Special Effects - Visual Effects

Colorful wild fashion boudoir portrait

This fine art portrait is composed of several pictures and effects to achieve this wild colorful photo.  It takes several hours to several days complete a photo like this. 

First the photo is taken with the end result in mind. Lighting, color, camera settings and exposure must be set up correctly so that when the photo is brought into Photoshop it is easy to work with.

Second. I start adding layers and effects to the picture.  Sometimes I will create up to 6 or 8 versions to try out different looks and see what works best.  

Third. I often come back to the photo a few days, months or even years later. It is helpful to be able to look at my photos more objectively. Also, although I have been working with Photoshop for many years (from Photoshop 3), I keep adding new tricks and experience new insights.  So sometimes I will be able to create something that I was not able to create before.

Four. When I am finally satisfied, I then create versions to show art collectors, post on social media, etc.

If you are interested in purchasing this photo or using this photo for ads, a record or book cover or for other uses please contact me for more information.

Headshot, classic black and white photo

 Classic Headshot of male model, taken with 4x5 film camera.

Classic Headshot of male model, taken with 4x5 film camera.

Simple, elegant, traditional photo taken in the studio with a large format 4x5 film camera.  Great for Instagram, Facebook and social media. Also for dating sites, web uses and more. Because this was photographed on large format film (16 time the area of 35mm), it can also be used to create wall sized portraits for display at a home or office, trade show booth, book cover and more.

Black and white film is so classic and makes everyone look great. The same shot done digitally is very harsh and unflattering. Even though the digital version is less sharp, it shows more skin flaws and problems.  The large film camera "smooths" out skin and gives a natural appearance. 

Film also gives a different look to the picture. More authentic, real and believable. Not the fake and heavily Photoshop retouching we see so much today.

It's amazing that so many people have decided that digital capturing of photos, music, movies, etc. are often artificial and lack soul. Too much compression is applied (to save storage space) that filters out the highest highs in music and adds a dullness in photographs and movies. 

If this is true, why is it so common? There are reasons many have switched to digital. Cost is a major factor.  No more film, developing, simple storage. A photographer can save hundreds of dollars on a wedding or portrait session, but still charge you more money for the end product.

It also allows new photographers to take "usuable" pictures. They do not have to know photographic technique, but can merely put the camera on auto and snap the shutter button.  Then check the picture to see if it is good enough. Not necessarily the best photo or the most artistic photo.  

I recommend that many of my clients use film. They are often started at the depth of the pictures, flattering skin tones and classic good looks.

Fun Multiple Exposure Photography

Multiple Double Exposure of Neon Bar Sign in Colorado

While most of the photos I write about are portraits or fashion photos, I also take pictures for fun. Neon is one of the most interesting things to photograph. It has beautiful color and a special glow. Years ago neon was everywhere.  Now neon lighting is fading due to cheaper, energy-efficient LED bulbs.  But for years, many people went to Las Vegas to see the incredible neon signs at the casinos at night and you can still see neon signs at many older restaurants, buildings and in people's home as decoration and art. 

Denver, like most major cities has some great areas to photograph, such as downtown, the mountains, old fashioned cities like Estes Park and more. This was taken at the Outpost Bar in Denver. It has been there for many years and was even recently used as a location for a TV commercial.  

This photo involves several photographic techniques. Including double exposure, zooming the lens and has some very minor Photoshop work to bring out the colors and darken the borders of the picture.


Fantasy special effects fine art photo, in Denver, Colorado

Fantasy photo

I am often asked to create unusual, one of a kind photos for my portrait clients.  After all, that is part of why you go to a professional photographer.  To get something you can not create yourself and to associate your name with a memorable, striking photograph. 

Heather supplied the outfit. I created an unusual lighting, color and retouching. 

This image required hours of time to create the glow, colder color, blue highlights and get the fantasy effect just right. It cannot be created with a filter or by a casual Photoshop amateur. It is created by hand and requires great skill and experience to get the details right.

This kind of image looks best displayed large in a fine art print.  It is an art piece suitable for a gallery or a nice home.  It could also be used for an advertisement, book cover and more.

Vintage photo

Vintage black and white photo, sepia toned

It was a pleasure working with Bettie. She is very involved in a vintage lifestyle. She has vintage fashions and understands how to style her hair for a 1940s or 1950s look. Here she is being a 1950s waitress.  Can you imagine her on roller skates coming out to your car, like the TV show Happy Days?

It's a deceptively simple photo.  But the lighting has to be right and flattering.  A few scratches and a round, old TV style border, round out the photo.  Also helpful are the artificial eyelashes and heavier lipstick and eyelashes for makeup.

Vintage photos are so fun to take and help you stand out from the countless Selfies and snapshots most people show on Instagram and Facebook. And my clients find they are not that difficult to create.  Often all you need is an outfit from the thrift store or a simple prop like a hat. And you need a talented photographer to help you turn your ideas and fantasies into real pictures.

Men's portraits

Male fashion portrait

Although I am well known for my portraits of women, I also love working with men. Men can be very creative in taking photos and also express a dramatic side in their photographs. There is also a freedom that I, as a photographer, have in working with men.

Since most people do not expect the same perfection in a man's photo, that allows me to use more dramatic lighting, rougher locations and to occasionally show a crumpled shirt or other imperfections in the photos. Pictures can be more realistic with only minor retouching.  That means men can be "real" in pictures.  You expect them to be rugged, strong and it's ok if they have a crooked smile or a few lines on their face.

It used to be that 90% of my clients were women, but in the last few years, I have received more calls from men also wanting great pictures. Men need the photos for social media, business profiles and websites and also for their friends and family.  And more men are hanging great portraits on their walls in their homes and offices.

Black and white glamour photo

Black and white headshot

Black and white headshot portrait.  Taken for Cynthia, a model from Chicago, now living in  Denver.  Cynthia needed a new headshot for her modeling agency, as well as social media like Facebook and Instagram.

We decided to go with a white dramatic top, a light gray background and soft lighting to bring out her great features, as well as minimize any flaws. Shot with a digital camera and some minor retouching and adjustments for effect.

I prefer the black and white version, although the original was in color. Simple, classical and yet dramatic. We were very pleased with the result.

Unique fashion images for models and those that want dramatic photographs

close up portrait

I like to experiment.  It's a key to growing and creating new work.  Sometimes the work is great and sometimes it is not so great. It's subjective. But you learn from doing something new and seeing the result. And even if it does not work, you may be able to incorporate some new techniques into your work. 

Some of my clients have been working with me for years. They know me and trust me and doing something different allows my clients to be more creative too.  Perhaps they got a new outfit or hat and want to take photos that show their new style.  Or surprise their family and friends with new photos.

I will often get a call, "can we do a picture like the new style?" They tell me they want something very contemporary, sexy, or artistic, etc. 

This photo was created using several unusual techniques, all together. Three different types of lighting, including flash, florescent and tungsten.  The exposure was unusual too. And how I worked with this client was a little different.  A little more spontaneous. We had a great time taking the photos.

Of course this picture may not be right for you. That is fine. That's why I recommend that you talk with me and tell me what you want. I offer a free consultation, on the phone or in person to plan your pictures. Then I can help pick the right tools to create the perfect photo for you.

Holiday Gifts for 2017

Many of my clients want to give personal gifts for the holidays.  Something special and that only you can give for someone special.  

  • What could be better than beautiful portraits.
  • It's creative. After all, you create it.  You decide on fashion styling, posing, & pick the finished pictures to give.
  • It's one of a kind (no one else has it).
  • You can choose from a variety of gifts such as prints, books, calendars, a scrapbook and more.
  • It shows you put extra effort into finding and creating the perfect gift
  • It's fun. Be a model for a hour or two.

Call for pricing.  Mention this blog post to get special deals from November 10 to Dec 10, 2017.