Improving Conditions in Post Production
Outdoor photo shoots are dependent upon the weather. Not just avoiding rainy days, but hoping for perfect skies and ideal sunlight. Often, mother nature doesn't cooperate. However, the shoots must typically go on, leaving the creation of better conditions to a few hours in Lightroom and Photoshop. Such was the case for this architectural shot. It needed to be taken at a time when the bakery was closed, which meant the sun wasn't fully up yet and the skies were still largely gray. Some time in the aforementioned software allowed me to brighten up the shot considerably, add in a new sky and some sunlight, clean up the sidewalk and pavement to create this final image. It's much more what I had in mind before taking the initial photo and represents the business well.
Promoting Local Business
Some of my favorite shoots are the ones for local , small businesses. It's great to get to know the clients and find out more about their goals and aspirations. I enjoy doing a little bit to help them succeed. When they appreciate what professional photos can do for their business – whether in print, on the web or in social media – that really makes it a pleasure.
To me, portrait sessions are about more than simply capturing quality photos of an individual. They represent opportunities to meet interesting people from all walks of life. I recently had the distinct honor of photographing Duke Energy's new Chief Procurement Officer, Melody Birmingham-Byrd. She is being honored by Black Enterprise Magazine as a top female executive. I very much enjoyed getting to know her a bit and came away impressed. I'm anxious to read the article upon its publication.
Generating stations are places that most people will never see, let alone visit. However, nearly everyone depends on them to power their lives. I recently had the opportunity to photograph the new Citrus County Combined-Cycle Natural Gas Station for a couple of days. It came online in late 2018 and generates 1,640 megawatts of power – enough for 1.8 million customers. A maze of pipes that routes natural gas, air, water and steam, these facilities are marvels of modern engineering. This particular shot was taken on a day that had otherwise been overcast. Shortly before sunset, the clouds broke, and I was able to capture this shot from atop the cooling towers. Sometimes patience pays off.
On the campus of North Carolina A&T, I took the opportunity to visit the February One monument. Erected in 2002, it commemorates the four African-American men who held a sit-in protest of racial segregation at the lunch counter of the Woolworth department store. These protests took place in 1964. Sobering, indeed.
Post-Processing an Automotive Icon
Getting access to a Lamborghini Huracan Performante is a rare opportunity. A couple of days ago, I had a few minutes with this one. I captured a few shots under less-than-ideal conditions, but they gave me enough to work with. Folks who like my images often ask what kind of camera I use, which I'm always happy to share. Although they are complimentary of my shots, the unfortunate implication to their question is that the camera is doing the work. Obviously, good equipment helps capture high-resolution images of whatever it's pointing at when the shutter release is pressed. While I don't always have control over the subject matter or even the lighting, I do choose the exposure, composition, angle and crop. Then some of the complex post-processing work begins – correcting exposure, detail, color, saturation, etc. along with retouching. Fortunately, I have a background in Lightroom and Photoshop. This process often completely transforms the original image – hopefully in a good way – to create the final product that was in my mind's eye before the photo was ever taken.
One Lonely Night
My photography typically involves specific shots executed at the request of a client. On occasion, I try something new to work on broadening my portfolio and improving my abilities. Last week, I spent a few hours in uptown Charlotte doing some street photography. I primarily sought out areas with plenty of retail establishments, but no people – to highlight the contrast. This alley in the Epicentre was intriguing given the cobblestone sidewalks (which created an old-world feel) and the contemporary businesses.
Finding the Right Location
Unless the subject is a building or other immovable object, finding the right location is key to the overall quality of the final photo. Sometimes, this can be quite time consuming. Backgrounds can complement, enhance or contrast the primary subject. In the case of automotive photography, finding suitable locations is often problematic. They must be accessible and large enough to accommodate a vehicle, face the correct direction for the time of day and not be surrounded by items that reflect into the paint. In this example, this Corvette Stingray is parked in front of a well-executed mural at a storage facility – contrasting a whimsical cartoon with the serious sports car.