The Process of a Photograph

Photography isn't just taking pictures.  Most people believe a photographer spends their time looking through a viewfinder and traveling to exotic locations.  I've overheard people having conversations about how a photographer must be the easiest job in the world.  They travel, take pictures of beautiful women, and must have tons of free time. This is hardly the case!   A photographer spends most of their time scouting locations, editing photos, and getting there name out in the art world.  Actually, maybe almost all of their time is spent editing photos. 

I have had many friends and fellow photographers ask what my mobile photography process is and how much time I devote to photography.  A lot of my time as a photographer is spent on a computer, iPhone, and iPad.  I spend some of that time researching new locations to shoot.  I sometimes check hashtags on Instagram, but usually try to search for something that is original.  A good place to do this is to look through articles in magazines or journals that aren't centered around photography.    Besides researching the best way to really scout is to get out and about and explore.  This might be my favorite part of the photography process.  I just love getting into my car and setting off for unknown places in hopes of finding something new and beautiful.  Maybe I head out to a new spot based on a recommendation of a friend ,  or sometimes I stumble across photos taken from a location, but think maybe I can shoot it in a different perspective.  As an artist, I like the challenge of shooting a popular spot in hopes that maybe I can see it in a different way then others have.  After scouting a location I sometimes return to the same spot multiple times to shoot it.  It takes patience to find that perfect light and I always cross my fingers in hopes that mother nature will help out!

Edited with VSCOcam B5 preset

Edited with VSCOcam B5 preset

Edited with VSCOcam M3 preset  

Edited with VSCOcam M3 preset

 

Even though I spend a lot of time researching places to shoot, I spend even more time editing photos.  I really enjoy editing photos on my iPhone using the VSCOcam app.  I would rate VSCO as one of the top editing tools for mobile photography.  My process is fairly simple.  I use my iPhone 5 native camera to take photos and I use VSCO to edit them.  I even enjoy uploading photos to my iPhone from my Fujifilm x100s, so I can edit them using VSCOcam, but the downside to doing this is that VSCO downsizes the image in order to edit it.  VSCO offers many filter presets which can be used to create unique edits. I start by upload photos from my iPhones camera roll into my VSCOcam library.  I usually begin by choosing a preset and then from there I will tweak the exposure and contrast a bit.  My favorite present would have to be F2.  I use it about 90% of the time when I decide to use a preset.  I also enjoy using M3 and for black and white I use the B5 preset.  From here it really depends on the image.  I shoot a lot of fog photography and I really love playing with the temperature of these shots.  I either try to make my images gloomy and mysterious or more enchanted and mystical.   I find that fog in itself almost acts as a natural filter in photos and when I combine this natural process with the F2 process, it just seems to make fog photos come to life.  Another great feature that VSCO offers is the ability to apply highlight tint and shadow tint.  I find adjusting the highlights in fog photography can really take an image to the next level.  When I'm editing photos that have other subjects then fog, I usually go for a more natural look and try not to apply much editing.  I'll play with exposure and contrast a bit, but other than that I might just apply a preset. 

Edited with VSCOcam F2 preset

Edited with VSCOcam F2 preset

While I use VSCO Cam to do most of my editing on my photos, I also use TouchReTouch on some of my images.  This is a great app used to remove unwanted things from a photo.  I don't use it as often as my editing app, but sometimes it's just a lifesaver when you need to remove something from a photograph that takes away from the image.  I find myself using this app to remove markers that are stuck out in the middle of nowhere and can make or break a landscape shot.  I have used this app to remove objects off a wall that distract from a beautiful portrait.  When using this process it greatly increases my time in editing photos.  

 

Before the retouch of the metal pole

Before the retouch of the metal pole

After the retouch of the metal pole

After the retouch of the metal pole

While it only takes seconds to snap a photo,  the editing process takes extra work that the viewer of a photograph often does not take into consideration.  It's easy to look at a photograph and think you could have done the same.  This may be true in some regards, but most of the time you need mother nature on your side and that perfect timing.  Even after capturing that perfect shot, time is still needed to edit and bring that final image to life.  Photography isn't just about looking through a viewfinder and snapping a button.  It is a long process that takes patience, a bit of luck, and a lot of time behind a screen.