Sweetest Face Ever?…A Family Photo Shoot



Sweetest Face Ever? 60mm, f/2.8, 1/125s

I love shooting portraits but I’m not that great at it yet.  There’s really so much to learn about composition, posing, lighting, all the hair and makeup stuff, etc.  For the second year in a row I shot family and individual portraits for some friends’ and was able to practice what I’ve learned so far.  The deal is that they get free pictures and I get freedom to practice, experiment, and try their general patience.

Overall, I was pleased.  After an initial review of the images I came away with quite a list of things to improve on — hand and head positions, tweaks in exposure, unwanted things in the background, strobe positioning for the shots where I needed it, etc., etc..  However, this year’s shots are light years better than the previous year (in my opinion anyway) and I see marked improvement.

I sat with the mom of the family to pick out the “to be processed” images out of the 380 I kept from the shoot (that was after rejecting the obvious losers).  Lightroom is an awesome tool for this.  We categorized into “keepers” (will get the basic Lightroom edit mostly using the “Sync” panel) and “finals” (which get a full edit…which in some cases is simply Lightroom but may include Photoshop as well).  If I were shooting for a client I would have reduced the starting point to far fewer than 380 images (we shot 14 combinations of groups and individuals) but we were doing these as a favor for each other so I gave her a lot of say in what images got the full treatment.

After shooting the family group portrait I shot individuals of the little one pictured above.  The idea was to get her pictures done before shooting her (many) siblings.  As you can see, it’s not hard to come up with great images with a face like that.  She even followed directions when we had her purposely play with her hair — very cute.  The hair was a bit of a challenge though.  It is so light and wispy that we could not keep it in place even in a very light breeze.  It’s still a cute portrait and when she starts modeling for clients we’ll get the hair and makeup people out to make sure her hair stays in place.  Photoshop could be used to fix some of it up for sure.

Processing for the shot above was mostly in Lightroom (reduced clarity for the skin), brightened the eyes, slight curves adjustment, vignette.  I did pull this image into Photoshop to mask in sharpening around the eyes and bump the iris saturation up to +10 or so.  I also played around with all sorts of things like high-key effects, etc. — they’re all awesome with a subject like that.

The shot below was processed solely in Lightroom.  Reduced clarity in the skin, sharpening around the eyes, curves, and vignette.



Reflecting 60mm, f/2.8, 1/180s


5 responses

  1. Oh Mike!!! These are simply, absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it PERFECT! Just about the most precious thing I have seen and you captured her innocence so well. Congrats!

    (BTW, I gave you an “award” on my blog the other day. Just thought you should know.)

    God Bless! ~ Debbi

    March 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

    • Thanks, I appreciate it Debbi! I’m honored that you you thought of me for your list 🙂

      March 30, 2011 at 7:27 am

  2. The bluest eyes in Texas!

    March 29, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    • Yes, they’re very blue and her mom wanted even a bit more pop (quick Lightroom adjust is all it takes with eyes like that).

      I went to your righttobeararms blog — are you going to start writing there?

      March 30, 2011 at 7:29 am

  3. She’s adorable.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

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