April 21, 2010

How to achieve Abstracticism

Let's make a little list about ways to abstractify photographs.

First up there are all the things you can do with post-processing. And I don't dare to list them all, because you can argue that in the end every tool apart form cropping/rotating is a step away from the most realistic representation of your subject. So instead I'll list the manipulations that I'd be using in my efforts to abstractify:
- B&W conversion
- Exposure compensation and curves
- Manipulating hue and saturation of colors
- Merging multiple exposures

And then there are the things you can do with your camera while taking the picture:
- Aperture: use large apertures to limit dof, reduce contrast, produce vignetting
- Focus: using mis-focus to deliberately produce oof results
- Exposure: over-/underexpose
- Shutter: use slow shutter speeds in connection with movement of subject (motion blur) and/or movement of the camera (shake, displace, rotate)
- Interaction of strong light with the lens resulting in flare/glare/ghosting, sunstars
- Lens effects: like from a fisheye, a lomo-camera*, from a lensbaby, or even from using no lens at all
There are also all kinds of capabilities of modern cameras like picture styles, multiple exposures, b&w conversions that can be done in-camera. But for the sake of simplicity I'd consider all this as post-processing as it does not influence the RAW image and normally can be far better controlled with software.

And finally there are all the options that lay outside the camera but influence the RAW image. Let's call them reality-modifiers:
- Filters and filter-like natural effects like haze/smoke/fog, rain/snow
- Reflection/refraction in "non-perfect" media like water, (curved) glass, metal, hot air
- extreme magnification or unusual/strange perspectives and framing can also yield quite some abstractification
All those reality-modifiers have in common that the effect can be seen with the naked eye (perhaps apart from extreme magnification).

I'd like to delve deeper into those abstractifiers in the upcoming posts and also post images to show the effect(s). And if you have other methods outside post-processing add those in a comment!

So, stay tuned...

*Here is a nice article about "How To Make Digital Photos Look Like Lomo Photography"

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