Illustrative and Conceptual Photography

By Kaden Stephens

For this new media project, I wanted to explore different types of photography that I have never tried before. One of the techniques I tried was highly-edited conceptual photography. In these, I practiced different editing techniques to create images that hold a strong message and visuals. The other technique I tried was illustrative photography. Through this, I merged my love for photography with art. I captured images and enhanced them by adding illustrative elements. I really wanted to create pieces that looked awesome and showed creativity.

This project taught me so much. I tried so many different things that I had never used before. For the illustrative photos, I captured the images and did all the editing through photoshop, then I took them into ProCreate where I added the illustrations. I had never attempted this before, but the images turned out great. Even with the conceptual images, I learned so much. I attempted some advanced edits that I thought turned out well. I was able to use different tools in photoshop that helped me create more interesting designs with the images. Overall, I am happy with how everything turned out.



To capture this picture, I went out to the sand dunes with some friends. In the first shot, I had one of my friends stand on a distant sand dune while I captured him with a zoom lens. I was able to angle the image just right to make him look like he was standing alone in the desert. The second image was of some mountains right beside the sand dunes. In editing, I combined both images to make them look like a combination of two different worlds. I liked the contrast between the empty desert and the vegetated mountains. 


To capture this next image, I again had one of my friends model for me at the sand dunes. I liked the clothes he was wearing and thought they would work well with the edits I was going to attempt. After I did some minor edits through Camera Raw, I took the image into Photoshop where I would add the flow effects. I had some fun with the different curved lines I created and thought the final image turned out great. 



While we were at the sand dunes, we came upon a small bird’s nest where there was a bird flying around. I quickly pulled out my camera and captured a picture of it perched on the edge of a branch. I took this image and decided to do some draw-overs to make it a little more unique. I first removed the colors and created a subtle outline along the outside edge of the main image. I then took the outlines and created a mirroring silhouette of the bird and sat it just below the main subject. I drew in a few ink drips and dust clouds to create a more spooky mood. Overall, I thought it turned out pretty cool.  


In this next piece, I combined four separate images to create a more artistic compilation. I was able to capture some of the more subtle images of the birds and the leaves while I was at the sand dunes. I was able to capture the portrait of my friend later in a separate location. I started off by doing all of my photo edits via digital illustration. The app I used was ProCreate. I used a smudge tool to smooth out the skin and several other brushes to add some shading. Once I had the look I was going for, I added the shapes and gradients in Photoshop. I love how it all turned out.  


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