Small Details. Big Story

Small Details. Big Story

By |2012-12-01T22:25:06+00:00Nov 30th, 2012|

The Story

As seen on this week’s episode of onOne Software’s Perfect Inspiration –

I love turning back to the images from my very first visit to Belchertown State School in Belchertown, MA. There was so much there to shoot and it was really easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of detail. Originally, I started with ultra-wide shots, cramming in as much as I could. There was just an overload of cool things to nab. I did that for the first two hours or so. I’d set up an image with my wide lens, bracket, and move on. I’d try head on perspectives, angled perspectives, and at varying heights. Ultimately, I ended up with a lot of the same type of image and none really conveyed a story about this decrepit place that I was standing in.

After a few hours, I got the initial enchantment out of my system. I started looking more closely at things. It wasn’t so much about the entire room. Rather, I started noticing etches on doors and patterns in peeling paint. It quickly became very clear to me that I didn’t need to include tons of detail to give the viewer a sense of what it felt like to stand there. Rather, I just needed to find the right details to help concentrate the enormity of the scene.

I think this particular image is my favorite from the entire shoot. I remember seeing those claw marks on the key lock and it sent shivers through me. That, combined with the peeling paint, told a better story than any wide shot that I walked away with from that trip.

In terms of processing

Watch the entire workflow video of how I achieved the look for this image here:

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  1. Manuela Azevedo November 30, 2012 at 9:10 am - Reply


  2. J.J. Bentley November 30, 2012 at 9:11 am - Reply

    rich is how i'd describe this in one word

  3. Yamini Shukla November 30, 2012 at 9:13 am - Reply

    whispering …..d old days' faith n beauty

  4. onkar bhatiya November 30, 2012 at 9:14 am - Reply

    sale pagal

  5. Shelly Gunderson November 30, 2012 at 9:17 am - Reply

    Very nice textures on this!

  6. Daniel Novak November 30, 2012 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Nice colors and textures indeed!

  7. roma g November 30, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    Interesting: As of November 14th, 2012, the town of Belchertown has decided on a $1.25 million project, that will hand over the ownership of the land to a new owner. The new owners plan to demolish the existing buildings which have been infested by asbestos. The plan is to replace them with a new facility of 170-units of assisted living homes. The project is due to be completed by Winter of 2014. (wiki)

    I wonder how that can reconcile with it being put on historic places list….

  8. Mauro Herrera November 30, 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Good photo, Is amazing!

  9. Amy Heiden November 30, 2012 at 9:54 am - Reply

    It's interesting you say that, because I've developed a style of shooting a place for the wide shots, then going back through it all with only a 50mm to get some of these kinds of shots. It's works well for me too.

  10. Tanya Vaughn November 30, 2012 at 10:21 am - Reply

    good advice for a fresh photographer like me:) And its funny i lived in Amherst MA and drove thru belchertownm more times than i can remember.

  11. Scott King November 30, 2012 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I've really been enjoying this series of videos. Thanks for doing them.

  12. Brian Matiash November 30, 2012 at 10:28 am - Reply

    +Scott King It's my absolute pleasure. I'm glad you're getting something out of them – it makes it all worth it.

  13. bettina kloeckner November 30, 2012 at 10:38 am - Reply

    We will end up all like this. That´s the truth. But it is still beautiful in the multitude of things happening inside it.

  14. Greg Poulos November 30, 2012 at 10:41 am - Reply

    Love that! God wide, gets lots of establishing shots… then drill down into all the cool details. Very nice. I am going to 'borrow' that method when shooting.

  15. William Sadler November 30, 2012 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I like the texture of the shot

  16. Doug Dillon November 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    Terrific Brian! Thanks so much for these. I've gone back and watched some of them more than once. It's good info and really helps with working in Perfect Photo (I have 7 now). I also enjoy your take on shooting and really makes me think about shooting and some of the thought processes I should consider. I have also taken your advice and am going back to older shots and trying some new things in processing out on them. With some of the new tools, things that used to be difficult aren't nearly as hard to do now. Thanks again!

  17. Scott King November 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash Oh yeah the videos are great. If it wasn't for them I'm not sure I would've gotten Photo Suite 7 and as it stands I bought my copy the first day it was released. So you can let your bosses/marketing department know that what you're doing is working.

    What's really helpful about them isn't the technical stuff. After a person watches one or two they know what a blending mode is or how to use the perfect brush when masking and all that jazz. What makes the videos shine is how you talk about the art aspect. What was going through your mind when you took the picture and why you are making the style choices you do in Perfect Photo.

  18. Christopher Germano November 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    Drool! The combination of textures, colors, and detail is awesome.

  19. Yo Ta November 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Vintage feeling

  20. Boris Manic December 1, 2012 at 2:41 am - Reply


  21. Ming Leung December 1, 2012 at 7:46 am - Reply

    old story….

  22. Jose González December 1, 2012 at 10:52 am - Reply

    terrific shot !

  23. Jatin Saini December 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    nice pic

  24. mohamed magdi December 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

     very nice

  25. Jose González December 1, 2012 at 11:16 pm - Reply

    I've got an imac i7 with 16 gb ram. I don't know why but the performance of Perfect Effects Suite is really disappointing at times. When I use the brushes, these work erratically. The motion of the brush is not as fluid as one could expect having the machine I have.
    Hope the performance improves in forthcoming updates. Adobe photoshop is much better in the area being a bigger application.

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