Saturday, March 12, 2011

the outtakes -- shooting portraits

A few of my few readers asked about taking better portraits of their kids.  Here's a little more of the process for the low key portraits I posted in my previous post.

I shot these while we were in California for vacation, specifically in a hotel room in Marina del Ray.  I took some 1,100 photos that week and the ones in the previous post are my favs, and not all of those are even CA week, so, it helps to take a lot of photos.  However, I have gotten much better at considering the shot before pressing that shutter. I know it's digital, but still who wants to pan all those and search for the gold?

For the images of the boys in dark shadows, I was looking for that perfect window light.  The dark brown wall in the background and the strong window light worked for that chiaroscuro look I love.  Seeing the beautiful light is the cliche, and the truth for getting the best pictures.  I moved the chair, moved the fish statue in the background and closed the sheer curtain on the window.  Then, I asked the boys (or rather begged them) to please, please sit in the chair so I could take their pictures for my class.  They are rather used to this, and are not always willing, but often will give me a minute. Other times it requires a payment (cash, candy or screen time).  Because I shoot them all the time, they have stopped giving me that tight kids smile I so often get when I shoot their friends.  In December, I was shooting my friend's kids and from off camera, she kept telling them to SMILE! turning their sweet expressions into tight grimaces. 
As you can see, they were really dark as shot.  I did all of my editing in Lightroom 3.  I had to lighten things and adjust the color to tone down the reds.

Alex's orange shirt cast a bright orange glow on his face. Needless to say, my kids aren't big on the hair and wardrobe portion of the shoot.  Usually, I just get what's already there, though I do try to make sure they're faces are clean.  And sometimes, I miss that too.
I sometimes have trouble with the focus.  I really have to watch that.

Here are two that I liked best, and that I worked on:

You can see how the post processing part is just as important as the in-camera part.  I also tweaked them again during the printing process to get the colors right.

I shot Jack too, though he would only sit for about 10 seconds.  You can tell he's so annoyed.

I won't punish you with more of those outtakes, though that last one makes me smile.  Anyway, for that set up, I got it with relatively few outtakes, but often there are many more.  I'm taking a continuing ed class and our photo teacher says if you get one picture for a roll of 36, you're doing fine.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just for the record

Hullo?  Anybody home?

I have fallen off the face of blogger Earth.  No reason.  I just dropped the ball there for a while, and didn't feel the least bit guilty about it.  I over-volunteered this month and last and was having a bit of a scramble.  Still not out of the weeds, but there's hope.  Always hope.

Well, even if I'm the only one who sees them, I'm posting some of the pictures from my digital 2 photography class.  This class has kicked my butt a bit -- again, wishing I had more time for it -- but it's so good to be pushed out of that comfort zone once in a while.

Our first project was portraits.  I started out with the idea of shooting my identical twins to capture what makes looking at twins so intriguing.  I see them so much as individuals that it surprises me when people say they can't tell them apart or refer to them as "the twins."  Somehow, I thought maybe I would play up the similarities though, since the similarities make them special too (and they enjoy it).  But in the end, I just see them as I see them --  as individuals.  And, I think, that's how these portraits turned out.