Post processing : digital trends & effects

By being a film integrist, I have been preventing myself from achieving a lot of things. Limiting myself to film has been pulling my creativity down. Yes larger format make pictures that are nicer that smaller formats. B&W film does destroy digital B&W, no doubt about it. But it's time for me to move on.

It happens to be that life is in color (duh), and that it is like adding 100 variables to the photographic equation, and as many possibilities. It also happens that creativity need trial and work, and the more the better. Finally, those "computers" everybody talks so much about - Oppan Grandma Style ! - do allow a lot of things.

So I got a Nikon D600 and I will force myself into digital for the next 3 months at least, no matter what.

Of course I need inspiration, and oh boy there are a lot of digital artists around ! And that's the problem really. What happens it that trends emerge, people start doing the same effects over and over again. So  I am going to talk about two of the ones that emerge, and because it's about being inspired, I'll show you examples of photographers who, in my humble opinion, do it great. Then feel free to recombine it to find your own style !

I'll also briefly explain how to do it.

1/ One of them is what I call the Florence and the Machine trend: hipstery soft tones with people tripping in the forest or a nice looking prairie, like a commercial for "well being while high in Switzerland". Usually involves lots of grass, like this:

A typical example. Hippies everywhere I'm telling you: low contrast, twisted tones and all, and grass. Loads of grass on those shots, always. Courtesy of Anoushka
The actual Florence, see ? Told Ya. And behind more grass.

Who does it great? Well many in total, but very few compared to the number of attempts. I'll pick Luisa Möhle as an example of success (lots of grass here too). It's technically impecable, always well framed, colors used for the best:

How to do it:
  • it's essentially a matter of place (with grass)
  • saturation
  • playing with curse by channel. 
  • levels to create that low contrast
  • there is no single recipe, just play with your software.

2/ An other trend is the "lets ads tons of fake halo, preferably red and blue, trend". Here again, the good and the bad coexist, I'll stick to the good :)

I'll use 3 photographers I already presented, Carlos Nunez, Benoit Paille, Hannes Caspar AKA "Bluecut", and myself (last shot). Notice that it can be very subtle:

Carlos Nunez

Benoit Paille
Hannes Caspar

this one's from me (645 film as opposed to others that are digital)

How to do it: same here, no recipe here again that work perfect every time:
  • create a blank layer
  • paint colors
  • decrease opacity
  • play with blending effects

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