As part of my creative process, I constantly observe objects and turn them in my head. I explore them in real life, illustrations, pictures, and sketches to have different perspectives. My project was to transform mundane, everyday objects into something deeper and to inspire the viewer to pause and look around and appreciate the simple things that surround us. A balloon, a hat, a lampshade, a striped dress, and an umbrella were the great protagonists in my project.
Before starting to work on the project, I already had a rough idea of my concepts and colors. I actually worked with sketches in Photoshop, where I placed the colors, making it easy to make decisions. The big challenge started when seeking the objects to complete the pictures. For example I knew that I needed a balloon to complete Elmo's face. But what size? I also knew that I needed a striped dress to complete the bee. But what model? Long sleeve? Short sleeve? Turtle neck? And so on.
The testing process is vital in my workflow to get the desired result. Once I test the size, texture, and even the object's behavior when applying paint or glue on them, I’m ready to start. In the testing process, I found the biggest challenge of my project. While making the "Bee" and the "cupcake" pictures, I had to trust my intuition and start working on the whole picture without testing my objects and my poses. It was too risky, knowing that the time was against me.
I remember the day I found the lampshade in Goodwill. I said to myself, “This lampshade will be part of the cupcake if I get the grant.” But I didn't take the time to test the overall idea, and suddenly I got the call from Sony, and I found myself working and having to trust my intuition and decisions. I was impressed and proud of myself when I saw the final result.
The Evolution Of An Idea Into A Photo
The first color palette option I had for the cupcake picture didn't come up the way I wanted. I was trying to work with complementary colors, but there wasn't a balance in the whole picture. I figured this out by sketching in Photoshop.
My second option for the cupcake picture was a vintage style with analogous colors. I thought a dull, slightly pale pink would be perfect to create a vintage atmosphere. The cupcake picture was the only one with two options of color palettes. And that second option came up when I found a Pulp Fiction minimalist poster using a similar color palette. You can see the movie poster at the beginning of the BTS video.
Amelie is inspired by the movie "The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain." I've watched the movie too many times, not only for the beautiful story but also for how they used colors and symbols throughout the film.
If you are a fan of Amelie (like me), you will immediately connect an umbrella, a coffee shop, a gnome, a bike, raspberries, cats, and even a camera with the movie. There are too many simple things that represent the film.
I wanted to put together two or more symbolic objects from the movie and create a new concept. In Photoshop, I first blended the umbrella into a bike's wheel. The idea looked good, but I knew that the wall where I usually take my pictures was narrow to develop that particular concept. It was possible to make that picture, but I needed to work on the wall.
The second option was the umbrella blended in a gnome face. The gnome has a particular story in the movie. With the help of some illustrations I used as a guide, I developed the concept the way I wanted.
I had a clear idea with the ring picture. I wanted to work with a kind of navy blue as the primary color and a shade of its complementary color. The hard time was figuring out how to create the shiny effect in the diamond. My first option was glitter, but I didn't find the blue in different shades. The second option was transparent sheets, but I didn't find the blue in different shades either. So, I decided to work with paper in different shades of blue and gray and make the changes in Photoshop.
It isn't easy to pick one picture. Each one has a special touch that I love. The ring could be my favorite. To me, the picture has a perfect balance. The diamond colors make the subtle glitter effect I was looking for, and the hat is kind of "hide" but at the same time fully present with the orange-yellow color.
The Gear & Settings I Used
I had the best time ever working with my new camera and lens. I used a Sony Alpha 7 III with a Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens. It was my first-time shooting videos and pictures with Sony gear, and the experience was really great.
My experience using the Imaging Edge app along with the camera was fantastic. I never lost the focus area, even when you can't control the focus with the app. As a self-portrait photographer, with my previous camera, I used to have a hard time controlling the camera and the autofocus. Imaging Edge with the Sony Alpha 7 III was a game-changer for me.
My settings: Manual exposure mode, 1/60-sec. shutter speed, 4-5.6 aperture, 400 ISO, continuous AF, wide focus area.
I also recorded the BTS with the Sony Alpha 7 III and a Sony ZV-1. Both cameras are fantastic, easy to work with and customize. An important note was that I found it easy and fast to customize the white balance with the gray card in both cameras.
Special thanks to Amy, who helped me understand the ins and outs of my new gear.