My work is consumed by people with diverse interests in equal numbers of diverse ways.  The overwhelming feedback on my work is one of quiet and calm.  I didn’t set out with a masterplan to achieve this – I have always worked from my heart.

In case you haven’t already read about it – I am well known for stopping speaking – even mid sentence, once my gaze goes into my camera and through my lens.  I never analysed this, it is simple the way I have always worked.  Several years ago my family bought me a smart watch for me birthday.  On looking at my heart rate, I quickly realised that I it slows considerably as soon as I get behind my camera…

I have always loved the quiet that my studio brings, or those moments when I am working with people and the time for composing within the frame arrives and I shut off from the world and find deep concentration in order to get the photograph that is in my minds eye.

Because of this I thought I would share an insight of the various stages of making a photograph that I find calming.  Touch points, if you will.  Meditations, as I now see them.  I share them simply to encourage you to find your little meditations through your photography.  You can be an aspiring photographer or a creative entrepreneur that is taking photographs of your own products.  You can be a digital photographer or one that shoots on film… this may even encourage you to dip your toe into the calm pool that is film photography!

The very act of taking the actual frame – film or digital 

Digital – editing.  Not just processing to get the photographs to a client, but spending time to explore and experiment – call it CPD if you need to.  That is your permission slip to block out a couple of hours in your diary rather than spinning through it between jobs.

I love this time – I will explore both colour and black and white, as a result of this meditation time, I crop differently – in a way that aligns with film rather than the standard off the camera ration that is delivered

Preparing my decorative editions for printing.  Getting the colours right, the presentation and the packaging of the final prints to send out is all quality time for me.  Attention to detail.  My work is always slow, thoughtful, intentional and considered so to hold a final print that is off to it’s new home is special too.

To give you a little insight into the way I work with digital photographs, I use Photoshop mainly to edit as I would in the darkroom – spot removal, cropping, contrast, toning and dodge and burning.  Photoshop named the dodge and burn tools after the darkroom technique.  Here, let me show you how I dodge and burn.  You can do it with a couple of tools in PS, but here is my own way that gives me far greater control…


  1. Create a new layer
  2. Fill with 50% grey
  3. Copy this layer (cmd J on Mac) and name them in the layers palette – one layer dodge and the other burn.
  4. Set blending mode for each layer to soft light
  5. Select default black and white in your colours palette (press D on Mac)
  6. Select your brush tool (B on Mac)
  7. Set the brush opacity to about 18% – no more than 20%
  8. Set your brush to a soft round brush with a size to suit you ( [ or ] to make the brush smaller or larger on Mac)
  9. Gently brush over the area to lighten or darken – make sure you are on the correct dodge or burn layer!

Once you are done, you can get greater control through your layers palette by reducing opacity or even duplicating a layer then altering the second layer. You can get even greater control by having numerous dodge and burn layers to cover small areas of your image – thus controlling all dodging and burning in lots of different places on your photograph.

I’m thinking of making a recipe card for this and popping it in The Still Room for my lovely subscribers… if you are not already signed up and you would like to benefit from things like this and also receive a free copy of my  FREE eBook, The Little Book of Photography: adding that little EXTRA to make your photographs EXTRA ORDINARY – it’s available for immediate download.

You can subscribe here.

Hope all this helps – go play and above all enjoy! 🙂

About Julie Davenport

JULIE DAVENPORT is a Fine Art Lifestyle Photographer, a Creative and generous in sharing tips and hints for Photography, Creativity and a Creative Lifestyle. She has one goal – to inspire and empower creatives and aspiring photographers with heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them to achieve their vision. Known for her signature style painterly touch and love of light and elegant composition, she draws much of her inspiration from Scandinavian painters and the seasonal rhythms of country life in her beloved Cotswold countryside in the UK. After a lifetime spent in photography, her work has now grown into a full time photography and education business - specialising in professional online training and inspiring other creatives, designers, makers and photographers. Through her depth of knowledge of her subject and unwavering passion, she has become THE authority for creative souls looking for heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them through to achieve their vision.