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How I shoot with material over the camera.

Updated: May 18, 2021

Experimenting in photography is not only fun but it also gives us the opportunity to expand our knowledge and experience.

Something I have started experimenting with is attaching cloth around the lens of my camera, or draping cloth over the lens. See the video below for a set up I used with a client a few months back, all shot in my bedroom using natural light only.

The final image is one that really resonates in me and is certainly a technique I will use more often. Just before trying this material technique I had learnt about texture overlays in Adobe Photoshop, so to use both of these new techniques to create this final image was a great pleasure.

I used 2 overlays to create the textures. One was a nature leafy overlay, at the bottom. The background has had some rust style overlay, to make the background more interesting than a flat painted wall.

I used a gradient layer to create the colour tones throughout the image and dodged and burned for the highlights and pushing more shadow depth.

The skin was enhanced with frequency separation technique in Adobe Photoshop, to give that nice clear complexion.

My client is wearing her own clothes that she brought to the session.

Equipment Used:

Nikon D810, 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens (set at f/2.8 for the shot) and natural light from the window facing her.

Adobe Photoshop for the editing process.

Animoto to create the video.

This client was inspired after seeing a self portrait I had produced when I was testing this technique. She wanted to recreate the same look to use in her business. Branding is always important in your business and it is good to understand what you want to achieve and the look you want to portray to the public/your clients. This particular client wanted something earthy and in tune with nature, hence why we went for the earthy tones and nature overlay.

This material technique can easily be adapted to outdoor photography by attaching cloth or feathers around the lens hood. I have often used a band of feathers wrapped around the lens and then fastened with an elastic band. It creates a wonderful soft vignette and looks amazing on vintage portraits, especially with some backlighting.

Have a go and I'd love to see your work. Post in comments or find me on Facebook or Instagram and send me your pictures there.

#education #tutorial #studio #portrait #technique #material #vignette #overlay #Photoshop

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