How I failed at recreating one of my toy photos

Sometimes you make an image that you love, but end up not entirely happy with it. There is a tiny detail that you think is a bit off. You might notice it as soon as you take it. Or it might be years later. Eventually, you decide to attempt to fix it by reshooting the image.

The sad truth is that this is not always a successful endeavor.

Continue reading “How I failed at recreating one of my toy photos”

Focus Stacking

I wrote before about the dilemma I easily experience when selecting photos with the appropriate depth of field and bokeh while post-processing them. But the craftsmanship technique I’ve really been experimenting as of lately is focus stacking and compositing.

I’m usually not interested in a very short depth of field. What I’m rather looking for is a strongly blurred background and this never works without a short depth of field. Most of the time it’s not a problem as just having the face of my subject in focus is enough. But this can be difficult to achieve when working with multiple figures. Continue reading “Focus Stacking”

To Edit or not to Edit

How far will you go to fake your photos? That is a question I have asked myself quite a few times in the past few years. I started my toy photography thing with the noble idea of not making any changes to my photos after they were exposed in-camera, barring some colour and contrast tweaks. It was a challenge, a rule, I set for myself to make this more fun. I held on to that rule for quite a long time. It led to many discoveries—figuring out ways to create, say, a sun in the sky or rays of light in the air without adding them in Photoshop. I experimented a long time to get these things right in-camera and had quite a lot of fun with it.

Gradually, over the past couple of years, I have been slipping on the rule. After doing some commercial photography work, I realized that I will not die if I make things a little easier for myself from time to time. I still wouldn’t add a sun in a post, but I began editing photos more liberally. Nothing exotic, not yet anyway.

You know those beautiful, heavily edited photographs that leave nothing to hope for, perfect in every way? I think they’re fantastic, yet I find myself admiring the simple unfiltered photo just as well. While a technical brilliance can leave me in awe, a simple straight photo can be emotionally much more rewarding. This is true whether or not I’m photographing toys.

Now, the question “how far are you going to fake your photos?” lingers in my mind as I am starting work on something new. Does heavy editing make the photos closer to being perfect – or just generic? Is editing killing something in the photos? Is it like in the music business: would you use Autotune to sing better than you actually can?