As I've shown in many blog posts, my personal portrait style is dreamy,
light and airy...with what I call a Monet painting look.
If you like this style, you must capture it with your camera
when you are taking the photo.
I was a television news reporter for fourteen years. The hardest
part of that job was shooting in the field. That's when it
was critical for me to pay close attention and
gather all the details and video CORRECTLY.
I had to work closely with the photographer and
think of every shot I would need while
in the field.
Editing my news stories was my FAVORITE part of the job,
when my attention to detail came together. I LOVED editing
just like I love editing portraits now.
But, I learned back then...if I didn't do it right in the field...
I would NOT have it in the editing room!
(Please excuse the 90's hair and make up...ha ha!)
The same is true for portrait photography.
Here are my tried and true tips for getting it correct in the camera,
so you can produce lovely portraits in editing.
First, you must know how to use your camera...
ie...understand EXPOSURE or how aperture, shutter speed and ISO
work together. Learn this first! There are many books and Internet tutorials
to teach you.
Once you understand exposure, you can put
that knowledge to work.
Getting great exposure does not necessarily mean
your photos will look exquisite right out of the camera
especially if you shoot in RAW.
This is a photo of pretty Maddie
SOOC (Which means Straight out of Camera.)
While it might appear dark...it has all the components for
a beautiful portrait.
To get these results
I ALWAYS shoot portraits in Large/RAW.
RAW is not compressed so it usually needs
editing, but if you used the correct exposure, your
details will be retained.
My favorite portrait lens and the one I used for these photos
is the 50mm 1.4.
I LOVE the wide aperature for blurring the foreground and background!
Notice how icky and dark this next SOOC photo looks, yet it has
all the components to create the perfect after:
No shadows on Maddie's face, the hair is highlighted by the sun,
eyes are in perfect focus and the background is a lovely bokeh.
I planned and noticed ALL these details before
I snapped the photo.
I start with the sun at the subject's back.
Then I walk around my model or have the model turn
until I notice there are no shadows on the face
and the hair is highlighted.
I also sharpen the eyes and soften the skin in editing.
I use my editing tools in Lightroom and PhotoShop Elements
to lighten her face which will always be a bit dark
By getting it correct in the field...
you get a stunning portrait in editing:
I also look for ways to USE the light...
shining through hair or Maddie's dress
in this SOOC:
Notice no shadows on the face, but
luminous use of the light.
While shooting, I'm always looking at the details
and constantly monitoring those awful face shadows
that are impossible to fix in editing.
I usually shoot a bit wide especially if
I'm shooting a full length, so I have
some crop room for various photo sizes.
After editing and cropping:
Shooting with a wide aperture
will give you a shorter depth of field
and thus some spectacular background bokeh.
SOOC with all the elements I need for editing:
No shadows on the face, highlighted hair, eyes in focus
and great background bokeh!
If you got this photo back from the printer,
you would be disappointed:
That's why you MUST learn how to edit
especially if you're shooting in RAW!
It works every time!
I LOVE the photo below:
Notice how I cloned out that distracting fence and sky
to give it that dreamy, "I'm walking in la-la land paradise" look.
You can find a TON of tutorials on how to edit online.
That's how I learned...it's really a matter of learning
each technique...one at a time until it all comes together.
If you take the photo correctly in the field...
You will create magic in editing!
Also check out these great photography blogs: