I am finishing preparation for a show in the Oyster Mill Playhouse. It will hang during a few weeks in November and consists of photographs of the American West. It will hang in conjunction with the play Annie Get Your Gun. As I was working, I began to think about all the steps involved in preparing a photograph in becoming the piece that I am satisfied to show.
I talked before about the actual taking of the photograph being the first step. The photograph itself is full of potential. It can become (hopefully) what I envisioned when I took it. Of course, there are the steps of exposure, choosing a composition, focus, shutter speed, aperture, and all that goes into actually capturing the shot. From that point on, the world is my oyster, as they say.
My first steps are cropping, color correction, sharpening or smoothing, and all the things that lead to the vision I had in mind. However, after that, there are some very important decisions to be made. The choices are not finished. Presentation is a truly important factor to which many of us do not give enough thought. There many ways to present your work. For this show, I have decided to present a consistent presentation, since the subject of each photograph is related. I have matted the work in an off white (creme colored) mat. I then framed each one in a brushed metal frame (bronze) so it would not look too shiny and new. I decided against wood because I wanted all the attention on the actual photographs and the bronze metal is easier to keep looking nice. It also makes each piece look a bit more classic with a small thin frame as an outside border. Even though I have been doing this for quite a while, I am always amazed at how much better they looked under glass.
However, you don't need to present your work in frames. You can mount your piece on wood or metal. You can build a topic or theme into a book. There are many online publishers that make great books. I use blurb, but there are many. You can print on canvas, matte, or glossy paper. You can show them from a tablet or even a phone. You can put a portfolio on CD or DVD. You can use an old school portfolio book. You have many presentation choices.
You can have your images printed on glass. They can be printed on metallic paper. They can be printed on actual metal sheets. There are a million choices in this day and age.
After you take the photograph, the fun will continue. Think about what you want to do with it. Print it? You have many options of paper and other materials on which to print. A portfolio? You can have a digital portfolio or an actual portfolio book. A book? You have a choice of many online publishers. Mat and Frame it? Mat colors abound and so do frame choices.
Take the photograph. Make it the best image that you can. Then present in the way you think is best. If your work is never seen, it has value only to you. Share your vision.