Taking a good self-portrait is a lot more difficult than I initially thought. I have been researching and pinning movie poster ideas for several weeks now, but when it came down to the actual execution of each photo I began to get frustrated. As a perfectionist I am always very picky about every detail of the photography that I present. If it’s not perfect, or pretty dang close, then I don’t want to show it to others. This personality trait coupled with the fact that I would be showcasing my face on the final product was basically a lethal combination. Luckily, after a lot of hard work and editing I was able to create the movie poster you see below.
I am currently in the midst of my 4th consecutive semester of school and my very last semester before graduation. It has been a long journey and although I am so thankful for all of the amazing things I’ve learned I’m getting burned out and ready for a break. This Scream movie is based on my exhausting journey through my last semester of school.
I took the photograph of myself by setting up my camera on a tripod and focusing on a chair placed directly where I would position my face for the photo and then turning my camera on manual focus so that the focus would be locked on that spot. I initially tried using a speedlight positioned to the side of my face, but I wasn’t getting the saturation of light on my face that I wanted so I decided to switch to my on camera flash and that worked a lot better. The initial photo was good, but my editing process is really what made the difference. I spent hours cleaning up and brightening my face to mimic the original poster and give it a cleaner look. However, I still liked some of the detail that the flash highlighted on my face because I feel like it adds to the drama of the photo a bit so I tried not to smooth everything out too much. I also selected the eyes on the original poster and copied the selection which I then placed over my own eyes. I lowered the opacity on them to match the lighting in my photograph and to again make them a bit more realistic. In the end I had a lot of fun putting this all together!
Classmate Critiques: Daniel Flores & Ryan Joos
Original Unedited Photo (taken by Johnna McGarrah)
I LOVE looking for extraordinary shots in rather ordinary spots! It always helps me to push my creative boundaries and I usually end up finding beauty I might’ve otherwise overlooked. My mantra as a photographer and a designer is all about living in the details and to me this challenge absolutely embodies what I am all about.
For this particular shoot I took a walk around the BYU-Idaho campus on a Saturday evening about 7pm as the sun was beginning to set. My initial plan was to visit the apple orchards because I knew the trees were in bloom for the spring season. I took some pretty pictures of the trees and the flowers with the soft orange sunlight peeking through. Although they were beautiful they didn’t really feel very original or impressive considering the obvious beauty of the place.
So I decided to walk towards one of the buildings on campus to try to find something more creative. I was lucky to happen upon the greenhouse on campus just as the sun was setting. It was obviously gorgeous, but then I turned around and saw the reflection in the greenhouse glass and to me that was even more beautiful. There were also some cactus plants growing right in front of the greenhouse that I decided to shoot. Since the light was fading I had my husband use his iphone flashlight to light the particular cactus I was trying to focus on. The light added the perfect element to the photo and brought out the tiny textural details in the cactus that might’ve otherwise been lost.
For Christmas last year my husband bought me a speedlight because I really wanted one. As a photography junkie I always want to spend millions of dollars on the latest and greatest camera gear, but as a poor college student my options are often limited so I was definitely excited to get this new toy! Although I’ve had the speedlight for several months now I have been hesitant to use it mostly because I didn’t really understand how to use it most effectively. I am definitely still learning, but I feel like I made a breakthrough this week with my SQIBB photographs! I had so much fun and am very pleased with the results. I love the awesome shadows I got when using my speedlight. It really adds that extra interesting element to my photos.
The portraits in this post are of my cute husband Travis. I actually took them in my kitchen underneath our ugly overhead light, but by using a speedlight and the proper settings on my camera I was able to achieve the super classy invisible black background that you see in these photos. I set my ISO as low as it goes at 100, my shutter speed at 1/200, and my aperture at about f22. These settings kept the background black and only illuminated the portions of the subject that the speedlight landed on. My husband helped me position the speedlight for my fine art photographs, but since he was the subject in the portraits I was on my own. Since I don’t have a light stand I was able to simply screw my speedlight onto my tripod.