Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Go, Clara, Go!

Note: Roll over the photos in the post with your mouse to see the unedited, straight-out-of-the-camera version of the shots. 

I reread my recent blog post about lacking photography inspiration and in it I was such a whiny baby! Winter is ugly, I'm so uninspired, blah, blah, blah. The fact is that I'm surrounded by inspiring things if I'd just get up and do something about it.

This winter had been unseasonably warm, the rye grass that Eric top-seeded our lawn with is lush and green, and my pansies are blooming beautifully.

I also have 4 precious children who, in my so very unbiased opinion, make lovely photography subjects.

So, no more whining. Just doing.


Clara decided she was ready to conquer the scooter the other day.

She really struggled with it at first. However, it was so fun to watch her determination! She had to give the scooter a good talking to, but this little girl would not give up!

Within just a few minutes she was off and rolling and so very delighted with herself.

Since I have lots of these pictures of her to share, I'll throw out a few photography tips as we go.

Objects in the foreground create a nice sense of depth as in the previous picture.

When your subject is moving, it's a good idea to leave visual room in your photo for your subject to move through. Meaning, if she could actually move in the photo, there should be room in front of her to allow for that movement. In the photo above, there is not a lot of room in front of her, but there is more than in the photo below.

This photo (above) seems cramped and Clara looks much more confined than she did in the previous photo. The sense of motion has been lost.

This next photo is much better. Clara has plenty of room in front of her to ride on through the frame.

Now for a photo-shoot prep tip: Comb your daughter's hair, for goodness' sake! That scraggly hair is now captured for all eternity! (But, otherwise, I really like this next photo. Her body language is so focused and I love the sunshine in the trees in the background.)

Notice that I again left plenty of visual room in front of her to preserve the sense of movement.

Try to find different angles and perspectives. You don't always have to see your subject's face to get a good photo.

Though, that precious little face definitely deserves some attention of it's own!

I love the light in her hair in this shot. The sun is actually setting to the right of her and she is in the shadow created by our house, but a few rays of sunshine are bouncing off the windows of a house across the street at the left and are back-lighting her perfectly.

As you can see from the rollovers, I make plenty of mistakes. I had to straighten, correct exposure and white balance, remove distracting objects from the background and even clone out the snot from Clara's nose in the last picture. Unfortunately, though, I haven't yet figured out how to photoshop scraggly hair!


Jill said...

This is really eye-opening to see how much of a role that editing plays! I'm loving the rollovers. Your editing turns your photos from good to great. The lighting effect that you achieve with editing is incredible, and I can't believe you took that whole gob of snot out so perfectly!!
My favorite is the shot from behind the flowers...Before you even mentioned it, I was going to comment on the wonderful depth you created on that one.

In the before photos, did you do any cropping prior to the start of other edits? Sara mentioned one day that she heard that Canon's outer focal points are not quite as strong as the center one. So, I've been framing my shots using the center point, knowing that I would crop to get the shot I wanted. I was wondering what role cropping plays for you or if you try to get the entire shot you want in the frame when you are taking the photo...

Ok, so I have to get myself some editing software ASAP. Paul is still debating whether we should get a new computer soon (possibly a Mac) so he doesn't want to buy the software until he decides that.

Oh, and my daughter's hair was a disaster for her entire babyhood, toddlerhood, and now childhood. Luckily I have videotape of her screaming and tantruming while I tried to comb her hair. So, I'll just gently point out that she wouldn't let me comb it if she tries to accuse me later of raising a ragamuffin. Although, really, it adds a nice touch to the photos. A natural childhood. :)

I shouldn't even say this out loud, but after you wrote you previous post on lacking inspiration I thought, "She'll have to have a baby." Of course, I shouldn't even joke about that. Sara and I are speculating that some photographers are having another child just to keep giving themselves a continuous line of subjects to photograph. (Aren't we terrible?!)

Ok, I'm so thrilled to have you as my photography buddy. I enjoyed your responses to my questions this morning. If you have time, drop me a line and tell me what 'actions' are. I saw a lovely photo on Flikr and it said that she edited it using the 'milk action.' The photo looked sort of white and dreamy and I get what the effect was. But, is an action something that you have to download from somewhere to your photo editing software?

Ok, thanks for posting these photos. And how is your writing going? :)

Mellodee said...

Clara is such a great subject! She is so cute and you have caught wonderful facial expressions on her cute little face! The rest of the photos are so interesting, I would never have noticed the hair if you hadn't said anything. She is a real kid playing, she's not supposed to look pristine! lol!
Lovely job, as always!