Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Moving, Edits, Programs and Lomo Photography, OH MY!

There are all kinds of different ways and styles to edit digital photography and several different programs to do it in. When I first started shooting with my DSLR, I would edit my work in Photoshop Elements 2.0. There was no rhyme or reason for choosing this program, it just happened to come with an Epson scanner we had purchased and was "free". I would do basic edits, like enhancing color or converting a color image to black and white. And then I discovered the world of vignettes! I was so excited about this "new" technique. Now mind you, vignetting is not new, but it was new to me at the time and I couldn't believe the difference it made in my work. In fact, I'm still amazed at how something so simple can completely change the look of an image.

Just as I was beginning to delve into the world of digital photography and editing, we moved. Some of you may be thinking, "Moving? What does that have to do with photography and edits?" Let me tell you, it changed EVERYTHING for me. I
assume that moving for most is probably something that is kept locally (within a 200 mile radius of where you grew up), at least that is how it has been for a majority of people I know. For my husband and I, we tend to have the outlook of, "If you're going to do it, do it right". So we uprooted our comfortable lives in Ohio, said goodbye to friends and family, and relocated to Washington. Now, there were reasons for the move, it's not like we just left on a whim, but those reasons do not really pertain to this story. So how does a cross-country move effect one's photography? Instead of focusing on my work, I was preoccupied with things like housing, unpacking, socializing and learning the lay of the land. Photography had become a distant memory and my camera had become a magnet for dust. Sad, I know. Then one day, my laptop took a dump and I found I needed a new one. My hubby and I started talking about the different ones to choose from, which ones had the best ratings and what I would be using it for. It was then that photography came to the forefront of my thoughts. It was time to start shooting again and start honing my skills that I had started to develop.

With my camera back in action, old laptop dead (thank goodness all my previous images were backed up on an external hard drive), a great new laptop with
no editing software on it and my Photoshop Elements 2.0 disc buried in one of many unpacked boxes (not too mention it was way outdated), it was time to find some new software. My husband suggested I try out Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X2. I have to admit, I was concerned about using this program. All notes I had written down were for Photoshop and did not apply to Paint Shop Pro. To make matters worse, all research I did to learn how to use this program turned up instructions for Photoshop. Obviously the preferred software for photographers is Photoshop, but I had Paint Shop Pro and had to do with what I had. I'm not going to lie, I did not put forth a ton of effort to learn how to use this program and took the laissez faire approach by only using basic edit techniques. Looking back, I really wish I wouldn't had been a bum about it. I really wasted an opportunity to learn how to use a good product. But now I have a new product to learn and plan on focusing on a new technique every week to optimize my work.

The new software I am now using is Photoshop CS. I abs
olutely love it! What I love the most, is that now I can start learning some of the cool techniques I ran across during my research for using Paint Shop Pro. One of those was Lomo Style Photography, a method for making digital photos look like they were taken from an old Russian LOMO LC-A camera.. I love the dramatic effects this style creates and have been wanting to try it out on a few stock art images I have. Here are my first two attempts at this style:
Original /Lomo Style

Original/Lomo Style
I'm very happy with the results and can't wait to try it on some more images.
I can't wait to learn all the different techniques that Photoshop has to offer. My plan is to learn a new technique weekly and apply it to my work. The prospects are exciting.


Alicia said...

Amy, this was a great read. I can't wait to hear about the techniques you are working with. I've found a new addiction in photography so please keep your writings coming. Love it!

Amy said...

Thank you so much! I'll start working on a new technique probably on Tuesday. I'm thinking of either using the dodge tool to make eyes pop or vintage effects. So many different things to choose from, it makes it difficult to stay focused on just one. The more you work with photography the more addicted your going to get. It's really become my creative outlet. I've always loved the arts and now feel like I can contribute. Makes me feel good at the end of the day, ya know.