Before & After Photos – Halloween Edits

Happy Halloween week everyone!! I have most definitely binged on Halloween movies this weekend so I am really in the spirit this morning. In honor of this week’s holiday, I thought it would be fun to show a few before and after photos of some of my favorite edits that have those “Halloween vibes.” So, here’s three sets of before and after photos that really put me in the Halloween spirit!

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I hope y’all enjoyed this week’s short post and got some insight on more of my editing process. Have a great Halloween this Wednesday and be sure to watch all the Halloween movies while they’re still playing! As always, feel free to leave a like, comment, and subscribe to keep seeing more posts like this!

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My Own Creative Process and Using Your Imagination

Hey guys! I’m really excited about this week’s blog because I’m going to talk about my personal creative process of photography and how I imagine some of my edits. I was motivated to write on this topic due to a few people reaching out to me through social media and ask how I think of some of the things I show in my photos and how I am able to think of these imaginary things in the first place.

In my very first blog post, I talk a lot about drawing and how this personal pastime really put me on the path to where I am today. Drawing has always been my outlet. It has been how I relax, how I can communicate certain things and emotions that I cannot put into words, and it excites me to make something imaginary into a reality.

Like I said, drawing has always been a pastime thing for me. Growing up, I found I was really drawn to tattoo art. I used Pinterest a lot searching things like “cool tattoos,” “tattoo drawings,” or even “fantasy tattoo art.” I loved, loved, loved Pinterest. I would just pin a bunch of really cool things that inspired me and made me think about something else. I’d look back through my pins from time to time and end up identifying my favorite parts of different images and then recreate them into my own composition. I feel like this is really what kind of “trained” me to look at something and then imagine something else.

Now that I am into photography, I am realizing that there is so much overlap of my drawing style in my photography style. I love heavy, contrasted, moody photos. I love digital art and fantasy compositions. I believe I’m drawn to images like this because it incorporates everything I am passionate about;  drawing, photography, imagination, creation, and a challenge.

Two other things that have had an impact on my creativity are music and running. Listening to music while going through normal daily routines completely sends my mind somewhere else. When I’m riding in a car and listening to something and looking out the window, I imagine something about anything I see. If I’m driving down the beach, I think about the story of the birds flying past and I find myself asking things like: “Where are they flying to? or “Where did they come from?” Another big creative spark for me is rain. I love watching the raindrops hit the ground and bounce back up or hit a window and just roll down. Its like watching a movie sometimes but in my head. I know that sounds kind of weird, but a lot of times my mind just wanders and then I have an idea.

Running goes hand in hand with this because I always run listening to some kind of music. The music sets a pace and then I imagine the whole run as a journey of some sort. I’ve found myself lost in a run imagining that I’m running through clouds or a forest. Running is another way I relax. Something happens when I run that just zones me out  and directs my mind to some scene of imaginative thinking.

What I’ve written so far could probably be classified as a “creative technique” or something. But for me, this is just how I am. I’ve always had an intimate connection with the music I listen to, and I do feel like I am a fairly emotional person. It is easy for me to put myself in another situation and understand that perspective. As long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to recreate those feelings that I imagine whether it be through drawing or anything else. I don’t really know why either… I have just always loved creating things.

With all this being said, a lot of people just don’t think that they are creative. They think it’s either something you have or you don’t. I believe this to an extent, but I also feel like I almost trained myself towards this type of thinking just trying to draw cool things. If you think you aren’t creative, don’t just give up and not try to create anything. Look on Pinterest and Instagram or literally any other social media out there for inspiration. Look at different medium types and follow some people that have bodies of work that you’re drawn to. The more you look at things, the more those things influence you without you even realizing it. Your first creations might be rough but, yeah, so what? Mine sure were. My dad loves telling me that it was like I got talent overnight because I couldn’t draw a stick figure… Thanks, dude. But anyways, the point is:  if you’re passionate about something and you’re doubting yourself, DON’T. Be brave and open minded, and you’ll start doing things you never thought you could!

That’s all the rant I have for today’s blog. I hope you liked this post and you’re feeling encouraged to go out and create something! Feel free to leave a like, comment, and subscribe to keep seeing more rants like this one. I hope you all have a great week and feel free to connect with me on social media! I’d love to hear everyone’s creative thoughts!

Instagram: @heather_gillich_art

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My Coolest Photography Experience So Far; Aerial Photography

Hey everybody and happy Monday! This week I wanted to share one of the coolest photography experiences I’ve had; my first go at aerial photography. In this post, I want to talk on why I wanted to try aerial photography, how I actually made it happen, and what I learned from the whole thing! So, with that being said, here it goes 🙂

This past summer I had an incredible opportunity to live in Atlanta, GA. If you’ve kept up with me on social media, you know that this summer is when I really began taking photography seriously. I had a lot of free time to myself that I filled with learning as much as I could about photography and videography.

I’ve wanted to get into videography for a while now and this past summer in Atlanta seemed the perfect time to try it out. Both shooting video and editing video were completely foreign skills to me and I had a lot to learn at first. I experimented with different camera movements trying to figure out what techniques would give me a cohesive format in order to just narrow down what I liked to video in general. So many nights consisted of me just goofing around with individual clips in Adobe Premiere to familiarize myself with the interface. It was definitely challenging at first, and I still have an insane amount to learn. But I do want to say that if you are wanting to try video for the first time… just try it! You can learn anything, and, honestly, everything you need to know is on YouTube. Just grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and get into it!

As I accumulated more and more footage for the video I wanted to create, I felt like I needed something totally different to put in it. So… that is where the idea to try aerial photography came from.

Naturally, the first thing I did was google “top helicopter companies in Atlanta, GA.” I came across a company called Prestige Helicopters. I saw on their Instagram that they actually flew Two Chains and his kids…so yeah, that was enough for me to prove that I should use them. From there, I just called and told them what day I wanted to go up. It was so easy.

Listed below are a few things I took away from this whole experience that I think could be helpful for any beginner photographer just wanting to try aerial photography for the fun of it:

  1. When scheduling your flight make sure you tell the person you’re talking to that you’re a photographer because a lot of companies actually have much better rates and deals for photographers that are not listed on their website!
  2. Make sure the company has a helicopter that allows the option to take a door off. To get the most clear images that capture the most of the cityscape, you can’t really be photographing through a small plexiglass window.
  3. Take into account the natural shake of the helicopter
  4. Use a faster shutter speed than normal but don’t overcompensate. A shutter speed that is both too slow or too fast will result in grain and noise (recommended 1/1000)
  5. Use any form of stabilization available to you
  6. Plan your first shoot for the right time! If you want to get both daytime and nighttime shots, plan your ride right before the sun sets so you get the best of both worlds.

I had the idea in my head that the whole experience was going to be a lot more hectic than it was. The ride was surprisingly very chill. My pilot was so cool and flew me wherever I wanted to go. Below are two shots I like a lot but haven’t shared on any social media yet.

Overall, I am so glad I went through with this idea.  I would 100% do it again in a heartbeat, and I hope I get the chance to soon! If there is something that you want to try, just go out and do it. If you mess up, its OK!! You tried, you learned, and you have another story to tell. You will most definitely regret “not trying” something more than you will regret “trying” it.

Well, I hope you liked this post and got an idea of what first time aerial photography is like for a TOTAL beginner. As always, feel free to leave a like, a comment, and subscribe to keep seeing more blogs like this one!

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Seattle, WA – Part 2

Hey everybody! This week I wanted to share part 2 of my trip to Seattle, WA this past September. Having gone to and photographed a total of 15 different locations in Seattle, I will have a few more of these Seattle blogs until I cover each place. Seattle was the most  beautiful place I have ever been and it definitely deserves to be shared.

  1. The Double Helix Bridge

The Double Helix Pedestrian Bridge is a structure I found on my own searching around google. I was drawn to this bridge primarily because of its architectural aspects. Not only is it a crazy, interesting structure, but it is actually a pedestrian bridge that connects all the way from the side of the street and down to the pier that I talk about in location #2 of this post. Another attractive thing about this bridge is that it actually spans over railroad tracks. This was so cool to me because I was literally on a bridge and by the water with trains passing under me all at the same time.

2. The Pier

The Pier was one of my favorite surprises of Seattle. When I was researching the Double Helix bridge online, I had no idea what an amazing pedestrian waterfront it led to. There was endless sidewalk that my friends and I just followed forever taking photos of what we passed. I loved this location so much because it was just so leisurely and beautiful every step of the way. We passed everything from boat stations to rose gardens. Some of my favorite photos from this trip were taken here because of the composition (foreground, middle ground, background) this location offered.

3. Museum of Pop Culture (known as “The MoPOP”)

The MoPOP Museum, designed by Frank Gehry, was something really different that I enjoyed a lot. It is a nonprofit contemporary pop culture museum that strives to display Rock n’ Roll and interactive technology through exciting exhibits attractive to multi-generational audiences. There is so much to photograph in this museum. I had a field day taking pictures of all the lights, colors, and compositions it offered. These ended up being some of the most fun photos I have from the trip.

I’m planning to have two more posts to finish up this Seattle, WA series. I hope you have enjoyed these posts and have a feel for all the beautiful and diverse things Seattle has to offer! As always, feel free to leave a like, a comment, and subscribe to this blog. I appreciate everyone’s support that motivates me to keep going and progressing along my photography journey 🙂

Instagram: @heather_gillich_art

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The Basics of DSLR Photography – Manual Mode

Happy Monday everybody! This week I wanted to share how I grasped the basic concepts of shooting in manual mode with my DSLR camera. This semester of college I decided to take a studio level photography course in addition to my architecture classes. Two of my really good friends who are just getting into photography are also in this class with me. We have gone out to shoot a few times together already and I found myself really helping them understand the basics of their cameras as they were trying to have more control over the final colors and light in their images. Because I felt like I was able to put manual mode into relatable terms for them, I thought I would share the little bit I know for anyone reading who is just trying to understand the basics of their camera too!

There are three settings of a DSLR camera critical to manual mode:  shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. The rest of this blog breaks down the what works for me in thinking about each of these settings.

1. Shutter speed –

Shutter speed is exactly what it sounds like; the speed of your shutter. This is how fast your lens opens and closes when taking a picture. Shutter speed is a huge factor in how much light is let into your picture. A faster shutter speed results in less light entering the frame because the shutter stays open for less amount of time. Likewise, a slower shutter speed results in more light entering the frame because the shutter stays open longer. You can see what your shutter speed is by the fraction displayed on your camera. The higher the bottom number of the fraction (for example 1/320) the faster your lens is opening/ closing and vice versa. Shutter speed also affects sharpness of an image. A faster shutter speed results in a sharper image while a slower shutter speed results in a less sharp image. Faster shutter speed is also necessary when photographing subjects in motion such as cars, sports, etc.,.

Faster shutter speed – sharper image/ less light entry

Slower shutter speed – less sharp image/ more light entry

2. Aperture –

Aperture, measured in f/stops, is ultimately the size of the opening of your lens. I think of it this way:  if your lens opening is smaller, less light is coming into your picture and your image is sharper. If your lens opening is bigger, more light is coming into your picture and your image is less sharp. F/stop numbers generally range from 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11 and 16. The lower f/stops result in larger openings and the higher f/stops result in a smaller openings. The other thing prominently determined by aperture is depth of field. Simply stated, depth of field is how sharp or blurry the background of your image is. Lower f/stop numbers result in less depth of field blurring the background. Higher f/stop numbers result in more depth of field sharpening the background.

Lower f/stop – bigger opening/ more light entry/ more background blur

Higher f/stop – smaller opening/ less light entry/ less background blur

3. ISO –

ISO is a setting that will not be used in every picture you take. Essentially, ISO is artificial light supplied to a photo by your camera. ISO is really helpful in low-light conditions and is crucial to night photography. However, improper ISO settings result in major noise and grain issues. You may take a photo that used a high ISO setting and the image looks fine on the screen of your camera. Well, the second you try to edit that photo in post, you are going to find out quickly that noise and grain is inevitable. The lower you can keep your ISO number the better. I leave my default at ISO 200 and adjust it gradually until I get something I feel like I can work with. When adjusting ISO, just take it slow. Up it a number, take a photo, check it, and repeat until you get comfortable with how ISO affects an image. This way, you will have a range of photos to compare and contrast when you sit down at your computer to begin editing.

Lower ISO – less artificial light/ less susceptible noise and grain

Higher ISO – more artificial light/ more susceptible to noise and grain

The more you shoot manually, the easier it gets and these settings start to come to you naturally. It’s really just a matter of understanding what each of these settings do specifically and then figuring out a combination of their numbers that work for you as photographer! I would definitely recommend learning manual mode because it just gives you so much more control over your photos for any situation you might be photographing!

If this post was helpful and you liked it let me know! Leave a comment, like, subscribe, or get in touch through social media. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you think about these settings too!

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E-mail: heathergillichphoto@gmail.com