There are times when a little experimenting with Photoshop can be good training in learning how to expand your sense of seeing. Most of the time, I prefer not to use the filters, to me most of them look contrived. From what I have seen many photographers use them to cover up problems with sharpness and exposure.
As a long time photojournalist I prefer sharpness and more of a documentary style approach. But there are occasions when something creative and interpretive can be had and it can enhance the vision of the photographer or at least satisfy the needs of a client who may want something different.
Upon my return from a photo trip to Tanzania, Africa I shot a series of wildlife images that turned out pretty well. I showed them to a client, a safari guide, who wanted a set of large animal prints and photos of Massai in cultural dress to be used in his office lobby, in Arusha. He already had prints that had been displayed for a few years and required something more unique, most notably for the wildlife images.
What I had wasn’t much different from what he had. A little more action and animal behavior and some good images with dramatic landscapes included. They were in the same category as what I had seen in several other safari offices throughout Arusha. They are atmospheric images used to entice walk in visitors to book safari trips.
I knew the display prints were going to be 16 x 24 in size then matted and framed. They would be viewed from a distance of fifteen to twenty-five feet. We looked through perhaps a hundred photographs and he kept coming back to tightly cropped face shots.
He edited a series of seven wildlife prints but I could tell there was hesitation in his selection. He said he was hoping for something more graphic.
After agreeing to meet again the next afternoon over coffee, at a local shop, I spent that evening playing with Photoshop trying to interpret a different angle on the presentation. The only thing that seemed to work was to use the watercolor filters.
I was not satisfied with brushes, sponges or pallets; they seemed to be more of a distraction. The watercolor filters however gave me something to work with. I tightly cropped the facial features of lion, cheetah, elephant, zebra, water buffalo, giraffe and baboon.
They did not work for hippo, hyena, nor for gazelle. Those just did look right so I scraped them. Showing those images would have degraded the overall presentation even though my client showed interested in those animals.
I was on time for our meeting and gave a short presentation on my computer. It was a success. My client was very happy getting something none of the other outfitters had.
An order was placed for seven wildlife and five Massai cultural images, all 16 x 24 Giclee reproductions printed on a nice matte watercolor paper that enhanced the character of the image and established a professional style of décor for his office space.
Though I will still hesitate in turning to Photoshop filters to alter my images it is comforting knowing that I have the tools to make changes necessary to please my clients if the need arises.
For further views on African wildlife photo safaris please refer to these suggested posts: http://myphotovisions.wordpress.com/2009/02/02/horizon-of-stars/
All images are copyrighted by Wayne Scherr, 2009, All Rights Reserved. No image may be linked to or downloaded without the written authorization of Wayne Scherr, Range of Vision Photography. Prints and or scans are available for purchase or lease. Please contact me through email: firstname.lastname@example.org or through my web site at http://www.rangeofvisionphotos.com