Canada Day at English Bay
jaccarlos said: Hey man! Love your work. I have a couple questions. 1) Do you think it's bad that some people rely on the post-processing or think of that process first before the actual shoot? 2) How do you get your photos to look so smooth, in a place with very minimal natural light?
So this question has been on my mind for a bit and I think I have an answer (albeit a carefully worded one).
1) I think every photographer has to find their own balance between what comes out of your camera and what you do in post. I personally post-process my photos quite a bit. I tweak colour, tone, sharpness etc with every one of my photos. But I also aim for a natural aesthetic. So my post-processes are often understated and simple (at least to the observer).
Many people use composites or parts of many photographs to make their final product. Some people are very talented and the product comes out “real” looking. However, I find the majority of heavily post processed photos come out fake or “try hard” looking. But that’s just my personal opinion. Others may like that type of stuff.
So long answer short: the question of whether there is too much post is up to you. Make photographs for yourself and no one else.
2) Smoothness comes from how you treat and use light.
To get soft light, you have to use a diffuser or bounce your light source. I use white paper or my octabox. Also placing your source as close to the subject as possible wraps the light nicely. Finally, practice. Experiment with where the light is in 3D space and just have fun. Back when I was learning off camera lighting for the first bit, I was doing about 3 shoots a week and that really helped.
Super long answer but hopefully it’s informative.
If anyone else has any questions, comments, retorts, complaints etc send them my way.
If you’ve got any questions about my photography or about photography in general or questions about life and the cosmos, send them my way! I’ll do my best to answer them.
daniel-emilsson said: Hey! You do a great job working with light in your photos. I assume it is natural light since it is so smooth, do you have a process to these portraits? Like do you think of a location and then take it or just go around looking for nice light?
Hey thank you! That’s one of the best compliments I’ve received (since I try to make my photos appear to be natural light even when the majority of my portraits are not natural light).
You can look at my website, http://www.nolansage.com/, and there you can click on the side. I’ve separated my natural light shots from my studio lighting shots.
As for my process to get that “smooth” light, I try to follow a couple of rules.
1) I try to “see” how the light is falling. It’s almost like thinking in black or white, but really, its more like thinking in dark and light. If its natural light, I try to find diffused light (through windows or off white walls). If its studio, I position the light based on how I want it to fall on the person.
2) I try to get my light source as close to my subject as possible. Contrary to what popular belief is, the closer the light source, the softer it will be and the greater the wraparound of light. This goes for windows or studio lights.
3) Bounce or diffuse light. If you want soft light, its got to be bounced (I use white paper on formcore) or diffused (I use an octabox/beautydish thing).
Hopefully that makes sense. A lot of the time it comes down to instinct, which comes from trial and error. Practice, practice, practice.