Seattle, Washington – Part 1

Hey everybody! It has been a week let me tell you. I was fortunate enough to get to spend a whole five days in Seattle, Washington doing nothing but exploring the city and taking photos. Seattle is hands down THE most beautiful place I have ever been. Seattle truly has something for everyone. From city life to nature life to beach life, you name it and Seattle has it. I honestly feel like it is impossible to go anywhere there without seeing something beautiful.

With that being said, Seattle has so much to do and see that five days was nowhere near enough time to explore everything… but, I definitely tried. Averaging a walking distance of 9.5 miles per day and returning home with 2,059 photos, I am completely worn out. The travel back home could not have been worse. It was a solid 22 hours that involved  three trains, two flights, and a 4.5 hour bus ride. I mentioned that here because despite how physically hard this trip was, I would do it again in a heartbeat to re-experience photographing Seattle. Traveling and taking photos of life in different places is the coolest thing ever and I have never done something that has made me happier.

Now, with all of that being said, I want to talk about and show some of the locations I saw in Seattle!

1. The Space Needle


Google “top attractions to see in Seattle” and everything is going to scream Space Needle at you. Because of that, I instantly thought I was going to walk into some major tourist trap that would just have been an overpriced waste of time…Wrong!! I’m really happy that this was not the case.  The photos I got from the Space Needle are some of my favorite from the trip.  I loved the views and the architecture of the Space Needle itself so much that I went back a second time!

2.Carkeek Park


Carkeek Park is a location I found randomly on google that absolutely blew me away.  I knew I was not leaving Seattle without photographing this spot. It was incredible in every way imaginable. Walking along the railroad tracks down the beach with the sound of water hitting the shore made me feel like I was in a scene from a movie.

3.Chihuly Garden and Glass

The Chihuly Garden and Glass was another attraction that I thought was going to be a tourist trap.  Yes, there were a lot of people but it was definitely worth fighting the crowd! This place is exactly what is sounds like; glass sculptures displayed in a garden-like setting. The colors and composition of the exhibits were beautiful and gave some very interesting photo opportunities.

4.Discovery Park

I honestly do not know how to put Discovery Park into words. I have never seen anything like it before. Discovery Park is an area known for its breath-taking scenes at the end of its trails. Located on the tip of where land and water meet is Discovery Park’s famous lighthouse. Waves are crashing into the rocks, birds are flying overhead, and wind is whipping your hair back and forth the whole time. There is beach along both sides of the lighthouse allowing the area needed to enjoy Discovery Park’s views from any direction.

Over the span of the whole trip, I made it to a total of 15 locations to photograph. For the sake of this blog post getting way, way, way too long, I’m going to make a series of posts just like this one until I cover every place in Seattle I went. I loved it so much and I just want to share my experiences of these beautiful places. I hope you liked this blog and you got a feel for some of what Seattle has to offer! If you ever get the chance to travel there TAKE IT… and your camera 🙂

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Editing as a Beginner

Hey guys!! Today I want to talk a little bit about my editing process and show a few before and after comparisons of images I’ve created. But, before I get into today’s topic, I just want to say thank you for the incredible interaction with my last blog post. I appreciate the support so much and am very excited to keep writing!

There is a lot of back and forth out there regarding post-production and how much editing is “too much.” Many people criticize any use of post-production software whatsoever. The argument made is that its use is a misrepresentation of the pure world. In my opinion, post-production software is only “over-used” or “improperly used in an edit” if it does not help you achieve what you are wanting your photo to emphasize. For example, you might be overly utilizing post-production software if you are trying to photograph a subject in its most natural state. This type of photography would include categories such as architecture, portraits, documentary work, etc.,. However, if you classify yourself more as a visual artist or graphic artist, the argument seems the exact opposite as post-production software provides endless opportunities for manipulation and creation that would otherwise be unachievable. I believe the line gets blurred on this topic for a lot of beginner photographers because the beginner stage is when you are really just trying to figure out what you like to shoot and what audience you want to target. This is a HUGE trial and error process that I noted briefly in my first blog post. For instance, if you look at my Instagram feed you will see a transformation through my photos in subject matter, tones, and graphic manipulation considerably. Finding your specific niche in this industry is extremely hard and discouraging. You put a composition out for display that you have worked very hard on and really like personally and then it doesn’t get the public reaction you anticipated. You go out to shoot and it’s a total bust as you realize you got no usable photos. Every single photographer experiences these things and it is just part of it. In my opinion, as long as you learn something from your failure, you’re doing great! So with a little encouragement on that note, keep going. You will be so happy you did if photography is truly your passion. Sorry for the rant but I wanted to get that out there as this topic really hits close for me being in the midst of all these beginner battles myself.

Moving on to the more technical part of this blog post, the editing software I currently use for all my photos is Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and occasionally After Effects (very rarely After Effects for still photos but it does have its place.)

After a shoot, the first thing I do is make a folder on my external hard drive and dump my images. TIP:  store your RAW images on an external hard drive and just connect it to your computer when editing so that both your software and internal hard drive run much more efficient. This may be super obvious to some people but if it’s a new idea to you, I promise, the external hard drive is worth every penny and it completely changes the whole editing game. Next, I import all the photos into Lightroom and I work with the photos as a whole. I set basic tones and adjustments across all of the images to maintain consistency. After I get my basic adjustments worked out to my liking, I go back through and use the Lightroom ratings feature to select my favorite images. After I’ve narrowed down my favorites, I open those images in Photoshop for any graphic manipulation that I want to experiment with such a s blur, opacity, adding people/ objects, etc.,. At this point (usually a good amount of hours or even days later) I have a final image. I really only implement the use of Premiere Pro and After Effects for exporting a frame from a video.

Now for a few before and after edits.

BEFORE:                                                                AFTER:


This is an example of an edit of mine that relied heavily on Lightroom and Photoshop manipulation.  My intent with this photo was not to depict the scene in its purest form, but to depict what I imagined in my head when I was photographing this location.

BEFORE:                                                                AFTER:


This photo is much less imaginative and communicates the scene more true to how I saw it in real time.  This was a fairly easy photo to edit and I only used Lightroom to adjust tones and add contrast.

BEFORE:                                                                AFTER:


I wanted to include this photo in the series because this is an example of an edit I implemented the use of Premiere Pro.  Strangely, this actually isn’t really a picture at all.  If you have seen my “Atlanta, GA” video (if you haven’t its in the menu under “Video”) you may notice this looks a lot like one of the clips… and that’s because it is!  When I was playing back through the clips one day, I had the idea that I wanted to create this same concept but in a still photo. So, I simply exported the frame and continued editing in Lightroom and Photoshop as normal.

Well, that is just a basic glimpse into how I edit my photos.  Editing is a tricky thing because it is a process that varies from creator to creator based on personal preference.  This is simply an outline of the basic things I do throughout the editing process and what works for me personally.  You might have read this and said to yourself “yeah, she knows nothing and she’s doing it all the long way around.”  If you did, that’s most definitely okay and I’m fine with that because I do feel like my photos are getting better and I am growing as a photographer.  I just think it is helpful to see other people’s processes because it is a different/ new perspective on how something can be done.  I know that reading blogs and watching YouTube videos has helped me more than anything.  Some tips work for me and some do not, but, either way, I learn something and that’s all that matters!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post.  If you did, leave a comment, a like, and subscribe to let me know! I’m thinking about doing some posts that are specific to different post production software featuring topics like “My Top 5 Lightroom Tricks” or “My Top 5 Ways to Implement Brushes in Photoshop.”  I’d love to hear feedback on what software topics you would like to hear from me in the future because this blog is all about helping  😊

Instagram @heather_gillich_art

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My Story

However you heard about my blog whether it be Twitter, Instagram, Google,… who knows, you might be thinking “ugh, another wannabe blogger.” With this blog, that is most definitely not my intent. I am always wondering what others my age are doing in the industry, their techniques, their struggles, and their achievements. I love learning about people’s personal stories as much as I love learning new skills. My goal is to keep up consistent and helpful posts on this blog that really let my viewers see a behind the scenes glimpse of myself, my photography, and all the happenings in between in hopes to help someone learn something from my own journey. This is an industry of continuous trial and error. Everything I know about photography I have learned on my own through the help of other creators floating about the internet. I now want to be that source of available information because I would be nowhere without the generous knowledge of others. With that being said, here’s a little bit about me 😊

My name is Heather Gillich. I am 21 years old and I currently have two years of architecture school remaining upon receiving my bachelor’s degree. Just like it is for almost everyone, high school was pretty ordinary for me. It was a series of attempts to find what truly gave me happiness and fulfillment. I can honestly say I think I tried everything; soccer, softball, tennis, track, tumbling, cheer, dance, literally everything. It wasn’t until the 11th grade I began tapping into my more creative persona. Going into senior year of high school I made the crazy decision to switch from private to public school. Long story short, it was THE BEST decision I have ever made for myself. I was immediately drawn to all the art classes that were now at my disposal and I enrolled in advanced art, my first art class ever. Drawing has always been my first love and I have been drawing as far as I can think back. I had never taken it seriously, however, until this class.  Here’s a few of my favorite drawings I’ve done over time.

Fast forward to the end of senior year when it was time to start thinking about college… so fun and not stressful at all! *sarcasm* Well, I had 100% no idea what I wanted to major in or the slightest clue of what school I wanted to enroll to. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to be in a major that I could be creative. After a lot of searching, I came across this little thing called “architecture.” Yeah, I had no idea what I was about to get myself into. When I began to consider architecture seriously as a major, I realized you had to apply to the school of architecture specifically, not just be accepted by the university (standard procedure that younger me knew nothing about!). Of course, I had missed that deadline already by two months! I e-mailed the school and they told me to submit anyways. I completed the writings, drawings, obtained the required references, and applied the school. Shortly after, I was accepted. I’ve never been shy of trying new or difficult things but let me tell you, I heard not one positive thing from anyone when I told them I was going to architecture school. The phrase I got time and time again was “Ohhhh, archi-torture.” But, I went on with my plan and gave it a try. I am so glad I persevered through the initial negativity because architecture school is why I am where I am today both creatively and as a person. I would have NEVER gotten into software or photography without being first introduced to it through school. I have always been a fairly confident person regarding what I can achieve, but going through this major has given me a level of confidence in so many aspects of my life that I would have never imagined having. Despite all the learning curves, software crashes, late nights, random deadlines, and criticism, I am so grateful for what architecture school has done for me as a person.
Now getting into photography, well,… This has only become a significant part of my life within the past four months. Architecture school has taught me to look at my surroundings critically and creatively. Taking photos has been implemented throughout the curriculum, but it was not until this summer that I took it to the next level and began developing my own interests in the field. I have had a DSLR camera since my senior year in high school and I JUST learned how to use it. I was intimidated honestly. I remember looking at the pamphlets in the box for what settings to use and which kit lens to put on the body and getting absolutely nowhere. Again, architecture school gave me the confidence to push myself to learn what I always thought I could not. There was about a two week period this summer that I did absolutely nothing but watch YouTube videos attempting to learn about my camera and how to incorporate software into post-production. When I finally felt like I knew enough to begin, I went out to shoot. This sounds incredibly cheesy, but, when I finally got out to shoot, the world immediately opened up to me like it never had before. I could go wherever I wanted, take photos of whatever I wanted, and represent the world however I saw it. This summer I have learned a lot about myself that I never would have discovered without looking through the viewfinder of the camera. I want nothing more than to pursue this passion anyway I can for as long as I can. What I have learned and proven to myself that I can do in just four months makes me incredibly excited and optimistic for the future.
I wanted this first blog post to give a depiction of who I am as a person and how I got to this point in my life. I hope that after reading this post you have a clear sense of that. I am excited to keep blogging and I have a lot of ideas for upcoming posts that I am so excited about sharing! My goal is to produce one high quality blog post a week among balancing “archi-torture” and all my other classes. So stay tuned and look for announcements on social media because they’re coming and I am looking forward to sharing 😊
Thanks again for taking the time to read this. I hope you enjoyed it and be sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and subscribe!

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Hey guys!  So, I have always wanted to start a blog on my website for creative work.  I am really excited to get this going and share little thoughts and images that I would not normally post on social media. I am currently finishing up making my online store, summer video, and getting ready to go back to school but I will start blogging very very soon so stay tuned and thanks for visiting my site!