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6862 MarcoCiavolino Week 20 20200517 NotWhatYouSee Post

Three Drop Rule

My good friend, Joe, has a work rule called the 'Three Drop Rule.' That is, if you fall asleep three times in a row while working you must stop and take a nap. With a comfy couch in my new office I find it easier than ever to comply, esp in the endless isolation of the COVID world.

Shot raw on a tripod, camera on full manual, and edited in Photoshop. After I isolated myself I raised my image. Then I cloned my layer, filled it black, moved it down to the couch, added a Gaussian blur, and then made the layer 10% opacity to put a subtle shadow on the couch. Then the entire image was given a grayscale and brightness/contrast filter. See source images below.

Nikon D7500
5568x3712 RAW
Auto Color in Photoshop
ISO 800
1/8 sec
30mm focal length

Source Photos

6862 MarcoCiavolino Week 20 20200517 DSC 9889

6862 MarcoCiavolino Week 20 20200517 DSC 9889

Photoshop File with Layers

Click on photo to expand.

6862 MarcoCiavolino Week 20 20200517 DSC 9889


In the photography world there are two large subgroups called the documentarists and the 'embleshers'. The documentarists believe that you should shoot ONLY what you see. There is no ironing out of wrinkles, enhancing the color vibrancy or anything else. This type of photographer usually works for news outlets and enjoys street photography where they have to work with what is available.  And then is the second group that style, adjust and manipulate to their heart's content. It may be something as such as playing with light gels, using a watercan to 'make rain' or creating a levitation photo to make your models fly! The final photo and the behind-the-scenes view of the photo setup are VERY different from each other. Our challenge this week is to create a photo that has been styled or manipulated in such a way that what you see is not really the 100% naked truth. You can play with the scale of your objects, for example toy cars that are placed and shot in such a way that they look like real cars. Or use talcum powder or flour to represent smoke, white glue for 'milk', steam from a steam iron to make food seem piping hot or maybe place a sieve in front of a light-source for interesting shadows.

This is a fun and an extremely creative challenge and can be shot in a million different ways. You also get to decide how much manipulation you are personally comfortable with as long as you create a photo that is not really what you see!


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*enktesis, LLC is a private consultancy, led by Marco Ciavolino, assisting clients in a range of web technology solutions, marketing communications, business development, and communications research efforts. He has been involved in the web space since 1995 and since that time has directly developed and collaborated on numerous web projects from small niche sites to large enterprise projects.  Want to know more? Contact me via email or phone  (marco@enktesis.com / 410-838-8264).   Full contact information at meetmarco.com

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