The Process

In Digital, Inspiration
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In teaching art to children, we often say, “It’s the process not the product.”  But how often in our lives as adults do we really take those words to heart?  I am guilty of comparison, of feeling like what I make or how I make it isn’t right.  I think it’s important to remind everyone (especially myself) that we are human.   So today, I’m sharing my outtakes.  The rough stuff.  The things I wouldn’t usually show because they were part of the process that led to the final result.  And I’ll tell you a little about what I was thinking as I honed in on what I really wanted.

First, I have to give you a little bit of backstory.  I’ve been following along with Zack Arias’s assignments on his DEDPXL blog and assignment #8 was titled Moody Black & White.  He wanted the participants to try to evoke a set of emotions in their shots – things like depression, dark, quiet, longing.  My first thought came to flowers that had already finished blooming, but as per my normal, I waited till the last minute to begin working on the assignment.  I went to the local grocery store to see if I could find any sad, past-their-prime bouquets that I could purchase at a discount, but luck was not on my side that day.   Every grouping of flowers looked so bright and happy -quite the opposite of depressed, lost or broken.   As a last resort, I grabbed a small bunch of tulips and brought them home.  And then I did the unthinkable:  I left them in a vase without water.  It was definitely not my finest moment especially since tulips are my favorite flowers.  As their stems began to fold over the edges of the glass, I knew I had something I could work with.  First, I chose a single tulip (the one that seemed the worst off from my crime) and I placed it in a small vase purchased years ago in New Mexico.  Of course, I’d forgotten to change my ISO and fstop for the first picture.  The settings I’d last used  (ISO 100 and f4.5) were just not going to cut it in the darkest part of my kitchen against the black side of my refrigerator.

wpid-The-Process.jpgI adjusted the settings and tried several more “poses” with the tulip, changing lenses, changing camera perspectives, and changing apertures, but I still wasn’t getting the look that I wanted.

The glare on the left side of the frame was really bothering me, so I finally decided to turn out the lights and get a flashlight.  I was starting to get closer to the image that I wanted.   The next dilemma became *which* kind of black & white image did I want?  I scrolled through the standard Lightroom presets but ended up tweaking and adjusting so much that it’s nothing like the “B&W Look 5” that I started with.

I fiddled and tweaked and painted and masked and I came up with the final image that I shared in the group:

Moody B&W 1 - DEDPXL08 AssignmentIn the end, I shared 3 images for the assignment, but I followed about the same process with all of them. Moody B&W 2 - DEDPXL08 Assignment
Moody B&W 3 - DEDPXL08 Assignment

What I want everyone to understand is that in the end, we all have our own process.  What I share as my final image may have taken me several (maybe even a hundred) failures before I got it how I wanted it to look.  The way I edit and the steps I take may not be for everyone, but they work for me for now as I continue to learn and grow.  I read a quote recently that someone posted from Augusten Burroughs that really hit home for me.  It said “I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.”  And it’s true.  We all do things a little bit differently and that’s what makes us unique and beautiful and imperfectly perfect.  And the same goes with what we create.  Now, go make something the only way you know how.  All the love – Angie


  1. One of my favorite things is watching another artist at work. to see the imagined unfold into reality is pure magic. Thank you for sharing your process with us! so beautiful.

  2. Beautiful process. Vanessa’s comment is also mine. I love to see how other artists work. Even in a different medium. Maybe especially for that, since I am a painter.

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