Insights and ideas from Emily Ibarra
Anticipating movement, forms and energy
Racing through an urban alleyway, a young man bounces off building walls like Spiderman, contorting his body in creative, beautiful poses. Handrails and ramps are gymnastic implements—they are foundations for handstands, rail slides, and pull-up maneuvers. I focus my shot and release the shutter just as he flies through the frame. I’m an action sports photographer, passionate about observing the grace and beauty of human movement and motion. Adobe® Photoshop® and Photoshop Lightroom® software software help me transform a quick moment in time into intense and intimate portraits of motion and energy.
As a young professional photographer, finding my niche has been an incredible journey. I enrolled in a college photography program, only to realize that to achieve my dreams and goals I’d have to follow my own path. I then worked with some prominent photographers to gain the skills and confidence I needed to pursue my career on my own terms.
In the few years I’ve been shooting on my own, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing and interesting people who give me ample opportunity to apply what I’ve learned, shoot the subject matter I love most, and refine my own unique style. From rock bands wanting to publish images to their MySpace pages to fashion designers hoping to see their designs gracing the pages of InStyle, my clients bring work that revolves around movement, forms, fashion, energy, entertainment, and action.
Musicians helped me get my start, fueling and funding my passion for photography. I went on tour with some bands, fed off their creativity, and got lots of referrals through the MySpace community. I feel a real kinship with these up-and-coming artists and love finding new ways to help them reach their goals. Video slide shows with music created in Lightroom 3 will be huge for both bands and solo artists, offering me another artistic way to deliver value.
My clients are part of the digital generation, so the images I produce for them quickly make their way online. I want to deliver exactly what they want, while protecting my brand and expanding the audience that sees my work. The organization features in Lightroom let me name, tag, and add copyright information and metadata to every image seamlessly. I can then use the Publish Services panel to deliver them straight to Flickr accounts or other channels so clients can post them to their websites, blogs, or social networking pages.
Any photographer will tell you: Shoots don’t always go as planned. I try to respond to the energy of my subjects, and that sometimes means waiting for just the right moment or shooting people out of order. Collections and collection sets in Lightroom help me organize everything after the fact, in the order I intended. Using presets, I can then apply my favorite looks to both black-and-white and color photos across an entire shoot or collection of images.
I’ll admit I’m picky about photographic settings, especially when I’m shooting outdoors. For that reason, I always take my images into Photoshop and use the Healing Brush and Clone Stamp tools to adjust colors and contrasts to make images pop. I love how Photoshop lets me work organically as I continue to push and grow as an artist.
I see action sports photography as a thread that can run through my work with athletes, musicians, and even fashion models. It’s fun helping clients express themselves in creative new ways while ultimately producing images with commercial appeal. For me, the people I meet and the things I see make the road I’ve traveled worth every step. Anticipating those perfect peak moments with a point of view that grabs your attention—that’s what really excites me about photography.
Emily’s contrast and vignette Lightroom preset: