Two Years Ago : Variations on a Motel Sign

paine motel signs

Some of my favorite objects to photograph are old motel signs. I shot this photo from a car window with a pocket Canon digital a few years ago while traveling through Winchester, Va. The sign had a some cool colors and textures so I decided to have some fun with it in post processing. (please see different variations on this image and additional text below)

one rob paine motel

When working with students starting to learn any type of photo software, whether it be Adobe Elements, Apple iPhoto or Adobe Photoshop, I always urge people to take a prudent approach. These pieces of software used in moderation can really improve your images. Used without such restraint your images will look fake, over processed and in some cases, unusable.

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Of course rules are made to be broken and these photos are a result of flying off the straight and narrow path.

These photos offer a totally opposite extreme approach. For me, there is not much middle ground in post processing. If I am trying to stay with a realistic look such as when photographing a nature scene or a news event, I usually limit my editing to cropping, so mild toning, adjustment of curves, etc.

But if I am clearly going for a more modern or artsy look all bets are off. I find it fun to take one photo that includes a variety of colors and shapes and textures like this one and
run it through as many effects of Photoshop as I can find. Sometimes I might end up with a single image and other times I might find it appealing to present the variations as a series as I did on this grouping.

two rob paine motel

The one tool I always exercise the most restraint with though is the sharpening tool. If a photo is over sharpened it can really wreck the image, especially if you are posting it on a Web site or emailing it to someone else. Vignetting is also something that I have seen a lot of people go overboard with.

three rob paine motel

I think the key is no matter if you are taking a less is more approach or breaking the rules, be sure that every change you make to a photo has a purpose for the statement you are trying to make or for the story you are attempting to tell.

paine 4 old motel

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today, Rob

2 responses to “Two Years Ago : Variations on a Motel Sign”

Please feel free to leave a reply. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful feedback, Rob

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