Ups, I ended up in Japan - again. I visited my brother, who is staying in Tokyo for an exchange, and kind of re-located my office there as well. Not that I have one in Boston, so it was not that different, I basically used different coffee shops and was fueled by ramen instead than by lobster rolls.
Even though I had my camera in the bag every single day (heavy!) I shot a total of... 3 pictures. Or at least, many failed attempts at the same picture resulted in a total of 3 final pictures. I'll use this blog to show you the before & after of a shot I particularly like, because I had been planning it in my head the whole week and somehow managed to get a great opportunity the last evening.
Me and my brother were in Shibuya to this same shot for him (since he never posts anything of him when around the world, so I said "well let's take at least a cool picture of you in Tokyo"). Chance wanted that next to us was a couple - a model and a photographer - with a very similar idea. We started having a nice conversation, and when I kindly asked for the opportunity to use the model as subject instead of my brother (sorry I ditched you bro!), she got very excited and allowed me to do it. Thus, at every turn of the traffic lights turning green, we would run to the centre of Shibuya's crossing, known to be extremely "intense" with dozens of people crossing in all directions at the same time. She posed, we shot. However, she was posing for her photographer (fairly so I'd say!), but I needed her to do things differently. You see, I wanted to get a long-exposure shot so that people crossing would become blurred, yet she kept on smoothly moving from pose to pose to get a variety of angles for her sharp shots. This resulted in my first batches of pics to have her very blurred as well, like the people crossing behind her. Luckily, after seeing my frustration she was kind enough to pose for me once, stay very still, and granting me the shot in this blog. So, thank you so much _Mikiy_!!!
I never shot a model in my life - hey, it's fun! My style (and the picture) to be honest does not focus really on the model herself, rather on her being in a specific context. But it was a nice experience. I had to explain/apologize to her that the picture she could see then "out the camera" would get better after retouching, as it was shot dark on purpose (so to get the light signs behind her not completely blown out). Will send it to her ;)
I wanted to use the opportunity to make a case for a recent piece of software I got, called Nik Collection. It has recently been bought by Google, and now it is FREE. And it's awesome. It's a collection of tools that allows you to selectively make changes to the picture through either Photoshop or Lightroom (e.g. with burning/dodging, or noise reduction) as well as using some great filters (both color and black&white). I think that if used in moderation, they can really upgrade the picture to another level. As of now I might be still a bit too enthusiastic and end up using them too heavily, reaching maybe too-instragram-like results, but hey, what's wrong with that? I like it, as it allows me to get the picture to look how I imagine it in my head. Do consider getting it, and do also watch this short tutorial for an overview of the tools available.
In the pictures below I show you 8 different steps the picture went through to look as it does, and I include which filter I used.
Finally, I got to the final image and cropped it in square format, plus did a small high-pass filter in Photoshop to increase the details of her facial features and added a bit of vignette. Click to enlarge - I hope you like it!