photoshops own format. It saves your image, and your editing: the layers, the history. Perfect if you want to keep working on it! But hat also means that the files are large, and there will be programs that can’t open them. Suitable as long as you stay in PS!

TIFF is your photo, uncompressed. Can be read by every program, and I have used it when I have sent photos that will be printed in a book (to make sure they can use the file in their program).

JPEG is the most common choice when the photo is done. When you save you choose size and quality depending on if you want to print it or share it on the web or send it to someone. Most programs can read it without problems.

PNG is for graphics, line art, or images with a lot of text. It is also perfect for images with transparency or fading (like logos).

PDF is for when I make downloadable price lists or “mini books” with text and images. The files are big, but it looks good!

So, to summon:

Want to make more changes? PSD

Need to send it to someone who might use it in another program? TIFF

Done with your photo? JPEG

Made a logo or an image with a lot of text? PNG

Made a price list that you want people to download? PDF

 

webb-0075

I’m almost always in JPEG!

 

Hope that helps a bit! It covers the most common scenarios, and help you avoid little mistakes (like saving an unfinished photo in JPEG…been there, done that!). And when in doubt: save it twice in different formats!

Light in dog portraits: dos and don’ts

Without light no photo. But how can we use the light to our advantage? And what do we want to avoid, as pet photographers?

Here are a few of my dos and don’ts, when it comes to light outside:

DO: Go up early. The morning light is warm and soft and makes everything pretty. It’s also low in the sky and ideal for backlight portraits.

_DSF4060-l

 

DO: use the sunset. Same reason as above mentioned, and lots of colours in the sky as well. I love to really bring out the sky, and leave the dog as a near-silhouette.

_DSC5703us

 

DON’T: photograph in full sunlight mid-day if you can avoid it. The shadows are really sharp, the dog will squint, your shadow may appear in the photo. The contrast is not pleasing. You will either get an overexposed photo if you try to get the shadow-side right (see below), or an underexposed photo if you try to save the light part.

ored-9161

 

DO: move the dog into the shadow. The light is much more even, her eyes are more open, colours and details are much nicer. Keep in mind that in the shade the tones are more blue-purple. Adjust with the white-balance if you don’t like that (I do).

_DSC9166l

 

DO: wait for clouds. Cloudy weather is perfect! You still get some contrast, but not as harsh as in super-sunny weather.

_DSC9070l

 

DON’T: use the on-camera flash. It’s not nice for the dog, their eyes reflect green, and the light is very “flat” and the background looks even darker. I don’t even have a photo to show…

DO: use an external flash, a bit from the camera, to avoid the green eyes. Adjust your settings to take advantage of the fact that the background gets darker, and make sure the dog is correctly exposed (=the background is nearly black). A small aperture and a fast shutterspeed should help you. I never use a flash because my eyes don’t like it, so no photo here either…but this one actually gives really nice results, it’s worth a try!

DO: take advantage of the beauty of low-light. If your dog is good at beeing still, use a slower shutterspeed and a larger aperture to capture portraits with a lot of feeling.

SONY DSC

 

DO: use window light or indoor lamps. Adjust white balance, shutterspeed and aperture. Raise ISO if you need to.

SONY DSC

 

Feeling a bit overwhelmed about camera settings? Get my free cheatsheet!

CLICK HERE