Before and Afters (Photo Editing)

I was editing some of my more personal photo projects tonight and I suddenly had a hit of inspiration to blog.

My initial thought was to blog about inspiration. As a portrait and headshot photographer who's majority of working comes from actors here in Sydney I'm definitely not short of inspiration, but I'll save that blog for another time.

I decided to showcase some examples of my photo editing, before and after photo edits and I'll tell a short story behind each shot as well.

The first image is of a man named Ken. I met Ken when I was on George Street in Sydney shooting street photography. He had a sign up saying that he needed money for medication. I threw him some change and decided to sit and speak to him for a bit. I remember him asking me about my camera "is that a fifty millimetre lens?" (it wasn't) but it turns out he learned quite a bit about photography gear from a magazine he found on the streets. I found him fascinating. After talking to a man who has been on the streets as long has Ken has for about an hour at this point I was more than intrigued and as a natural empath I had a sudden urge to photograph Ken and capture all the pain and suffering he had endured over the years of sleeping rough. I'm honestly not quite sure what I thought I would achieve from this. However I'm glad I sat next to Ken that day on George Street and I'm glad we made this photo together.

Ok so this photo was actually the exact same day I met Ken. This man is named Rick or as he referred himself as "Stump-less"

Now you can't see from this headshot but Rick has no legs. He gets around Sydney via his wheelchair. This again was shot on George Street close to Surry Hills. He was very loud and drinking a VB longneck as I walked past him. I instantly saw the beauty in this mans face but I didn't feel I had the confidence to approach him. Suddenly my mindset switched and I thought what's the worse that can happen. I turned around and confidently approached Rick. I'll be honest I can't really remember what I said to introduce myself but I do remember a delay in his reply. A long delay. The kind that makes a second feel like a minute. The delay was long enough that I had time to just walk away but I didn't. Rick and I didn't have rapport like Ken and I but we still spoke for about 10 minutes before I asked to shoot his portrait. We spoke about art and he mentioned that somewhere in Sydney someone has painted him before. I always said to myself if I see Rick again I'll show him the photo. I saw him about 2 weeks ago on the train he was on the next carriage over and I just let it be. I regret not talking to him again. This is my favourite portrait I have ever taken.

This is Nadya. Unlike the previous two stories I didn't meet Nadya while shooting street photography. Nadya was a client when I first moved to Sydney. I didn't yet have a studio space so we conducted this shoot on location in Carriage Works near Newtown. Nadya is a model and actress and an all round great person. I decided to shoot one portrait of her laying down so that I could capture the beautiful lights that run along the roof of this building in her eyes. It gave the whole portrait something very enchanting. I went for a very dramatic edit.

Nick Barker-Pendree. This was shot in the Surry Hills studio. We had a mood board to follow and one of the images was something somewhat similar to this however in my personal opinion Nick acted it out so perfectly with his expression that the photo far out did the mood board. One of the reasons I love working with actors is that they can get into character for a still image and in my experience an experienced actor does this every time you direct a new pose. Nick has his own website I'll link below.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wishing you all a successful week and hope you are following your dreams!

Michael Quelch


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