Well Of Creation: Inspiration Of 10 Images Explained

Jan 16, 2015

Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler is a full-time retoucher. He’s from Germany and likes bacon. In the last years, he built up a broad community around his retouching classes at the Infinite tool’s website. You can follow his work oninstagram.

Well Of Creation: Inspiration Of 10 Images Explained

Jan 16, 2015

Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler is a full-time retoucher. He’s from Germany and likes bacon. In the last years, he built up a broad community around his retouching classes at the Infinite tool’s website. You can follow his work oninstagram.

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Every once in a while people ask me: “Where do you get these ideas from?”. Usually I say “They just pop up”, but I’ve having been asked this question a few times this week, I took some time to think about it, and I’ve picked 10 projects from our portfolio to explain them.

Source of Inspiration: technical challenges


I was sitting at my computer, endless scrolling and zooming in a multi-gigapixel-panorama from Dubai. I’ve found some interesting stuff, you know, people doing what they do. It was sometimes boring, sometimes interesting, and with every minute I was exploring that huge amount of detail I was thinking “it would be fun to find more of crazy stuff“. So an idea popped up: A gigapixel panoramic image with many little stories inside. At first we thought about a skyline from our little town and people doing things in the windows. That idea was crap, because if someone decide not to participate, the image would not work. So we thought further and ended up with inviting Benjamin Von Wong, shutting down the market place and started to plan a 450 models shot. It was super exciting and we ended up with this 8.5 Giga-Pixel image. (click here for a zoomable version)

Source of Inspiration: Resources


A while later, we found out that our “Where is Waldo” was a huge success. Not in terms of “earning money” or “getting a lot of attention” – it felt more like a very solid basis for future projects because of the trust people have in our work. And last but not least we have a lot of contacts.

For example that HotRod in the image (in front of the church) felt very interesting for us. We found the owner – Charly – quite easily and had a little talk about a photoshoot with that amazing little piece of machine. Of course Charly said yes. One of our favorite models was also excited about “doing something out-of-the-usual”. Oh, and we wanted to have fire as well (a very good friend of us is a professional pyrotechnican). Okay – Hot Rod, Fire, Model. We talked a lot and tried to fit these ingredients into a storyline. Here is what we came up with:

A timetraveler arrives back in our time in her time machine. Of course there will be some fire as she entered our time. She comes from the past and had some problems with her arm, so she needed to build an mechanical one… and so on. There are a lot of little details to backup that story and as we arrived in place we tried our best to give this shot as much attitude as possible.

Basically we’ve taken the new resources and tried to connect them.

Source of Inspiration: bad Photoshopping


If you look into magazines, you will find a lot of bad Photoshop. Mostly the photos which feature “special effects” are the worst ones. One day I was sitting in a bar and found some advertising for lip balm. To illustrate that urgent need of this wonderful miracle lip balm, they placed cracks on the model’s lips (really no pun intended). Actually not really cracks, more like dark lines with drop shadows, disconnected from the surface. These “cracks” looked really weird and so I began to ask myself: How could you make this image as real as possible?

I quickly came up with the theory of shooting a model’s face and create some real porcelain cracks in the same light and at the same position with the same camera on a tripod. The technical planning of this shot was kind of finished now so obviously the execution part had to be done. We invited a model, “borrowed” some dishes and a hammer and just started.

It turned out very well, so we called this “destructed face No.1”. It’s a series of 10 and this was the first one.

Here is a little before/after for you – it’s really an easy solution.

Source of Inspiration: personal progress


After spending investing those 4 months of post processing of the “Waldo” photo (first one in that list) I lost all fear from spending a ton of time on a single image. So I spent a significant amount of time with education on High End retouching. (Apparently it is different from retouching). I started to see the difference from “normal retouching”, and quickly started making dodge&burn my new religion (it’s not yet official, please don’t tell my parents). I started hating my old work and tried to retouch the old RAW-files again – now with my new powers of learning to see the difference between good and bad light. And also – probably the most important thing – how a RAW should look like to have the maximum effect in post production. With this “need” it was obvious,that our next job would include one good beauty image.

Good thing the next job was for studio flash makes “Multiblitz”. Of course that image needed another little twist and we didn’t wanted another “flawless beauty” image.  So we took all the life from the model (in a metaphorical sense) and asked our artist friend Dracorubio to give our beautiful model a set of beautiful black eyes.

Source of Inspiration: new gear


Mostly, if you say “I need that new piece of gear”, you will end up with no money on your bank account, serious problems with your wife and after a while some bad taste for buying unnecessary gear. But sometimes you end up with an opportunity to make something completely different. We had this opportunity with the Light Blaster (we actually, did not have to buy it, because we are connected in the right circles. Ask the editor for clarifications….).

The Light Blaster offers a very special light and so we had to play around with it and we also had to be quick with ideas. I have to be honest: With nothing else in my equipment collection I’ve had that effect. Usually you play with that brand new prime and after a while you are using the one you already had and so on…

Here is something we did with the light blaster and I am very proud to be able to say: Yes, new gear can be a source of inspiration.

Source of Inspiration: location


Are you familiar with that situation when you visit a place and you instantly have ideas for a photoshoot? We have an abandoned pool here in Germany and you can rent it quite cheaply. It’s a very nice room and there are a lot of images of it in the web. Actually there are so many images you don’t even need to make pictures by yourself anymore…

Anyways, this room had some kind of fascination and I wanted to visit it for one day. I’ve tried to create some kind of controlled light painting (something I usually avoid because it mostly turn out as a mess). After all I am very proud of the outcome and it’s safe to say: That location inspired me.

Source of Inspiration: self promotion


At some point we were invited to write on the amazing website InMyBag. We really wanted to avoid to make a picture of our gear on a table – might be based on the fact we have mostly crazy trash…

So we tried to break it down to this:

  • We (KAMERAKIND) are good in having fun
  • We are proud of our logo “Maurice”
  • We want to create something with all our crappy stuff

So we took a video projector and projected our logo on a white backdrop and simply put everything we have into that outline and took a picture from above. This time the inspiration came from outside. We needed to create something with “our gear” and something that should show creativity and last but not least it should contain a Nerf gun because nothing is complete without a Nerf gun. Without that self promoting invitation, we probably had never created this image. We simply love it, because we love our little Maurice.

Source of Inspiration: fear


When I was very young, I had a very specific fear – the fear to get recycled by a junk yard claw. This fear is probably connected with watching too many James Bond Movies,  my parents old car and my own disorientation skills. Luckily it never happen (yet) but there is still a lot of awe in me for these impressive machines and I really try to get as far away from them as possible. As a photographer, I am in the lucky situation to place models inside of such a claw.

So the fear becomes the inspiration. Last year It was finally time to bring this fantasy to life in our Multiblitz review (try to guess how we got to use that junk yard – right, the Waldo-Project opened that door)

I think everyone has something that makes them instantly uncomfortable; water, fire, insects… clowns… . Try to think about incorporating  it into a photoshoot. Probably this is a good way to get rid of that fear and you might came up with a good idea.

Source of Inspiration: love


Actually it should be the first item in this list, but you might know how it is: You edit hours and hours with some random images and your own family just gets a simple raw-conversion (if shot in raw at all). Everytime I do that batch raw processing the bad conscience knocks on my door, saying: put more effort in the ones you love.

As I first saw Elena Shumilova‘s images, I knew: Yes, that’s a suitable style for my family images and instantly took out my girlfriend and my daughter to a little lake and I’ve spend some serious time photoshopping these images.

Source of Inspiration: trash on Facebook

Today a photographer friend liked an article about “how to make a date really awesome” on facebook and it showed up in my timeline. I hate when this happens. Of course I’ve clicked that link and found this one: “Take a pair of boots and a camera, go out and make a pictures of the invisible man“. Instantly I started to think about it – seems like I never have seen a interpretation of the invisible man I really liked. Of course there are some nice things going around with shadows or framing, but I’ve never seen epic ones. Something like a Zombie apocalypse with the invisible man with a flame thrower or maybe he’s just waiting in a subway station with a lot of other people or he’s interacting with some cheeseburgers… I don’t know. There are instantly like a dozen ideas in my head because of that trash on Facebook.

I may giving it a try very soon. I think I like that idea.

But you know what? After making that decision, I started to think about inspiration again and had to write this article.

Inspiration for you

As you probably noticed  – my list of 10 images only consists of 9 image. But there are 10 ideas. Take your boots and go out.

At least if this article popped up on facebook, you should think about it…

Now please: show me your invisible man in the comments!

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Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler

Stefan Kohler is a full-time retoucher. He’s from Germany and likes bacon. In the last years, he built up a broad community around his retouching classes at the Infinite tool’s website. You can follow his work oninstagram.

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