As some of you may know, I am a big fan of pre-visualizing your shots. If you can see it in your mind’s eye before you capture the image, you have a better chance of making a significant photograph.
I’ve written about this a bit with my Cranes in the Fire Mist shot. I pre-visualized this shot in camera.
I am not a photo-journalist. Accordingly, the only thing that matters to me is the final image. So for you purists out there who think merely owning a copy of Photoshop is an offense worthy of beheading, read no further. There’s nothing for you to see here.
For the rest, I am of the opinion that ANYTHING you want to do to a photograph to get it where you want it is A-OK! As long as you are not a photo-journalist representing the image as fact, it doesn’t matter to me what you do or don’t do in post.
Sometimes, for me, the vision I have in my mind is either too difficult or simply impossible to get in camera. Sometimes it’s merely extremely inconvenient. Whatever the case, I have no problem pre-visualizing in the field, what I plan to shoot – knowing what I will do in post will “make” the picture.
In the case of the images in this post, I used post-processing to achieve the image I saw in my mind before I even got in the car. I was out scouting the local dry lake bed for the next Vegas SMUG meeting. I didn’t want to waste time so I also decided to make a photograph while on the trip. Knowing generally what the dry lake bed looked like, I decided to take my car out there and place a model, holding a silver material above her head. I was hoping for some sort of etherial vision shot with her and the car. The problem was, I saw this image as being more dramatic, made at dusk, and I was at this place at 9:45 AM. So I made the shot, then took it home, converted the RAW file out of my Nikon D7000 in Aperture, sent the image to Nik Color Efex Pro 4.0 where I used the White Neutralizer filter. Then I moved the image to TOPAZ Adjust 4.0 and applied the “Dark Ghostly” filter. This gave me a final scene that closely matched my original vision.
Note – this is not about which picture here that YOU like better. It’s about having you a vision and being able to execute it either in camera – or in post.
So unless you are a photo-journalist, the next time you go somewhere and see a shot that you can’t make under existing conditions, shoot it anyway and try to work it out in post. You never know, it might come out better than you think.