chantal stone photography: the blog

May 1, 2008

SoFoBoMo: The Editing Process

Filed under: Personal,Photography,Process/Learning,SoFoBoMo — chantal @ 11:01 am

Now that my 30-day shooting period has ended, I’m in the process of editing all of my images, and deciding which ones to put together in the book. There are two directions I’m considering: letting the book have a family-album feel, or more of a documentary feel. I suppose once I choose the 35+ images for the final book, they will dictate the outcome. Just the process of sifting through the several hundred pictures I took during the month of April is a journey unto itself.

The official SoFoBoMo website is now up and running, and once I finish my book, it will be posted there for viewing. See what other participants have completed so far!:

Below is from our trip to Georgia. We stopped several times along the way, and here we are having a roadside picnic…


January 26, 2008

Pro Photo Resource

I’ve been doing really well with posting daily for the past few days, so I didn’t want to let today go by without a blog post…

If you’re a photographer, then you’ll really enjoy checking out Pro Photo Resource.   Like the subtitle of the site says, its a site “for photographers, by photographers”.  There all sorts of articles with shooting tips, techniques, product and book reviews, and awesome advice from the pros.

The highlight of the current issue for me is Jasmine Star’s article.  You’ll have to register to read the full article, but it’s free and totally worth it!


October 31, 2007

Thoughts On Post-processing

Filed under: Photography,Process/Learning — chantal @ 10:01 am

Happy Halloween!


I carved that pumpkin last night….I’ll post a pic later today or this evening.

I wanted to get a head start on my blogging today, I have a busy day planned: I have about 798652314 photos to process, then a Halloween party at my daughter’s school, then carve one more pumpkin, make dinner, then trick or treating!

Today’s topic was easy for me to think of… I was asked a question in the previous post so I decided to answer here. Jen asked: “I’m very curious about the b/w horse one – was the light effects (and the arc) achieved in editing, or did you just luck out with natural lighting?” And on her blog she wrote: “Her photos are stunning. I’m going to have to spend some time figuring out how she got these shots. Photoshop or camera?” (thanks Jen!!)

In that particular horse photo, that lighting was achieved in Photoshop. The original image was a hot mess, but I loved the composition. Like a dummy, I forgot to change the white balance on my camera (I shot this jpeg) so this was the result:


I played with it a little, and tried to fix the color, but I wasn’t happy with the result. Color just wasn’t working for me, so I turned it b&w and added the vignette since the sky was so blah:


I liked that, but I wanted to play a little with some textures. There are some great things being done lately, using textures to create mood, particularly in wedding photography. Wedding photographer Jesh De Rox has been a big influence for a lot of people, and he has sets of actions that can be applied to create mood and feeling in photographs. But before I invest in anything like that I just wanted to play around a little, and see what I could come up with on my own. I like the textures, but it’s only something I would want to use in moderation. And the result was this:


It’s a little more processing that what I normally like to do, but I was still pleased with the result.

To answer the second part of Jen’s question–she basically just wanted to know how much PP I do. The answer is pretty simple: Aside from the occasional image like the horses, I don’t do much. I learned photography on film, I shot film for about a hundred years, and I only began started shooting digitally earlier this year, when I decided I wanted to go pro. When shooting film, you quickly learn to get it right in as few shots as possible, and you learn to create the image IN camera. Back in the day, unless you wanted to spend hours in the darkroom (I never had the attention span for that) you really had to know how you wanted your final print to look beforehand and take that into consideration before clicking the shutter. There are about 10 billion debates on film vs digital on the web, and I’m so not interested in getting into that here, but I really do believe that film is the best way to learn the fundamentals of photography.

Now that I shoot primarily digital, I still try to apply those same principles to my approach: consideration of the final print, trying to create IN camera. I love bright, punchy color, and I use different camera settings to achieve the look I want more consistently. When I post process, I usually only touch levels, a boost in contrast here and there, since I have the habit, albeit purposeful, to over-expose by a half stop or so. I will also sharpen a bit, then perhaps add the vignette. I don’t know why, I just love that. And that’s pretty much it. There are a number of great Photoshop Actions out there too. I haven’t used any yet, but I’ll definitely be purchasing some before the next wedding season begins.

Obviously, there are images that require a bit more, maybe a warming filter, a color adjustment or whatever, and I’ll do that when necessary. But as a wedding photographer, when I’m facing 1500-2000 images to process, I have quickly learned to come up with the most effective and efficient method of enhancing my images. And creating the best possible image IN camera has been the most effective way for me to minimize my time correcting or enhancing images on the computer.

I hope that answers your question, Jen!

October 30, 2007


Filed under: internet,Personal,Photography,Process/Learning — chantal @ 11:35 pm

So I missed my Tuesday blog entry by just 20 minutes….it’s 12:20am as I am posting this…BUT if I were in a different time zone, it’d still be Tuesday, so technically, I’m still good. It’s Tuesday SOMEWHERE. 🙂

Anyway… I’m late because instead of blogging earlier this evening, I was watching a live Q&A given by David Jay through his Freedom Club. It was so awesome, DJ rocks….not only is he an amazingly talented photographer, but he is so generous with what he knows. He plans to do it again in another couple of weeks, so if you haven’t signed up for the Freedom Club, do so now!

Also, I noticed that today I received a TON of hits to both my website and my blog and I couldn’t figure out why—the blog stats weren’t giving me enough info. So after about 1500K+ unique visits (wow!!) I noticed the majority of them were coming from The Online Photographer. Mike Johnston gave me a friendly little shout-out….always appreciated! The comments are kind of funny though, one guy really liked my new website and my work (thanks Charlie D) but a couple other people seem to have issue with my Flash-based site. Oh well…can’t please everyone right?

I also spent a good part of the evening carving pumpkins for a contest I’m entering…I’ll show those off either Wednesday or Thursday.

Now I’m off to bed.

September 27, 2007

Photographer’s Resource…Get In The Know!

Is there a wedding photographer who doesn’t know about this yet?

If you don’t then please, please, please click this: Open Source Forum.

It’s a forum created by the totally awesome and incredibly generous and talented David Jay, and is chock full of all sorts things that we all need to know.  We all, at some point during our careers, have the same questions, and here is where you can find the answers.

Do you know something that the rest of need to know?  Post it on the forum….

Photographers helping photographers….this is what its all about, folks….helping each other become better at what we do, better at running our businesses, making the entire experience better for our clients.

And if you really want to step it up, then subscribe to DJ’s Freedom Club…. it will change the way you work.  Be better as a photographer, live the life you’ve always wanted.

Now you know!

June 19, 2007

Projects And Progress

Filed under: Photography,Process/Learning — chantal @ 1:29 pm

I mentioned this on my photoblog the other day… how last summer I had a project idea to photograph my kids’ last days of summer…something to capture what I felt was the essence of summer…from a child’s perspective. Unfortunately I didn’t think of the project until just before school started so there wasn’t a lot of time to really sink my teeth into it. I did make a few images that I really liked back then. So I’ve decided to resume the project after shooting with my kids over the weekend. It’s easy for me—it’s summer, my children are almost always with me, and it’s something I feel an emotional connection to. As a child, summer was magical for me. It was the only time I felt free. If I can capture even a bit of that through photography, I’ll be happy.

Looking through my archives though, I’ve noticed how my shooting style has changed…or evolved maybe…perhaps even matured. All together it couldn’t be a cohesive project if I decided to include the early images because they look so different from what I shoot now. The fact that I was shooting film back then, and now I shoot digital has a lot to do with it, but more importantly my ‘eye’ has changed. I’m a much more confident and focused photographer than I was a year ago.

It’s interesting to look back through the archives to see changes and growth. There are certain elements that remain the same, then there are things that are different….some slight, some more obvious. It makes me wonder how some photographers can have an on-going project for years at a time. It must take an amazing amount of concentration to remain focused on a single project for such a long time and maintain a certain amount of cohesiveness. I envy that ability to maintain attention.

Here are a few I took back in 2002, at a place in CT where I spent much o my childhood summers:




These are a few from last summer…some from a vacation we took to Tybee Island, GA…and then others from just around here:






Some similarities, definitely. I always favored black & white film, and water seems to be a common theme. One obvious difference for me, and probably wouldn’t be obvious to anyone else, is that the 2002 images are more emotional for me. Even though the 2006 ones are of my kids, and are evidence of absolutely wonderful times we shared, that I love, I was shooting from a much different place. I felt like I had something prove during that period last year, like I had to prove myself a worthy or competent photographer, so looking back at many of my photos from that time, many of them seem very ‘typical’, like the obvious shot.

I’m not really criticizing my own creativity, just noting the changes in my approach.

Now, my photography is again, more about the emotional connection. How does a scene make me feel? How can I illustrate that feeling in a picture?



Perhaps it isn’t apparent to anyone but me, but shooting from an emotive place feels more like honest work for me. I’m closer now to doing the type of work I feel I was meant to do, than ever before.

*I’ll be continuing more from my series called “Essence Of Summer” on my photoblog intermittently over the next several weeks.

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