Image Architect: II

Hello! David Talley here... Welcome to my new photoshop and image creation series, "Image Architect," episode... 2!

(Don't forget to read to the bottom to learn how you can win a FREE large print!)

This entire blog series came from the desire to expand upon the 3 secrets to perfect Photoshop videos on my training website. It's such a huge pleasure for me to encourage other artists around the world - something I got to do in full when I taught in 6 countries over 3 months last Autumn. 

I want to capture for my audience an inside look at why and how I create my images to encourage YOU to go out and do the same. I think as a photographer and a teacher, it's important to share what you learn with others and help then as much as you can. Here's to hoping this blog series will help you create better, faster, and more beautifully than ever before. 

Without further ado, let's get right in to what "Image Architect" is all about... Centered around a single image, I.A. is comprised of 4 things (for now...): 

1) The image pre-sketch and notes
2) The mood or emotion I wanted to convey
3) The "Big Tweak" - basically, the main edit I made in Photoshop that had the biggest overall effect on the image
4) A before/ after of the edit of the image

And that's it! For this week's Image Architect, we're going to look at a brand new piece I created this week, titled "Can the Blind See?"

"Can the Blind See?" (2016)

"Can the Blind See?" (2016)


I sat down this week with an intense desire to create imagery. With conflict in my own life challenging whether or not I can see the ridiculous amount of blessing in my life, and the pain surrounding the Orland massacre this week, I was inclined to create an image centric to the metaphorical view of the blind and the ones who can see. 

I won't get in to anything more than this: we as a culture and people and human collective are often, if not always blind to what is around us - whether good or bad - we just don't see it as a reflection of our own selfishness. With time, I hope to see this change, and my work is one step towards finding this resolution. 

I wanted to create a centered photo to draw attention to the self made "purity" of the subject, but at the same time, I chose a nearly irritating color palette the would juxtapose effectively against the white. My color notes and sketch looked like this for the image:



Alright, let's tackle the mood and emotion I talked about up above. This image is meant to convey a sense of freedom and sight amongst chaos and disorder. The dark storm clouds helped me show how difficult the main character's internal feelings were towards the idea of injustice and blindness, and the pose of the arms and the removed blindfold show resolution in the newly found awareness, something I constantly try to capture in my work. 

I edited this image with an "outdoorsy" color mood edit, something I talk about in the 3rd video in my "3 secrets to perfect photoshop" videos. If you want to understand my color editing process better, visit to see how I approach this aspect of editing. 


The "Big Tweak"... I think this is possibly my favorite section in the Image Architect series. We're going to talk about the SINGLE edit that made all the difference for this image in post-processing. 

Right now I'm in the process of writing and shooting my first photo book, "Wide Open Spaces." Part of the book deals with the concept of scale and how large and vast the world is. I wanted to show that in this photo. Unfortunately, I own just a single lens - a trusty tank of a Sigma 50mm f/1.4. 

Now, this lens is not a wide-angle lens by any standard... but that's what I shot this image on. To achieve my desired effect of scale for this photo, so that I could correctly communicate the concept, I employed "Image Expansion," a technique that uses multiple images like a panorama to stitch together a wider-scale photo. 

I used this concept, just as you see below to expand my frame and image from the size of just one photo to the size of about 8, enlarging the frame and giving it an incredible sense of scale and depth. 



And.... that's the Image Architect for "Can the Blind See?" I made sure that I looked at ALL the details possible and then edited the photo according to my pre-shoot sketch and notes. If you want to learn more about some of the techniques I used to create this image how you see it above, you can watch my "3 Secrets to Perfect Photoshop" videos here.


SO... To win a totally free GIANT print, I'm asking my community to tell me their favorite photo spots in the American West. All you have to do is visit the blog post for "Image Architect: II" (the post for the image above), and in the comments, link me to you favorite photo spot/ dream photo spot in the Western USA. 

Kiara (my fiancée) and I are doing a 2 week road trip in the region and leaving in 2 weeks to start it. If your location is chosen to create a photo at, we'll send you a GIANT free print of what we create. 

So get at it and CAST YOUR VOTE BELOW!

I'm on a mission to show that the light will always pierce through the darkness.