CJ Wilkes

About CJ Wilkes Photography

Capturing Your Dance In The Rain is such a thrill and joy to me. Being able to look back on those special times through beautiful artistic imagery makes it a worthwhile challenge.
Learning to Dance in the Rain has been very easy for me. I am drawn to Water & Life! The exciting part for me is to teach you to enjoy your moment in the dance as I capture it from behind my camera.
Looking forward to Capturing Your Dance In The Rain
CJ Wilkes

Tag: ‘image’



Black & White vs Color – Why? How? When? Where?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

The question that we see come up repeatedly that boggles many yet is an issue to many others. Which image is better and WHY? WHEN? WHERE? HOW?

Through the next little while we will explore this topic and include many interesting blogs, tutorials, and links that will hopefully help people understand when, why, how, where it is appropriate to choose one or the other of these for your image. Starting out in photography we are learning so many different things from how to use the camera, composition, different editing techniques, focus, proper exposure, textures, two tone, white balance – ok we get the idea, the list goes on and on. We learn through practice and error. We train our eyes to see the different things like what is blown out color channels? What is white balance and how do we properly fix it? What is calibration? All of these are learned and valuable to our art and craft. Same holds true to choosing black & white or color for your image. There are many reasons a person would choose BW or Color.

I will start out with – learning to appreciate both. I have found some people have a strong hold and love of one or the other. As artists it is our choice and preference that directs what we go with. But if you do not have an appreciation for both in the beginning then you may find down the road you might end up questioning that preference and wonder “Will this look good with the other option?”  Wonderful question because then you need to learn the When, Why, Where, and How to choose one or the other.

Color has often been associated with life, vibrancy, the Here and Now, and moods or emotion.

Black and White is often associated with being classic, Forever, Never ending, the past, the here being capsulized for always.

In my own venture I had always had a great love for color. The last few years of being a photographer I developed a great respect, admiration, and yes Love for Black and white images. I offer both to my clients – but if I feel one is a stronger then I just show them the one.

Here is an example of my practicing on a daughter a while back using BW vs Color and light.

Color http://www.cjwilkes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/DSC4014fweb.jpg

BW    http://www.cjwilkes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/DSC4014bfweb.jpg

With a candle – the glow of the light on the subject’s skin adds a gorgeous golden shine. But sometimes – black and white still wins – even with candles. The decision would then rest on me as to which is better and why. I would fall back on several questions. What is this for?

A -Is it for a client? If yes, I would show both. Their decision. Solved.

B -Is it for an album? http://www.cjwilkes.com/blog/?p=1382 If yes – What is showing on that spread? Color or BW? If color then I would stick with color because mixing BW and color disrupts a flow. If BW then I would stick with BW for the same reason as with color.

C -Is it for a series being released? If yes – then I would stick with the pattern in the series. I would not show 1 color in a series of all BW or one black and white in a series of all color. If the series is a mix (which I do not recommend for the fact listed before, that mixing BW with color disrupts flow or boggles the mind. If you do choose to do a mix though – then make sure that mix is half and half with your strongest colors and your strongest Black and Whites. (Also, taking into account keeping your tones of BW matching – Consistency does matter).

Here is a blog I had done of my youngest boys. You can see that I did mix both color and black and white. By following a pattern and helping keep a consistent flow by matching the editing style and tones it still works nicely.

http://www.cjwilkes.com/blog/?p=1759

Here is a blog where I had done a session all in Black and White. I went into the session with that in mind. The entire shoot from clothing to lighting and finally editing in Black and white was predetermined and executed just how envisioned:

http://www.cjwilkes.com/blog/?p=1725

When shooting cultural shoots many think of the old style sepia. I tend to lean in favor of the Black and white or my own version of a cooler or semi warm black and white. Depends on the mood of the actual shoot. But the vibrant colors from the regalia screams COLOR to me. Yes, in past times maybe black and white is what they had, but today we do have color. So my reverence is often done in the way I pose them rather than by taking it to a classic conversion. I want everyone to experience the Ooo and awe of witnessing the intricate and colorful designs. Of coarse I provide the black and whites for them to view as well, but for display I hand pick what I want the world to see of my work.

http://www.cjwilkes.com/blog/?p=1506

As an artist I believe you should be selective in what you show. I believe you should be confident in what you show. If you don’t have the confidence to decide then ask, How am I showing this piece? Why would I want to show it in Color? Why would I want to show it in Black and White? What is the emotion or do I want emotion felt so strongly based on color? What is the Mood? What purposes are these being shown? For a client? For an album? For a showing? What is it being shown with? What are the other images? Will this compliment the other images it is showing with or will they compliment your image? Will your image stand out? Break it down in your mind or on your screen. Make your decision. Stand behind it with pride!

 

Here are some links talking about BW or Color images:1. Pauls Photo Blog http://paulsphoto.com/blog/2013/08/29/why-choose-black-and-white-photography/

 

2. Image resource http://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2012/11/09/color-vs-black-and-white-photography-debate-stirred-by-new-cartier-bresson

 

3. Outdoor Photographer http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/how-to/shooting/why-choose-b-and-w.html#.VLX9zHug-zw

 

4. Eric Kim Street Photography http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2011/04/04/which-is-better-black-and-white-vs-color-for-street-photography/

 

5. Photoble  http://www.photoble.com/photo-inspiration/black-and-white-vs-color-photographs

 

6. Ellen Annon writes  http://masteringphoto.com/black-and-white-vs-color-photography/

 

7. VIDEO Marc’s Photography Tips http://www.silberstudios.tv/videos/marcs-photography-tips-choosing-black-and-white-versus-color/

 

8. FStoppers  https://fstoppers.com/post-production/determining-if-photo-should-be-left-color-or-converted-black-and-white-8485

 

9. Photography Vox  http://www.photographyvox.com/a/color-vs-black-and-white-photography/

 

10. Good ole Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-and-white

 

11. Good ole Wikipedia Color Photography http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_photography

 

Interesting research on Color:

 

1. Color wheel with color meaning http://www.color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning.html

 

2. Life Hacker Learn the Basics of Color Theory http://lifehacker.com/learn-the-basics-of-color-theory-to-know-what-looks-goo-1608972072

 

3. Psychology of color in marketing and branding http://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/

 

4. Color Theory for Designers http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2010/02/08/color-theory-for-designer-part-3-creating-your-own-color-palettes/

 

This page also published http://photoshoplightroomgroup.com/faq/black-white-vs-color/

Concept Generation

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

There are many parts to a concept From A to Z. I am going to cover the first few steps, which I find to be the most vital, and that is making the concept a reality. Of coarse the first step is to have an idea. Second step for me

is to go and shoot some images that can possible work. Of coarse, getting it in the first shot would be awesome, unless I change my mind – so I shoot several ideas and then some closer details. Once I get home, I cull

through the images until I have found the ones that would work nicely. In this case we are starting with the following 3 images of my daughter just taken yesterday:

DkThanya3fweb

These images won the lottery for the project. They will become the third image in the “Cross My Heart” series. So now that I have the images I need to put them together so that they seamlessly fit together. I started with

Images A & C c being the image on bottom and A on top. Before I did that though, I had to extend the walls from image A (This is going to be a vertical layout.)
To extend A I made duplicates of A. 4 to be exact. Sure I could have free transformed, but I did not want much distortion. Instead, I duplicated and masked back. Once I did that, I merged the copies and placed c on top

with a mask.

 

Once C was on top of a I lowered the opacity so I could see the image below and still see C. Next used Free Trasform (locking it so the dimensions would not warp) and altered the size of the image so it lined up almost

perfectly. I then put the opacity back to 100% on layer c. By inverting the mask I had less to paint, so that is the option I chose. I painted the legs in. For any areas that did not mesh perfectly, I cut and pasted new layers of

the back wall and masked where I needed so it blended well enough.
Here it is with the legs extended:

DkThanyaLextendfweb

I knew this image would be a darker image so I did not stress about it being too perfect. The legs would not be the highlight of the image.

 

Nathanya’s face is lovely here, but the series as a whole is a bit quirky. The first image of my son crossing his heart – his lips were puckered. The second image with my daughter Miriam, her lips were semi puckered and her

eyes were opened wide. When deciding on this particular image, I wanted it to match in flow – not only by color. By tying actions I felt that I could achieve this particular goal. So with this image I had taken some images

where her eyes were open very wide.

 

I had made a copy of all the below work. Next I placed image B on top with a mask again. (When shooting for a concept I try to shoot several images in a row that are similar. Little details really matter. Same with the close

ups. I try to have those done in the same spot, angle, lighting.) The image with her eyes open were a close up, this helped me not only to get the look I wanted, but the clarity as well. I did the same as I had done with the

other 2 layers. I added a mask to B. Lowered the opacity so I could view the image below. Free transformed the image, locked it so that it does not warp when transforming. I then proceeded to use the eyes as my guide. I

matched the inside of the eye near the nose. Once I matched those fairly well I then set the transform and put the layer back up to 100%. This time, I was using more of the image so I did not invert my mask. (Again, less

painting for me.) Using the black I masked until I was satisfied that it blended well enough.

DkThanyaFswapfweb

Now many of you may think that the changes are too subtle, well they are quite subtle, but attention to detail will make and or break an image.

 

Can you see that mark on my baby girl’s hand? Well that would be one of those stick on tattoo’s. Kids love them. My children are no different. Only problem is, they are a pain to get rid of and fade into an ugly mess. I could

have taken a picture of her other hand and covered it – but instead, I thought – This is another chance for me to learn a new skill! So I decided to make a new rub on tattoo for her hand. Hopefully one that would match the

scenery nicely.

 

Talk about control freak! Hahahaha I guess I am when it comes to my art. I simply used my brushes to create this little piece:

DkThanyaTATTOO

 

Sticking it on her hand did not go so great. I had to duplicate the image, add noise and lens blur. Then I added it. I played with a few mode options to see what I liked. I had a normal layer and I believe a linear burn layer.

Lowered the burn layer to the opacity where it blended best. The end results were perfect!

DkThanyaAtattoofweb

Once I have my piece ready then I can go crazy with color, lighting and overall feel. This is exactly what I wanted to start with. Turned out great! Because of the patience of my girl, I had the shots I needed and was able to

add on to the collection. Introducing the newest image “Lost-N-Found”

 

DkThanyafweb

If you have questions feel free to ask. Would love your feedback. Thank you!

~ Cindy

Practice Starts with Me March of 2013

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

I am the first to admit that I cannot stand being in front of a camera. I am not comfortable with the skin I am in and am not good at posing myself. I cannot tell you if I look good or not cause I don’t see it. But when I am behind the camera I see what I like or don’t like. Not sure how many can relate to this, but my self image is not the best.

As  a photographer I believe in always challenging myself with new or different things, from editing to ways of shooting. Afterall, the more you shoot, understand, and practice – the better you can get. Does that mean all my images are great? NOPE Not at all. I take my fair share of FLOPS. The thing is I cull through the images before bringing them to you. Heeeheeeheeee. So this particular blog is not going to be my most comfortable blog. I am going to share my personal challenges from Feb. 2013 and a few images from it too.

Always remember that practice is just that – practice. Here I had challenged myself to shoot some self portraits. If I am not comfortable and feel what others feel, I may become more empathetic to how those in front of my camera may feel. Here – you all can see my own discomfort too. :/ Can  you sense my nervousness?

_DSC3843bfweb

So – I admit one thing here. I did not push the shutter and I had a tad of guidance from my dear friend Stacey. I will go into that later. Some things I did to feel better about the session was make sure I did my hair. I have natural curl, but I still curled it. I made sure to wear a little makeup, and I bought a new shirt. I felt beautiful. Because I felt beautiful – I was much more relaxed than I would have been otherwise.

_DSC3844fweb

I loved the look and texture of the gray rug on the floor. Not too distracting but not too plain – hopefully adding without taking away from the image. I think it did well. I also put myself down lower on the ground so you could not all look at my double chin. That meant a lot to me.

As I mentioned, Stacey assisted me some with this, but it help me to think a bit outside the box. When I got home from Wisconsin I decided to try another self portrait session in my own yard, outside, on my own. I did get my daughter to help keep the camera from being blown over – but then I also ran back and forth attempting to get a good shot. (If that was possible.)

The day was a bit rainy so I went with wet hair. (Something, I realize, would have looked better had I done my hair or dried it some.) The feel was intended to be the raw me though, so I feel that it turned out as it should. I feel like a princess living out in the woods. It is hard to feel like a princess in the brush as I hope you can see in the next few shots.

_DSC3858fweb

It is hard not to be in tears while posting this. I find that this shot is a small look into my soul so bear with me. I am not comfortable, I am nervous to look at the camera, I am ok with the viewer seeing simply a profile of me. I am a mom of five and my body shows that. Unfortunately, my metabolism does not make it easy to keep my once under appreciated body. It is hard not to look past my own shell.

_DSC3861fweb

My first attempt to look at the camera when the shutter released was not easy at all. I had to coax myself into it. Not fully accepting of the moment, the task, or myself – I just did it.

_DSC3879fweb

I then told myself to be pleased with the fact that I tried and that is what counts. Honestly, I am very proud of myself and often draw back on this experience when shooting others. I try to stop and remember how I felt so I could better help others feel more comfortable in their own skin.

Of coarse, I had to turn to my children to brush off the experience,  because thinking too hard about it is never good. I had time enough to edit and dwell on it – then becoming more pleased with the overall outcome.

_DSC3887fweb

My girl is my constant companion! She loves to assist me on shoots – even those of just myself. She was also my comforter this day saying “Mom – You are beautiful!” I love that they are there to help me reflect through their eyes. This is my angel. Grateful I can practice on all of my babies.

_DSC3894fweb

 

My son was hanging out watching what was happening. I thought – I want to practice in Full sun. Where would I go in a huge meadow with only one tree. He was in reg. school or play clothes – nothing thought out at all. So we worked it and he of coarse nailed it for me :)

This is not an uncommon day at all for me. I will keep some and get rid of other images – learning from it all. I then will go to plants and work on macro images. They are so fun and help me to become better at focusing. Understanding Depth of Field (DOF).

 

_DSC3904bfweb

I have discovered that although tilted images may be popular and fun – I don’t like how I do them LOL I tend to want to tweak it upright after all is said and done.

_DSC3908fweb

Here are some shots of our huckleberry bushes. I love the contrast of reds and greens.  shooting in full sun gave me a bunch of options to work on – from dealing with shadows to over exposure. I also work on colors and b&w options.

_DSC3909bfweb

_DSC3909fweb

Both of these shots were played with in color and b&w. In the end I liked both options Hahaha.

_DSC3910bfweb

_DSC3910fweb

Many think that being a photographer is quite glamorous. I am here to testify that it is work, practice, work, with some success inserted – but never without work and practice.

Thanks for letting me pull some pieces out of my vault. Thanks for letting me share a bit of me.

 

All Images Copyright CJ Wilkes Photography | Blog Theme Created by LJP & SLR Lounge