ISSUE 0010 - May 1, 2007

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TouTouke (a.k.a Agnes Scholiers) is a freelance dietitian whose main hobby is photography, which she studies with her husband and father. She has been an freeimages contributor since March, 2004, and her images rank among the top 10 in average rating and top 100 in downloads. We caught up with Agnes via e-mail to talk about her wonderful images.

First of all, I especially wish to thank my father for all the technical knowledge he teaches me to improve my skills, since my beginning in digital photography last year.

The concept of freeimages is for us also very challenging, and we appreciate adapting our technique to produce stock pictures that most people will enjoy.

You have some dazzling landscape images. The exposure and color are spot on. Are these single frame images or composites or a little of both?

First of all, we wish to thank the webmaster for this interview. Most pictures are single framed images using natural light and colors. Sometimes some post-processing is performed, but no composite organization of several pictures is used. (Except obviously in for "The Oak" uploaded recently)

We try to conceive a picture as a whole with the goal that it be "perfect" as originally photographed. It is similar to the technique employed when we used film or analog cameras. Each capture was a moment of responsibility and would not have been modified by post-processing. In fact, we try to do digital photography as if it were film or analog photography, with the same kind of approach and care, but with all the benefits of digital.

You have an incredible sense of lighting, which is probably the most important aspect to photography. Have you always had an eye for lighting? In what ways can others hone or improve their sense of lighting? Can it be learned?

We appreciate some care and time in our captures, so we often walk around the objects or think about the scene for some days. Light is obviously the main parameter of photography and the interferences of light in digital photography are different than in traditional film photography. We think about various shooting situations of the same item or scene to get the best result and learn to manage the lighting where possible.

Yes, it can be learned in the sense that taking time is the best way to make a good picture.

Do you mainly use ambient/available light or do you have studio lighting?

Yes, we mainly use natural ambient light. Even in the evening, we prefer long exposures to the use of flashes to capture the subtleties of nocturnal or evening colors. We do not own a studio, but even with our reflex cameras, we prefer natural lighting.

As we mostly use compact cameras, the quality of flash is very low. For this reason also, we try to shoot with natural lighting. The use of compact cameras is motivated by the fact of their availability and size, so that we can have them with us at all times to catch opportunities as they occur.

Do you start out with a vision and try to achieve it through photography, or do you tend to experiment and explore more with your camera?

Our vision initially is only to try to produce quality, well-framed, nicely exposed photographs with a wide range of themes. So we don't really share a vision, but we do explore and "play" with the camera as you probably have observed. We have a very wide range of interests which results in diversity in our photographs.

Sometimes we like to produce pictures that are photojournalistic in nature. We did that in Belgium about the crashed industry as testimonials of that period.

What ways do you use Photoshop to improve your images?

We use Photoshop to adjust and correct tonal balance and saturation. In addition, Photoshop is useful for cutting the subjects out of their initial context. The initial reality of the subject, however, is the base of our pictures. We try to preserve that reality and do not use "artistical" concepts and deformations of the initial capture.

tips & tricks

» Digital Pinhole Photography by buzzybee
Learn how to turn your camera into a digital pinhole camera in time for April 29th, World Pinhole Photography day!

» Cross-processing Effects in Photoshop
Here are some techniques for adding digital cross-processing effects to your portraits. »

» Add a Painterly Tint to Images
This tutorial provides a quick way to generate monochromatic tint effects. »

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competition time!

Spring Contest Winner!

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The next issue will be out on June 1, 2007.

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