On Flowing With The Style

By | 2012-05-14T09:53:18+00:00 May 14th, 2012|

One question that I get asked more than most any other is, How do you know what you want to do to your image in post?

The answer is both straightforward and somewhat ambiguous, and is in no way intended to cause any sort of consternation. Basically, the path I take when I style my images varies on an image by image basis. I take the photo with my camera, import it into Lightroom and, when I’m good ‘n ready, I go to work on it.

The path of stylization for some images can be very clear whereas others take a lot longer to figure out. I don’t rush it and I’m not at all afraid to quit out of all programs without saving if I’m just not feeling good about what I’m seeing, even if I had been working the image for several hours. I also don’t really work in iterations – I start on an image and I work at it until it’s done. If the process breaks down midway and I lose inspiration, I stop and quit without saving. I’ll attack it again another day. The image isn’t going anywhere.

The process of stylizing an image like this one of Mt. Hood is one of my favorites. I opened this image up and have absolutely zero idea of what I wanted to do to it. In fact, I didn’t even think I wanted to ever work on it – just keep it on ice. But then, I applied one effect that changed the entire look and feel of the image and everything else instantly sprang together in a very harmonious way. As soon as that one effect was applied, the path became very clear to me.

And that is how things work in my head. No two images are treated the same way and I see no sense in rushing your own art. The only stipulation is that when you’re done with your art, you and only you are truly happy with it.

In terms of processing
This is a single, long exposure taken at Laurance Lake in Hood River, OR. Despite being flanked by some amazing photographers and friend, +Jay Patel, +Varina Patel, +Patricia Davidson, +Michael Riffle, and +Nicole S. Young, I felt totally at ease. When photographers come together with their intentions refined razor sharp, magic happens. Ideas and musings are shared with no pretense. It was amazing.

When I began working on this image, I really had no idea what I wanted for it. That is, of course, until I applied the Blue Dawn effect from +onOne Software Perfect Effects 3. The result here was a perfectly moody blue tint, with all traces of minute texture and details wiped away – giving the image an painterly feel. From here, I jumped into action.

I selectively applied a heavy amount of Tonal Contrast back onto Mt. Hood to bring out the details. I also applied the Rice Paper Light texture overlay, which added some nice fodder for the eyes in the negative spaces while also adding some nice warm swatches above and below the horizon.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4RC2.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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35 Comments

  1. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    this is the Mont blanc no

  2. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    +richard altair Nope, Mt. Hood.

  3. Sandra Parlow May 14, 2012 at 9:38 am - Reply

    Nice, Brian! thanks for the overview of your process!

  4. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:41 am - Reply

    WHAT THIS ???

  5. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 9:43 am - Reply

    +richard altair Not sure what the confusion is about – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hood

  6. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    AH ok i m sorry whaoo is changes everithing

  7. Sandra Parlow May 14, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    I'M CONFUSED!!!

  8. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    +Sandra Parlow Just the way I like my women. ;)

  9. Chris Sader May 14, 2012 at 9:47 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash +Sandra Parlow I don't know about you, but I put very little stock into what those strange blue silhouetted men who wander through G+ aimlessly have to say. :)

  10. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:48 am - Reply

    several why your women

  11. Sandra Parlow May 14, 2012 at 9:51 am - Reply

    LOL!!! got to keep us on edge, eh Brian? lol!! (little bit of Canadian there.. just for you)

    +Chris Sader yeah – they are like blue ghosts….

  12. Chris Sader May 14, 2012 at 9:52 am - Reply

    The blue ghost in question seems to have turned into a woman? Now I'm the one who's confused.

  13. Chris Sader May 14, 2012 at 9:52 am - Reply

    The blue ghost in question seems to have turned into a woman? Now I'm the one who's confused.

  14. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    hahahhahahah it is a gentlemann towards women I think that he has had success with women

  15. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:53 am - Reply

    hahahhahahah it is a gentlemann towards women I think that he has had success with women

  16. Sandra Parlow May 14, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

    It's a case of I can be who ever you WANT me to be… :)

  17. Sandra Parlow May 14, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

    It's a case of I can be who ever you WANT me to be… :)

  18. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

    I hope that your heart not break just kidding

  19. richard altair May 14, 2012 at 9:57 am - Reply

    I hope that your heart not break just kidding

  20. Ryan Turner May 14, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

    If I can chime in here on +Brian Matiash post. One of the quotes I think about when processing images is something Michelangelo said to his apprentice when asked how he creates amazing sculpture from a block of stone. He replied "Every block of stone has a statue inside it," he said, "and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

    Of course with photography it is important for the photographer to create a good starting image, by paying attention to subject matter, composition and exposure. But then when I sit down at the computer I let the image "reveal" itself.

    Much like Brian says its about letting the image speak to you. And now with Lightroom and OnOne, we have the tools that makes that process much easier.

    Great post Brian. I love the creative process.

  21. Ryan Turner May 14, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

    If I can chime in here on +Brian Matiash post. One of the quotes I think about when processing images is something Michelangelo said to his apprentice when asked how he creates amazing sculpture from a block of stone. He replied "Every block of stone has a statue inside it," he said, "and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it."

    Of course with photography it is important for the photographer to create a good starting image, by paying attention to subject matter, composition and exposure. But then when I sit down at the computer I let the image "reveal" itself.

    Much like Brian says its about letting the image speak to you. And now with Lightroom and OnOne, we have the tools that makes that process much easier.

    Great post Brian. I love the creative process.

  22. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Cheers for the very thoughtful reply, +Ryan Turner. I really appreciate both the insight and sentiment.

  23. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    Cheers for the very thoughtful reply, +Ryan Turner. I really appreciate both the insight and sentiment.

  24. Jay Patel May 14, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Ok..I am jealous. I have only one image processed and you are pumping them out by the dozen. Just wait till you have kids. :))

    Nice processing…Looks very artzy.

  25. Michael Riffle May 14, 2012 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I hear you, +Jay Patel… I've managed to crank one out, and that's while I was still down there. ;) The weather is turning so nice that the rate I'm capturing images is vastly outpacing the rate I can process them.

  26. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Never a bad thing to outpace processing with getting new shots, right +Michael Riffle?

  27. Michael Riffle May 14, 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    So true.

  28. Jay Patel May 14, 2012 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Who said anything about getting new shot? ;)))

  29. Edward Wade May 14, 2012 at 11:35 am - Reply

    Beautiful shot Brian!

  30. Darcy Bowen May 14, 2012 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Thanks for the insight into your process Brian. I love how this turned out. Blue Dawn is one of the filters I look at often when I'm not sure which direction I want to go with an image. I need to play with the textures more though.

  31. Nate Parker May 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    damn this is massive Brian!

  32. Nate Parker May 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    damn this is massive Brian!

  33. Nate Parker May 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    damn this is massive Brian!

  34. Brian Matiash May 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Tnx much, +Nate Parker et al.!

  35. Patricia Davidson May 15, 2012 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Oh I love your write-up and image +Brian Matiash! It's so true. I'm just back from another trip and now I have more images to process!!!

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