Photographing a naiad

The idea

I came across the work of Brooke Shaden, a conceptual fine art photographer, and was totally inspired. She does a lot of self portrait work and builds fantastical worlds with her photographs. Check out her blog and YouTube channel for more amazing stuff.

Action

I had a play with some of her techniques. This is my favourite photograph from Pirongia last year (when it was a lot warmer!) but hadn’t been able make it as otherworldly and fantastical as I wanted. With a bit of Photoshop magic thanks to Brooke’s techniques:

"Naiad" by Ailene. Digitally manipulated photograph (2014) © Ailene at Old Mountain Art.
“Naiad” by Ailene. Digitally manipulated photograph (2014) © Ailene at Old Mountain Art.

The first thing I did was replace the colour of the leaves in the background and make them turquoise/purple to give that otherworldly feel. I love how the moss on the rocks changed colour as well since some of it was the same green as the leaves. The next trick from Brooke was to change the colour in the shadows and highlights as this can tie together different photos. The last techniques are to make the photograph look more painterly – crop it to a square, add a texture layer, and ensure that there is texture in the shadows and no blown out highlights.

Unfortunately, I must have startled the naiad, and this was the last photograph I was able to get before she disappeared.

"Naiad II" by Ailene. Digitally manipulated photograph (2014) © Ailene at Old Mountain Art.
“Naiad II” by Ailene. Digitally manipulated photograph (2014) © Ailene at Old Mountain Art.

Evolve

This is quite different to how I have processed photos up until now where I have always had a stark contrast between the highlights and shadows. However, I’m loving the painterly effect of making sure there is detail in everything, and adding the texture definitely helps with this too. Something to play with!

Keep on shining bright,

Ailene

Update: I wrote this post at the start of my art journey. Check out my latest posts to see how far I've come and what I'm doing now!