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Learn To Turn The World Off – Fine Art Fantasy Photography by Reality Reimagined

Learn to turn the world off.  That’s the lesson I’ve been trying to teach myself for ages now.  Be a part of the world around you, be present for those most dear, but learn to recognize the importance of being alone in your own world and mind.

I just finished speaking at the recent Shutterfest 2022 photography conference held in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States.  It’s one of the nation’s best photography conferences with some of the leading artists in our industry.  However it’s the community that brings me back every year and every year I try to find new ways to exceed everyone’s expectations.  That was the trial that brought me back to my mantra of “turn the world off.”  This was my fourth year teaching and sixth year in attendance at this conference.  I decided this year to make myself more available to the students during the after-class-hours events and sessions.  This meant that my available time to photograph on my own with friends and talent, was severely limited.  However I thought I could find a hybrid – a middle ground to see if I could do both.  I did and during each event, I never felt comfortable.  I felt like I should either be out of the way and let the students photograph, walk among them and look at their images and bolster their confidence.  I also continually kept looking at the talent (friends in most cases) in the bay and feeling like I was letting them down, because I wasn’t standing in front of them with a camera the whole time.  Each night I thought “I didn’t do my job – you’ve got to be better than this and get the images AND teach.”

Then a few days later I find myself sitting in my home office, looking at the images that I barely remember capturing and realizing that I did indeed, do one valuable thing that made the whole thing successful:

I learned to turn the world off.

Model: Breezy Thistle
Dress organized by: Janelle Folk
Background by: Intuition Backgrounds
Gear: Canon EOS R5, RF 50mm 1.2, Adorama Flashpoint XPLOR 300 pro
Settings: F 5.6, ISO 200, Shutter 1/160
Photography and Photoshop art: Reality Reimagined

#fineart #fantasy #photography #fashion #realityreimagined #intuitionbackgrounds #shutterfest2022 #canon

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Shutterfest 2022 || Creating Timeless Art and Photography

I just returned home from teaching at the best photography conference in the world: Shutterfest.
My photography background is in high-school seniors, weddings and general portrait work. I wanted to help folks tell their story through great artwork and build a business that was made up of the best of my wife and I. However, our original studio shut down in 2017 and Reality Reimagined became my primary focus.
My beginning Shutterfest experience as a student was about filling in the blanks of artwork that I didn’t already do on a daily basis at home. So I started shooting fantasy, cosplay and the like, back in 2015. I became known for that work and it has lead me on a wonderful road of becoming an educator and showing others how to create the story. This year I told myself that I was going to capture some classic, beautiful portrait artwork. No composites, no special effects – just beautiful lighting, posing and camera work that I could be proud of.

So it was an honor and pleasure to capture this image of Miranda during the demos I did for Intuition Backgrounds on Wednesday afternoon. Miranda, her wonderful mother Rachel Bourgoin Torrey and I have been trying to find a time to work together for a few years now. I think we did good? Yeah. We did.

 

Model/HMUA: Miranda Rayne
Photography and Photoshop art: Reality Reimagined
Gear: Canon EOS R5, RF 50mm 1.2, Adorama Flashpoint AD300pro
#fantasy #fashion #art #intuitionbackgrounds #realityreimagined
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Confidence Is Being Able To Say “I Don’t Know.” || Boudoir Photography by Reality Reimagined Featured in Shutter Magazine

THE SAME STORY, ALL OVER AGAIN

 

“Okay so I’ve got the new camera or the new lens. I know how to use it (mostly) and ready to work. Wait, I’ve got that new light too and that new modifier that I am sort of sure that I don’t know how to use, but how hard can it be, right? Plus that new clothing piece that I found at the thrift store that would be so cool to use in a shoot. Not sure what kind of shoot – maybe fashion, maybe boudoir – maybe just, well, whatever – I want to use it in a shoot. Oh there was that tutorial I saw on YouTube from some middle aged white guy that talked about storytelling – yeah, I want to do that too! But I need to remember to shoot for the IPS session, so I can make the all the money. Did I ever get that sample ordered from H&H Photo Lab? Did I pay my taxes yet? Well whatever, I’m here at the location for the shoot, time to setup and get to snappin’!”

And then my favorite part:

“Okay so um model/subject, um you know – just do your thing and look cool and I’ll take some pictures!”

 

 

How many of us are very familiar with this typical scene in our photography travels. We spend the time before the session thinking of all the “stuff” we can shove into the shoot. We greet the client and while they suit up we adjust the lights and the camera for that new lighting pattern that we want to do. We spend valuable, crucial, creative time focusing on the technical giving no care to the art. Then it’s time to create the art and we fall back on basic poses and other tropes that get the shoot moving, but really isn’t innovating the experience and adding a new layer to what you offer you clients.

 

 

I know that sometimes this “auto-pilot” feels necessary, depending on how much time you have for the shoot or how busy your studio is at the time. However, this is where a philosophy comes into play that we often reject and for understandable reasons. Do you value quantity over quality? We all intellectually think we value quality, for sure. But when we are standing in the photography bay, subject waiting and all that technical garbage is running through our brain, suddenly quantity becomes the driving force to the shoot – for at least the first half. Then suddenly we remember we are artists and quality is key to our IPS session/brand experience and we suddenly reinvent the wheel. If that effort is successful, then rad and I bet some of the images you sell are from that quality part of the shoot. If it isn’t, we finish the shoot and get frustrated because we had all these plans and they all were tossed out, without realizing it.

Speaking of plans, that’s how I got past that issue in my work – most of the time.

 

 

CREATE A SYSTEMIC APPROACH TO THE SHOOT

 

When I approach most of my sessions, I begin the plan with Microsoft OneNote. It’s a wonderful resource to use, for all types of note-keeping and planning. I love it because it syncs to all of my devices and is always at my fingertips when some rando idea runs through my mind.
I start a page labeled as the session/client name and immediately write down three emotions that I want to capture with this subject. Now for my upcoming boudoir line, part of this decision will be focused on what type of style the client has selected. If they want natural light and soft, simple lingerie, then chances are we aren’t going to explore the more intense emotions. If the client wants strobes and dramatic style, then one of the three emotions I choose can be in that arena.

Those three emotions become the entire foundation to the session. I know what lighting patterns to choose. I know what poses will help to communicate those feelings. I even know what compositions to make, to potentially help tell that story. While I do this, I listen to my Boudoir playlist on Spotify – it’s filled with music that I have curated that entice that part of my imagination where stories can be born for this type of shoot. I’m an artist – why not stimulate my senses while I make a creative plan for a systemic photography session? I’ve even opened a bottle of pinot noir and let my mind wonder a bit while I draft the plan.

The next step is to source some spec images that you can put into the OneNote page, that align to the emotions you’ve selected. I often will go back to my previous work and find images that visually have an impact and I will analyze why. Is it the lighting, the pose – was the session “successful” and did it represent quality over quantity? I drag those images from Adobe Bridge, into the OneNote and put tem below the emotion they represent. Then I write notes underneath the image that identify what I like about that piece.

While holding my favorite wine glass and sniffing the notes, I suddenly am reminded of props and then I go on a creative hunt for more images that can help suggest a pattern of the story I want to tell. If my portfolio doesn’t have what I seek, then I turn to the bottomless pit of spending all my money: Pinterest.

Pinterest is wonderful to use, but can be the bane of a professional photographer’s existence (hello wedding photographers who get the 17 boards from the bride) so tread lightly as you navigate this space. This effort is truly the first test of quality over quantity – is it not? We see so many ideas laid out before us and our mind can race. Train yourself to focus on seeing past the images to those that leap out and speak to the emotion you are trying to represent.
Each image you add to the OneNote, write down notes beneath it as to what drew you into it and how it can fit into your style, your session. I strongly encourage you though, to innovate on the image and make it your own. Do not just carbon copy the entire thing and call it your art – because it isn’t, in my humble opinion. Dare to be different and add something new atop the foundation of what you see in another person’s work.

Once the images have been curated (generally four to six images per emotion) I then spend some time reflecting on what images will fit best into the products that I offer my clients. Shoot for the cover of the album, knowing it’s shape and size. Shoot for the spread in the album or the right framing on images that go into the image box. What’s a good teaser image for this session that you can show the client in an email? What image can be the the thumbnail for the app you provide to them for their devices? Is that image a candidate for a wall portrait – what size do you want to sell – remember that when you shoot it, by writing down notes in the plan to tell yourself that at the shoot.

 

 

CONFIDENCE IS NOT BEING AFRAID TO SAY “I DON’T KNOW.”

 

My father told me long ago “never be afraid as a leader to look someone in the eye and tell them you don’t know the answer to their question or problem. Then tell them that you both can find out the answer, together.” He was a great man and a great leader in corporate Amercia – wisdom for the ages that I’ve held onto all of my life.

And just like quality over quantity, I abandoned that beautiful wisdom the moment I started photographing clients for money. They are giving me money; I have to know everything and look like it’s all under control. I can’t look like the light isn’t working or spend a minute moving it around and fixing it – if that new lighting idea doesn’t work in ten seconds, then screw it and go back to boring flat lighting and make them do the Captain Morgan pose with the chair.

Then one day I decided to tell the truth to my client: “I’m trying this new idea with my lights that I’ve never done before. I think it’s going to be really beautiful and I just need a minute to dial it in.” The client looked at me with excitement because I just told them that they are going to be the first to do something special – no one else has an image like this yet. After that minute, I was ready to go and captured a few frames and ran to show the client, because I still was not confident that my lame ass excuse was believed. They loved the image and said to me “this is beautiful artwork!”

That’s the key, right there. You have an opportunity to capture artwork and when you take the time on set to adjust your lights, to fiddle with your camera – to look at your OneNote to remind yourself of where the adventure is going next, you are curating artwork. Never apologize for that, never feel insecure about that. Rise in the confidence that you are taking the time to provide your client with the art they deserve – quality over quantity.

 

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Boudoir Is About Who You Are || Boudoir Glamour Photography by Reality Reimagined

Boudoir doesn’t always have to be about bedrooms and lingerie; it should be about who you are.  Case in point: this series with Autumn.  This was our first time working together and the whole purpose of the shoot was to capture a Vampire, not boudoir.  I told her that to maximize her time (and the amazing warehouse space we had rented for the day – Park Street Studios is stunning!) to bring some lingerie/clothing that would go with a black leather jacket.  Something on this side of sexy, but not bedroom boudoir.  I had a vision that I’m sure called back to some of the visuals of movies, music and other artistic elements I saw growing up in the 1980s; big hair, black hose, kick-your-ass boots and all the allure that could knock you down with a glance.  I saw a powerful young woman on her way to a gig, walking among the city lights at night with her light shining the brightest.

 

 

True to the picture we were painting, Autumn had a gig the day before our shoot that was a long day.  Late to sleep, early to rise and a few hours later she was standing in front of me like the action had never stopped, the energy was still riding high.  After a brief explanation of the lighting pattern I was working with and my process of shooting, we began our work.  What a journey; Autumn is truly a master of her craft.  Each pose, each moment was a story unto itself and I had the pleasure of tweaking those stories when we landed on those that spoke to my vision.

 

But let’s talk about the photography and the lighting here – perhaps a little bit about the process too.  First the gear.  I’m using a Canon EOS R5 with an RF 24-70mm F2.8 lens.  The settings for this series were F-8, shutter speed of 1/160th of a second and ISO: 50 because I like to add the noise to an image in digital photo editing, not have the camera do it for me.  I’m using two Godox AD600 strobes in this scene, the one positioned on camera left is using a 47 inch octabox from Strobepro and the second light positioned off of camera right is using a 7 foot parabolic umbrella with a diffusion sock from Impact.

 

The positioning of the lights aren’t set in any formal pattern, simply placed to sculpt the light around Autumn for this series of poses.  That is one of the key essentials to creatively lighting a subject; set the pattern then have the model work within that pattern.  I explained to Autumn that the key light (the main/strongest light source) was positioned behind her and would wrap around from camera left.  The fill light (second most powerful light on the set) would gently lift the shadows on camera right.  As we worked I would infrequently increase the power of the fill light by a full stop of power, lifting the shadows even more and creating an almost equal balance of power between both lights.  The shape of the modifiers is then what would create the variety to the lighting and still give a different visual.

 


To create a little variety, I switched the two lights in their relative positions to the camera – the octabox is now on camera right and the parabolic umbrella is on camera left.  Same power settings for the most part, but with less surface area on the octabox than the parabolic umbrella, we got some interesting patterns to the light.  As she worked with the jacket like the prop it became, I focused my attention to the lighting itself and continued to quickly power up or down, either light to create variance.

 

 

As with all sessions once I get into the flow of the creativity, I tend to ride that wave of inspiration and follow that spontaneity.  This makes it fun to be present in the moment and to collaborate with the subject so they feel as much a part of the session as you are.  However it has draw backs that only really come to life (for me) when I am in front of the computer culling the session down.  My regret is that I didn’t spend more time exploring various angles to Autumn while using this backdrop and these lights.  In my mind I slapped a label of “portraits” for this part of the session and then slapped a new label of “slice-of-life” on to some natural light image work we did in a nearby window.  This practice comes from my days of running a studio capturing high-school seniors.  Each part of the session had to be compartmentalized to “portraits” or “landscapes-with-kid-in-it” or the slice-of-life that was ultimately my favorite to capture.  Each style had a location and a new look to compliment that label.  Working with a professional model like Autumn, I need to learn to capture images that fit all of those labels, all within one location/one look/one scene.

 

When I look at the above work I am happy with what I see.  The subject is fantastic, the feelings are there and the various moving parts all worked together for a great 20 minute series.  It is precisely that contentment that motivates me to want to do more.  The energy from a job-well-done has always been the spark that fires my mind to want to see more and more from the work.  Perhaps I need to take a step back during the session and simply ask myself “is this all you need this to be – is there more that you can create here?”  Again stemming from my portrait studio days I would ask myself that silent internal question, but from the perspective of “have you shot enough images of this look for the IPS (in-person-sales) session – if so, then time for them to change clothes and move on.”

I’ll get there, it is just a matter of focus and time.

 

Model: Autumn Skye Huse || Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/autumn.huse || IG: @tumthecreator

Backdrop: Spectrum as a part of the David Byrd Imagination Collection with Intuition Backgrounds

Location: Park Street Studios in St. Louis, MO || Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ParkStreetStudiosStL

 

#boudoir, #allure, #glamour, #lingerie, #storytelling, #leather, #autumnskyehuse, #spectrum, #intuitionbackgrounds, #realityreimagined

 

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Impactful Art & Stylization | Gel Lighting Glamour Photography by Phoenix Photographer Reality Reimagined

Regardless of your genre of photography, I believe it’s vital to learn new techniques and tools to create visually impactful art and stylization. Why? Because in business you want to be able to tell your clients “yes and” rather than “no I can’t.”
 
An image of a bride is a lot different than the gel lighting glamour photography image below. So why learn something new that “only” applies to stytlized art like gel lighting glamour images? Because the client has an imagination and wants to collaborate with you (the artist) to bring their expectations to life. Exceed those expectations and provide them with stunning art.
gel lighting glamour image
 
Special thanks to my dear friend Kiarra who is incredibly talented and always a blast to work with!
 
Part Two of this full tutorial is now available on my YouTube channel and you can download the base image of Kiarra and an action to follow along with the tutorial.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBtO_ck7CnY
 
Model: Kiarra Anais
Photography: Reality Reimagined
Glow effects: Oniric by Composite Nation
Photoshop art: Reimagined Art Plugin for Photoshop (www.realityreimagined.com/reimagined)
Gear: Canon ROS R, EF 24-70 F2.8
Lighting: Adorama Flashpoint
Modifiers: Strobepro
 
#photoshop #tutorial #glamourphotography #gelphotography #colorfulart #art #reimagined #neonglow #colorgrading #realityreimagined #oniricglows
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