| December 9, 2010 5:30 pm

Note: Still working on the book. At present, I am trying to nail down specific tasks and tutorials that would be helpful to writers and for beginning designers.  If you have any thoughts, please let me know in the comments.

Yesterday, while working on GIMP tutorials for the book, I came across a fascinating series of video tutorials by Joel Grimes.  It showed how to combine studio photography with background work in order to create stunningly surreal portraits and action shots.

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Photo by Joel Grimes.

While I’ve seen this type of photography, I’ve never really given a lot of thought about the process used to create it.  Nor, to be frank, have I really paid all that much attention.  Until yesterday, that is.  (Other than soccer, sports really aren’t my thing.)

After watching the tutorials and digging into a little more, I’ve suddenly acquired a taste for it.  The drama, contrast and movement in these photos are absolutely amazing.  It’s the type of work that leaves aspiring photographers (like me) asking, “How did they do that?”

Turns out, though, that the process isn’t nearly as complicated as I thought.  Moreover, it’s well within the reach of “mere mortals.”  You just need to know how the pieces fit together.

Nor are the techniques limited to purely sports shots or human portraiture.

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Photo by Joel Grimes

I’ve been playing around with the techniques using some architectural photos I took recently.  In the next few days I’ll try and post some tutorials using the GIMP.  If this type of photography interests you, though, you might want to check out the tutorials that Grimes offers.  His videos and articles on lighting and manipulation are fantastic.  It also puts lie to the belief that “Artistic technique cannot be taught.”

You can find lighting tutorial and basic photo manipulation instructions on his workshop site (JoelGrimesWorkshops.com), in addition to video tutorials on his YouTube channel.  Additional information is available at the Wacom tutorial link. (No worries, a Wacom tablet is not required to follow the steps.  Nor, for that matter, is the Adobe Creative Suite.  I’ve been using GIMP and I’ve been very happy with the output.)

Until I get my own, open source version of the tutorial posted, here is a bit of inspiration.  Included are works from the portfolio of Grimes and another photographer who works in the same style, Tim Tadder.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all of the images were taken from the respective photographer’s websites.

Joel Grimes

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Tim Tadder

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