My "Women's Touch in Photography" Series Continues with Guest Blogger Judith Monteferrante

JMonteferrante__ 01_Beacon Marine Gold.jpg

My series on "The Woman's Touch in Photography" continues today with guest blogger Judith Monteferrante.

Your turn Judith.

First, I'd like to thank Rick for asking me to participate in this series. What a good idea.

I first met Rick at a presentation he was giving at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Several months later I took one of his workshops in Croton on Hudson, NY. We've been friends ever since.

Do women shoot in a feminine way? When you look at portrait lighting styles, men are usually photographed with side or rim light to enhance the grit, lines and texture of their being. Women, on the other hand, are photographed with soft beauty light to make them glow and seem wrinkle free.  Do you think that this influences how women shoot? I do not think so. I believe all photographers are influenced by a particular style or a school of photography.

I like to emulate Pictorialism where soft focus, limited color palate and/or application of texture or brush strokes seek to evoke a more painterly, romanticized look. Most of the followers of Pictorialism were men; such as Arthur Stieglitz and early in his career, Ansel Adams!

I like to set a mood; to create a picture. Being “In the moment”, as I remembered it.

Beacon Marine Gold: Time of Day (opening image)

We all know about the Golden Light of predawn and dusk. The deep shadows and side lighting that enhance texture along with the soft honey light. The White Balance temperature slider in Lightroom or Photoshop RAW processor can be moved towards yellow to also increase this golden mood. Also, remember when shooting, to set your in-camera white balance to cloudy for a subtle warming effect or to shade for a stronger one. You can collect your own surface or painterly textures to overlay or download them from the web. In this image, I reinforced the dusk feeling by adding a golden texture layer in Photoshop and then blending it in with the original.

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Blue Dahlia: Macro with Soul

Flower macro photography can be enhanced by adding tones or textures as well. This alone, will not bring magic to a poorly conceived shot. Remember, to look for the center of interest – what draws the eye, as well as its position in the field of view and then the surrounding elements. Do they add or detract from the key zone? Circular elements or a border help contain the interest in the image to this key zone and not wander off the page. The rule of thirds composition may not work for this type of image. Macro photography with subjects at close distances will have minimal depth of field at typical F stops. Therefore, if more DOF is desired, a smaller aperture or higher F stop number (which is a fraction, such as f/22 or higher) will be required. But remember, often less is more.

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The Bath: Reminiscent of a Degas Nude

Look to be inspired! Visit museum, art association and gallery art shows, and peruse art books, not just photography books. Learn how these giants used light and shadow to enhance their works of great art! Study LIGHT. I viewed the “Degas and the Nude” exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and was inspired to create my own painterly nude. My choice of natural lighting through shutters as well as location by a tub, then enhanced by painterly textures, were all important elements to create “The Bath”. Remember, to CREATE an image, not just take one.

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Pear Antique: Still life Study

Practice doing a still life. You can control the lighting as well as all the other elements to produce the image you envision. Window light is ideal but can be duplicated with flash or strobes. This image of pears was photographed on black acrylic with a bla

ck background with side strobe lighting to add texture and dimension to the image. A painterly texture was added in post processing.

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Lincoln: Candlelight

I like looking to the painting masters from the past to help explore other light sources, such as candlelight.  Here I used mainly straight tungsten modeling light from my strobes to recreate the look of candlelight. I added the rifle, bugle and book about Lincoln and then added color in the form of fruit to enhance the feeling of reading by candlelight.

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Lobster Feast: another example

Candlelight with warm tones created with the old master look. No filters or textures were added in post processing. The look was achieved by the lighting alone.

In summary, looking at these images, I do not think you would see a feminine touch but an artistic one. Perhaps, women have more patience in the current world to spend the extra time to create. What do you think?

For more of my work, please visit my site.

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Thank you Judith for a wonderful guest blog post. I knew you when you got started. You've come a long way. Your photographs are works of art.

Explore the light

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