Jillian Ann – Backlit
I wanted to create a back-lit, dreamy, make-you-fall-in-love, fashion-magazine shot (phew…). I knew I had to put the sun behind Jillian. I knew there would be flare from the low setting sun. I knew it was going to be difficult to focus. What I didn’t know was how bad the flare was, and what it does to the contrast of the photo.
I asked Jillian to turn her back to the sun. She vehemently protested that the shadow was going to make her look like a ghost. But being a professional and a true artist, she complied. I fumbled with the auto-focus hunting, clicked when it finally settled, chimp’d at the LCD, scratched my head with confusion; then tried to repeat the focus-click-chimp-puzzled process for the next minute or two. Meanwhile, the onlookers giggled. They suggested that I quit wasting time and put her under direct sunlight. As stubborn as I am, I was determined to figure this out.
Anyway, I was not happy with what I saw back then; but I knew I got the elements of a high-key picture in place: blown-out and low contrast. I could probably salvage it with some post-processing. Sure enough, I was able to bring back healthy contrast with a simple black-point using Nikon Capture NX2. Next, I processed the TIFF in Photoshop to enhance the sunset – making the background look like autumn leaves. Voila! This is pretty close to what I wanted to accomplish.
Next, I tried some black and white conversions. This is a filter called high-contrast. Oooh, much better!
Why stop here? This following picture is called infra-red filter. I like the grainy effect and the soft focus. Made it dreamy.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Try something different. Else you will never learn new tricks. You would get the same picture like everyone else; over and over again.
- Don’t listen to bystanders. You are the shooter.
- Keep experimenting. If it is easy, then it probably won’t be dramatic.
- It’s OK to look foolish; as long as you have an objective. Then you can live to write about it in a silly blog.