Picture Taking Fun During Walla Walla’s Red Badge Project Class

 

Red Badge Project visual media faculty member Johnny Bivera prepares to conduct a presentation on visual storytelling to veterans with PTSD.

Red Badge Project visual media faculty member Johnny Bivera prepares to conduct a presentation on visual storytelling to combat veterans.

I want to thank our students and staff for participating in a little shooting assignment for our first mini two-day Red Badge Project Workshop in Walla Walla’s Public Library. The assignment to use one’s cell phone camera to produce an image with the concentration on content I thought went really well.

So with that in mind, without worry to technical requirements, but more on subject placement, moment and graphical composition, I want to show what photographers can do in post work to make their images more interesting artistically and visually through Photoshop.

Please bear in mind that my manipulations are not intended to show that these are what your images should finally look like but more of a sample on what can be done from an illustrative point of view.

I have compiled the images as a side-by-side note before and after to better show how much work is used to alter and enhance each of the images everyone has turned in.  If we look at John’s image

WW_001of what appears to be a dog outside the yard looking in, the original makes it hard to read and it is a soft and blurry image. But there’s a possible graphical interest by using editing tools through Photoshop in the way of filters and third-party plug-ins such as NIC Software (http://www.google.com/nikcollection/). In John’s image I used sharpening tools as well as pushed the image’s pixel structure to a harsher edge and to also play with the saturation and warmer color balance levels to add additional tones and take it away from its original flat surface. Content wise, the graphics of John was on the right track and interesting to look at, I would in the same instance take additional shots to hopefully get a better silhouette of the dog and hold the camera as still as possible, helping to retain a sharper image. If holding the camera as still as possible hand-held but still your images are soft and not sharp, this is when the use of a tripod or setting yourself up against a wall or some solid object that will help keep your camera steady.

 

In Michael’s image WW_002of Army veteran Jerry Leisley’s tattooed arm and hat, is a very nice and clean image that supports the story article of our workshop published in the Union-Bulletin(http://union-bulletin.com/news/2014/aug/22/red-badge-project-writes-new-story-veteran-recover/). Again, the original is nice enough not needing much post work, but I want to show what changes are accomplished with the enhancement of the images pixel structure and a little burning and dodging of the highlights and shadow areas using that particular Photoshop tool.

Evan’s work on either a wood bench or fence is really nice when you de-saturate the color to black and white, apply sharpening and enhance the pixel structure to a harsher line adds a little more contrast to enhance a blacker shadow. For these images, you really want to pull out as much detail of the wood as possible. WW_003  A lot of detail shots are done by the use of a tripod, the shutter is slowed to gain greater depth of field and lighting and time of day is taken into account to gain the best possible three-dimensional feel to an image.  His second shot of a very cute baby is greatly enhanced by the use of sharpening tools to include structure enhancements and a little dodging and burning. Indoor photography without the use of fill flash is very challenging, and one of the most used for cell phone camera photographers. Both images have great content.

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Brent’s six images below show when applying the use

WW_007  of Photoshop editing and third-party software plug-ins, really pull out Brent’s great eye for graphic lines and design.

WW_008There would be great commercial or fine art value in Brent’s work should he continue to pursue photography more seriously. To get more out of Brent’s eye, talking technically, the time of day and studying where the light is coming from can greatly enhance these images or any future image he shoots.WW_006  Using a tripod for very early in the morning or when the sun sets, will add color saturation, three-dimensional shadows and detail, helping to add more to his images without having to use so much post Photoshop editing.

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Skips’ image of his dog is very nice and has a reflective relationship between man and his best friend. De-saturating the color to black and white and pulling the shadow detail out with a little burning of tone into the highlights balances the tonal value overall, as well as kicking in a little structural value of the pixels pulls out detail in the carpet lines and his dogs fur gives a more readable image overall.  WW_011

 

All in all the content of everyone’s images are very visually interesting and I hope that this gives all a better idea that the pictures that one is taking has an even greater value with a little work in post. But to better create a product, shooting the originals and taking into account your lighting and time of day for better color saturation and depth, using tripods or ways to steady the camera for a sharper image will greatly make for a better picture with less work later in post production.

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4 Responses to “Picture Taking Fun During Walla Walla’s Red Badge Project Class”

  1. Thank you for the suggestions and positive feedback as well as corrective measures. I believe i average about 100 shots a week with my Canon Rebel t5. And then there’s the cell phone photos on top of that. I find photography, and writing, my artistic releases. 22 years of a career in graphic design has also given me an edge for what i believe is an eye for both detail and a creative eye. Now if i could use it for some sort of financial benefit. Hard work, networking and many prayers. Blessed by grace, Brent

  2. Skip Nichols Says:

    The effects of PTSD over the past two years have left me without any desire to write or take photos. The Red Badge Project gave me a boost of inspiration. Thanks to you, Johnny, and every instructor for coming to Walla Walla. I hope this becomes a continuing reality for our combat vets in our area.

  3. @Brent – Wow, okay so now I see where you get this visual talent. It seemed very natural for you to turn in so many images that had some very interesting content in them. You also have it in you to generate a style, it’s within your reach, you just have to keep doing what you’re doing by enjoying it, and make sure it stays fun…

  4. @Skip – thank you for your kind words. It’s nice to know that we are helping in some way. What was it that John Candy said in the movie ‘Stripes” that made him decide to join the Army? “It’s for the stories man!” 😉 lol

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