Thursday, July 3, 2014

A Rabbit's Face

It's been a while since I've published anything to this blog. I would like to make it more of a common thing to do, after each shoot, just post a few images and tell the story behind them.

I'm going to start with this shot from my shoot with the lovely Dominique and her fluffy rabbit Bun Bun. Why have I chosen this image you might ask? Well, because you've undoubtedly noticed how processed it is. The cool thing is, you hopefully havn't seen the real reason behind the photoshop.

So let me introduce to you the original image:

Original Image

Yep, Bun Bun has no face! Now normally I'd just pass up this photo and go find the next one. But Dominique selected this as one of her choices, and I personally liked it. Except for the face missing bits. The problem with shooting animals is, that they never really do what you'd like them to do. So come hell or high water and bribes of carrots, Bun Bun refused to pose again so I could retake the shot.

I've been indoctrinated to never let a face be cropped off in a photo, so I took this as a challenge that needed to be faced.

First thing I needed to do was find a face for Bun Bun. Not any rabbit would do, it would have to be Bun Bun's own face. I eventually found this shot from the shoot. The closest match to the above photo with Bun Bun's own fluffy face:

Replacement Face
Now I could go into great detail about how I did what, but I shall not, simply because this is not a tutorial and it would be boring. So instead I will tell you three things; Yes, I went over board on the eyes. The longest part of this process was removing rabbit fur from Dominique's dress. And the largest secret, I desaturated the final image for one reason only... to hide the left over red traces from the chair behind the whiskers.

So in short, I did this:

Basic Process

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Open Cover Letter

 Photo: Deborah Rossouw

Good Day,

My name is Frank, and I'm a professional, and internationally published photographer. I'm writing this little blurb in the hopes of finding employment. I will not lie to you (honesty, it's one of my major traits), I am expensive. For very good reason though.

If I end up as your employee, you'll get a bargain. For not only am I a photographer, I also come with a few bonuses, for example, a fully equipped and functioning studio in a prime location: Woodstock, less than 5 minutes from the CBD.

I come with character references, as well as work references; in fact, I also have the ability to befriend any dog. Hell, even though I'm not a cat person, I can still make them purr if need be. I've even resuscitated a mole. How many people have you employed who have done that?

Working after hours, and over weekends does not faze me in the slightest. I've been working since I was a child of 9. Being a paper-boy taught me how to befriend dogs with a desire to savage me. Yes, this is a direct translation to having to deal with difficult clients.

The studio I come with.

I have a terrible sense of humour so I won't be distracted by people telling jokes. Once I'm focused on a task, it becomes my priority.

I pride myself on quality. I may be a little cluttered, some may even say untidy, but since I'd be based in my studio, you wouldn't have to deal with that flaw.

I enjoy travel, and in no way am I afraid of aircraft or flight. Without a doubt, I am the best person to fly with. Pilot has a heart attack, no worries. I was trained as a pilot and Shell Aviation even qualified me to refuel aircraft.

So let's reiterate:

Skilled photographer, ex-pilot, mole saviour and I come with my own studio. How could you afford not to employ me?

If you would like to see my portfolio, or any of my references, or if you'd like to view my studio please to not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards,
Frank Moody

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Behind the Scenes

I don't often show people how I shoot, or even edit. Shooting, mainly because I'm the one with the camera and it's not really exciting for anyone else to shoot me looking stupid.

But, editing, well, because... IT'S A SECRET!

I can't actually show you how I create my style, or you'll steal it from me, and my work will no longer be unique ;)

Today though, I downloaded a screen capture tool, and for the first time ever you'll see exactly what goes on behind the scenes with my post production.

About myself when it comes to Photoshop. I'm self-taught. I've never done a single course, or ever read a full tutorial on the internet (Except for one, about skin smoothing which I got from Robert Miller). I've been using Photoshop since 5.5 (Yes, 5.5, remembering that CS3 is actually version 10).

I have also learnt two things about Photoshop, that I think everyone who uses the program already knows. Firstly, the only way you can learn, is to play. Secondly, there are about 100 different ways to do one thing, and each of us have our own methods to do exactly the same thing.

The image: I started recording the video about 10min after I actually started to edit the photo, so what you do not see it me extending the canvas, then dragging the backgrounds out as a new layer, and using “Warp” and “Transform” tool to line up all the edges.

After the video ends, I spend another say about 30 min finishing it off. You'll see that the final product is rather different from the video's final product. So in a sense, my secrets of editing are still there, secret :P

You might notice I spend a lot of time with the stool. Covering green spots. Well, that was Yoghurt, from one of Cadmus's shoots. I just want him to feel guilty ;)

Please excuse the music... um.. I think that's it. I don't mind answering any questions about this editing process. Oh, and the model happens to be the lovely Countess Havok.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The full story behind this photo

This shot was a spur of the moment idea, sitting in the new BMW ActiveHybrid 5 with the "Mrs Fast", aka Clare Vale, waiting for my next lift after spending a day at the Zwartskops Racetrack. There was a thunderstorm lighting up the sky in the distance, and we decided to try and shoot the car with some fork lightning in the background.

I did not have a tripod on me, so I used my RedBull can, denting it to use it as a stabilising device.  Then we sat, trying to capture lightning. Amazingly, I did get a shot with a single stream of fork lightning, but it looked pathetic in comparison to the amounts of fork lightning I kept missing.

We even repositioned the car a few times, to try and keep the lightning in the background, but the weather gods refused to listen... and this is where it all went wrong.

We mocked the weather gods, and then in the distance I noticed some dust, I thought it was a car pulling off to the side of the road, next thing my vision was blurry and a breeze was felt. This breeze did not stop. It only got stronger. Road signs started falling over, my camera blew over and my eyes were stinging with dust. The car in front of me had pretty much vanished.

Clare was battling to walk and I was afraid I'd fly off my feet and loose my camera, we made a hasty retreat to the car. Got into it just as the rain started coming down and the ground beneath us shook and the sky lit up in a mighty clap of thunder.

Looking over my shoulder, I saw it, a full tube of dust, so thick that you couldn't see through it. And it was twirling over the road before us, cars were slamming on breaks, their hazard's lighting up as everyone driving suddenly were forced to stop, blinded by the dust.

We had been outside, and caught in a twister. It was both a frightening and exciting experience, but not one I'd like to live through again. Clare and I quickly decided to stay inside of the BMW, and call an end to mocking weather gods and photography for the night.

So this photo, was taken about 2 min before the twister hit us, and I confess, in the original, there was no lightning. I've added in a photography from Raf Winterpacht (

So my original was shot at f5.0 with a 15 second exposure.

The review of this remarkable car will be on RunRideRive sometime in the near future.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Image Quailty (Part 1)

A lot of the time photographers tell me that they do not bother shooting in RAW, because the files are too large, and when you process the image you eventually end up with hundreds of duplicates. There are also some photographers out there that delete their RAW files after processing them, just to save space.

I'm not going to go on a massive rant about the benefits of RAW over JPEG, mainly because they both have their place in this digital world of ours.

What I'll do instead, is just give you a physical demonstration about the benefits of shooting and keeping your RAW Files.

This here, is an image of an Owl. It was shot as a RAW file (.CR2) and processed straight from the camera with nothing corrected. If I had shot this image in JPEG, I would have pretty much the same image (except, a colour profile and white balance would be embedded in the image).

Now say that this was the original, the only copy I have is this JPEG. I open it in Photoshop a few times to tweak it. Adjust colour levels. Maybe change its white balance. But, every time I do a change to this image, I save it again. In the long run, my photo of the owl would look like this:

Why? Well, simply. To make the JPEG file internet friendly, when it is saved, it basically takes a pixel and says, “well this pixel is colour X... so to save space and information, lets make the adjoining pixels colour X as well.” That way, it does not have to remember as much information and therefore the image shrinks from 500Kb to 20Kb for example:

First save:

Second save:

Third save:

While only done a few times, this isn't an issue and you'll never notice. But it doesn’t take long until all the pixels become Colour X and therefore your image will end up with noticeable squares (or giant pixels).

Of course, there are ways around this. For example, save your processed image in a lossless format, say, TIFF or PSD and work on those images leaving your original JPEG safe from saving.

I have a three step image system. Shot in RAW, Processed in PSD (where I keep all the changes I make in layers, so I'll always be able to go backwards or forwards without fear of losing anything that I've done to the image) and then JPEG with ugly watermark for the internet.

If an image needs to be printed, then off it goes as a TIFF in CMYK – but I'll leave that for another day, when I'll rant about mega-pixels being bullshit.

The final reason as to why I'll never delete my RAW files, is because, they are the equivalent to my negatives, in pretty much all forms and sense. No photographer throws out their negatives.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guess what? Your name. IT MEANS NOTHING!

Well, okay, not true. One day, your name might mean something, but now, while you're a new fish in the sea with a DSL no better than a million others, your work is not worth your name.

There is no pay, but I'll credit you.” Then when the credit doesn’t appear, “Oops, sorry, next time we'll make sure.” - Have any professionals experienced this before? I think a good handful might be muttering something about now.

People, when you are new, and the idea of your name appearing alongside an image that you've taken for a magazine, seems wonderful, so wonderful that you are willing to sacrifice your pay, or the livelihood of other photographers. I will not judge you because of it. We all have done it.

But to carry on doing it, I'll put you on a little list. This list shall be viewed by the Council of Dark Pissed-Off Photographers who need to earn a living- and we'll hunt you down with blunt objects.

Your name, is actually a valuable source of advertising. This is true. And there is a price to your name. There are limits though. Finding those limits is all important if you're looking to make a living out of photography.

I was offered by my landlord last year, the chance to shoot for his shop (my studio at the time sat above it). He then added, “I can't pay for the shoot, but you'll get your name printed with the images.

First thing that popped into my mind was “So? My name will get printed with the images even if you pay me. My name will get printed with ALL my published images. Unless, you pay me not to put my name on my images.

I turned down the shoot. It was not worth the time sacrificed to see my name. Besides, if you walked into his shop, you'd have already seen my name and studio and business cards.

Lets just say I come across a photo I like, and I take the time to look to see who shot it (I do often do this, how many others do though I wonder?). The byline says “Pete Joe”. Okay, cool. Let me Google him, let me Facebook him? Nothing comes up, or a million things come up. Dear Pete Joe, I'm sorry, your byline was worthless to everybody except your mother bragging “My Pete has his name in this magazine!

Your name is worthless in the beginning. Get the money first, build up your name. Then one day people will be like “Pete Joe the photographer? I love your work!” And you dear Pete Joe, will be happy, because you got to buy yourself some food.


Having your name published is not full payment.

By law, if you still own the copyrights to your image, your name HAS to be published even if you get paid.

Only if the publisher buys full copyrights, then they don't have to publish your name.

If you have an agreement to have your name published with an image, and it isn't. Then that publisher owes you the financial value of your name. INVOICE THEM!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aerial Photography Service

I have some exciting news. Most news is exciting in my mind though, even those depressing tales of things going wrong. I mean, if it wasn't exciting then it wouldn't make TV right? Unless of course you live in New Zealand. Yet again, I'm distracted... what was I saying?

Oh, yes. My news. Some of you might have noticed that the word “pilot” is often used around my name instead of photographer, that's because my first love is indeed flight. In fact, flying is how I got into photography in the first place, as strange as that may seem. So it is with honour and privilege that I get to say this.

I'm offering an Aerial Photographic service once again. Yes, you read right. It is now within my means to offer my clients aerial photography (Thanks to the skills of Grant Duncan-Smith). This is not photographs of aeroplanes, but shooting from aircraft at altitude to get some of the most dramatic views possible of landmarks, structures and real estate.

This service is not just limited to Cape Town, but offered nationwide as well as across our boarders. And we are not offering some low form of elevated photographs, but actual high resolution photography that will make any photo-editor happy.

How does this benefit you?

Well, it will not help with your model portfolio, but with the following there can be no over exaggerating the impact and importance of aerial photography:

Upper Market Real Estate.

Construction Update Photography.

Property Development.

Marine Photography.


Contact me for a cost estimate. If you have not yet used the power of aerial photography for your commercial enterprise, you'll be amazed at the benefits this service will offer you.

076 401 0000 .:.