Self-Possessed

Still working through the portraits from Valentine’s Day, so here’s more to share.

Valentine13
This expression is still a favorite

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been asked a few random times for prints of my photos, and for the most part I just blow people off about it because I don’t know how to do it. Although I should know all this stuff by now, it involves planning and thinking and numbers and math, so I’ve never bothered to figure it out. Well, I did that one time a rep for that florist’s magazine emailed me and offered me three hundred bucks for one of my pictures, but then I promptly forgot what I did. Anyway.

valentine14a
I don’t like this one; I completely started over on it three times but am still un-thrilled with the results

A friend of mine runs a little small-town art gallery in our area, and she asked me today if I’d like to hang some of my photos there – she’s also mentioned the possibility of a show. This finally prompted me to try and figure out just what I’d need to do to get my photos print-ready, and while I still don’t totally get it, I know that almost all I’ve done so far can only be printed rather small. The problem is that I have so many photos (well over 4,000 by now) that I never keep the edited TIF files once I’ve converted a photo into JPEG to save space on my hard drive, so I can’t go back and correct some of the formatting errors without compromising quality (I do keep all the original TIF files, but it would involve me re-editing them to use them, which I may end up doing). I only did so much research before getting bored and dropping it, so I’ll keep checking into it and see what I can come up with. I really thought because I keep my files as huge as possible that was all that mattered, but once again it turns out I am clueless. Moving on.

valentine15

I’m still getting mileage out of the shoot, primarily the shots with the vintage plaid dress since it moved nicely and created interesting images; I’ve had some mis-steps along the way but have still stumbled across a few winners here and there, like the one above. So far, that one has generated the most positive response; I think it’s all that color.

valentine18

I don’t normally smile when I pose since in general, I don’t think my smile is all that great. I always try, but usually it looks stilted and false. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve spent hours practicing my photo-smile but for the most part, it still reads false (this usually happens in non-studio photos too, when just hanging with friends or whatever). I swear I’m not being down on myself when I say this – I’m speaking from a photographer’s perspective and not from some negative perception of myself – but in general, smiling is not my best pose; it just isn’t. But this one actually worked; probably because it’s more shouting than smiling, but whatever.

valentine20a
This one was blurry but I wanted to try because I liked the idea; the end result is MEH

I’ve noticed that as I moved into the second costume of the set, the lighting I created for the curly red wig shots became too bright; I don’t know if it was the change in costume that create more flash bounce or if I just inadvertently moved in closer to the camera where the external flash was mounted; but my facial features were pretty blasted out in this part of the set for the most part, creating a flat appearance. I really should start hooking up my camera to my computer while shooting so I can catch things like this before it’s too late; the LCD screen really doesn’t work that well to reveal such things. I had to work pretty hard to tone my over-bright skin and bring back some of the definition to my face; I was only so successful at this and had to settle for merely OK facial features in most of these.

valentine21a
Used several Topaz filters here to mess with the color – can you tell I’m starting to get bored?

Not sure how many more of these I’ll work with, but since I haven’t had time for a new shoot, and probably won’t for a few weeks more until Spring Break comes around, be prepared for more of these or nothing at all. And who knows, maybe I’ll be able to print some photos and hang them in a gallery soon. It was a passing comment on Facebook, so we’ll see if she really even meant it, but still, it was nice to be asked.

14 thoughts on “Self-Possessed

  1. Hmmm, as a photographer, I had to give some thought to what you said about your photos coming across as false when you try to smile in them. One thing that I notice about this batch is that your eyes give you away. I think you’ve proabably heard the expression, “Her smile didn’t reach her eyes”. What I see when I look at your eyes, (like in your “shout” photo above) is that you are thinking–not surprising considering all that you are trying to remember when you are in/taking the shot. To make your smile reach your eyes in this case you need to widen them a little bit as if you were surprised. This should help.

    • In general, I think I am one of those people who just doesn’t have a very photogenic smile, but you are right, I am usually overthinking and have never considered the eyes when taking these shots. I”ll definitely keep that in mind next time. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. Mareymercy! Congratulations on hanging your photographs in a gallery. I am excited for you. The one you do not like, the second one, is my favorite. And is that your Free People skirt you are draping near your face? I have that skirt, you know. It looks like it. Anyway, I wish I were in your area, I would love to see your show. Printing: good luck! And sometimes small is good. I did that “Afloat” show with 5″ x 5″ collages. In floater frames and it was effective. I am excited for you!

    • It is not from Free People, but now I want to know what skirt you have! This is a vintage dress I snagged for about $17 at a resale shop. I had actually thought about collages, so it’s good to know that can be done. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. I’m actually really loving your photo of your pearly whites. I think that would be so cool to have your photos in a gallery but also nerve racking as well.

    • Yes I always whiten the heck out of my teeth and eyes, makes a difference! Who knows if it will really happen, but it’s nice for someone to even mention it.

  4. You may need to revisit your workflow to find a better way to store your processed (non JPG) files. I assume you shoot in RAW. What software do you use?
    If you are short of disk space then a USB disk or a network drive (attached to your router) could be an inexpensive solution.

    • I use Photoshop CS5. And I actually do have two external hard drives full of photos, just never kept the processed TIF files before – not even sure why, just didn’t think I needed them. Live and learn, I guess.!

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