There are those that light paint, there are those that flash paint, there are those that just try to break the box and do something different. I believe that I might be all of those. This may be a practice in futility when it comes to grand uses and making a million dollars but what it does allow is education. The act of doing one of these images, I call them Multiplicity images or Strobe paintings, is that there are endless things to learn. It will test your knowledge and open you up to other possibilities that you may have never thought of. I test myself with these for not only the photography side of the process but the Photoshop and editing side. We went into this a little with my last blog post and I said that Radio Poppers were the tool that got me started. Being able to have the ease of use will controlling a light that I am not near is fantastic. Also when you are in the shot and the subject, they better work every time.
So, what am I doing is having fun and attempting to show what it is like to be me or any photographer on a daily basis. The noobs like me have to learn to do it all before making it far enough to hire others to help. So that means taking control of every part of my business. I am an artist, photographer, website builder, editor, creator, marketing and much more. I don’t have time to worry about if my flash will trigger at that perfect moment. Radio poppers solve that problem.
So step by step, here is how this image came to be. I was at my computer desk editing images from a session I had just shot. I received a phone call from a friend asking what I was doing. Well- the conversation took a funny turn, like it always does with this friend, when he asked if I was busy. I told him I needed a break and to give me a few minutes and I would show him the answer.
My strobe was already set up with my radio popper mounted. I decided that I would just use my desk, myself and Photoshop. Using one strobe and a strip box, I created this image
1. First up was a base shot that would go into Photoshop and everything would be built upon that. Here is that image:
2. I needed a center point so that I could remember all my positions for the final layout of the image. Yes, sometime, some shots can drive me crazy. I also knew that I would be interacting with myself in this image so I wanted the center me to look annoyed by the other me’s. Looking back I should have had something on my screen to show I was editing. I set up my camera to fire 5 images on a timer and that allows me to get back to my position and act out a couple different ideas or attitudes. That explains this…:
3. Next up, in my mind the best part, is how to interact with myself in the image. The interaction I believe, sells the image. You will see my strobe controlled by my radio popper in the images but understand that these will be removed in layers in Photoshop. I create a mask and only bring back in the areas that I need or want in the shot to highlight different parts. This excludes the flash and other things that may move into the image.
4. I have learned over time to only focus on the parts of the image that I am going to keep in the final image. So bad reflection can be painted away in masking and layers in Photoshop. PS. I place Velcro on the back of my radio poppers and on my strobes to keep them in place. Until I did that I can tell you that the Radio poppers are very tough and can handle 25+ drops! LOL Ok maybe not that many. Also remember this image was made for a friend to show what I was doing, so I thought I would have some fun with it and myself.
5. Continue to fill all the areas possible in the shot and keep track of every part of your body. Interaction is fine but the more you overlap your subjects the harder it will be in Photoshop later.
6 This image I knew would have to overlap but I have had some practice at this and have learned some tricks to making it easier. For one, always start with the image furthest back and work forward overlaying each subject. I find it much harder to do it the other way, Front to back.
7. Because I knew exactly where my frame ended I knew I had room to have a seat in the chair on the left. That is my take a break chair.
8. Finally I wanted to show myself doing everything including being a human light stand. That explains this last image.
9. By placing all of these images into Photoshop I can show you the end result that tells my daily story.
10. I am not here to tell you that this is easy, but what in life that is really cool is easy? It takes some work but the knowledge coming out an image like this can be priceless. When you go back and just need a head swap or remove a flare that you don’t like, these lessons all come into play. If nothing else it can free your mind for a little bit. Enjoy and I would love to see what you could come up with.