HDR Photography

Photography has always fascinated me, and as a graphic designer I have to have a basic knowledge of how photography works. One of the requirements for the graphic design degree at Colorado Mountain College is to take a digital photography class. I’ve always enjoyed photography but I’ve learned a lot from taking this course.

So for our assignment this week we have to take and HDR photo. You may ask what is HDR? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range photography. HDR photography is very technical but basically it is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. It also allows the image to represent a higher intensity of light and it pulls more detail out of the image. It may sound boring but it actually creates a quite striking photo. There are numerous examples of HDR photography all around us.

Here are two examples of HDR photos I found when I was looking through Google.

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For my assignment, I really wanted to do an urban or scenic shoot however the weather was really bad the day I was trying to shoot. Therefore, I had to do my shoot at the Glenwood Springs Mall. It was a fun experience!

Here is my HDR photo

My HDR Photo


Self Portraits

For my digital photography class, one of my assignments was to do a self-portrait. You may think oh, take a photo of yourself, thats not too hard but actually it is quite a challenge. Conceptually, I wanted to do something that would reflect who I am as an individual. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I looked for inspiration. I looked up self portraits in google images and the image below is one that showed up.

This self portrait is very conceptual but I really liked how simple it is. The subject is posed very naturally and the artist made good use of the negative space above the subject with the circle of words above her head. The image is great alone, however I think the words really enforce the message of the photo. It shows a piece of the subject’s personality.

I struggled coming up with a concept and I tried a variety of ways to get the look I wanted. It’s not only difficult conceptually but technically as well, you have make sure all the settings are correct before you can shoot the image which can be difficult. Luckily, being a graphic design student, I know a couple of the photography students. I enlisted my friend who is a photography student to help me with my self portrait.

We went to a couple different locations and I wore different outfits, I totally went all out for this shoot. We captured a lot of great images but I couldn’t decide on just one so I made a composition using a couple photos. I had a blast doing the shoot and it actually turned out great! Thanks to my friend as well!

Applying graphic design to the real world

Fall semester has already kicked off for Colorado Mountain College students. Classes began August 29th and many of us are already in over our heads with assignments. I know for second year graphic design students, we’re in for a long and busy semester. Many of us are trying to graduate in May and we have to start working on portfolio pieces. This leads me into my title, applying graphic design to the real world.

Last school year we were mainly working on pieces just for our class assignments. We were trying to learn the software and then apply what we learned in projects. However, this year we are actually completing projects for actual jobs. Which is exciting but stressful at the same time.

Last year, our clients were our teacher and this year we have actual clients we’re trying to please. Our first real world assignment was to create four posters for the four theatre productions at Colorado Mountain College. We were supposed to complete all four in about a week. This was my first assignment where I was really under a short deadline.

Working under pressure is definitely different from working leisurely on something whenever you want. Working within such a short time doesn’t really allow much room for perfection or a huge amount of creativity.

For my individual design process, this assignment really stretched me. I am someone who likes to spend my time and doing my best for an assignment. However, in the real world, you don’t have the luxury of spending hours and hours on a project. Normally, you would think that the more time someone spends on a project the better it will be. Ironically, this isn’t really the case. A person could spend eight hours designing a project and still not be satisfied with it or on the other hand someone else could spend maybe half the time and design something incredible.

It really depends on the designer. For me, I felt like I actually did a better job on my projects because I didn’t have the time to obsess over tiny details. I am perfectionist when it comes to my designs so for me to complete four huge posters in a week was definitely a challenge. So, how did the assignment turn out? I completed three of the four posters on time and now I am working on the fourth. The theatre department will be looking over the designs and then will decide which ones they want to use. So, I’m crossing my fingers that at lease one of my designs will be picked! I will keep you all posted on how it turns out!

Beauty Is

Hey everyone!

Sorry, its been so long since I have posted anything. Life has been super busy since I got out of school for summer break.
Since, I am taking summer classes as well as working, life has been pretty hectic. Well, the good news is that I have something new I designed 🙂 It is more of an inspirational piece but I hope you like it!

My piece is called Beauty Is, I didn’t really have a concept in mind when I was designing this piece, it all kinda flowed together on its own. Its super late right now but I guess I just had a surge of creative energy! The model in the design is yours truly 🙂 And the boy in the design is my brother.

My design process for this piece is pretty similar to my design process of my other pieces. For me, a design usually starts with an interesting photo. My siblings and I were just being silly by dressing up and modeling, but I really liked how this particular image turned out, so I decided that I wanted to play around with it, see what I could do. I first edited the photo and then it dawned on me that I could do something completely crazy with it. Since, the image had a lot of movement in it, I thought it would be cool if I placed myself and my brother in another scene. Therefore, I found another image on a creative commons website, of a city with cobble streets, it looked like Europe, so I thought it would work perfectly with the image.

I then decided to take myself and my brother out of the image, using quick selection in Photoshop CS 5.1. The edges were a little choppy so I refined them using the “refine edge” tool. The whole project took about 3 hours to complete. I experimented a little bit with the colors in the cobble streets image (background of design). One of the hardest challenges of using pieces of two different images is making them look realistic together, there are a variety of different variables that affect it. For example, the two images were shot with completely different cameras and by two completely different people, one image was took inside and the other was took outside.

I edited the photos very minimally, I increased the brightness and contrast, but the colors were definitely the hardest part. I decided that in order for the image to work cohesively together, the colors would have to match in similar colors. I desaturated (took the color out of the image) the background image and then added a color gradient over the image. I repeated the process with the image of my brother and I.

So long story short, I continued to just play with different things and elements until I was happy with how it looked. I added the brush frame element just for some flare, added an inspirational verse, and waaa laa, it was finished.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this post, thanks for reading another inside look for Behind the Screen 🙂

Life as a broke college student

Hey everyone,

Sorry its been awhile since I’ve posted anything. Life has been a little hectic with mid-terms and now finals, eeks! But then its summer so its all good.

So, I’m gonna take a different approach on this post for Behind the Screen, its story time. You’ll all get a kick out of this I’m sure.

I want you to think back to the days of being a college student, remember the lovely aroma of ramen cooking in the microwave? Or all those late nights of studying? But of course you have to remember what it was

Welcome to the Life of High Gas Prices

like to be a broke college student. Budgeting every last cent just to last you the rest of the year. Do you remember forgetting to add gas into your budget? And then you’re driving, you’re running late to work, and you’re car slows down, chug chug chug, and oops you’re out of gas. You’re like, “Greeat! What do I do now?”

Well, on Monday it was one of those days for me. I was running late to work and my tank was on empty. Uh oh. I had made it almost all the way to work and then…yep, my car slowed down and I heard the chug, chug. I just kinda coasted the rest of the way and I encouraged my car to make it all the way to the parking lot. By a couple words of encouragement and coasting along, my car made it to the parking lot and almost to a parking spot. Then it completely stopped and I had to get it to a parking spot so that it wasn’t in the way. I am no grease monkey by any means so for me, a complete girly girl, to try to push my car into the parking spot was a brilliant effort. Luckily, there was a nice gentleman in the parking lot who helped me push it into the parking spot.

I am super late to work by this time, so I hurry as quickly as I can. And I arrive completely out of breath. I couldn’t worry about my car and gas at that time so I just got to work on the things I needed to get done. 11:30 comes around and I need to be back at the school by 12:30 since I needed to get lunch and go to class at 1, so I decide I should probably figure out what I should do to get back to campus.

My job is in the center of town, and the closest gas station is across the bridge. So, I did what most college students in my position would do, I started walking. I walked to the other side of town and then over the bridge, across the street, and then there, a great sight to see, the Kum & Go gas station. As most students are, I was very short on cash, I had like 7 dollars. I couldn’t afford a spare gas tank so I asked the cashier, if they happened to have a loaner tank. Luckily, they did. With the prices of gas these days, I got maybe like a gallon of gas for 4 dollars.

This is where the fun part comes in. My journey began. Picture a complete girly girl, carrying around a gas tank all over town, yep that was me. It was so annoying, the tank kept dripping and I couldn’t stop it. So it spilled all over my jeans and my boots. I finally arrived at my destination. The gas tank was confusing to work so it took me a couple minutes to figure it out but I did. I poured it in the gas tank and it brought my car back to life.

I was running kinda late again so I hurried as quickly as I could back to campus. This is the embarrassing part. I wasn’t aware at that time that the gas had spilled all over me. So I go to math class, I didn’t have time to change. After a couple minutes of being in class, a kid exclaims, “It smells like spray paint in here”. It was embarrassing but I fessed up and told him that I ran out of gas and that the gas had spilled on me. Another girl was like, “Its okay, I like the smell of gas.” It was pretty embarrassing and it was quite an adventurous Monday.

Hope you got a kick out of my story, thanks for reading the inside look for Behind the Screen.

A World With Creativity

Imagine a world without creativity. Imagine a world without any imagination. A World With Creativity The world would be a very bleak place. We are surrounded by creativity and beauty. Art and design in its simplest form is merely an interpretation of all the beauty that surrounds us. Since I’ve lived in the mountains, I’ve come an appreciation of all the beautiful sights around me. I find when my biggest inspirations or ideas come to me, I am just walking around town or somewhere outside. My inspirations come from the simple things around me.

For my design on the right, A World With Creativity, I took the image while I was walking around Glenwood Springs, CO. The mural on the wall really fascinated me because it was the only beautiful thing in the very grungy alleyway. The mural looked so vibrant and welcoming against the old brick wall. The mural was tucked away in an alley that many people wouldn’t even notice as they walked by. It goes to show that sometimes the best art isn’t always in places you would expect it to be.

Many people wonder why art is so important, well just imagine a life without any art or any color. Wouldn’t it be a very boring place? I think so. The quote that I used in my design by Pablo Picasso says, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.” I really like this quote because I think it is very true. A world without creativity would be very mundane and in a way art does sweep away the dust from our everyday lives. Art makes us pause and take a break from our endless daily tasks. Now you might be thinking, well that’s great and all, but I don’t really like going to boring art galleries or old, musty museums. You don’t have to go to some art gallery or museum to appreciate art, art is all around you. Art isn’t just fine drawings or paintings. Art can be any design or layout.

Since I started studying graphic design, I find myself noticing the little details in things, details that I normally would have just passed by. The more I learn about the fundamentals and principles of design, the more I like the different layouts and designs around me.

Everyone sees art differently. Graphic designers see things through different eyes because art is not only something nice to look at but it now has a purpose behind it. Just as fine artists and graphic designers see art differently, so does the ordinary person who isn’t an artist. However, we should all appreciate art and not take it for granted no matter what way we see it.

When I was working on my design, I decided to look up the definition of creativity, take a look at what it means.



1. the state or quality of being creative

2. the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or to create meaningful news ideas, forms methods, interpretations

Isn’t that cool? I think so. Anyone can be an artist and anyone can be creative. You just have to think out of the box and in a way that is beyond your comfort zone. When you step out of that box, you may be surprised at what brilliant ideas come to your mind.
Well, that’s all for now, thank you for reading another inside look for Behind the Screen.

White Chocolate Raspberry: Simply Delectable

Simply Delectable

Doesn’t that cake look absolutely delicious? That’s what I thought when I saw the photo. I created this design in my Design and Concept class yesterday and I am actually quite happy with how the design turned out. The objective of the assignment was to find an image of an absolutely delicious dessert and capture the essence of the flavor in a grid layout. Today, I was looking at my design and it came to me, “How does one’s design actually come about?”

A designer’s work flow or process comes so naturally that many of us simply forget that the process behind a design is actually quite complex. We as designers become so comfortable discussing certain elements and principles with fellow designers that we forget sometimes we need to take a step down and analyze a design through different eyes. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of our audience. Many of our audience is not very educated on design, after all we are the ones going to school for it, right?

Long story short, let’s go behind the screen with my design, White Chocolate Raspberry: Simply Delectable

So, I’m sitting in class, waiting for the new assignment as my teacher announces that we need to find an image of a dessert and capture the flavor in a headline and a sub-headline. The first thought that came to my mind was, “How in the world do I execute this assignment?” One of the many challenges of design is the starting idea or concept. So, after I pondered the assignment for a few moments, I started searching for images of yummy desserts. Finally, after searching for quite a few minutes, I found the perfect image. Oh and by the way, sometimes you will spend hours trying to come up with an awesome idea for a design. It does not always come so easily.

The image of the dessert I found looked absolutely amazing, I felt like it really captured the essence of the dessert quite well. I mean who wouldn’t be captivated by this dessert? A white chocolate cake with dark chocolate and raspberries, I’m thinking that’s a piece of heaven right there. You’re probably thinking alright, stop making me so hungry and get back to design.

Alright, alright, well it is lunch time and I’m getting hungry. Anyway, as far as my concept for this assignment went, the image kind of took over that element. I saw the image and it just simply said, elegance. I really liked the dark yet calming background behind the dessert. Therefore, I built upon that idea or concept.

I struggled finding a typeface that would fit “White Chocolate Raspberry” but I felt like a nice cursive font fit the layout quite well. One of the other requirements for the design was to design the layout within a grid. For all you non-designers out there, think of a grid like a guideline that you use to fit the pieces of the design in an organized way. Designing within a grid was a new experience for me because I normally just design whatever comes to mind. The grid I used was very simple. However, I was really happy with how the design turned out. Well, I’ll go a little deeper in my design work flow and process on a later blog, for now thanks for reading Behind the Screen.