Anatomy of a Photomontage

"How fast do you want to go?”

 

Step 1: dig up an old (and boring!) photo taken at Marvão (Portugal)

Marvão, Portugal

Step 2: throw it into Photoshop and beat those pixels up until you squeeze the speed out of it!*

As Frederick Van Johnson, host of the This Week in Photo podcast often says “pixels were born to be punished!"

*(in this case, motion blur, noise, contrast, saturation) 

speed road

Step 3: photograph a cool biker

Biker

Step 4: join them together and… BAM!

speed bike photomontage (composite)

Professional Photography

 

Horror story for photographers.

A few years ago, I was shooting for a commercial client, when I heard a snap inside the camera and felt like something had come loose. The shutter seemed to work, but there was no image, something very wrong had happened!

One of the components inside my Canon 5D, the mirror, had come off and was literally jingling in there!

I carefully removed the lens and it fell onto my hand! At the time my only thought was “this can’t be good…"  

With a smile on my face but trembling inside, I asked my subjects for a minute. (“My camera’s gone, my camera’s gone…! Well, no one here cares, deal with it later!”)

Went over to my bag, grabbed my backup camera et voilà, the session continued.

I found out later that it was a product defect that Canon had already acknowledged and they were repairing these cases for free. Whew!

“But why don’t you have your equipment insured, Gonçalo?”

Because, amazingly, there is no company in Portugal that will do it! (Please let me know if I’m wrong)

To this day my client doesn’t know any of this happened. What he does know is that everything worked out and he got the photos he needed.

Being a professional photographer isn’t just about making great pictures, it’s about solving problems. Better yet, anticipating them. It’s not cheap having two cameras instead of one, but it can save your skin! 

Raquel


One of the things that makes an athlete a special breed of model is the ability to bring intensity to an image.
Besides having a sculptural body (which is something many other models have), they can pull off poses of such elegance and power that I have a hard time believing we're even from the same species…

And if I need to fine tune their expression, all I have to do is ask them to remember their last training session or the final stretch of a competition… determination will become written all over their face!

It’s not by chance that a lot of the sports stars become photographic models, take Cristiano Ronaldo and Nelson Évora, for example.

Raquel used to be a high class gymnast and although it’s been a while since her last competition, and she’s a bit “rusty” (her words, not mine!), she still looks absolutely superhuman to anyone who can’t take their nose to their toes!

Time & Money

I love Alan Watts's lecture "What if Money Was No Object?"

And every once in a while, I ask myself the difficult question: “if time and money (or any other thing) were no object, what would you like to do in the next few years?”

To make it easier, I sometimes narrow it down: "if time and money (or any other thing) were no object, what would you like to photograph in the next few years?”

When we take out of the way whatever is blocking our dreams (at least in our mind), we’re left with the responsibility to take control over our happiness. Maybe that’s why we always have so many "obstacles"...