Lessons from the Otherworld – Setting the Stage

I would like to believe that I am a better photographer than I am an image editor. Admittedly, I don’t have the stamina for sitting in front of a computer to work on pictures, especially if I could have spent that time shooting. And so I always strive to bring the pictures I make as close as possible to the result I envisioned in-camera. Of course, a bit of polishing is still necessary, but I am able to significantly cut down on post processing time after a shoot.

Take the White Lady series (parts 1 and 2) I shot late last year. I wanted the pictures to have a look that juxtaposed the vibrant colors of the world of  the living and the dark and sombre tones of the spirit world, which I hope is successfully conveyed by the image below.


I was able to achieve the saturation of certain colors by using a circular polarizer (CPL) filter. This selective boost is evident in the lush greens of the trees in the background. The latter part of the look I was able to pull off by setting my white balance (WB) to tungsten coupled with using gels on my flashes.

The tungsten WB shifts the color temperature towards the blue end of the spectrum. Since I still wanted to highlight my subject, I put a CTO (color temperature orange) gel on my key light to create a color contrast between the warm and cool hues.


After a quick review of the shot above, I decided to do two things —

First, underexpose the ambient further by using a faster shutter speed. Second, kick up the blue a notch by firing a second flash with a primary blue gel at full power just off camera left. After a bit of polish in post, I got the picture that you see below.


I know a lot of image editors could dream up something more fantastical. But I like my pictures to be grounded in reality in some way or another, so the shot above is one that I am more than happy to go home with. More to come…

2 thoughts on “Lessons from the Otherworld – Setting the Stage

  1. Thank you, Frances. I continue to put my work out there in the hope of finding more people like you. When you do decide to have the session, please do let me know. I would like to participate in the conceptualization process as well.

    p.s. Sorry for the late reply as I had just gotten back from spending the Holy Week in Bantayan.


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