Quick post tonight…
Today at lunch I joined Pete Talke, Steve Wampler, and Alex Suarez for a photo shoot in downtown Austin with a model named Tiffany. We took turns shooting pics and holding lights and reflectors. Tiffany was very easy to work with and we all got some great shots.
We started out in front of some cool doors on Colorado Street and in the course of an hour only moved a total of fifty feet. Next door to these doors is the entrance of a new bar called TenOak (the grand opening is tonight) — an entrance with another set of cool doors. We had been shooting for a while in front of the doors when one of the bar owners popped out and invited us to shoot inside if we’d send him some of the pics. Very cool…had the whole place to ourselves and he graciously encouraged us to shoot anywhere inside.
Rather than show pics of Tiffany just now, I thought I’d post a few environmental shots from our little shoot. Sometimes we all get so busy shooting that we forget to step back and grab some shots of the whole scene. I snapped a few shots of the group when we were out on the sidewalk and just before I had to take off I grabbed some bracketed shots in the bar with HDRs in mind. I didn’t have time to be very thoughtful about my compositions so bear with me. The image at the top shows a view of the bar with Tiffany posing on the bar itself (far side). Pete’s flash is on the bar at the right edge of the frame. He got some very cool shots with Tiffany’s reflection in the frame along with her (watch his blog — maybe he’ll post a couple).
The shot below is another view of the place and if you look carefully you’ll see Tiffany posing beneath the “E” in the “ELIXIR” sign.
Simple processing on both images: Photomatix, quick masking from original exposures, tweaks in Lightroom.
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.