Something Is Missing

I once read a quote from a song writer that went something like this, “I was told that I would have to write 1000 bad songs before I wrote my first good one. So I sat down and started writing my heart out.” This person took it literally and decided to write 1000 songs as fast as possible so they could get that good one sooner.

After reading that, I remember my thought to apply that to photography. It makes sense. Photographers all seem to follow the same path (for the most part) as they learn composition, leading lines, depth of field, color theory, ect. Lets blare through the classic beginner photos and get to the breath taking good ones! For one reason or another, I always got side tracked with that thought process.

So here I am. Trying new things with my camera and editing techniques. My “style” (if you will) will seem a bit jumpy in the near future as I watch YouTube tutorials. But in the end, I hope to find me.

I am happy enough with this photo. Stress on the “happy enough.” Something is missing but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ll post it for now. But I’ll probably be back to try something different.

How Much to Retouch?

My usual approach to editing is staying in Lightroom for everything. I have an idea of what some sliders do and I have a few go-to’s that do what I like to see. I push things here. Move things there. And BOOM! Final photo.

When it comes to editing portraiture, I am generally new to the game. My issue is when the final product still needs to look natural. I am always concerned as to how far to take the adjustments.

I suppose it all comes down to personal taste, what the goal is on a particular photo, or what a client hopes to see. I am sure I’ll dive into other methods of editing in the future. But for this edit, I wanted to maintain a believable photo. So no super sharp eyes or glowing skin. You know, that edits that make a kid look like a porcelain doll.

Editing a kid was it’s own hurdle. I’ve always read that you don’t need/want to edit a kid too much because they already have white teeth and perfect skin. So when I found a YouTube tutorial on editing a kid’s portrait, I was skeptical of how many adjustments they used.

Regardless of my skepticism, I dove in and followed along. Being sure to keep my end goal in mind.

In the end, I had 11 adjustments and 3 groups. (Groups in Photoshop is something brand new to me but I already like how they’re used)! I think I did a good job of keeping the photo looking “believable.” When I started, I didn’t think the photo really needed any retouching. I almost didn’t do much of anything past some shadow and sharpening adjustments in Lightroom. But now comparing the before and after side-by-side, I can’t imagine posting the original!

This edit was my personal preference at the time and I’m happy enough with how it turned out. But I’m going to keep taking photos and editing. Try new things. Push the limits. Maybe one day I’ll land on what I considered to be “my style.”

Being Prepared

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – Seneca

Throughout much of my mid twenties I was always keen to always carry my camera with me. Whether it was on my person or in the trunk of my car it was usually within reach when inspiration hit. Lately, I have been trying to get back into that same mindset.

I’m still not quite there but this one photograph is a reminder to me the importance of being prepared. This trip to the park was just a quick adventure to the same old place. Something to do to fill the time before another weekend obligation. Originally, I wasn’t going to bring anything at all. But something in the back of my head told me to grab the camera. “Just put it on your back. Just in case.”

Like a mental patient, I argued with myself. One side of me thought it was stupid. It was an ugly day and I’ve been there with the camera many times before. The other side of me thought “what the heck.” It’s a minor inconvenience. Lugging around the 5D.

For the most part the camera stayed with the lens cover on as I followed my little one around like a bear watching their cub. Then out of nowhere the oldest decided to stand against a green wall at the same time the sun peeked through the clouds. She stood at the very spot where the shadow of the wall hit the ground. The moment was too perfect.

After a few photos of just her I called the youngest to join. The result was well worth the few pounds strapped to my shoulder while navigating jungle gym stairs and slides. And it was the first side of me that turned out to be stupid.