Creating Art For Your Clients

I’d like to think that I’ve always thought of photography as an art form. The funny thing is that when I went to art school, I didn’t have any interest in photography and didn’t even take a single photography class. Kind of wish I did. Instead, I studied Visual Arts – lots of painting, drawing and sketching. I discovered photography while on my Honeymoon in Costa Rica. I now appreciate it more than ever, and having been doing photography professionally since 2009; I most certainly consider it art.

I had an opportunity this year do two sessions in a couple of local art galleries – one was an engagement and the other a wedding. It was so cool to blend fine art and wedding photography together. With these images, I wanted to create something a tiny bit different than my “norm” and implement the “art” factor. I was inspired by the textures of the paints and brush strokes and wanted to implement some of that look into the final print edits for my clients.


I would describe my work as having lots of contrast, being contemporary and punchy! I love using off-camera flash and modifiers like the MagMod system. I love the hard light, and being able to control it. The foundation of each of these photo is the same. I slightly underexpose the ambient, and then use an off-camera flash to illuminate the subject. I love using the MagGrid to control the light spill. It lets me highlight only the parts I want to feature. MagGels also play a significant role in my day-to-day photography. Complementing ambient light or contrasting it are great ways to use gels. I think it all comes down to practice. Once you practice enough, you’ll be able to walk into a room and say “yup, looks like you’re gonna need a MagGel 1/2 CTO here”.


For these images I added a slight touch of texture to the photos. This style of editing is something I occasionally do when I know the image will be printed for my client. It’s a bit different from my typical style, but as artists, it’s good for us to experiment, create and play. My workflow is simple and efficient. I first import RAW files into Lightroom. I use Photo Mechanic to cull and color code the keepers. The color codes transfer over to Lightroom automatically and from there I make global adjustments to all the photos. Once finished editing the images in Lightroom I take the photos over into Photoshop where they get an extra level of retouching. I have a collection of textures saved on my hard drive and scroll through them to see what will complement the photo best. I apply the texture, play with different blend modes and opacities and erase away what I don’t want…creating what you see here.


Often these particular edits will get printed as 24″ x 36″ art prints on acrylic or metal for my clients to hang in their homes.I firmly believe that photos should be printed. Over the last ten years, we have lost that tangibility of things. I love my iPad and MacBook, but photos deserve to be on paper. Digital media changes so quickly, and so to make the point to my clients I keep a floppy disk in my bag and pull it out during consultations and say “this is where photos go to die” – I think it makes a solid point. All my collections include a wedding album, even the smallest collection. I want all my clients to have a beautiful album and artwork on their walls, not just digital files living and eventually dying in the “cloud”

I think as artists we should take that extra bit of effort to create awesome art pieces for our client’s walls. Give it a shot, see if you like it. It all starts off with a solid foundation – cool composition, great light, and a bit of imagination.

“If I feel comfortable with what I’m doing, something is wrong” – David Bowie

To see more of Raph Nogal’s work visit, follow him on or find him on Instagram at

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