Baby Swings and Sweet Family Portraits in El Cerrito

Last weekend on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I met this wonderful family at Arlington Park in El Cerrito for a portrait session with their 11 month old son, Tre.  I don’t get the chance very often to photograph a baby and this cutie was so adorable and cooperative.  Actually, the entire family was a lot of fun to work with and they are a very attractive group which made my job easy.

Here is a little sneak peek of Tre, his mom, dad and grandma!  Aren’t they sweet?!

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Brotherhood and Family Portraits in a Alamo Backyard

I’ve never personally known the joy of siblings, being an only child, but Trevor, Dillon and Preston all do. They have each other as play mates. punching bags and best friends. This trio made for an energetic portrait session and the traditional sit and smile pretty was not going to happen so we went for fun, playful and silly.

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Enjoy this sneak peek…. makes me kind of want to find a pool.  How about you?




A Beautiful Day for Pet Portraits in the Hills of Pinole

There are few things more fun than spending a beautiful and sunny morning playing with two adorable dogs.  It is that much more fun to play and photograph them at the same time while also enjoying the company of their wonderful humans.  I did just that this past weekend with Quinn and Cody and their humans, Michelle and Chelle, who graciously hosted me and my camera in the wonderful yard.  We played fetch, handed out treats and ran all over the yard having a blast.

Here is a little sneak peek to tease you with.  Stayed tuned for more of these two cuties.

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The Power of Editing in Portrait Photography

Before I became a professional photographer I had no idea what went on in the “digital darkroom”.  I knew about software like Photoshop, but beyond some simple filters I didn’t really understand what photographers did behind the scenes.  I thought today I’d talk a bit about what it means to post process an image, why it is important and the amount of time we photog’s spend in front of our computer monitors.  A good photographer needs to have a thorough understanding of how to capture the best image “in camera”, (you know all those settings and dials on our expensive non point and shoot cameras) but knowing how to tweak things after the fact is a handy skill.

I am a big fan of Lightroom and do almost all of my post processing using that software tool, but for the tricky bits I go to the grandmama of all editing software, Photoshop.  Let’s take the photos below as examples.

These cuties, Jack and Rachel, spent a morning with me at the park last fall.  When I loaded and reviewed my images I felt this one was a good in camera capture and what you see here is SOOC (straight out of the camera = not edited).  Not bad, kids look cute, got a little sibling love going on here, exposure and tone are OK, but I think I can make this image pop.

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Now I’m also a fan of black and white and artistic treatments.  So let’s play with the color here or actually remove the color for the most part.

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OK, I like that but it isn’t really making me say wow yet.

How about cropping so the image is not dead center?  I frequently crop in camera, but because my work is so often fluid and the subjects are not sitting still posing, post camera cropping is helpful.

Also making the eyes standout in a photo draws you in and helps you connect to the subject.  This can be, and generally is, a subtle treatment for me in post, but I almost always sharpen and lighten the eyes.  I’m also increasing the exposure in the below example and removing some of the brown tones for a crisper black and white look.

Alright, this is much better, and I would totally present this to the client.

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Now let’s also revert back to color because I like to be able give my clients several choices.

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Ah, now this image makes me smile.  The colors are fun and bright and their smiles and eyes are vivid.  I also feel this image needs tighter cropping for two reasons. One to focus the attention more on the subjects and also because of the bright section in the upper left corner which I find pulls the viewers attention away from the main subject.

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I also think there is too much green in this image, so I’ve lessened it and added a small amount of vignette. Now I have two choices I’m pleased to share with the client and that will look great hanging on their wall.

Ultimately, post processing and the finishing treatment given (or not given) to an individual image is a matter of personal preference, but below is an example of what I see too often.  Either over-saturated images with too much vignette or no post processing at all when just a little could turn an ordinary image into an eye-catching one.

I hope you’ve found this post an interesting one.  I know I spend hours reviewing my images and playing with them to achieve the desired result that both myself and my clients are looking for.