Sometimes the key to award-winning photography is not to shoot with a competition in mind. In the case of this Sunset Print Award winner at the recent Twin Cities Professional Photographers Association competition, this image evolved into an award-winner.

Rod Oman, who owns The Imagery Photography Gallery with his wife, Stephanie, was working at the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing as part of a fundraiser for the organization. Oman was joined by other photographers, makeup artists and models as they created scenes focusing on vintage WWII aircraft.

“We were shooting the exterior of one of the airplanes, and someone suggested we shoot inside the plane. I shot away with the model, Elizabeth Noir, looked at the images in the camera back and thought it might be cool to work up,” recalls Oman. “It was really a simple shot with natural light, but the post-processing is what makes it different.”

Bombshell by Rod Oman
Here’s Oman’s original capture before he applied some magic in post-processing.

Oman used Topaz and Nik Color Efex Pro to add more depth and dimension to the image, as well as to evoke the time period. It certainly caught the judges’ attention at the competition as they were drawn in by the storytelling appeal of the image.

“The tricky part was keeping the detail in the background. I didn’t want to lose anything, like the rivets, because all those details are essential to the story,” says Oman.

Oman adds that the title of the image, Bombshell, contributes to the image as a storytelling period piece, and that he was aiming for something in keeping with the period that was eye-catching without being overly provocative.

Rod Oman, who owns The Imagery with his wife, Stephanie, in Burnsville, Minn., has been the Twin Cities PPA’s Photographer of the Year for several years running. In addition to the studio’s high-school senior, families and children portrait photography, Oman also volunteers his services to local animal shelters and the Boy Scouts.