Finding your niche

It feels ironic that I’m writing this post after last time, when I spoke of my belief that people are beautiful even when they don’t fit the stereotype of bring very young, very thin & looking a certain way. I feel really strongly about the Truth of that, and when I put the final polish on our portrait photos in Photoshop I make sure that no matter what people still look like themselves. Minus the pimples or dark circles under the eyes maybe, but still themselves.

It’s ironic because as our artistic style develops Tim and I are moving more and more in the direction of experimental portraiture, creating images that aren’t necessarily a faithful replication of what exists in real life. We’ve been learning all kinds of advanced skills with camera and post-shoot editing that give us the ability to create images that are fanciful…imaginative…surreal…epic…impossible according to the laws of time & space…and above all extraordinary. And that’s what we want to keep doing, it’s what makes us feel most passionate and inspired.

We’ve got lots of ideas about images we want to create. A film noir styled color study in black, white & red…a series of art nouveau water goddesses…what happens when the dread Cthulu meets a certain cheerful American icon…a Dudeist mandela…and many more. I’d say we can’t wait to get started but in fact we already have started; plans are afoot, mwahaha! And of course I’ll be posting here about our progress and our work as we continue along this journey. For now I wanted to share with y’all our ideas and inspirations, and a couple examples of my recently upgraded Photoshop-fu.

This is the image I’m (so far) most proud of. A huge element of why this artistic path is so inspiring to us is that it allows us to play with parts of people’s personalities that’re maybe not so apparent in everyday life. My daughter, for instance, is obsessed with cats. Not just cats either but cat-creatures, cat warriors, cat people of all kinds. She’s endlessly drawing them and creating stories about them. So I decided to make HER a cat-girl. The idea behind this deceptively simple image is that she’s an ordinary tween-age girl, who likes hanging out with her bff, and just happens to be a cat.

conceptual portrait kitty girl and her bffConsidering I started with a portrait image I happened to have on file and added a quick snapshot of my housecat’s ears I think I did a freakin’ awesome job of making them look real! (And if you disagree, please don’t disabuse me of that notion..or at least be willing to give specific tips for how I could improve them in comments. ;p) This next one I expect would be most impressive to other Photoshop users..

Dreams of Alien Skies an experiemental portrait by Beachcomber PhotographyThe idea in this one was to make the image (which you can see in its original form in my previous post here) look as if it were a beach vacation pic taken on an alien planet. You might think that this effect could be achieved by just slapping a red filter on it and calling it a day, but actually it took half a dozen layers and lots of fiddling with dodge & burn etc to give the background that much color depth without making our subject Amanda completely blend in.

Anyway, these are just my first baby steps in the field of artistic compositing and digital effects. I’m looking forward to sharing much more with you in days to come!

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