Autumn Stories

Interview / Tutorial author Svetlana Melik-Nubarova
by Editor Despird Zhang
Published the 17th of September 2021


'New friend'

In my opinion, any creative ideas are born from cultural luggage - piggy banks of images. My money box I fill the best examples of painting and cinema.

Images settle somewhere in the unconscious brain. Then they mix in a strange way and arise in the imagination in a completely new form.
It is this image that becomes the inspiration for creativity.

The source of inspiration is also the models themselves.
In my case, these are children whom I know well, who are interested in me by their faces, characters, ability to convey emotions. Gradually, the idea begins to become more concrete. So, the place of shooting is the autumn park. Mood - Golden autumn. Models are three wonderful girls, each of which has a unique character. The theme of the photo session is a lyrical autumn mood, a readiness for the meeting of the new Spring. Thus, the image of the photo session was born 'Autumn stories'.

Before each photo shoot, especially the one that takes place behind the door, it is important to choose the location of the shooting and take photos of the prospective photo locations. This not only activates the imagination, but also helps in developing the image and especially the costume, since it is very important that the costumed image of the model fits seamlessly in the environment. Especially it concerns the general colour decision of a picture of a photo.

Sometimes, looking at the future location of a photo shoot, you can find something that is useful in the work. So, I had the idea of a birdhouse.


'About Hope'

I have three girls in the photo, and I need to combine them by the colour and shape of the clothes. Therefore, I decided that all three girls will be dressed in draped coats of a similar style, black pantihose and shoes. But if you perceive a coat as colour spots, they combine with each other - gray, scarlet and a cage gray with pink and red. The red hair of one of the girls echoes with the red leaves of the trees.

I think that sketches in the form of drawings, drafts or in any other form help in the visualization of the picture.

For the model, especially if it's children it's important to put a clear task. I came up with short stories that will help the girls understand what to do in front of the camera.

At the very beginning of the photo session, I told the girls about their task - about the mood they need to convey in the image, about the emotions that the viewer must see in their eyes. I said - we are seeing off the autumn, winter will come soon, and it makes us a little sad. But we know that the winter will end and then Spring will come again.

So, in life, all the sad things come to an end and warm and bright days come. I very often include in my work elements of phototherapy, especially in working with children.

We used natural light. To the desire to work with non-professional models must adjust to their schedule. My girls, or rather their parents, had only morning freedom. The sun was bright. And we used a reflector to soften the bright light.

In working with models, especially children, it is very important to establish good contact with them. Children rarely like to be photographed. Moms like to photograph their children. Therefore, I always try to motivate children in the process of photography. I constantly repeat how beautiful they are, how well they convey emotions, etc.

Now we are playing with the girls the story that we believe that Spring will come and prepare for her meeting. As attributes we use a birdhouse and wind vane.

Often during the photo session, moments of improvisation arise. So, we thought of throwing dry leaves. This is a fairly common effect, but my young models have received great pleasure from this game.


And then all three girls are already on the trip. They have with them a magic lamp and a magic leaf that will be useful to them in their adventure. Again, it is important to see each model and tell each of them the right posture and mood.

The final story of the photo session was the story of three faithful friends. They can not live without each other. I wove them together with their hair and it became a metaphor for their strong connection. We talked about loyalty and responsibility in friendship. The importance of support. Since the girls are actually friends, this topic was very close to them.

So, this is how the 'Autumn Stories' started ;-)





Correction In Camera RAW

-          Colour temperature

-          Vibration and saturation

-          Exposures

Compositional construction of the future picture.

-          Choose correct colour workspace

-          Correct/Adjust composition. Use Stamp Tool to extend canvas if not big enough

-          Figure and background, reduce the effect of background and make the subject matter

Elements of Collage (dog, leaves, etc)

-          Create a composite by introducing additional elements

-          Make the elements toning match with the main picture

Creating a depth of field in collage.

-          Create a Radial Blur to blur the background

-          Using liquefy filter to reshape subject matter and secondary elements

-          Skin refinement, removing spots

Creating an atmosphere.

-          Spot defects and remove them

-          Using linear gradient tool to reshape the lighting disposition

-          Desaturate background if it is too high

-          Darken the background if it is too bright

Final touch

-          Final colour corrections

-          Filters and plug ins (Topaz or Nic)

-          Overlays – oil painting background, etc

-          Grains

My name is Svetlana. I'm a musician, psychologist and photographer. In addition, I really love painting. I have been doing photography relatively recently - about 10 years. In photography, I especially like the portrait genre and especially the portrait of a child. As a psychologist, I also work with children a lot and therefore I am interested in children's feelings, experiences, children's emotions. I really like to take pictures of children because they are very sincere and spontaneous. As I said, I love and know the painting well. Therefore, I strive to bring my portraits closer to painting. Especially I like painting masters of the Middle Ages - Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Vermeer, etc. This list is long enough. I am very pleased when my work finds a response when they like. Many thanks to everyone who supports me in my creative search.

If you would like to have a discussion with me regarding more about my artistic perspectives or post-processing techniques, you can reach me at
[email protected]
or simply throw a PM in the 1X site.



Congratulations for your stunning works!
She's got the Black

by Petko Petkov
Published the 16th of September 2021

I wanted to create something provocative, different and unusual. The image had to be simple but memorable. This is how I got the idea to paint my girlfriend's skin black.

Nikon D90  .  Nikkor 80-200mmf/2.8  .  f/11

I created my work for the KOSHMART exhibition, featuring young digital artists. It was staged by the advertising agency I work for as a graphic designer. You might think that as a member of a team I had more time to prepare my work, but it wasn't like that. I was busy with other projects and I didn't have much time for this one at all. My girlfriend  is the one person who always understands exactly what my idea is and what I am trying to accomplish. This is why I used her as a model for this particular work.

I called my friend, a makeup artist, to help me out. Armed with black and red carnival paint, we went to the studio. The makeup artist painted my girlfriend's skin. I wanted everything to be perfectly and completely covered, so we decided to even paint her hair. The paint is absolutely safe and easy to remove. Some areas of black paint were wiped away using cotton. This was done because I wanted these areas to be painted red, and the red had to be as bright as possible.

"I instructed my model to bow her head, and then suddenly look up as if she was thinking about something, but got distracted."

My idea was to make a low key photo, so I chose a black background as well. The lighting was very simple. I put two 36—24" (90—60 cm) softboxes directly in front of the model and slightly overhead. I wanted to achieve a natural look and maximum symmetry. I instructed my model to bow her head, and then suddenly look up as if she was thinking about something, but got distracted. The session was easy for both of us. It didn't take much time, and I was very pleased with the results.

The name of the photo came up spontaneously. Someone asked me about the image, but I didn't have a name for it at that point. So I just said the first thing that popped into my head. I think I got it right. To be honest, I didn't expect to do so much or to make something so memorable in such a rush. I am very pleased, not only with the results, but also with the way my work was appreciated.

Adobe Camera Raw was used to export the image to Photoshop where all of the post-processing adjustments were made. To smooth the skin, the Topaz Clean 3 plugin was applied.

I considered post-processing would be the easiest part for me, but I came across a problem that I didn't expect. The paint made my girlfriend's skin appear unusually rough, as if I could see every pore on her face.

1) First, I converted the file from RAW format to a 16-bit TIFF file with an embedded Adobe RGB color profile.

2) Then I tried to make the skin look smoother, but it wasn't turning out the way I wanted it. At one point, I even thought that I would not be able to achieve what I had in mind and all my effort would have been in vain. Then I tried the Topaz Clean 3 plugin, using the DeGrunge preset, and the result was stunning. The image began to look like the one I had imagined: the face looked nice and soft.

3) Another concern for me was that the black paint made some color highlights look unattractive. I made a new Hue/Saturation layer, added a Layer Mask to it and decreased Saturation to 100 except for the red line, which I had masked and excluded from desaturation.

1) Choose the paint very carefully and always read the instructions. The paint I used is especially made for skin.

2) Be very careful with the eye area in particular. Make sure you have fresh water at hand in case you need to flush the eyes quickly.

3) Work with a patient model if possible, painting the head is time consuming and not very pleasant!

I live in Bulgaria and I've been working as a graphic designer and a photographer for six years. I try to make photos that will remain in peoples' minds. I believe that in photography, quantity has nothing to do with quality, and every photograph speaks for itself. So I try to give my best to each and every one of my photographs, hoping they will be appreciated for what they are.

Check out my homepage:
Great article and some great tips, thanks very much and congratulations on such a fabulous image Petko
Results Contest : Humour

by Head Editor Yvette Depaepe 
Published the 15th of September 2021

Using photography to capture humour can be tricky. Some moments are here and then gone in an instant and a quick shutter finger is needed. Other times it can be a concept you have thought of for a while and finally want to express in the digital realm.
Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so goes our idea about humour.
A fine topic which made us all smile without any words.

The winners with the most votes are:

1st place: Fernando Alves 
2nd place: Anna Cseresnjes
3rd place: Claudio Moretti 

Congratulations to the winners and honourable mentions and thanks for the big smile to all the participants in the contest 'Humour'.


'Squares' is the currently running contest theme.
Why are we obsessed by squares?  Why must everything have corners and neat, clean angles?  Our houses are square, our appliances are square, our furniture is square, our TVs are square, even our pillows are square. But the earth is round and our heads are round, yet we live in a world built on squares. What is it in the human brain that finds squares to be so pleasing?

 This contest will end at midnight on Sunday the 26th of September 2021.

The sooner you upload your submission the more chance you have to gather the most votes.
If you haven't uploaded your photo yet, click here.  

Good luck to all the participants.


1st place: by Fernando Alves 



2nd place : by Anna Cseresnjes  



3rd place: by Claudio Moretti





by Bruno Anselmi 



by Uschi Hermann



by Udo Dittmann 



by Enrique Izquierdo 



by MJoão Ferreira



by Chris Hamilton 



by Nicolae Stefanel Rusu 



Thank you very much, dear Yvette, for your editorial work and congratulations to all the colleagues who participated in the theme.
The pictures made my day! Concrats to all artists!
Mine too, Christine !!! We all can need some humour. A smile a day keeps the doctor away ;-)
Congratulations to the winners and honourable mentions and thanks for the smile !!!
Thank you very much, dear Yvette and congratulations to all partipicients
My pleasure, Udo !
HANDS in Photography

by Editor Lourens Durand
Published the 13th of September 2021 

Hands are important subjects in portrait photography.

Depending on how they are approached they could either make or break a photo.


'Sorana' by Mihai Bogdan R

In portrait and glamour photography, it is considered prudent not to have the model clenching his or her fist or to display hands that resemble claws.  Showing the back of hands or even the palms make the hands look bigger, so it is best to emphasize the narrower side of the hands for the most part. Hands that are too close to the camera run the risk of distorting perspective and gross foreshortening of the model.

In this type of photography, hands need to be doing something to prevent them looking clumsy and out of place. Common ways for models to overcome clumsy, rigid-looking hands include:

* Playing with the hair
* Touching the face softly
* Hanging arms naturally downwards
* Playing with cuffs or sleeves
* Hands on hip to create a triangle with the body
* Holding a jacket over one shoulder
* Playing a musical instrument
* Playing with props

Whatever the case, the hands must appear to be natural, not forced. At the same time, the hands should reflect the mood of the photo.

Advice often given for portraiture or glamour shots is that the model try moving slowly, softly and smoothly between shots, almost dancing, using the hands to emulate those of ballet dancers.

On the flip side, hands can be posed to accentuate drama: a rigid hand with the index finger extended can suggest power and leadership, whilst a curled, soft hand could indicate frailty.

The way that hands are posed and photographed can support the portrayal of age, hard work, artistry and music, despair, or welcoming new life.

Here is a selection of works from 1X photographers illustrating some of the many approaches to the placement and portrayal of hands.

Lourens Durand


'Anne' by Carine Belzon






'Il sogno' by Roberta Nozza



'White room story llc' by ATodea



'a walk' by Olga Mest



'negin' by Mehdi Mokhtari



'Painter' by Peter Davidson



'They say it's the Sousaphone players you have to look out for...' by Kirk Cypel



'Slinging dreadlocks' by Gerard Jonkman



'Anna' by Antonio Girlando



'On Pointe' by Darlene Hewson



'Dreams on My Window' by Kaan Altindal



'More music please' by Marco Antonio Cobo



'Mrs Flat's Predicament' by Koen Pieters



The perfectionist' by Mandru Cantemir



'hands & eyes' by Aldo Cicelyn



'Worries' by Adrian Popan



'Hands' by Mohammadreza Momeni



'Purpose' by mea



'Prayers' by Piet Flour



'the little girl and herself' by Piet Flour



'hands' by Nikolay Dinov



'Tender' by Prateek Dubey



'Sweet yawn' by Mike Kremer



'Anima mundi' by adalena



'Love' by Martin Krystynek

Fine presentation with some great examples. Though missing hands touches of strangers.
Fine presentation with some great examples.
Dasha and Mari - Mastering the psychological portrait

by Editor Marius Cinteză
Published by  Head Editor  Yvette Depaepe, the  10th of September 2021

A good photograph is like a rich bouquet of flavors… it makes you wish to return to inhale that smell again, to enjoy it once more!” – Dasha and Mari

Dasha and Mari are twin sisters photographers from Kiev, Ukraine, exceling in fashion, psychological portrait and artistic nude domains. Their unique style is remarkable through the cinematic representation of the feminine grace, thus creating their sophisticated visual stories where fashion and art imbricate sensually.

Dasha and Mari were finalists of the Hasselblad Masters Awards in 2014, fashion nominees of the Photography Masters Cup 2014 and shortlisted photographers in the Fashion Category of the Sony World Photography Awards 2012 (London UK).

Please join me in discovering more about Dasha and Mari and their stylish works in the interview below!


'Before the show'


Dasha and Mari, thank you so much for accepting the invitation for this interview! To start, I would kindly ask you to tell us shortly about yourself and when and how did you start your photographic journey?Frankly speaking, our way to Photography wasn’t something spontaneous, as we used to put alluringly sensual ink lines on a paper revealing silhouettes of woman’s beauty since our childhood. Everything we did and create now – our personal perception of life and our vision to a woman in particular. Inspiration comes from imagination. An artist may see much more with the eyes shut…


'Hotel Noir. Bath' 


For many of us photography is either a hobby or a way of life. How would you define your relationship with photography?
It is an expression of ourselves, our inner world, the way of our thinking, our perception of beauty and character in personality. It is our life!




What would be the most important experience so far that has influenced your steps in photography?
Telling you the truth, life is full of different situations which influence you. As artists we have a fragile internal world, we absorb reality with all its sharp angles and transmit our feelings in the art that we create.




Your works are awarded and admired in exhibitions and top publications worldwide. What do you think is the secret of your success?
Yes, it is true! The secret is inside us… two of us. Our style, our imagination and ability to express what we feel in the form of art. 




Fashion photography is a prominent area of your interest. Where do you find inspiration for your fashion shootings?
A good photograph is like a rich bouquet of flavors… it makes you wish to return to inhale that smell again, to enjoy it once more. We can be inspired by not traditional beauty, meaning the beauty not typical for common taste. For example, it can be a rare exotic plant, an unusual place or atmosphere, as well as vintage clothes or a good film. We admire haute couture designs; it requires hours of hand work and creative thinking. 


'The cat'


You work with models and they are an important part of the story you want to convey. Building a trust relationship with them is paramount. How do you choose your models and what would be your most important advice in this regard?
Models and other personalities that we work with are heroes of our cinematic photography stories. Of course, a trustful relationship is a must. We communicate with our participants and express the energy they all feel it and perform the way we need for our creations. 




The success of model shooting sessions depends heavily on the model skills, on one hand, but also on your “stage director” skills, on the other hand. How do you communicate with the models, to make them fit in your story and to get most of the mood from their performance in front of the camera?
In our case art direction plays a premier role for setting the scene we want. We use to control the process from the beginning till the final result.


'Hotel Noir. Smoke'


How do you split your tasks and responsibilities during photo shootings? How do you manage to collaborate effectively together?
It is a natural way of cooperation for us. We are twin sisters and understand each other without words. We work as a team. We both care for art direction, photography, styling and post-production. Originality and quality are essential in our work.


'Royal Tea. The kiss'


Your fashion photography is remarkably different, beyond the classic boundaries, perfectly combining old and new elements to create surreal, cinematic-like frames! Why are you so drawn by this photography type?
It is true. Our photography is original and storytelling. It contains a dose of cinematic context. We express ourselves the way we feel, through our creative vision.


'Leisure Class'


What is your most important advice for the beginners that would like to follow your way? What would be the required qualities of a successful fashion photographer?
Each person has his own creative journey. It is unrepeatable. It is important to listen to yourself and your internal voice, if you have something to say or express, to show to this world. It is not about reading art books or studying in the academy of arts (by the way, we graduated from two universities of art). But our style in photography formed beyond university walls. Among the important qualities for the fashion photographer, we can mention a sparkle of creativity, self-organization and ability to notice necessary details and convert them into unique creations.


'Hotel Noir'


Many are of the opinion that the gear is not very important when the passion for photography is strong. However, can you please share with us what gear you use (camera, lenses, lighting)?
As artists we prefer medium format film cameras such as Hasselblad, Pentax 67. Among digital cameras we like the Nikon brand.


'High Class'


“Psychological portrait” is also one of your domains of expertise. Can you please explain this concept in photography?
We like to work with people, not only models. Psychological Portrait is the way to depict a human soul, character, particular features, identity, individuality and a certain inner world through our vision, feel of aesthetics and this world.




What would be the challenges in creating your outstanding art nude works? How do you manage to remain creative but tasteful?
We create in the way we feel… that is the answer.


'French Kiss' 


Can you please tell us something about your workflow? How much effort do you put in the post-processing stage of your photography?
It depends on the project. If it is an art project the post-production may take longer as there is no time limit like in commercial ones. As a rule, we work on several projects at the same time.


'Philosophy of Sin'


Who are your favorite photographers or mentors whose works have influenced you and your photography?
Frankly speaking we haven’t mentors. As artists, we used to draw in our childhood, then we started to create still images with black and white film. Oftentimes we depicted our invented stories, playing with light and shadow. Among the masters of photography we appreciate works of Norman Parkinson, Bruce Weber, Horst P. Horst, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts and some others. 


'Leisure Class'


The photographers usually have their own favorite piece of work. Can you please shortly present your favorite photo, the story behind it and explain why it is special to you?
We have many good photographs and it is difficult to highlight our favorite one. But we will name a few. For example, the black and white image with two ladies wearing hats, a portrait from the series ‘Leisure Class’. It is a timeless classic image that represents elegance, class and style. The afternoon on that day of shoot was really hot and the way to location – long and sandy. We used tight retro style outfits in leather for our models and set the scene in front of the water. The atmosphere of the image submerges the spectator into a deep reflective mood…


'Leisure Class'

Another work among our favorites is a lady in a fountain with a teapot in her hands – ‘Secret Garden’. Sensual bodylines of a woman in a contrast morning light, also a black and white image. It was late March and the snow was still around. Cold air and dazzling light. As we used to work on open-air locations most of the time, there are always some passers-by or just curious people. Despite all these, the model conveyed necessary expression and emotion under our direction of the scene.


'Secret Garden'

To keep the balance, we will mention the third photograph – ‘Royal Tea’. A portrait of a woman in a black tight-fitting dress with retro hairdo in the style of the 40s. Her intense gaze invites the viewer to puzzle out the story… and follow her.


'Royal Tea'


Dasha and Mari, since we have almost reached the end of this interview, I would kindly ask you to share with us your plans or future photographic projects you would like to be involved in.
Well, our future plans are about some interesting commercial projects in Europe, as well as art projects for upcoming exhibitions such as Photo London 2021 and other grand art fairs. Currently we prepare some of our art prints in limited edition for art collectors and art galleries. Additionally, we plan to publish our book with selected photography works, which will cover 12 years of creation in art photography.


'The Game 2'



'Royal Tea.  Sweets'



'Taste of summer'



'Pink Tennis'



'Mon Amour'



'My Love'



'Summer opium'






'Cinema.  Earring'



'Blue butterfly'






'Vice city'





Wonderful styling and moods. Bravo
Next level photography! Thanks for sharing your sublime work!
Thank you for appreciation. We always put special ingredients into every creation..
Wonderful inspirational work
Thank you for compliments, Colin!
beautiful images! Great article!
A book of feelings... senses... stories. Thank you
Many thanks, Marcel!!
Excellent work, great article!!
Thank you, Raceala
Multumesc mult, Elena!! :-)
Amazing images and wonderful article
Dreamy diary of life... and fantasy. Thank you
Thank you, Kieran!!
Wonderful work and great article! Well done!
Our pleasure to share our thoughts and creative vision.. Thank you
Thank you so much, Marius!! ;-)
I watched with admiration..
We appreciate it
LASCIVIOUS + OBSERVED | Impressive work, outstanding photography!
Fresh notes of Art.. we breathe with it. Thank you!
Terrific images and creative mood. I’m proud of following you. Thank you very much
Thank you Federico!
Wonderful work, full of soul, Dasha and Mari! I'm a big fan, dear friends. Thank you so much for your fine collaboration and for sharing your excellent images on 1x. My very best compliments and cheers to you... Yvette
Thank you so much for your words and appreciation of our art photography work, dear Yvette. We bring light from our souls to paint the world with beauty.