Saturday, 12 March 2011

The power of a picture

It's a funny thing,  as a photographer who looks at and analysis pictures every day, it is so easy to forget what power a photograph can actually hold.  We spend ages working on composition, exposure, processing, etc and it is so easy to get absorbed by the process and forget what a photo can actually mean to people.

A reality check came for me this week.  Unfortunately a good friend of my wife died last week, taken well before her time by cancer.  Her family got in touch with me to see if I could help as they had no recent photos of her. A quick look through my archive and I managed to pull up 20 or so shots of her from the shoot I did at a wedding.  Upon looking through them,  this seemed the best shot I could find:

Before - A proud mum with her two boys.  

Its a nice enough shot,  but the family were looking for a simple head and shoulders shot.  It was time to fire up Photoshop.  Not for the first time,  I was really grateful for the 21 megapixies who live inside the 5DmkII.  All that resolution allowed me to crop much more than I would have ever dared before.  Then it was some cloning, painting in a new background and added a vignette.  The final result was this:

After - gone but not forgotten

I printed it using the qimage rip to force my now tired and exhausted megapixies, back up to a 10x8 print.  Framed and mounted it looked OK.

I popped the picture round to the family and was absolutely blown away with how grateful they were to see a nice picture of their mum/wife/daughter., To me it had become an exercise in masking, reducing pixelation getting a good print and doing the best job I could.  Suddenly I realised that all the technical stuff wasn't worth a hill of beans compared to the memories and love it evoked for them.

Do yourself a favour - make sure you have plenty of pictures of the people you love.

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Great advice and wonderful that you could help that family with such a lovely portrait.