I think we’ve all got cabin fever after being in social isolation and quarantine through the Covid-19 pandemic. I was struggling. Loosing my motivation to be active and to create after 5 weeks of isolation in my home. Then along came a contest hosted by Tina Eisen, a fabulous beauty and fashion photographer who is an ambassador for the photo editing software, Capture One Pro.
Tina provided one of her beauty images as a base to work with, and challenged photographers to create, encouraging us to think outside the box and use any methods or materials we wanted. As I sat at the breakfast table I was thinking of how much life has changed during the pandemic. The world was, for the most part, staying at home in order to stop the spread of the virus. My social media feed was full of posts about how people were spending their time…baking, connecting through online video conferencing, enjoying time in the garden, doing puzzles and playing board games with family. For my contest entry I wanted to create an image that would capture some of these ideas so that I would have it to look back at and remember this moment in history.
I thought “how amazing would it be to have Tina’s beauty image as a puzzle to do after I finish my breakfast?”…and then set to work to make this a reality. There was a good amount of natural light coming into my dining room window, but I brought my favorite light up from my home studio to fill in the shadows cast from the morning sun. I love using my Stella 5000 constant LED light from Light & Motion…it is powerful, operates for a full hour on battery with no cords to plug in, and is super quick to set up on location. I arranged my props on the table and captured the background image (or plate) that would form the base for my composite.
The next step was to retouch Tina’s image and create the puzzle. After doing some basic skin retouching I added one of my floral digital backgrounds to add some interest and created the puzzle effect using photoshop.
In the final steps, the puzzle was brought into the background and a composite was made – removing several puzzle pieces to add interest, adding shadows to give a realistic effect and create depth, and then finally some overall color grading using hand edits and my favorite color tool, the Infinite Color Panel.
Tina and Capture One representative David Grover hosted a live chat on Instagram where they show some of the amazing contest entries, answered questions and revealed the winner. I really enjoyed seeing how different artists interpreted the challenge and all of the different ways they approached their contest images. So much inspiration!
Being a Lightroom user for years I had heard so many colleagues saying how much they loved using Capture One, but I had been apprehensive to try a new photo software. My schedule is busy and I feared that there was just “no good time” to tackle learning a new platform and changing my workflow. David encouraged me to download a free trial and test out the capabilities of Capture One on some images. He reminded me one need not jump in 100%, but rather start out exploring the software and gradually implement it into workflows as time permits. How hilarious when Tina finally announced that “now is a perfect time for Alana to start using Capture One Pro because she is our winner!”. As I explore the many learning resources on the Capture One website I was pleased to see they have several blog posts for new users, walking through the steps of transitioning from Lightroom to Capture One Pro.
Since my photography studio is temporarily closed during the Covid-19 pandemic I look forward to using this time to work on business tasks and continue to learn new skills, like Capture One Pro, so that I can better serve and create for my photography clients once the Alana Lee Photography studio doors open once again!