This guest post is a little different than the ones that we have been posting here at Photography Life. It is not coming from an established pro photographer. It is from an aspiring photographer, Kim Leuenberger, who works hard on bringing something unique to the world of photography, something we do not get to see every day in the never-ending sea of imagery on the Internet. I think a lot of our readers can relate to her and might find her work inspiring. I really liked her concept of Traveling Cars and asked Kim to share a little tip on how she post-processes her car photos.
My pondering and wondering
My name is Kim Leuenberger, I’m 21 and I’m a big dreamer! My imagination is so wide and over productive, so I have to find ways to let things go off of my head (so I don’t explode). I’m very close to nature, and I spend most of my time alone, which can be quite heavy at times. I love to get my feelings out through art. As a kid I used to have my own “throw-away” Kodak, and we would develop it and put it in a small album. My parents would tell me how to improve, and it went on like this for years, until The family got a digital camera. After the purchase I could practice as much as i wanted.
For my 19th birthday, I got my first personal DSLR and that’s when I started really photographing. I started creating and photographing as an artist, and not just to take a point and shoot photos of things like I used to. I would go for hours and days in City like Basel or Bern and take my friends out for photoshoots, it was a lot of fun.
But like a lot of people out there, I decided to go to school for something other than photography. In 2011 I was sitting on a bench at the university, my camera always in my bag. I couldn’t concentrate and all I could think about is going out and take pictures. I was doodling on my school notes, and even if loved Chemistry, I knew that it wasn’t my calling. I think that’s when I decided to enter London University of The Arts, which I will be attending from September. I always wanted to study in an university, plus studying the thing i love the most in the world – photography – would just be perfect.
In 2012 I decided to go to Dublin, there the thing got bigger. After seeing what I had in my portfolio, some of my teachers offered me to do an exhibition of my work (especially The Traveling Cars Adventures). But I left in April to work in Tunisia for the Club Med as a tennis teacher. The work was intense, and I had almost no time to take pictures, I was feeling very down… As soon as I got back home, I felt empty. But then in June I forced myself to go back on the field and I took some of the best pictures of my life.
I love to have friends with me to take my car pictures, it’s always more fun, and I look a little bit less ridiculous (only a bit). As I take the pictures low on the ground, I often have to lie down to make the focus perfect. Sometimes people would walk by and find me funny. At that point I would show them the pictures I just took, and that’s how I ended up selling some of the photos to them. Talking about making money from something they thought was funny :) Soon after I started getting inquiries for purchases of my work…
I believe that everything is interesting. From my point of view, we must share feelings with our pictures, they must tell a story. It can happen that creativity and inspiration disappear, but we always need to fight to find them back.
Nothing can stop us and we should always push our boundaries.
What I have in my bag
I use a Canon 5d mark III at the moment. I have two lenses – the 24-105mm and the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. My 50mm is my soul mate and 99% of my shots are taken with it. I use a triopo tripod that’s very light, compact and solid. I also use a wireless remote to trigger the shutter. I recently bought a 6 in 1 light reflector that is very practical for shooting in the sun and still have some lights on my cars or models. I am not big fan of using flash. I bought a porteen gear bag on Etsy for my camera and lenses. It is specifically designed for the 5D and is perfect for me.
I’m a big fan of analogues, too. When I travel in a city, I tend to take an old analogue (I’ve got 5 or 6, always as gifts) along with a b&w filter in it. I also have quite a collection of Lomography and always have them with me. I think they take the funniest pictures ever.
My pictures are mostly post processed in Lightroom and I only add a little color to my photos. Light effects, blurs, are all already done with my camera and my fantastic 50mm!! I’m not a pro at retouching in Photoshop.
1. First, open your picture on Lightroom. Sorry mine is in french ;)
2. Then, you want to go to this mode where you can choose the tint of your light and darker tones. Try to save your best presets to win some time. I like to set my light tones in a green-yellowish color and the darks in blue-red ones, but it’s really up to you, try to play with it, push the saturation, the tint. It’s always fun! It works really well for sunsets too!
3. Then when you’re happy with your tones, you can work the brightness, contrast, saturation of your image. I love lightroom 4 because it’s so easy to work with for the light, white tones and black and darker ones. I like my pictures soft, but c still contrasting a bit. So that’s what I came up with this time:
4. There is also the tint of every color that’s interesting to work on. Maybe you want the blue to pop up a bit more, so go and push the blue, blue green saturation a bit:
5. Then, for the finish, I use the brush. For example, I want that the scooter pops a bit more up, so I’ll add clarity and contrast on it, maybe saturation.
6. After that, my picture is ready to be exported :D
I hope you enjoyed this guest post by Kim Leuenberger. If you would like to see more of her work, check out her 500px page.