Category Archives: Inspirational

Stories focused around providing creative inspiration.

13 Night Photos You Never Thought You’d See

[tweetmeme]Here are the results from another great round of Epic Edits Flickr Challenge! #4 was all about “night” photos (chosen by the winner of the last round), and we had some nice looking entries once again.

The winner this round was Dustin Michelson, also known as “i_shoot_minolta” on Flickr. As the winner, he gets to choose the next topic:

CHALLENGE #5: “ENVIRONMENTAL PORTRAITS”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-EPORTRAIT”

So basically a portrait, but taken in the subject’s natural environment (work, home, etc) — see Wikipedia for more explanation. Just remember that the photos must be in our Flickr pool and tagged with “ee-eportrait”. Now for the vanishing point photos, starting with my favorite:

365.20
365.20 by i_shoot_minolta

This photo stood out for me because it’s very clean with strong lines and focal points. The light draws my attention, but the vertical lines lead me away. The window in the middle of the wall adds a nice little break in the lines, and the texture on the ground looks great with that light. Oh, and what’s that sign say? Let me look closer… “NOTICE: SOMETHING SOMETHING ONLY… Damn it!” So there you go, the light draws you in and the unknown sign keeps you interested.

On with the other selections I made:

Perspective.
Perspective. by Tomas Webb

driving home
driving home by topfloor

Color Alley
Color Alley by topfloor

Moonlight
Moonlight by RussHeath

Rockstar Teri
Rockstar Teri by cabbit

Cafe del Bokeh
Cafe del Bokeh by topfloor

Blurry Night
Blurry Night by RussHeath

San Diego Skyline
San Diego Skyline by i_shoot_minolta

The lights that never sleep
The lights that never sleep by photo_gratis

source of money
source of money by topfloor

Night time by the bay
Night time by the bay by nathanTHEchan

Autostadt nights
Autostadt nights by topfloor

15 Street Photos From Our Readers

[tweetmeme]Last week I announced that we would be running a new feature here on the blog: The Epic Edits Flickr Challenge. For the first topic, I chose “street photography” and asked you to submit your best photos to the Flickr pool. In a week, we had over 70 entries and I narrowed my selections down to 15.

It was tough choosing a favorite, but I ended up going with the image below from Victor Bezrukov. So now he gets to choose the topic for challenge #2.

happy runner
happy runner by Victor Bezrukov

Victor has chosen the topic of “analog photography” — basically anything shot on film. Any format, any type of camera, etc.

CHALLENGE #2: “ANALOG PHOTOGRAPHY”

FLICKR TAG: “EE-ANALOG”

And don’t forget that your photos must also be in the Epic Edits Flickr Pool. Winner of the next round picks the next topic. I’ll post my selections in about a week.

Here are the remaining selections from Challenge #1:


Untitled by versusnyc82

Fear and Loathing on the People Mover
Fear and Loathing on the People Mover by Cherie S.

staten island ferry
staten island ferry by versusnyc82

Rainy Day
Rainy Day by chris honiball

Vidas Paralelas
Vidas Paralelas by portafolio fotográfico – William López

Untitled #31
Untitled #31 by Peepin Pixel Piker Pepper

Sunny Days
Sunny Days by Bryan Davidson

Just Passing Through.
Just Passing Through. by demosthien

Merry-Go-Round
Merry-Go-Round by Bryan Davidson

Street Scenes - The Apprentice
Street Scenes – The Apprentice by KBTimages.co.uk(uk_photo_art)

late for a date
late for a date by KBTimages.co.uk(uk_photo_art)

geese
geese by rince_77

Faith
Faith by ✪ th1rt3en ✪

Sundial
Sundial by ✪ th1rt3en ✪

Fifteen Fabulous Fantasy Fotos from Flickr

[tweetmeme]Fantasy, fiction, surreal, conceptual, composite, Photoshop… call them what you will. I call them artistic and creative.

Photography in itself is artistic and creative, but using a photo (or photos) for a derivative work is no less appealing to me. I’m actually envious of people who can combine images or add to photos and create something completely new — I can’t do it… and I probably never will.

Jerry Uelsmann has been a favorite of mine for a long time because of his ability to combine images and produce fantastic works of art (and he does it old school — none of that digital stuff). If you’ve never seen his work, go look NOW.

Here are a few others kicking around Flickr, trying their hand at this type of thing. Great stuff in my opinion, and all very different styles and techniques.


Creative Commons License photo credit: Rayani Melo

Easy Going
Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

United Colors
Creative Commons License photo credit: kaneda99

TicTac
Creative Commons License photo credit: movimente

147 of 365 - just dandy
Creative Commons License photo credit: paul+photos=moody

November 15th 2008 - The Rope May Not Be Tight, But At Least It's Wide
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stephen Poff

Beach guardian
Creative Commons License photo credit: neeZhom

食べたい、食べたい...
Creative Commons License photo credit: pulpmojo

She's So Small, She's Cute!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Poe Tatum

Lunar Fantasy
Creative Commons License photo credit: Bill Gracey

elec'trick' Paint
Creative Commons License photo credit: ViaMoi

chim chim cheree...
Creative Commons License photo credit: Mara ~earth light~

Free your crows
Creative Commons License photo credit: Desirée Delgado

model actress fashion x ray hand photojournalism war photography and just plain strange dark evil unusual negative sandwich composite controversial dark sexy and completely new!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Zoriah


Creative Commons License photo credit: !borghetti

[tweetmeme]… oh wait, that last one isn’t a fantasy — you thought it was though, didn’t ya? I’d freak out if I caught something like that by chance.

So what do you guys think? Are you into this kind of stuff too, or are you a “purist”? Anybody have some examples of their own or links to other images like this that you find compelling? Let’s see them in the comments!

Using Curves to Enhance Composition

[tweetmeme]We’ve been on a roll lately talking about post-processing curves: video tutorials, linear adjustments, and nonlinear adjustments. I have one more in the works, but I wanted to take a little break from all that technical software stuff.

I also wanted to stay on topic with the theme of “curves”, so here’s a slightly different take on it. Curves are also a key component of composition. In this article, you’ll find eleven tips for using curves in composition along with sample photos.

1. LEAD TO A COMMON FOCAL POINT

Leading lines are a basic compositional technique, and curves can be used in place of straight lines. Try using natural curves to force the eye of the viewer to a common focal point. In the image below, the main draw is toward the intersection of the curves.

Entering Hyperspace
Creative Commons License photo credit: Éole

2. RADIAL CURVES AND SPIRALS

Curves can take on many shapes and forms, including circles and spirals. These forms also force a natural point of focus to their center. This particular photo also uses straight lines aimed directly at the center for a stronger effect.

Argento Spiralis
Creative Commons License photo credit: ramyo

3. CURVE REPETITION

Repeating curves tend to make a stronger compositional impact than a single curve. Bonus points if you can get an odd number of them like 3 or 5 — odds tend to be more attractive than evens. This photo shows triple repeating curves with nearly identical shape. The simple color scheme also helps to not distract from the composition.

Green curves
Creative Commons License photo credit: tanakawho

4. HUMAN FORM CURVES

We’re basically nothing but curves. If you have the opportunity to photograph people in a revealing manner, be sure to look for the natural flowing curves. In this photo, the soft curve is accentuated by the lighting, and the placement of the hand interrupts it to provide some amount of tension in an otherwise relaxing shape.

Curves
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ozyman

5. CURVES AND LINES

I mentioned this in tip #2, but I’ll mention it again. Combining curves and lines can be a powerful compositional technique. The intersections can create compelling patterns, while the lines and curves provide pathways for the eye to travel. In this photo, there are far more straight lines than curves, but the curved sections draw the eye because they stand out from the rest of the pattern.

Working Late
Creative Commons License photo credit: Thomas Hawk

6. SEPARATION OF FOREGROUND

A plain foreground or background can be good in some instances, but other instances will benefit from a subtle break. Curves can provide that soft break in an otherwise flat foreground or background. In this photo, you can see that the foreground curves provide areas of higher contrast to break up the low contrast midtones of the snow.

snow curve
Creative Commons License photo credit: extranoise

7. CONVERTING 3D TO 2D

Obviously, the typical camera will capture any scene in 2D. But 3D curves and spirals can change their shape and appearance when flattened. This photo shows spirals and loops of smoke being converted into repeating sinusoidal curves on a 2D plane.

Fading Flower
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dude Crush

8. INTERSECTING CURVES

Intersecting curves can create a sense of depth and give some extra notion of the 3D layout of the scene. Notice that this image exhibits several levels of intersections — roof structure, shadows, and straight lines. Also notice that the radial curves draw your attention to their center while the sweeping curves and band of sunlight draw your attention to the same location.

swerve
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jasmic

9. HUMOR BREAK

This one popped up when I was searching for “curve” photos… I couldn’t resist putting it in here. Rock on.

Rocking the Curve
Creative Commons License photo credit: Marvin Kuo

10. CURVES AND CONTRAST

When you have multiple curves or repeating curves, play on the contrast between them to create a pattern of stripes. This high contrast helps to define the curves as a strong point in the composition. In this photo, you can see the very strong contrast between the steps as they sweep along the buildings.

Curves & Curves
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pieter Musterd

11. MULTI-LEVEL CURVES

Curves can be presented within the composition at may levels. Small curves, big curves, lazy curves, tight curves, loopy curves, etc. Finding a scene with more than one type of curve can present your viewer with an interesting piece to digest. In this photo, you can see the big curves separating sand from sky, curves separating the foreground, and lots of little curves providing texture.

Diminishing Lines
Creative Commons License photo credit: Appy29 (very busy away)

12. FRAMING WITH CURVES

Natural frames are also a good way to help your composition, so look for any curves that can provide a stronger focus for your subject. Here, you can see that the curve of the bench draws your attention toward the may laying on it and away from the lower left corner.

benched
Creative Commons License photo credit: paul goyette

How else can you use curves to enhance your composition? And be sure to share your own example photos in the comments below!

16 Examples of Extraordinary Model Portraits

My near-future adventure into the world of photographing models has my gears turning, and I’ve been looking for examples of extraordinary model portraits. A lot of stuff I found out there is somewhat generic with lighting and pose — and maybe because that’s what works for the client. But as an art photographer, I felt a little empty with that kind of stuff. So I went in search of some extraordinary model photography.

What I found was that I’m most attracted to the portraits that stand out from the rest. The really unique stuff. I also found that the unique qualities can come from either the models themselves or the photographers. And when you combine a unique and talented model with a unique and talented photographer, you get magic.

The following selection of photos come from a mix of professional and amateur photographers. The models in the shots might also be a mix of professionals, amateurs, friends, and even the photographer taking the photo. Do note: a couple of the photos below are quite informal and the subject is not a model, but I included them because they are good examples of what could be done in a formal portrait situation.

You can also see my Flickr Gallery here.

Day One Hundred Forty One
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dustin Diaz

So
Creative Commons License photo credit: Luc D

First time with a Hasselblad
Creative Commons License photo credit: Carlo Nicora

20090427_aurum_0090
Creative Commons License photo credit: checkmezov

Andreas Tilliander Makes His Move
Creative Commons License photo credit: Aeioux

Her Tangible Dream •.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Felipe Morin

Jesús Hidalgo10
Creative Commons License photo credit: Esther Marí

mallard pinup
Creative Commons License photo credit: MadMannequin

{ you're the only one !! }
Creative Commons License photo credit: graphistolage

Coleção Geometologia - Neandro Ferreira
Creative Commons License photo credit: André-Batista

PORTRAIT OF A FRIEND
Creative Commons License photo credit: Akbar Simonse


Creative Commons License photo credit: Carolina Parragué

The third eye
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tywak

Collab5 (Picture II)
Creative Commons License photo credit: TNT Photo

Oriol Lopez Sanchez 01 © studio.es
Creative Commons License photo credit: Vincent Boiteau

Let The Curtain Come Down
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti

Do you have any good examples of model portraits or other posed portraits? Feel free to drop your photos into the comments below. And if you have any favorites from fellow photographers, leave a link so we can check it out!

16 Frigid Sources of Inspiration

For those living in the upper reaches of the northern hemisphere, winter is approaching along with cold weather and snow! I spent a good portion of my life in North Idaho, and now that I live in San Diego I sometimes miss the winter weather. But then I remember that I wear t-shirts for 350 days/year, flip-flops are my main shoes, and my “winter coat” is a sweatshirt. So I’m pretty much okay with just a visit back home every so often.

But for you nut jobs who love the snow, I would encourage you to get out and photograph it this year. A snow covered landscape is really quite amazing, and the “white stuff” can completely change the mood of any location. Aside from the obvious landscapes, I’ve included a few “people shots” here to get your gears turning.

And if you have some good winter shots of your own, be sure to share them in the comments!

reflections (A)
Creative Commons License photo credit: camil tulcan

Winter Panorama - Kromme Rijn, Amelisweerd, Rhijnauwen, Utrecht
Creative Commons License photo credit: lambertwm

Iceberg - Ilulissat - Greenland
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ludovic Hirlimann

2008
Creative Commons License photo credit: JC Labarca

frozen light in a snow weekend, MANZANEDA ☃
Creative Commons License photo credit: Paulo Brandão

Stucked
Creative Commons License photo credit: enggul

I've reached the end of the world
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stuck in Customs

Aoraki Rappel
Creative Commons License photo credit: Dru!

Winter at the Lake
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

Lone Wolf
Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney

Revelation
Creative Commons License photo credit: Johan Rd

The Sound of Silence...
Creative Commons License photo credit: lapidim

Glacier Grey, Chile
Creative Commons License photo credit: * hiro008

Straumur Aurora
Creative Commons License photo credit: orvaratli

lonely tree in the snow...
Creative Commons License photo credit: santo rizzuto

Paris under the snow
Creative Commons License photo credit: Gregory Bastien

Double Exposure Tips and Photos

In the world of artistic photography, double exposures can result in some very interesting stuff. Some can be well thought out compositions with shapes and exposures meant to compliment the other frame. Others can be happy accidents that exhibit a magic mixture of luck and randomness. In either case (and any case in between), a good double exposure catches the viewer’s attention and presents a distorted reality that would not be possible to see without a camera.

Here are a few tips to get you started with double exposures.

  • Pay attention to shadows and highlights in each exposure. You’ll notice that large areas of shadow on one exposure will allow the highlights to show through from the other exposure. If you line up shadows on both exposures, you’ll get little detail due to underexposure. If you line up highlights from both exposures, you’ll get a faded looking image with low contrast.
  • Try to keep at least one of the exposures rather simple. Two busy exposures will typically result in chaos and make everything harder to see (unless chaos is what you’re going for).
  • To create a “ghost”, put the camera on a tripod and take the first exposure. Then remove or add objects or people and take the second exposure without moving the camera.
  • If you wan to go the film route, don’t forget to underexpose by one stop for a double exposure (2 stops for 4 exposures, etc). And make sure you know how to double expose with your specific camera.
  • If you want to go the digital route, one method is to underexpose as you would with film (or do so with post processing) and apply a screen layer blend (which essentially mimics the process of projecting two slides onto one screen). More details on the digital process in this article: Digital Multiple Exposure.
  • And most of all, experiment and have fun with it. Over time, you’ll get a sense for how the two exposures work with each other and you can really start to form the final image to your intent.

And here are some pretty awesome multiple exposures from Flickr. Most (if not all) of these were done with film. If you have some double exposures of your own (and/or tips for double exposing), drop them in the comment section below the article.

I am what I have found
Creative Commons License photo credit: FilmNut

raina
Creative Commons License photo credit: cx33000

Alien Sunset
Creative Commons License photo credit: Brian Auer

Some Time on Earth
Creative Commons License photo credit: *it’s not a cabaret

Britain in Bloom
Creative Commons License photo credit: slimmer_jimmer


Creative Commons License photo credit: moominsean

Office building
Creative Commons License photo credit: Andrea [bah! la realtà!]

double exposure
Creative Commons License photo credit: depinniped

Church of St. Thomas the Martyr
Creative Commons License photo credit: teotwawki

Towers over Tribeca
Creative Commons License photo credit: gaspi *your guide

ghosts
Creative Commons License photo credit: twinleaves

Bursting WindMill
Creative Commons License photo credit: FilmNut

Shopping Carts on Film! (13 Photos)

I’m still a little burned out from our recent project, so here’s a fun little post. All shopping carts — all on film. Could there be a better combo? I think not.

And if you really want to see something cool, check out this short documentary titled “City of Lost Carts“. It’s about a guy who spent a lot of time photographing shopping carts on film.

And if you have some shopping cart photos of your own (film or digital), feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Means To An End, by Fanboy30
Means To An End, by Fanboy30

Car in a Cart, by Brian Auer
Car in a Cart, by Brian Auer

shopping cart, by caste_aka_adrem
shopping cart, by caste_aka_adrem

cart vs. ford f150, by Mick 0
cart vs. ford f150, by Mick 0

Trash scene taken by trash camera, by kevindooley
Trash scene taken by trash camera, by kevindooley

by moonpies for misfits
by moonpies for misfits

pas de deux, by suttonhoo
pas de deux, by suttonhoo

296 (waiting), by heather
296 (waiting), by heather

cartfrontation, by I, Timmy
cartfrontation, by I, Timmy

Recovered Shopping Cart, by kukkurovaca
Recovered Shopping Cart, by kukkurovaca

by nicoleramona
by nicoleramona

cvs cart, by nocklebeast
cvs cart, by nocklebeast

dino kart, by mugley
dino kart, by mugley

27 Ways to Edit John’s Photo

Here they are! 27 different artistic interpretations of the same photo. I’ll save my thoughts for the bottom of the page — for now, check out some of these project entries and enjoy! Click on the thumbnails below to see a larger version of the photo.

1-Jan-Klier2-Paul-Parkinson3-Andrew-Ferguson4-James-Cheng5-Ernst-Schneider6-Clara-Harold7-Gabriel-Van-Wyhe8-Ben-Bender9-Conor-Coen10-Denis-Seguin11-Andrew-Boyd12-Albert-Salim13-John-Hagar14-Jenni-Brehm15-Dominique-Paluck16-James-Ferguson17-Phineas-Kibbey18-TJ19-Brian-Auer20-Giles-Atkinson21-Karen-Ard22-Frans-Hoynck23-Tasha-Schalk24-Katie-Trudeau25-Russ-Thompson26-Bob-Simmons27-John-Huson

And here’s the original…

Photo by John Huson

For those not aware of the recent project, here’s a little background. A long while ago, we ran a similar project here on the blog titled “Edit My Photo“. I handed out an unprocessed photo to participants and they edited in any way they saw fit. Then I gathered up all the entries and posted them in one place.

This time around, I asked the readers of Epic Edits to submit a photo for the project. Then we all voted on our favorite, and we used that one as the starting point. John Huson was the photographer who submitted the winning image for the project. And after a month of handing out the photo and various other photographers working with it, here’s what we have.

I’m always shocked and amazed at how different each of the entries can be… and yet, I’m also amazed at how similar some things are. As you glance through the entries, you can see that the colors, crops, and compositions are widely varied. But you can also pick out some peculiar similarities such as the splitting of the subject at each end of the frame and the use of grungy colors to enhance the mood. And these similarities happened without the participants seeing the results from others. Really interesting stuff here.

All in all, another successful project here at Epic Edits. A big thanks to all the participants who put in the time and effort just for the sake of playing along with us. Be sure to check out the entries more closely — the thumbnails don’t do them justice.

The Best Camera

You may have heard the saying “The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You” at some point in your photographic adventures. I don’t know who coined the phrase, but I do know who is re-popularizing it: Chase Jarvis. And how is he doing it? With is phone, of course!

So Chase created TheBestCamera.com as a central hub for this whole thing. It’s a place for people to share their photos created using the iPhone app. The application looks really cool, and I’d expect nothing less from somebody like Chase. I’m only disappointed with two things: 1) No iPhone for Verizon customers, and 2) No awesome photo applications for Pocket PC phones. But, neither of those things are Chase’s fault, so I’ll just keep my frustrations bottled up for the time being.

But even though I can’t use the app, I still plan on buying the book that goes along with all of this. Chase put together a photo book of his iPhone images and it looks fantastic from what I can tell! The Best Camera Is The One That’s With You is 256 pages of lo-fi inspiration. If you’ve seen Chase’s iPhone work in the past, you know what to expect. If you haven’t… well, go take a look. You could almost convince yourself that these were taken with a toy film camera and they fit right in with the Lomography vision.

The website, the iPhone app, and the book are all quite impressive accomplishments for Chase. But I think he’s doing something much greater: Chase Jarvis is steering the direction of modern photography (at least one branch of it), and he’s driving it with his enthusiasm for art. He’s making the point that great photos can come from any camera and that having your camera in your pocket at all times is more important than having the most powerful gear on the market. And all of this started because he decided to start taking photos with his iPhone every day — in other words, a personal project of his that turned out to be much more (and on a related side note, our latest PhotoNetCast episode is on the topic of photography projects).

The concepts of using lo-fi equipment, shooting often, taking your camera with you everywhere, shooting from the hip, capturing every day life, and just getting the shot are not new concepts. Just look at the cult following of Lomography. Chase is taking these same concepts and modernizing them. Instead of shooting with a Holga or Diana, he’s shooting with an iPhone — not exactly the best cameras on the market. In both cases, the images produced are not technically outstanding, but they do have a certain artistic quality that can’t be found elsewhere.

At any rate, take all this as you will. I know these types of photos and ideologies don’t appeal to everybody, but I’m guessing that most of you will find some part of it interesting (and maybe even inspiring). For more information, check out the following links: