Behind Facetune 2: Lightricks’ New Portrait Editing App
We sat down with Daniel Berkovitz, Product Manager of Facetune…
An exclusive look at how one concept photographer goes about creating a gorgeous surreal image. From the dream that evolved into an idea, to the crafting of the props, to the final edit (with Enlight!) and share on Instagram, it’s all here. Check out this behind-the-scenes video and one-on-one interview with the talented artist behind it all: Ronen Goldman.
1. This isn’t the first surrealistic image you’ve produced. How did you get into this kind of conceptual photography?
I’ve always been interested in dreams and the sub consciousness. Basically, anything that we humans have not yet charted completely. Even with so many advances in human knowledge and science, the whole realm of dreams remains mysterious – and that is why it’s so interesting to me. I find that dream “events” sometimes have almost as much impact on my life as waking “events”.
So, I created an ongoing series I called The Surrealistic Pillow Project where I take these ideas and execute them as staged photographs. I have been doing this for about 8 years now. The images start out as a fragment of a dream, and I then use my imagination to complete it into the final image in my mind.
2. Tell us a little bit about the image. How did you come up with the idea?
This image has a lot of meaning to me actually.
My wife and I recently recovered from quite a traumatic period in our lives. After this difficult time, I felt that she emerged from that shipwreck of an ordeal as a real hero, while I still feel bogged down, drowning and engulfed by jellyfish, not completely out yet. Creating this image is my way of illustrating the situation in a way I can share with others.
3. Tell us about the photoshoot. What challenges did you encounter?
The first challenge, even before the photoshoot, was the creation of the jellyfish. I wanted them to be super realistic. I was lucky to meet Or Sapir, a really talented Effects professional, and together we brainstormed how they should look, made of a special type of silicone that took over a week to create.
The next big obstacle was the weather. Although you can’t tell the temperature from the video, we found ourselves shooting on the coldest day of the year in December. When I planned the shoot I knew the actors would have to actually go into the water, but I had planned to do the shoot in the summer and it wouldn’t be much of a problem. Due to scheduling problems, we instead found ourselves deep in the winter.
4. How cold was the water?
Well, we brought towels and hot tea, but at the end of the day the actors simply had to take the plunge. Lucky for me I was working with two outstanding actors, Elinor and Daniel, who quite bravely ran into the water, which was freezing. I didn’t bring the right clothes or a change of clothes since I wasn’t planning on going in myself. It didn’t take long to realize that to get the perfect shot I’d have to be in there with them, jeans and all.
Besides those challenges, there’s always the race against the clock to get the perfect lighting. We had a window of less than 45 minutes until the sun would set to get as many shots in as possible. In the end, we were blessed with a ridiculously beautiful sunset which gave us a gorgeous background.
5. What’s mobile photography’s role in all this?
Mobile photography has absolutely changed the way I work on these types of location shoots. Before the shoot, I usually scout the locations ahead of time, taking pictures with my phone and using editing apps like Enlight to approximate how the images will look at different times of the day.
During the shoot, I use a Camranger to transfer the photos to an iPad and to the phones of the clients, so that everyone on set can be part of the experience and give input from their perspective and job.
After the shoot, I like editing one of the many photos of the day using Enlight on my phone, so that everyone can see and be proud of what we have accomplished together, right then and there. It’s also great to be able to share the photo itself, and behind the scenes images to social media right then and there, almost live.
6. What’s your advice for aspiring photographers looking to produce concept/surrealistic images?
Don’t worry so much about technique and edits, try to simply visualize an image you would want to see using your mind and make it happen as if there were no limits to what you can create. Use your imagination like you used to do when you were a kid.
Once you have it in your mind, switch on your “photographer’s brain”, and figure out how you can make it happen technically. You will find that almost anything can be created; the trick is that it needs to be something that is interesting enough to you.
Most times you’ll find it’s very interesting to other people, too.