Monday, 12 December 2016

Kim Ayres - Creating a Christmas Selfie

For most people, a quick snap with their phone while wearing a Santa hat is all that's needed for a perfectly adequate Christmas Selfie for their Facebook page.

Unfortunately, when you're a professional photographer, especially when you're known for moody portraits, everyone's expectations tend to be bit higher...

So last year I found myself setting up off-camera flashes on stands, getting tangled in a string of fairy lights, adding coloured gels to the flashes and playing with textured overlays in Photoshop afterwards.

I have a top hat and round glasses that I wear on stage when I play in my band The Cracked Man. I decided stringing a set of fairy lights around the hat ought to do the trick.

It took about 15 shots to finally get one I was happy with. Part of the problem with doing a self portrait with a DSLR camera, rather than your phone, is you can't see what the image is going to look like until after you have taken it and walked round to the other side of the camera to take a look on the screen at the back. Consequently it takes a few shots just to get your head and the lights lined up where you want them



Once I had a shot I was pleased with, it was into Photoshop to crop it, remove the cord running down from the back of the hat over my shoulder, and add a couple more lights to fill the gaps.



Then it was a case of finding a processing style that would fit the mood I was trying to create. In this case, it involved playing with the sharpness, colour, saturation and contrast, highlighting some areas and darkening down others.



Next I wanted to place the same image into the glasses, instead of having the reflection of my studio floor in them (and the same image within the glasses of them too).



Finally I created a textured overlay to add a bit more mood and atmosphere.



For a bit of fun and silliness I was quite amazed at the response - it became my most popular avatar ever - until the one where I was wearing a turban on a camel...

Whatever your cultural or religious beliefs and practices, and whatever the weather is like where you are, I wish you all the very best over the festive season and for the year ahead!

Kim Ayres
www.kimayres.co.uk
www.facebook.com/kimayresphotography

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