Photoshoot For Wyatt (8) and Brenna (6), and My Thoughts On Editing
A couple of weeks ago, I dragged my semi-unwilling March babies to the park for their birthday photoshoots. I try to have good pictures of them every year around their birthdays whether they like it or not. And let's be honest. We were in a park. There were loooots of things the kids would rather do than have their photos made...like chasing ducks, or climbing on the playground equipment, or rolling down hills in the grass (though some of all of that did happen).
They're great kids though, and we got some good photos of them.
I love the haze and natural, happy expression on Wyatt's face in this one:
And Brenna loved that I let her include her favorite stuffed animal, Spot:
My favorite part of the whole evening was when I asked Wyatt what his ideas on posing were, and he leaned against this tree and said, "Now THIS is going to be a classy picture":
Brenna had some ideas about how to pose too. She saw these little bridges throughout the park and said, "I know EXACTLY what to do!":
Kids really do have some good ideas for photos when you let them be involved, and listen to them, and are usually so much more willing to participate when they have a part in how their images turn out.
The best times for outdoor photos are about an hour after sunrise, or an hour before sunset. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time (my autocorrect changed that to Savage Time and I almost left it) that meant we needed to be in position right around the time the kids usually have supper.
Note: Hungry kids do NOT make good photo subjects. Even cute, hungry kids.
Being the genius I am, I took the kids for tacos right before their photos...
...which brings me to my thoughts on editing. Editing out guacamole, for example. Now, how a mother with some photography experience missed the fact that Wyatt had guacamole all over his face and jeans (and later, lots of grass and some sticks) is still beyond me, but when we got home and I got some of these photos on the computer, it was pretty obvious.
I don't like over-editing, but the guacamole needed to go. Also, because I shot a lot of these backlit, some of the skin tones were muddier and darker than I liked, so I wanted to change that.
When I first started learning more about photography, I will admit that I thought that using Photoshop was "cheating." A good photographer ought to be able to get good photos right out of the camera, right? To some extent I still think that is true. I like to get composition as close to perfect as possible in-camera, and exposure ought to be right-on as well, with a few exceptions. But, the more I learn, the more I understand that even the fanciest, most expensive, pro-level digital camera just is not yet capable of reproducing the range of colors that old film cameras can. Enter Photoshop!
Here is an example of one of Wyatt's photos, before and after editing.
I liked the pose, and the expression on his face. I did *not* like the guacamole on his fingers and face, or the way the backlighting made his skin tone appear uneven and darker than natural. He also had a pen mark at the top of his nose, between his eyes, that was distracting to me.
So, I used an adjustment brush to increase the exposure just on his skin. I removed the pen mark and guacamole with the Healing Brush, and cropped a very little. I ran a Greater Than Gatsby action from their Innocence Collection (Savoy Film Color Base) just to make the colors pop. I also lightened the dark circles under his eyes...that was questionable to me, actually, because I want him to look like HIM, but he'd had a cold and wasn't sleeping as well as usual, so I removed some of that evidence.
I also ran Portraiture at a very, very low opacity...like, 4%. That is a POWERFUL filter, and I did not want to overdo it and lose the fuzziness of his hair, the little freckles, or even the bruise on his arm. These are all things that make Wyatt, WYATT.
Here is the After:
Ahh. Much better.
I love these March babies and had the best time taking their photos for this year. No birthdays were ruined, and I look forward to doing this again next year. Maybe...minus the guac.
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