In this talent post we wanted to feature some Equine Photography by Phyllis Burchett. Her work caught our eye due to the beautiful lighting and still shots she was able to capture of the horses. It also reminded us of a photo from Joel Grimes, “Lauren“ from Episode 8 of LitUp, powered by Westcott. (Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see Joel’s Photograph, if you don’t recall, or click here).
In Episode 8, Joel Grimes demonstrated a 3 light setup that was big, soft and beautiful. To achieve this look, Joel utilized the biggest modifiers that existed, and brought them in really, really tight to envelope the model with soft, milky light. Two 7′ Octabanks and one 5′ Octabank as an overhead were used to create the lighting on Lauren.
But what did Phyllis do to simulate the same look in this series of White Stallion photos?
Let’s take a look and find out more about her process.
In this first photo, “The White Horse,” she used a curves layer adjustment in Photoshop CS5 for slight adjustments to the original exposure of the image. Then, structure was added with Nik Viveza. She cleaned up the background using layers. And then used the Nik Silver Efex Pro to desaturate the image and create the high key image quality. And finally, she utilized CS5 to apply a Pixel Bend/Sketch Effects.
In the rest of her photos, Phyllis used the same effects, with just some slight variances here and there, such as adding a layer of texture of a snow effect through layers in CS5. Some she removed the Pixel Bending effect, and others retained it. All in all, we were impressed with the transition from color to beautifully lit black and white photographs from Phyllis.
In addition to her process, we also asked Phyllis a few questions about her photography work. Here’s what she had to say:
What is the most challenging part about photographing animals?
They don’t take direction very well.
What lighting was used to achieve the white-out effect in these photos?
All images were taken in natural light, either early morning or late afternoon. If there was a background I didn’t like, I cleaned it up in Photoshop.
How much post-processing work do you typically do?
That depends on what the final purpose is for the image. I try to get as much as possible right “in camera” so I don’t have a lot of post processing work to do, but sometimes the conditions just don’t make that possible. I probably do more “digital darkroom” work on my more fine art images.
Do you have any tips for other photographers?
The effects or treatment used on an image should never overpower it; if the first thing you see is the treatment then you’ve failed. Just remember less is usually more, I rarely use any filter in Photoshop at 100%.
For more of Phyllis’s work, check out her portfolio, her 500px, or her Facebook Photography page. And if you’d like to purchase these as prints, go here. We truly enjoyed getting the chance to learn more about her work! And we hope you did too!
Have you ever tried photographing animals? What were your experiences?
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