May: Artist Spotlight - Samantha Deakin

The artist that immediately sprung to mind for the colour theory spotlight this month was the lovely Samantha Deakin. Read on to learn about her journey into photography (I'm privileged to be one of the friends she's met along the way - and actually in real life not just virtually!), how she finds her inspiration and the top tips she has for us about incorporating colour theory into our work.


Abi xx



Tell us about your photography journey...


For as long as I can remember, I've always felt that the analytical and creative parts of my brain were at loggerheads! At school, I was very academic - loved maths and science, but I've always needed an outlet for my creative side. I lived for my art and food technology lessons each week. I found them relaxing and a way of releasing tension. This has remained with me and now I work as an Optometrist in the same small mining village where i grew up. I love my job and being part of the community but NEED more! I've always had something 'extra' going on, whether it be paper crafts like card making and scrap booking or things like cake decorating and needlework.



Photography became the latest of these missions in August 2020 when i purchased my first DSLR (a second hand Nikon D3200). I did a few (OK loads) of online courses and I was HOOKED!

Photography allows me to build in ALL the creative skills I've learned over the years and document them in one place. I can use the skills I've learned to make props and sets for my shoots or my baking skills to produce yummy treats to showcase. It has an added bonus though and why I know it's not just a 'passing fad'- not only are my children involved in a big way (I am constantly thinking up new and exciting 'adventures' to document), but I have also been drawn into the community that exists amongst photographers and 'met' some amazing friends along the way!



Tell us a bit about your style...


I would class my style as 'dark and moody lifestyle photography with a creative twist'. I love building 'sets' and adding little details then shooting from every angle to create a collage of images for our photo books. I love to use light in my work. My absolute favourite thing is creating a beautiful photograph in a less than desirable setting through creative styling and post processing.



What gear do you use?


In my 'ever-expanding' camera bag is my Nikon D750 DSLR. For a long time I only had two lenses - my Nikon 85mm Prime f1.8 for outdoors and my Nikon 28mm Prime f1.8 for indoors. Recently I have added a nifty 50 that I like to use for freelensing and also a SOL45 lens baby that I am yet to unbox!! I would love to upgrade to a mirrorless this year and have my eye on a Nikon Z6ii (maybe a letter to Santa is required!)



What's your go to lens and why?


I'm a firm believer in the best lens being the one that's on the camera at the time. I will always plan out what gear (and props and light and clothing and and - I guess you may call me a control freak!) I need for a particular outing - then I will stick to that lens. With 4 kids, I don't have time to 'swap on the go', I also use a camera bag insert in my baby changing bag so since my camera sits alongside stray raisins and nappy cream, space is at a premium too!



Who and what inspires you?


I am inspired by my children and nature. My kids are little wildlings at heart - loveable and totally feral! They love nothing more than a trip to the woods, eating "duck bread" and collecting treasures to bring home for our nature table. I love capturing their raw emotions (tantrums and all)! So whilst I do set up the shot and consider the lighting and the scene, I like to then let the DRAMA unfold in front of me whilst I shoot in every possible angle like some sort of contortionist, amidst my husband's hisses of "GET....UP....SAMANTHA"!! The amount of clothing I have ruined from crawling on the floor is unreal and i've lately considered investing in knee pads and a boiler suit!



What tips do you have for shooting colour theory?


I'm always looking for that 'extra something' to add to my images; whether it be through composition, artistic light or creative techniques. For these things though, you tend to be at the mercy of your environment. For me, colour theory is a way of adding that extra dimension to my images that i CAN be in control of. My top tips are:

* LEARN your colour wheel by HEART - know your analogous from your complementary and your triads from memory, it will soon be second nature and you will begin to use colour theory without even thinkin



* Plan in advance - think about the gaps in your child's wardrobe and what colour to select for their next pair of wellies. Think about the environment that you will be using as your backdrop. For example if you are going to the woods when it's likely to be full of green, consider choosing a red outfit as it's opposite green on the colour wheel and therefore complementary.



* Consider the mood you want to invoke - colour choice will play a massive part in how we FEEL about an image



* Fake it in post processing - I love to add POP to my images by changing colours in Photoshop. If you would like to see a short tutorial i will post the drop box link to a little step by step video below:


http://www.dropbox.com/s/hne5vidopb57has/Wellies.mp4?dl=0


What colour theory image are you most proud of and/or love the most and why?


This image is probably my most successful example of colour theory. It was the most I had ever changed an image in post processing and really hit home to me the massive effect of this on the success of an image.





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