Playing with Fire!

Conceptual Photography


I am finishing up details for my workshop on Photoshop, and trying to recall other classes I have taken (or tried to take) myself in the past. Most beginner Photoshop classes really cover the bare minimum but don't really teach enough to get somebody really rolling. I'll be going over what I think are the most useful and paramount features in Photoshop to learn.

So I titled this blog "Playing with Fire!" but it's more like playing with fire in Photoshop.  The Fire filter is fairly new to Photoshop. While there have always been plugins that tried to simulate fire, I never felt they achieved the quality necessary to use and always found hi res stock images better to use. I'm not even going into the fire filter in this blog, since I'm still new to it and while a lot of fun to play with, takes some experimenting with.

I am still fairly new to trying to document things for a blog, and almost only think about blogging as an after thought, so bear with me. Thanks!

Below you'll see the images I used to create the scene of me in thee street with fire streaming from one hand to the other. Perhaps in the future I'll actually record me editing images in Photoshop. That way I can really show everyone what I'm doing and talk them through it... oh yeah that's the other problem, I hate my voice when it's recorded... blah. 

Awesome image of myself looking all kinds of awkward in the studio. I probably had to get up and down about 50 times to get a shot I liked, yeah... getting to old for that.  Canon 5d MKIII with a Tamron 24-70 f2.8, shot at 35mm 1/50th sec, f11 at ISO 100.

Awesome image of myself looking all kinds of awkward in the studio. I probably had to get up and down about 50 times to get a shot I liked, yeah... getting to old for that. 

Canon 5d MKIII with a Tamron 24-70 f2.8, shot at 35mm 1/50th sec, f11 at ISO 100.

You can see the strip light off to my left side giving me rim lighting on that side. I was anticipating this cooler light from street lights coming in on that side. Above my hand was another light gelled with 2 stops of CTO to give my hand, arm and parts of my head warmer highlights. Right behind the camera is a large umbrella that's bouncing extra light in for fill.

I actually took this shot before I had found a background. So, that evening I was downtown trying to find the right shot to fit what I had in mind. Took a lot of shots, got a bunch of strange looks... as I was pretty much waiting for traffic to get out of the way so I could get out in the middle of the road for the shot. 

After separating myself from the background in Photoshop that evening, and trying out a few of my new backgrounds.  I didn't like what I had. The following morning I went back out and got this image:

Canon 5d MKIII with a Sigma 35mm f1.2 lens. 

Canon 5d MKIII with a Sigma 35mm f1.2 lens. 

2 things to really pay attention to when shooting composites: Focal length, and perspective. Making sure the camera is at the same height for your images will go a long way in making sure that your images will fit together.

Here is a crappy screen shot of the working file in Photoshop.  On the right panel you can see the many layers and groups of layers I used. If I had to do it over, I could probably cut down on them as I know the exact finished image I am going for.  I always have an idea of what I'm going for, but getting there is part of the fun! And while it may seem daunting at first, I plunge right in and start editing on one layer and building up from there. Anyone that's familiar with Photoshop will see immediately how dependent I am on masks and something I will definitely be teaching in my workshop.

So here it is, without Facebook crapping it up ;) Click on it for full size!

If you made it this far, thanks for taking a look! If you've accidentally wandered onto my page and like what you see, make sure to visit me on Facebook to stay updated!

 

Thanks,

 

John