Toni Kuraga is a Spanish photographer we truly admire, who also photographed our first author mockup collection: K1NK1. To start this tutorial, Toni advices you to start with a strong theme or genre (like, for instance, urban culture, nature or daily life): committing with an idea will make your photo more intentional and striking to the viewer’s eye.
Ask yourself: what would be the subject of the photo? A poster? A mobile device? Think about what’s going on around this subject: what kind of scenario are you picturing? Consider your immediate environment: what places do you find interesting?
Before getting any technical, Toni advices you to do some visual research. Besides the usual design platforms, you can dive into artistic movements and creators from different historical periods. Museums’ digital collections and public domain digital libraries can be of great help to get some inspiration.
For this photo, Toni decided to dig deeper into the quinqui cultural movement. Quinqui emerged in the 70s from the outskirts of Spanish cities, giving rise to a cultural movement that involved flamenco, rumba music and movies.
“I soaked up the entire visual culture from the quinqui universe through films. Music also served as an inspiration, as well as current artistic references such as C. Tangana, Rosalía, Ladilla Rusa or neoquinqui movies like «Raising rats»”
Iconic photos are created by merging elements from different worlds. In this case, Toni advices you to make a list of the possible scenarios you could play with. At the same time, make a list of the possible subjects (in these case, objects) you would like to portray.
Toni recommends you to think carefully about light. In his own words: “For this photo, we wanted to play with natural light, having enough contrast to play with the shadows. That’s why I started shooting at 11 am”.
Every element in the photo helps communicate your theme. To achieve better results, it’s always nice to experiment with additional elements.
At this point of the process, it’s time to take action and start composing our picture. By the way you arrange all your photo’s elements, you’ll have the power to make it aesthetically more interesting.
“When composing an image, it is important to be clear about the story you want to tell without forgetting that the poster needs to occupy a considerable surface of the frame”.
Toni Kuraga: “I start with some basic composition rules such as thirds or symmetry, but I am always attentive to my intuition and once I have the basic composition I start to play and move the subject within the frame until I reach the perfect composition.”
“Consider everything you’ve prepared, but don’t be afraid to experiment. If something doesn’t work, change it. Use the camera to take several test shots, moving the elements of the composition around to see what looks «right» to you”.
Once you have selected your favorite photo from the shooting, it’s time to do some editing.
During this phase, Toni unveiled some hidden details and colors by playing with lightning and color parameters on Adobe Lightroom.
He also erased some noisy elements (such as paintings and scratches, as well as the residual presence of a door) in order to create a stronger focal point on the subject. Toni recommends you to erase every spot or trace of dirt you might find: the subject of the photo will be the vessel of your design, so it’s always a nice idea to make it look flawless.
And no worries! You guys can also download the Lightroom edits video and the Photoshop erasing edits video by clicking on the buttons below!