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Posts from the ‘Fine Art Portraits’ Category

The New Year Begins

Last night was the end of 2013 and I had all these great plans to go up to a hill near us and see if I could get some images of the fireworks in the city, but I couldn’t stay awake.  I’m getting to old.  Though I had an idea of what I wanted to do today, I couldn’t think of any images, then I remembered some I had and I know if my daughters see these I will probably get into trouble.

LeanneCole-brionyklara-0346Here are my daughters on one of their last days of high school.  They get to dress up, so Briony went as Madeline and Klara went as our cat Tiddles.  Seems appropriate for Klara.  They both made their own costumes and I think they should both be proud of what they did.

We are in a transition period here at our house.  They both finished high school at the same time and now they are waiting to find out what happens next.  They are both off to University, but we are not sure what courses they will be accepted into yet.  Big changes for all of us.


Klara with our cat, Tiddles

This post was not intended to be about them, but about where I want to go in 2014.  What my plans are.  I don’t have a lot, but there are some things I really want to achieve in the next year.

In the image above I have started learning some new techniques for skin retouching.  I thought I would start the year off by trying something new.  It wasn’t a great photo to try it with.

LeanneCole-Briony-4941I think the technique worked a lot better with this one of Briony.  I am trying out a technique I learned from Joel Grimes when he was on creativeLIVE recently.  I think I like it, but I need to practice it a lot more.

The image above was also taken with my wide angle, something I picked up from Joel.  I quite like it and this year I hope to experiment a lot more with portraits and try using difference lenses to see what I can achieve.

One of my biggest plans this year is to really do more of the portraits.  I want to do a lot more and experiment a lot more.  I like where I began, but I want to make them my own and the artist in me is crying out to do more.

I would also like to master compositing this year.  I want to get a lot better at it, that way my portraits can be exactly what I want.  It will also mean building libraries of textures, and backgrounds.  I have the portable studio set up now, so now I just need to go for the Leanne Cole Look.

A friend and I are going to be working on a project together, I don’t want to go into too much just yet, but we are hoping to do a project with her textile background and my photography and end up with something we can show in a gallery.  I also want to try and get more of my own work into some galleries as well.

Architecture is something I love doing, but doing the fine art images of it kind of got sidelined last year, so I want to get into that a lot more.  I miss working on the building images that I take.  I have tended to just take them, process them quickly and put them into the a Weekend Wandering post, which I will probably still do a lot, but I would like to start picking some images and seeing what else I can do with them.

I have already spoken about my weekend wandering posts and what I want to do with them, so if you missed that, go back a couple of days.

I have enjoyed writing for and I really want to continue doing that.  It would be good to get some work into some magazines, though not really sure how possible that is, but will continue trying.

The last thing that I want to achieve this year is to build my business a lot more.  I did okay last year, considering I was transitioning from the cycling photography to other things, but I would like to do a lot better this year.  I am going to have to learn how to market myself better.

So I don’t think there is anything there that isn’t really achievable, I need to stay focused and to be positive about where I am going.  This blog is, of course, an integral part of all of the above and you will see it all happening.

I hope you have some great plans for the year ahead and hopefully we can all achieve them.  Good Luck.

The Evolving Continues

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how I wanted to start doing some new work, compositing images.  I have slowly started planning some work and experimenting with that.  Then last week I showed you a wedding photo that I had done a composite with, changing the background.  So this week I finally got around to going to Montsalvat in Eltham to take some photos that I could use for compositing.

I have to be careful with these photos, I had to pay $22 an hour to be allowed to take photos and I am only allowed to use them here. So I took some photos and will try experimenting with them, but I am still deciding if I would ever use Montsalvat again.

LeanneCole-thea-montsalvat_1666The background was taken at Montsalvat in the big room above the Great hall.  These windows are so gorgeous and the light coming through was lovely.  I have some plans for the images, but I need to photograph my model first.  I really wanted to try compositing one, so I got one of the images I took of Thea in my class last Saturday and tried to composite her into the image.

I am not sure the image really works.  It was a difficult one to do.  Thea was sitting on some steps outside and the light was quite bright.  I had to work a lot to tone that down.  I did take a quick image of one of the girls sitting on the lounge and used that for reference with the light.  I like the idea of it, but if I was going to do one for real, I think I would dress her differently and plan the shoot with the background image in mind. I am reasonably happy with how the actual compositing went and I did learn a lot doing it.

LeanneCole-briony-1710I asked my daughter to kneel down and pretend she was praying.  I like the composition, couldn’t resist doing this image.  I took other images of this without her so if I want to try and get someone in it that is more appropriate I can.

I thought I would show some of the images that I got to try compositing with.  I am not sure if I will use some or all or none, but this is what I got while I was there yesterday.  I will include the above images as well.

Emotion Coming Through

On Saturday when I taught my class I got some many fantastic photos of my model and so I have prepared two more for you today.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1449I do love this table, it is quite amazing.  I also love this pose, though I do wish her eyes were different.  I love the feeling of the image, is she just lying there because she is feeling depressed, or is there more too it.  I did tell her to pretend she was dead, as though she had been poisoned.  I think the image could convey many things.

I know a few people have asked me how I edit my images.   I don’t want to do a tutorial on it, but I am looking into software that I could do a screencast of it and then make it go faster for you, so you don’t see everything, but you get an idea of how one of my images comes together.  I don’t know much about this kind of software, but if I find out I might try it.  Though would prefer it to be free, so if anyone knows anything about software, screencasts for Windows, I’m all ears.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1561I was trying something different with this image.  I told her to pretend she was terrified sitting in the corner, and then I worked on making the image darker.  I wanted to convey a scared girl trying to hid in the corner at night.  The original image was so white, so it took a bit of effort to get it like this. I am not sure the scared part really came out.

I am really happy with where my images are going.  I do feel like I am growing as an artist and the work feels more like my own, rather than me imitating what others have done.

The weather has been horrible here, but we are finally seeing some better weather.  I really want to get out and some preparing images for the compositing, so this week looks like the first time I can do that.  So fingers crossed it holds and I can get on with it.

As I did the other day, the before and the after shots, one after the other.

Weekend Wanderings – Photographing a Model

Yesterday I was teaching a class at Living & Learning Nillumbik in Eltham. The class was about photographing people.  I had such a wonderful time and had some fantastic students.  We spent more time taking photos and usually at the end a class I do a quick editing section, but we had such a great model that I decided that we should keep taking photos.  I told them I would edit some images and put them up here for them to see.  I hope you enjoy seeing them as well.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1422We started by doing some photos inside with one of my very crinkled backdrops.  I  had to teach them how to use natural lighting, and how to bounce light around with a reflector.  The dress she is wearing is one I got recently from a vintage market.  I took quite a few costumes, which I think made the class more fun, well I hope it did.

LeanneCole-thea-20131116-1477Then we had a break, a change of costume and we headed outside.  I have never really taken advantage of where the centre is before.  There are so many places around it to take great photos.  I knew there were possibilites, but I never realised how great the images could be.

I know this is a bit of a weird weekend wandering, but taking a class is a great thing to do on a weekend.  There are classes everywhere.  I teach some, but there are many others.  It is a great way to learn and a great way to meet like minded people.

I am going to put all the photos in a gallery now, I am going to put the original, almost unedited photo, only processed in camera raw, first then straight after the image the edited version.  I hope the students enjoy the photos.

Experimenting on a Bride and a Groom

A couple of weeks ago I showed you some of the photos I took at a wedding I photographed in October, here is a link back if you would like to look again, or see for the first time, With this Ring.  I was pretty certain after I did the photos that I would want to do more things to the images, and experiment more with them.

One of the concerns the couple had, was that while they liked my work, they didn’t want the wedding images to be too dark.  I knew that was going to be a challenge, so I have been playing and trying some new things I have seen and worked out.  So today I thought I would show you those images.

LeanneCole-sashbee-20131013-0045-2I worked on this one a lot.  I hope it looks a lot better than the original one.  I didn’t show the original the first time, so you will have to take my word for it, and I know the couple loved it.

I also used the images with them to make my first composite.  Before the wedding, I met them, we wandered around where they wanted their images, and had planned everything, so we thought.  Then a week before the wedding, we found out the Melbourne Marathon would be on the same day, and all those places we were going to photograph would be a “no go” zone for us.  We had to think quickly.  We decided on the other end of the city, but there was no opportunity to get in there to check it out and see what was possible.

On the day, what we thought we could do, we couldn’t, there were things in the way, and so winging it became the order of the day.  I can’t stress how important it is to check out places before hand.  Make sure you go over them, look at all angles.  Google search the day and make sure there are no events on that day that you need to be aware of.  What happens if it is raining, is there a wet weather plan.  So many things to consider.


We took some photos around a lovely old fountain in Spring Street with the Treasury Building in the background, you can see in the above image.  Though I was happy with the Treasury building, the other buildings in the background were ugly.  Very 1960’s, with their square shape and no lovely design features.  I realised after that if we had gone to the other side of the fountain, we could have got the Windsor Hotel in the background, a very old, very classy hotel.

So I went into the city a couple of weeks ago on a day that was similar to the wedding, so overcast, and took some shots of the hotel.  I didn’t have anyone with me to focus on, so I used the tourists to focus on, set my camera on manual focus and took the shots I wanted.  This helped with the depth of field.

LeanneCole-windsor-0447This is one of the ones I got.  I know it is out of focus, it is meant to be.  Helps with that idea that they were all taken at the same time.  Then I took one of the photos of the two of them in front of the other building and put them in this one.

LeanneCole-sashbee-0447-2It is my first real attempt at compositing, but I am happy with it.  There are mistakes I made and there are things I probably need to fix up, but I think it is all stuff I can work on.  Makes me think this is possible.  Maybe I can do a lot more of this.  I hope it looks like the image was really taken in this spot.

LeanneCole-sashbee-20131013-0891-1I am not so sure about this one, but I wanted to show you because there were a whole heap of yellow taxis parked out the front and I had to do some work to get rid of them, and all the people at the entrance of the hotel.  Again, not perfect, but it does excite me and I love fixing these kinds of problems.

I have some more photos, I will put those above and the others in a gallery for you to look at.

The Work Evolves

Through various things on the internet I have been learning new ways of working and, yes, most of it has been through creativeLIVE and all their different instructors.  I don’t copy what other artists do, that is definitely wrong, but I do take what they do, well bits and pieces of it.  I know when I look at my work flow that there are things that I do that I got from this artist or that artist, but when I put them altogether I get my style, well that is the plan.

So I have been doing the fine art portraits for a while now.  I still love doing them, but doing them always in the park,  well, I need to change and I want to start doing something more with them.  I want to combine my love of architecture with the portraits. So I have been thinking about doing more compositing.  Actually start compositing.

It isn’t something I have done a lot, I have experimented a little bit, but I want to get more serious about it.  I have been working on my Photoshop skills and I think I have the skills now to do some really great images.  I also think my past experience as an artist who painted and did a lot of drawing, has to help.  I understand how an image is put together and the elements that make an image believable.

So what is compositing, for those that don’t know, I found a definition from Wikipedia, here it is, “Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene.”

scmont-hpm4843So I would be able to go to somewhere like Montsalvat and take images of places there, without a model, then take some photos of models, or clients, in my new portable studio and then composite the person into the image I took at Montsalvat.

It isn’t going to be as easy as it sounds, but I think I know what I need to know to be able to do it.  I know the way I shoot the model will be very important and the lighting will have to fit the scene that I am going to put them in.  I will have to make sure colours are correct and that type of thing.  I think I have the knowledge to do it, and I am very excited to try it.

scmont-hpm4960I could put someone standing in the doorway here, or even further back.  Doing this kind of photography is part of the reason why I bought the 50mm lens, so I could shoot everything with the same lens.


Part of the problem I have now is that if I take a model or client to a place like this to take photos, one, it will cost me so much more money, but secondly I can’t expect a model to wait around for people to leave so we can take photos.  Somewhere like this is quite touristy, so there are often people around.  However, I can go on my own, take the photos I need and then place people in various spots.  It will also mean I can use the same locations for multiple people.  If I take photos of these places carefully, I could get a whole library of images just for compositing.

scmont-hpm5058There are still many things to consider, but I am hoping to try my first one this week.  I am so excited.  When I do the shoot for the model, I will also photograph the portable studio for you to see. Though if you have seen any of Jennifer Thoreson’s work, you would know what I am doing.

Here are the photos I took at Montsalvat last year.  Not so sure about the processing anymore, but I hope you like the place.

Trying to Get What’s Up Top Out in the Open

This is a problem that all artists have, and one that quite a few people here have asked me from time to time.  Do I have a clear idea of what image I want to get?  Well, I try not to, if that makes sense.  I have learned that the image in my head is never what the end up product will be.  It can be so disheartening.

I have found that is it best to have an idea, but not a clear picture, then when I get something close I am happy, well relatively.  Then sometimes I am blown away and it is such a wonderful surprise.  However, to get to that shot there is always lots that don’t work, or the ones that are experiments and they haven’t quite worked how you wanted them too.

LeanneCole-emily-20130930-6720I have had this image in my head, not of anything in particular, but it is more about colour.  The images are dark, with lots of blue and green and the highlights are probably more golden.  I like this idea and the colouring, but I have to work out how to make them happen.  So I have been trying lots of different things with some images I took recently.

LeanneCole-emily-20130930-6981I don’t know if they work, but I like where they are going and there are definitely things in them that I like and want to keep trying.  It might be better to take shots that are meant for this sort of thing though, rather than using shots that were meant to be used for something else.

LeanneCole-emily-20130930-7250I have been trying things that I learned from Sue, and Lara Jade, and a few others.  I have been trying Sue’s burning and dodging, but it is a lot harder than it looks, so easy to go too far.  I need to practice a lot more.  I don’t know that these are successful, but it is nice and I like the general look.  I think I need far more experimenting though and have some other things I want to try.

So off to do some more experimenting.