How to shoot an expansion

Expanding an image comes in two stages, first is the shooting process, second is the photoshop process.
Both are fairly simple once you know them and have practised a few times.

Shooting Process:
What you will be doing is taking a main image of your subject so you can get nice and close and then taking photos of the surrounding area to widen.
- Set your exposure and don’t change it. It’s best to use a custom white balance instead of auto so theres no colour shift.
- Use a wider aperture such as f/1.4 to increase depth
- Focus on your subject and take your main shot
- Lock your focus by switching your lens to manual (you don't your focus to shift while taking your surrounding images)
- Take your surrounding images, it’s best to work in a pattern, clockwise or back and forth.
- You need to over lap each image by 40%
- Take more photos than you think you’ll need to be safe

Import your images onto your computer and load them into photoshop.
It can get a little confusing having so many images but this is why you shoot in some sort of order so you know which is which.
Find your main shot of the subject.
Here is where we will expand the canvas. We will be joining all the other images together, kind of like a puzzle and we need a larger space to work with.

To do this we go:
Image > Canvas Size...

Up will pop the Canvas Size window where you are shown the current dimensions. We are wanting to increase these dimensions to allow room to bring the other images in. Increase the Width and Height of the canvas by entering in a larger number, theres no set size, you just want to make sure you give yourself enough room to work with and that depends on how many images you've taken. 

Hit OK and you'll see something similar to this, the white area around the image is what we have expanded.
This will allow us extra space for the next step.
If you notice that you don't have enough room, go back to Image > Canvas Size and increase the numbers again. It doesn't matter if its too large, you'll be cropping the edges out later.

Next, find the first image at the start of your expansion.
Using the MOVE tool (v), drag and move this image into your main shot window.

Drop the first image of your expansion in the rough area of where it will go.

Lower the opacity of this layer to around 50%, you want to be able to see the image you are joining it to underneath. From here using the MOVE tool (v) slowly move your image around, what you are wanting to do is line it up with the underlaying image. For this image I was focussing on certain leaves and sticks which were in both images to join them. This is why it's best to overlap by 40% when shooting, you don't want to leave yourself short.

After you have lined up and your images are matching, increase the layers opacity back to 100% and add a white layer mask by clicking the 'add layer mask' button thats shaped like a box with a circle in the middle.
This is where we will be joining the images together to make them look blended.

On the white layer mask, with a soft black brush at 100% opacity you want to paint over the solid line which will erase the top layer and reveal the bottom. Now since we over lapped images when shooting and lined them up previously, erasing this solid line will join the images and blend them together.

Quick tip: Painting black on a white layer mask will reveal whats under neath. Painting white will hide whats underneath.

From here its a matter of repeating this process with all the other images until you get your final result!
Goodluck! :)

Great Ocean Road Trip

In celebration of getting my license and being together for two years I decided to take Luke on a camping trip along The Great Ocean.
After having my license for only one day it was a bit strange jumping in the car and driving for four hours plus straight. The drive along the bendy and hard roads helped improved my confidence!

We setup camp behind the sand dunes in Johanna where we stayed for two nights, making day trips from here we headed further out to visit Princetown, Port Campbell, The 12 Apostles and much more. 

The trip has made me extremely excited about the ventures I can now go on and how many opportunities that open up with photography that I now can drive.

Once I get more comfortable driving by myself I am setting myself some type of photography challenge to push me further and help me begin creating a lot more. I've felt stuck creatively for a while now and I feel having the freedom of being able to get out of the city whenever I want to do photos is going help improve my creative drive :) 


RAW Artists Exhibition

On Saturday, 29th August I was lucky enough to be part of RAW Artists, an event which is for emerging artists to be able to showcase their work to the public in a fun and energetic setting.
This was my first ever exhibition so as you can imagine I was extremely nervous mainly by the face to face interaction with people who were viewing my work, it's an extremely different feel than sitting at a computer screen and reading comments about your work.
Nerves aside it was a great experience, being able to have such a better connection with people who are interested in your work and you to be able to explain in more of a personal manner why you created each image and your processes from concept building to post processing and seeing their interest was definitely the most enjoyable part of the night.

There was also another reason why I was so nervous for the night, stage fright. In an event meeting a couple of months before the night all the artists were told that the host of the event will be speaking to each of us on stage (in front of about 800 people) about ourselves and our work. This was a choice and if we didn't choose so we weren't obligated to speak. I had thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to, coming to the conclusion that no matter how terrified I was of somehow embarrassing myself, stuttering my words or any other reason it was something I actually wanted to be thrown into without too much thought. I had already made an extremely large jump by participating in an exhibition for the first time, I had to go all out and make the most of it and not stop half way because of some fears.

It was such a pleasure being able to meet the other artists properly who I was showcasing with, everyone was so talented and lovely!
I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who came along to support me, people who I hadn't even met it was great to finally meet everyone.
I can not thank every single person for being there enough and for making it such a brilliant and crazy fun night :)

You can check out RAW Artists website here and also their Facebook!

Photos by Janaka