A Personal Touch
Cheryl Machat Dorskind
Let’s face it, photography is competitive. Anyone can call themselves a photographer; so the essential question is, “How are you any different than the typical guy or gal with the expensive camera gear?” The answer lies in what you are communicating and how your style sets you apart?
I recently judged the annual Westhampton Beach Outdoor Art Fair. Interestingly, the majority of artists were photographers. As a judge, I surveyed the art with an eye for originality, a what-else-can-you-show-me attitude.
I immediately noticed landscapes as the common subject; their presentation set them apart. Some chose traditional metal frames behind glass and others printed on canvass. One artist caught my eye: she used traditional c-prints (color photographs from negatives) dry mounted onto bamboo wood blocks. They were available in different square sizes which hung especially well as a group (ka ching…more sales).
Best in show however, went to a realist watercolorist who expanded his canvasses to include the mat and frames. His African portraits reached across the edges of the watercolor paper and glazed onto the mat boards. The frames were also part of the art, each molded with pressed tobacco leaves.
Many of the photographs remain a blur and so I thought “What better way to introduce you to my class “Painting Photos?”
My online class at ppsop, “Painting Photos,” is designed for the photographer who wants to explore something more. It is for the photographer who is ready to enter art shows and photo competitions, or the photographer who wants to create greeting cards, fine art editions, or personal gift items.
Just as a frame enhances an image, a border will set your photo apart. And while there are many software products that allow you to create a border, painting photos instructs you how to create a border that is truly unique. Consider the following examples from former students.
In Lesson One students are assigned to photograph their environment and sort through old photos that have an emotional thread. I then suggest which images to pursue through the remaining lessons. This is an image submitted by Linda Burke for the creative border assignment.
Patty McCabe added her handprint with this image. She created a background layer using the paper texture I provide, filling it with a 50% opacity. She created an artistic border using the eyedropper tool to add just the right color by selecting an area of lilac within the image. She then used the eraser brush to bring back more of the flower.
Creative borders can be show stoppers, as they were for a former student Cordia Murphy whose recent exhibit drew rave reviews. During the class, Cordia enthusiastically wrote, This serves me well because I am doing a show in February and wanted to mix it up a bit and not have straight landscape photos. The show is of the same area so wanted to catch attention.”
Creative borders can be show stoppers, as they were for a former student Cordia Murphy whose recent exhibit drew rave reviews. During the class, Cordia enthusiastically wrote, “I have gone border crazy. This serves me well because I am doing a show in February and wanted to mix it up a bit and not have straight landscape photos. The show is of the same area so wanted to catch attention.”
John St. Pierre working with Photoshop CS4 and Corel Painter used the rice paper texture (provided) and a brush template he created with india ink to add his personal stamp.
Robert Belie selected a photo dear to his heart to enhance using Photoshop Elements and created an artistic border. He desaturated the color, added a texture (provided in the class) and added a gradient to change the gold to orange in the foreground. The image was printed on watercolor paper with a deckle edge (papers are discussed in lesson 4), and used watercolor pencils to enhance the flesh tones, and add back color in the balloons. His signature was added with the digital brush (a bonus lesson in painting photos).
Scott Pakulski wanted to say something more with his photographs of the Eiffel Tower. Here is the before and after. His image was printed on inkjet paper. First an artistic border was created in lesson 2 and then a dry brush filter was used in lesson 3 to selectively enhance color.
While it is September, it is also time to be thinking of your holiday card promotion. If you want to have your cards stand out among the many options available online, then join me for painting photos class or a one-on-one with “Painting Photos.”
Join me on You tube and watch a video tutorial http://www.youtube.com/user/cheryldorskind?feature=mhee
Class Requirements: Photo editing software is required (Photoshop, Corel, Elements, Microsoft Picture Image). Adobe and Corel offer free 30 day trials. The class can be strictly digital or a combination of hand and digital. Painting experience is not required, but a willingness to explore and patience is a must. If you like to lose yourself in the process of Photoshop, or want to experiment with fine art paper and applying colors to inkjet prints, then this is the right class for you.
Cheryl Machat Dorskind, a noted professional photographer for over twenty years, shares her passion for photography through her books, teaching, fine-art, and commissions. She is the author of two best selling photography books (The Art of Photographing Children and The Art of Handpainting Photographs), a college professor for the past 18 years, a fine art photographer and handpainter, and has been teaching at ppsop since 2006.
Cheryl also teaches All About Color.