w o r k s h o p
Creating art from the simplest things
One of the things that I love from this workshop, is the fact that I can share what I do with people that love black and white photography. How from simplest moments we can create a piece of art. How with black and white editing, we can bring details to another level. How to create that three dimensional feeling in your images. I love the thoughts behind the shooting and the thoughts behind the editing process. Thinking of your intentions as an artist. Making your audience’s eyes go where you want them to go. Being able to accentuate what is important and make “invisible” what it is not.
If you are interested to know more about this working, please click on the “workshop” tab and please let me know if you have any questions.
Sharing some love in black and white. XO Cris.
p h o t o s b y c r i s s t e p h e n s
memories from childhood
* a late muddy afternoon *
This shot is one of my favorites. Love the drama of the textures of the mud on his skin. The mood of the light and above all, the story behind.
I was inside the house knowing that the kids were playing in the backyard. But suddenly, there was that kind of silence that worries any mom. That kind of silence that makes you wonder “what the heck are they doing now?” So I went outside. The white curtains of the back covered patio where not letting me see what exactly was going on, but I could see their silhouettes playing. Not moving much but enough to let me know that they were having fun. Suddenly I saw a very little pond full of mud right under Julia’s feet. They were playing with the hose and there was so much water in the grass that it was starting to get muddy everywhere. But even more in this tiny space where I could see Julia sitting down while Lucas was standing right in front of her with his arms in the air. Julia was literally painting his body with mud and telling him what to do. He was there doing what his sister was saying. I run inside and grabbed the camera. Got my zoom lens and shot making sure that they did not know that I was there. I wanted to capture the moment right as it was. Raw and pure. I wanted to capture those faces. They clearly where having fun *smile*.
Suddenly I called his name, and when he looked at me, I got this shot.
And once they realized that all was good, that the mess was OK, that this is one of those cases that you have to embrace and lived, it was an afternoon of laughter and tons of smiles. It became the day of the fun mud builder of unforgettable memories. Another fun day spent in our house in Texas.>Read More
cris stephens B&W tools
2 0 1 6
In my workshops I have shared everything I do when capturing black and whites. All what I consider since the moment the image is captured till the moment I edit in camera raw and photoshop. All the edit secrets and all the editing tools are shared with each participant. And it is the best feeling ever to share with people that really want to know how I do my black and whites. What I consider, what I avoid and what I always keep in mind.
Below I am sharing some SOOC and edited images using my photoshop actions. Love to see the potential on the RAW’s and love to see what can be created in post processing. Try and have fun!
p h o t o s b y c r i s s t e p h e n sRead More
finding myself in color
2 0 1 1 a u g u s t 2 0 1 6
As you all know, I am a B&W artist. B&W has spoken to me since the very first moment. As an spectator I have always felt so curious and fascinated by B&W photography. Loved the feelings it always provoked to my heart. Loved the intrigue and the drama. Loved the conversion of simple things and moments into pieces of art through the blacks, whites and all the greys in between.
I started my photography journey a little more than five years ago. Despite during all this time I found myself as a B&W artist, I was not able to find myself as a color artist. Which is totally fine with me but at the same time I wanted to be able to express my stories that spoke to my heart in color, in color! The problem I had is that despite I did many color edits, I found myself liking many of them and appreciating the beauty in the bright colors but it was never me! as the artist behind. The worst thing was feeling that I knew exactly the color artist that I wanted to be but I just was not able to materialize it in my post processings. Very frustrating when you know what you want, where you want to be but you just do not have an idea how to arrive there.
I knew I wanted my images in color to be as dramatic as my images in B&W’s. I knew I wanted to be consistent with the feelings that my photographs provoke in my audience. I love the mystery, the drama, the intensity and even the infinite stories behind that I find in many of my black and whites, but what about my colors? It was not the same feeling that I felt was coming from them. I found myself expressing my soul so deeply in my monochromatics but not as much in my color conversions.
And this is what I did just a few weeks ago: I went out of my comfort zone and decided to make peace with LR (I have worked only with photoshop for all these years and have been so intimidated by the unknown in new editing software) and I got presets to make my life easier and play with steps already created by other artists in order not to feel intimidated by a whole new post processing world. I purchased many of them. I played with many presets. I took my time to see which represented what I wanted to portrait and which did not. I disregarded some, and I embraced some others that were amazing tools to personalize with my work and my editing skills. I used curves in PS and played in LR. Still do not know how to work with it but little by little I will get there. It has been a fun process. It has been like exploring new land and stopping in those places where I felt in peace.
Love the drama in the color as much as I love the drama in B&W’s. Love the roughness of the dimmed colors. Love the mystery on the greys, the matte and the grain. I knew i wanted to relate my color photographs with film looking edits. Rough, artsy, imperfect. I knew I wanted those edits that look as old as the stories behind – even if they just happened. Wanted that unique look where many people would say “why did she do this?” “why did she killed this light?” “why did she preferred this wash out color and not the brightness behind?”… all those whys behind a piece of art is what i find make it even more interesting.
So I am still in the pursue of my soul in color. And I wanted to share this with you because for some reason many people think that I have it all figured out as an artist and after so many years, I am still trying to translate my ideas of my photography in color in my actual work. I am sure I am not close where I want to be yet, but I have loved the idea of finding myself and I know is a great beginning.
I am taking risks to let my heart speak. And it feels sooooo good. Sharing the journey.
Below are some of my images which were already edited by me in photoshop, and just added some steps in LR using presets purchased in the Blissful Maven site.
It has been fun and I love the artsy dramatic feeling in them. Hope you like them too.
p h o t o s b y c r i s s t e p h e n sRead More
n o s t a l g y
“a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of
some past period or irrecoverable condition”
t w e n t y f o u r t e e n
I know I went through a rough couple of weeks. I know my heart has been squished and squashed. My thoughts have been thrown to the past and to the future many times. I lived the fear of losing what I love the most in this world: my kids. I spent nights not sleeping… just thinking and thinking. And loved those moments where my thoughts brought my heart to the past. To happy moments. To when they needed me and I was able to help. I was actually be able to do… To fix.
It is so amazing to be able to see smiles and moments that passed through photographs. To feel your spirit raised in those moments that are tough and the heart is just a big knot of pain. So here I was, enjoying every little moment. Remembering. Feeling peace just flying through time. Seeing happiness. Re living through my images the smiles of my kids while growing up. Regular moments. Simple times. All captured to give us happiness during those days where the clouds could be so dark.
Sharing the goods and the bads. Living life. Having faith. Loving God.
Live. Love. Hug. Always.
v e r a n o 2 0 1 6 h o m e
There is nothing that makes me happier than being at home with my family. To see my kids have fun with “nothing”. Being creative with whatever they find in the backyard. In the same way I built all my childhood memories. No electronics, no toys, no things that have it already done for us not letting our hearts being creative. Do not get me wrong. They also watch TV and play with the PS4 or with apps in their iPods. They do. Even if I do not like it I find it important for them to be able to do it all and explore everything this world is offering. But when I see them breathing the fresh air, feeding the rabbits, watering their flowers and swinging for hours in the hammocks under the huge pine trees is when I just sit and smile.
This summer was my fifth anniversary since I stopped working for the corporate world. I still miss so many things about it. Mainly my salary and that feeling of being maturing in my career and “going up the ladder”. I studied many years and worked so many more to be a professional and to be successful. And I was. But arrived the point that working so many hours per day with a husband that traveled ALL the time, became extremely difficult. I did not have time for anything. My daughter had health issues which did not allow her to sleep through the night till she was seven. I slept four non consecutive hours for so many years. I was so tired but the worse thing is that I was missing it all. My kids in daycares from 8 through 6 since they were two months old. Sometimes I do not remember them being little which makes my heart so sad. But we did as a family what we needed to do and we did it together. When Julia turned 5 is when she started asking me to do more activities. It was literally impossible. The hours were for non working moms and I did not have any help. My husband traveling and my family so far away. Julia also started asking to spend lunch time with me and my heart would break in pieces when at only 5 years old she would tell me (when she saw me tearing up) “it is all right mom. I understand. You need to work. I will wait a little more and in the future you will be able to come to lunch with me” (knot in my throat).
We did as a family what we needed to do to be where we are today: I stopped working full time and starting being with my kids in everything they have done. I am those moms that is involved in the school, in their activities, know their friends, go to the movies, organize picnics and any other activities that allow us to spend time together. I teach them how to cook, how to set the table, how to have good manners. How to be honest and respectful. I am with them guiding and helping them to stand up when they fall. I am there when they come crying because somebody was mean to them in school. I teach them to be humble when they succeed. I teach them the definition of a hug, of a kiss, of empowering others. I make sure they are growing healthy in their minds and hearts. It is a lot of work, but I can do it now. I can be. They can stay at home when their are sick with mom by their side. I can be there when they call me from school. I can be there when they have a play. I sit there when they play piano and applaude them non stop when they are done. They smile at me always. They look at me when they do something new in gymnastics. And I smile back at them. They know I am always there. They are so happy when afterwards they can share with me all their excitement and also, those days where they cry because they feel frustrated. They ask questions about me being little. They love to hear my answers and they love to know how I would act in those situations. They love to hear that I also felt insecure, frustrated and afraid and how I would overcome those feelings. We talk for hours. They listen. I love to see their interest in their eyes. They are learning constantly learning and growing right in front of my eyes. They feel stronger and more confident with my smiles. They look for my approval. They respect me and care about what I think. They constantly hug me out of the blue and share so many “te amo”s and “I love you”s. They are kids that care. Good hearts and beautiful souls. And I feel so blessed. H a p p y . A l i v e .
a t h o m e
j u l y t w e n t y s i x t e e n
f a m i l i a
When there is a time where we are all together we enjoy every little second of it. The weather in Colorado is crazy beautiful and the scenery is just breathtaking, so we put comfy clothes on, hats and water, take off the top of the jeep and to the mountains we run *smile*.
I have always said that the mountains have something special. They feed such a special energy via each breath. I spent a lot of time in the mountains in Argentina. I have the best memories of childhood playing and enjoying the warmth of the sun and the relaxing sounds of the rocky rivers and water falls. I have always loved spending time closer to the sky. There is something in there that I can not put into words. <
I have lived life with ups and downs. I have taken risks. Some worked and some did not. I have missed and cried, and also I have laughed and thank God million times for all the blessings. Life is still makings us doing turns and sometimes detours. But no matter what, there is always good things (even in the bads) to be thankful for. Now, it is time for us to enjoy the view. The mountains. The new friends. The new experiences. It’s time for us to continue growing old together enjoying life.
L o v i n g L i f e.
d a n i e l ‘ s p a r k
c l i e n t s 2 0 1 6
One of the fascinating things of capturing moments, is when you feel other’s like your own. Is when you can see souls through the lens feeling like you know people you really don’t. Once of my favorite things of these five years of shooting, is the people I have met and the friendships I made. I will always feel so honored to be chosen to capture moments in a family’s life. I always feel so thankful to have the chance to create what I do and to be able to share with others. The amazing power of photographs. Living, capturing and reliving all over again every time we see each photograph. Thank you!