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What to Do When Your Boat Won’t Float

When I was teaching on creativeLIVE I shot a boat in the studio. We couldn’t turn all the lights off in the studio so the subject and boat had a lot of unwanted light on her, and I was a bit confused in editing about what to do with the shot. It is neat on one hand to have a boat in an indoor space. But, I thought, since I’m not totally happy with the setting or the light, I might as well change it to something I do like!

This revelation didn’t come until 6 months later (as in, a couple days ago) when I was looking through some stock shots I had taken and was struck by a picture of the ocean. It had beautiful light on it, and I could see the light matching the studio setup. I went to work dropping her into the setting, which took some jigging. I had to match the light correctly in the sky, making sure to choose a cloud photo (or in this case, two photos) that would accurately act as motivated light for the scene.

After that, I had to blend the boat into the ocean, which proved to be the easiest bit of the editing process. I did a lot of work to the ocean and clouds to create really dynamic light by using curves to adjust contrast in select portions of the image. I felt instantly that the scene needed a cool hue over it to show the near-nighttime colors and storminess of nature.

Finally I added a texture, as I so often do, and these two textures are from my “Textures of White Hill Mansion” set.

It was so satisfying to finally see this picture come to life in a way that it had not been intended. I had always thought I’d keep it in the studio. But the time came where I could either throw it in the trash, or do something with it, and I was fond enough of it to set out on an editing journey.

I don’t usually like to create like that, but if an image isn’t working, who says you can’t breathe new life into it. I chose the elements I did based on themes that I love – dealing with the open sea, starting a treacherous journey, and finding beauty in a dark situation. I hope you enjoy the resulting adventure.

The “before” shot – unedited.

{ 4 } Comments

  1. Joshua Pheneger | December 1, 2013 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Stunning work Brooke! I hope to one day be as awesome at Photoshop add you are. You make it seem so easy.

  2. Vanessa Powell | December 1, 2013 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    As always, you inspire. I’ve been returning to older work lately too, and finding some satisfaction in the process and in the cleansing nature of re-working a piece. It’s very cold in Alaska now, and I’ve been shut inside with below zero temps and no opportunity to shoot outdoors without fear of freezing my models. Your photo and blog this morning have given me some new ideas and a little hope to push through some obstacles I’ve set out for myself, and some Mother Nature has given me. Thank you my friend.

  3. oscar | December 2, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    brooke, amazing work as ALWAYS! I find your work so very inspiring as well as your story. Please keep up the great work

  4. laura radford | December 15, 2013 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Just so cool what you can do and giving us the belief we can do it aswell – all you need is imagination. Thank you for being on creative live!!

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