About me - PhotosbyDonna
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About me

My Photographic Process

When I am asked about my photographic process, I assume people want to know about the materials I use and how I prepare my artwork. People don't typically ask where I get my ideas from as they might ask if I were writing a story. But the photographic process begins with the choice of subject.

For me, every photograph is about telling a story or producing an emotion, both in me as the photographer and in the viewer. If an image does not evoke an emotional response in me, then how can I expect it to do so in others? Fortunately, I photograph subjects that make me feel an emotional connection. My choices reflect my attempt to tell a story. Of course, the story is easier to discern in photographs of people, but I also feel an emotional connection, with a story to accompany it, to my landscapes.

Once I photograph my subject and know that I am in the correct range of exposure settings, I wait to view it on my computer monitor. I look forward to being surprised by what I have captured. If I like what I see, I try not to tamper with it too much. I love digital photography because it can be more forgiving in post-production, but I am not into using a lot of Photoshop magic. In most cases, I will crop the image to get rid of space that doesn't contribute to the story. I will then sharpen the image and enhance the contrast. Whether I am working on black and white or color images, I find that I really prefer a lot of contrast. I love color as well but not too much saturation! I want my images to look real.

The photograph is then printed on archival or museum-quality papers. Right now, I am in love with Epson's Velvet Fine Art papers! The paper is thicker and much like a canvas. It produces beautiful images. I use pigment inks that are archival in quality.
To complete the image, I prefer archival quality white mats, leaving lots of white borders to show off the artwork. While I may indulge in a frame that goes beyond the typical black frame, my choices tend to be rather simple. The frame should enhance the viewing experience and not be the central point of focus.

I prefer museum-quality glass, which is similar to reading glasses, because it is less reflective and shows off the artwork to perfection. Just using this type of glass adds considerably to the expense of the artwork, but in the long run, I think my clients prefer it.

The photographic process is not complete until the client views it and has a strong visceral reaction to the subject. If they just purchased my artwork because it was "pretty," I don't think I would be satisfied. I want my artwork to speak to the client. I love the feedback I get from people. In the long run, it is that response that makes me want to go out and do it all over again.

If you have questions or want to reach me, you can e-mail me at Donna@DonnaBader.com or call (949) 494-7455. I look forward to hearing from you!