Mother Confessor Megan

A few years back I headed out to Duncan's Cove with one of my best friends and photographed her in her Confessor cosplay. Now, Duncan's Cove on its own is pretty epic but it wasn't as epic as I wanted for this photo shoot. I always felt these photos missed something and thought about them often.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I was watching Renee Robyn's class on CreativeLive and I watched her put some mountains in the background of an image, and bingo, a light went off and I was inspired to revisit this shoot. I'll freely admit where the idea of a mountain horizon came in, (thank you to Renee Robyn and her amazing class!)

The image still felt a bit flat and I've been working on it off and on for about two weeks. Again, surfing CreativeLive (one of my fav educational sites) and I stumbled across Lindsay Adler's Mastering Blend Modes which was on sale. I grabbed the course and I have to say it is amazing. During the class Lindsay talks about another class on colour toning images, this was intriguing and I had to check it out, I've been catching a bit of this class each day and it started to get me thinking about how to finish this image. 

Learning about colour toning has been fascinating. This is something they do for movies, putting colours in shadows and highlights to evoke emotion. Most popular are blues in the shadows and oranges in the highlights, but a classic example of colour toning I have learned is the Matrix which relied heavily on greens throughout the movie. Lindsay talks about adding purples or blues to her images to convey mystery and this inspired me to add colour toning to this image. I am extremely happy with how it turned out.  

I thought it might be fun to share a few screen shots from my editing process to my completed version: 

This was the straight out of camera image, pretty epic but it needed more to make it as awesome as the model!

This was the straight out of camera image, pretty epic but it needed more to make it as awesome as the model!

Mountains placed in! Looking a bit better but still far from where it needs to be!

Mountains placed in! Looking a bit better but still far from where it needs to be!

Final Image! Colour grading really helped bring it all together, so happy with this new technique! 

Final Image! Colour grading really helped bring it all together, so happy with this new technique! 

 

**What helped inspire me this week? 

Renee Robyn - CreativeLive Class

Essential Compositing Techniques https://www.creativelive.com/class/essential-compositing-techniques-renee-robyn?via=my-classes-owned_2

Lindsay Adler - CreativeLive Classes

Mastering Blend Modes https://www.creativelive.com/class/mastering-blend-modes-lindsay-adler?via=catalog-class_2

Transforming Your Images with Colour Grading on CreativeLive https://www.creativelive.com/class/transform-your-images-with-color-grading-lindsay-adler?via=catalog-class_2

Books:

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series book 3) by Sarah J Maas - AMAZING READ!

Of Sorceresses and Magic

I've wanted to create something new all year. I've looked a tutorials, written ideas down and still been stuck. How to get inspired and how to put it all together? When I was younger it was so easy to come up with ideas, so easy to be inspired by everything, I surrounded myself with novels and cheesy fantasy TV and movies. I always had a million ideas and never enough time to work on them. Now I find a lot of my energy goes into mundane things, what's for supper, how to configure a report, and designing spread sheets, there has to be a balance somewhere between life and inspiration!  

I think the answer to inspiration lies in seeking out that which inspired me to begin with. So, back to the fantasy novels I love, back to the computer games and the sci-fi and fantasy shows I can't get enough of! Fantasy novels are one of my weaknesses, I will always love a good story about a hero or heroine that kicks butt and saves the world! With this theme in mind I revisited a shoot I did a few years back.

This was just a fun shoot in a studio where we played around and had a lot of fun. I did a bit with the photos but never accomplished what I really wanted with them. I've always known there was something else that needed to be done with this shoot, there was something missing and I wasn't done with it. This happens from time to time, I think part of me just knows there is something else I need to learn and add to the photo before I can call the shoot done. It was time to revisit the idea. 

Kelly-Jo is one of my best friends and one of the most talented artists that I know. Not only does she draw, paint and do the most amazing hair and make-up you have even seen but, she also cosplays and creates her own costumes. To me she is a real life sorceress, able to take almost anything and create something magical out of it, and I do mean anything, I've watched this girl take random scribbles friends have made on paper and turn them into amazing drawings! On top of all this she has also stood by all my crazy photo shoot ideas and helped me bring them from a random thought and into a beautiful portrait. 

Clearly she had to be a sorceress, weaving magics that only she understands, bringing something new into our realm. I reviewed the images from the photo shoot and picked out one that worked with the beginnings of an idea that had been forming the back of my mind. I took a weekend as an opportunity to play around with the image, not sure that I would be able to do it justice but I am pretty happy with the results and so excited to share them! 

SorceressKJ.jpg

Is she not the most beautiful sorceress ever? I am so thrilled with this image! I think it is exactly what it was supposed to be! 

I highly recommend following Kelly-Jo's makeup Instagram account (link below in my Inspired By section of this blog post) if you love makeup and watching someone with ridiculous amounts of talent then she is the girl to follow! Kelly-Jo is one of the strongest and most inspirational people that I know and I am always blown away by how much talent this gal has!!! 

Have a wonderful and magic filled week everyone! 

**What helped inspire me this week? This week it was a mix of old favs (some wonderful TV), a new author and some kick butt artists!! 

Kelly-Jo's amazing Make-up Instagram Account: https://www.instagram.com/chronically_sickening/?hl=en

Novel: The Call by Peadar O' Guilin (a great faerie which kept me hooked the whole way through)

TV: StarGate SG-1 and Andromeda (love me some cheesy tv!)

Photographer: Renee Robyn http://www.reneerobynphotography.com/ (An amazing and CANADIAN photographer who I've been following for the last little while. The beautiful texture background is a few stock images that I purchased from her website! Her stuff is so beautiful)

Stepping out of Comfort Zones

Stepping out of comfort zones is something that is so hard to do but can be so rewarding. Years ago I had the opportunity to teach an intro photography class for adults. It was something that was very out of my comfort zone. At that time I hated even giving small presentations, to teach seemed almost impossible but I went through with it and it turned out that I fell in love with teaching photography!

It means a lot to me to have the ability to share my knowledge with others, and get people excited about being creatives! All of the photographers that I admire are also instructors, they share what they know openly and it is so inspiring. One of my creative goals in life is to always share what I know with others, and in turn learn from them. There isn't one class that I teach where I don't discover something new. 

This winter I am teaching a Photography Basics course at the North Woodside Community Centre. This class is for beginners who want to know more about photography and start to take more photos. I love this class because it is a great reminder of the foundations of photography, what makes the camera work, how to get the image you want and why certain things work and why others don't. 

In the class some of the topics we discuss are:

What comes in the box with the camera? - We go over everything that comes with the camera. We talk about how the weather can affect your camera and what you can do when outdoors in rainy conditions, snow or even bright sunny days. 

What do all the settings mean? - We go over all the menu settings, dig into what the camera does and how to change the settings. My goal is always to get everyone off automatic by the end of the class! 

ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speeds - How to get the perfect exposure to capture the image you want. 

Composition and the "rules of photography" - Guidelines on what makes good composition with a healthy reminder that art is art and if you want to break the "rules" you go be a rebel and do it! 

Styles of photography - How to photography portraits vs landscapes, etc. 

Inspiration and example images - Where can you find more inspiration in the world for your photos.  

And so much more! 

I can't wait to start teaching again! It is seriously the best part of my week! And my classes happen on a Monday which makes Mondays pretty awesome! I am going to run a Beyond the Basics course right after the intro which will go more in depth into the subjects we cover in the first class. Back to back classes are super exciting!! 

My classes run for 5 weeks at a time and are as mentioned, every Monday starting on January 29th! More information on my classes can be found at: http://www.northwoodsidecc.com/programs/nwcc-programs/personal-development.aspx

I find that teaching helps keep me inspired. It keeps me on my toes and it it always so rewarding to watch people have that ah-ha moment with aperture, shutter speed and ISO! 

Thank you for taking the time to read about my classes and my excitement to teach. To end todays blog I am leaving you with a lesson I talk about in one of my classes. Always look around you when exploring the a new place or even an old favourite place. Too often we look at things from eye level and don't change our viewpoint. We don't turn around, look up or in this case look down. The image below is one of some frozen seaweed found on a beach trip in PEI at Christmas time in 2016. I am obsessed with the ocean and photographing beaches, going there in the winter opened up a whole new world for me. Suddenly a landscape that I was very familiar with was brand new, it looked completely foreign to what I was used to and it was beautiful in a whole new way. Always explore, re-visit places you love throughout the year, look around and keep an eye out for the little things, they are beautiful.  

Location: PEI, 2016  Photographed with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens

Location: PEI, 2016

Photographed with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens

Note:

Shout out to the wonderful folks at the North Woodside Community Centre, they have a ton of wonderful classes and events that go on throughout the year! If you live in the HRM check them out, they are AMAZING! 

Welcome to my Artist Blog!

I always feel like a new year is a great time to start new projects or give old ideas that push to get out into the world. For months I have been thinking of starting more artistic projects and launching a second blog dedicated to the process of bringing them into existence, and so here we are!

If you are looking for more of my client work keep an eye on the client blog! I'll be featuring more of my awesome clients there! This blog is a bit more of a personal one, a place to map out my artistic process, challenges, successes and all! 

This is also a place to be honest about the creative process, so with that in mind, perfectionism has almost killed this project many times! I'v come to realize that there is no perfect way to display your work, no perfect words to describe it, and no perfect advice to follow, if I kept searching for these things nothing would ever get done. 

Where did the idea for more creative projects come from? Well, I've been inspired by Brooke Shaden, one of my favourite creatives on the internet. When listening to her class on CreativeLive, I realized I really missed the artistic work I used to do in Fredericton. I missed the crazy concepts, the big photo shoots and the final images that brought ideas to life! But the time for those projects are done, the time for that work has passed and it is time to create something new!

My 2018 goal is to create a collection of work, get large prints made, create a way to display these prints that is unique to the images and to apply for a gallery show somewhere in the HRM. These are big goals but ones I am excited for, if we don't make goals big what is the point of it all? 

Along the way I want to write more as well, when I was younger if you had asked what I wanted to be it would have been a writer. When I discovered photography I felt that it wouldn't be possible to be a writer as well and put that aside to really focus on photography. When listening to Brooke Shaden I realized I can do it all. She is an amazing photographer, teacher and writer, what was stopping me from trying to be those things as well? Perfectionism, that is what was really blocking me. So if I really wanted these things then it is time to put perfectionism aside and go create!

In addition to writing more I also want to take and show more photos. This idea seems a bit silly goal, I am a photographer after all, but truth be told, there are thousands of photos sitting on my hard drives, images I thought were pretty at the time or had an element that spoke to me and they have never even seen an editing program! Time to change that! There is no perfect time to edit a photo and certainly no perfect time to show them so I am ending this first blog post with an image I saw out a window while on vacation this Christmas! This is simply something I felt was beautiful and wanted to capture with my camera! 

Location: PEI, 2017  Photographed with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens

Location: PEI, 2017

Photographed with a Nikon D800 and a Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog! I'll be back again soon with more ideas, more images and project updates! 

*Note - It is very important to me to give credit to those who have inspired me and to those I work with. If I mention anyone in my blog I'll include a link to their work at the end of every blog post. This is simply to give credit to those amazing people around me and to share where to find them in case they might inspire you as well!

Interested in learning more about what inspires me? Here are links to Artists and Websites mentioned on today's blog!

Brooke Shaden: https://brookeshaden.com/gallery/ and http://www.promotingpassion.com/ - Photographer, writer, teacher and creative!

CreativeLive: https://www.creativelive.com/ - One of my favourite creative and business education websites.