13 September 2014

Reworking Old Images

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."
~ Aristotle

Anonymous Model, ©2014 Terrell Neasley
I won't say this will work for every blast from the past photo session you do. But sometimes its cool to look at some of your older work and just play with it. It becomes interesting to revisit prior work with some of the new tools you have today. Its can also be beneficial to just see how much you have grown, changed, or expanded your own knowledge-base and see what decisions you might make on edits five years old.

I recently took a look at some of my shots from mid-September 2008 session in which the model and I hiked out several hours up a canyon outside Vegas. We had a blast and the memories of that shoot are some of my most fond memories working with a model. We went out before the sun came up and didn't get out of that canyon until after the sun was down. We were running out of water, which wasn't great at all. Still, we were about as safe as we could have been. We got what we needed done, explored even more, and came away with some great shots.

Anonymous Model, ©2014 Terrell Neasley

I was shooting with my 10MP Canon 40D at the time. I bought the camera maybe a year before that. I was well familiar with the camera, but hadn't mastered photoshop. I, at least, had the presence of mind to shoot RAW and that gave me enough data with which to work. I probably used Photoshop 7 at the time, which is the version I was initially introduced to, or maybe, quite possible CS2. I very little layering at that time. Masking was still unknown to me. I had yet to see the significance of brushes. I was not a "smart object", to say the least. My primary tools were the dodge, burn, and clone tools. I slowly taught myself through trial and error...more emphasis on error.

Anonymous Model, ©2014 Terrell Neasley
Today, I utilize Photoshop CC 2014 and a plethora of plugins, to include Nik and Topaz, for starters. We have Content-Aware Fill. I enjoy doing composite work, which was the last thing I left off on when I was doing darkroom work using film, chemicals, and fiber-based paper. Jerry Ulesmann was a huge inspiration on me in those days before I switched to digital. I work on a Dell workstation with a high-end 30-inch monitor. I think I have a set up that gets me what I need and yet, I am still updating it with new and bigger tech. I am no different with my camera choices. I have since switched to Nikon with my 36MP D800E. I teach photography now in one-on-one sessions with a special emphasis on critical thinking. I created the very first Photography meet-up group here in Vegas and co-operated another. My group met every month for 3 years helping photogs learn how to interact with and hire models. I regularly attend WPPI and Photoshop World conventions annually when they come to Vegas. I work at B&C Camera 2 days a week. All this gives me exposure to other like-minded creatives to cultivate ideas, learn new processes and skills, and turn out and deliver a better grade of product.

Anonymous Model, ©2014 Terrell Neasley
So with six more years of experience, knowledge, more and better equipment, and wider exposure to the deeper creative aspects of my trade, I think it can be an interesting thing to go back to old work and see how you might look at the same thing differently. And given better technology and software, what improvements might be made to shots that you once thought were lost or otherwise not worth the edit. I was able to bring back blown out highlights that were at one point lost to me using the newer version of Camera Raw that comes with Photoshop CC. Images shot with lower megapixels and less detail were livened up using  the Detail Enhancer in Nik Color Efex Pro 4. For the moment, I've only edited 4 new images from this 2008 photoshoot, but I will go back and do more for sure. And I didn't do any deep or complicated edits as of yet...just some black and white conversions, but I like them and this is fun. I fully encourage you to dust off some of those oldies but goodies and see what fresh new ideas you can breath into them.

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