It all started when I woke up one morning very early and saw this sight out of a window in my living room. The orange and blue, the directional shadows made by the morning sun and tall city buildings. I was instantly inspired.
My work isn’t always super saturated or brightly colored; I think about color a lot and use it intentionally, but am usually drawn to a more subdued color pallet. This time, however, I knew I wanted to make a piece that echoed these orange and blue colors, and to mark the time I’ve spent in this place. It’s a scene I had spent a long time with, 7 months into the pandemic, looking out of this window at the oddly quiet world below.
The quick photo I had snapped that early morning remained my inspiration, but I decided I wanted more of a sunset feel. I mulled the idea over for days or weeks until one evening, the perfect sunset presented itself and I was able to get a high quality image of it. From there, I made a “sketch” (the photo on the right above) of what I wanted the image to look like – thinking over colors and composition. The plan was to composite in the photo of the sunset.
I got in touch with my friend Stephen Schlegel, who graciously agreed to model for this piece. Since I had a solid idea of what I wanted already, the photoshoot didn’t take long at all. Most of it was making sure the orange light was falling in just the right way – always with chiaroscuro in mind.
To light the scene, I used a purple/blue-gelled light as my fill light, and a diffused orange-gelled light modified with barn doors up and to the left, mimicking that intense orange sunset light.
The color was already very close to what I wanted, but I finished the toning with the Infinite Color Panel. You can see video of the whole process, including shooting and editing, here:
If you’re interested in learning more about photo editing or compositing, I give one-on-one Photoshop lessons – shoot me an email. Thanks for reading!
Susan Underwood says
Joanna, I didn’t listen to your how-to, but I love this whole presentation and your discussion of being inspired. Artists need to share their processes more often. It’s motivational! THANKS!
Joanna this is lovely! A true artist at work!