Did a fairly informal "family holiday card" shoot today. I only got about 15 shots off...their little girl refused to nap today so she was too cranky to put up with my shenanigans.
I had the hardest time figuring out what to do with lighting. I wanted to get nice glowing lights, but still get decent exposure on my subjects, so I ended up in a darkish room and bouncing my flash off the ceiling.
Anyway...how did it turn out?
Exposure: 0.02 sec (1/50)
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 640
Flash: On, Fired
cute photo, wish the glow from the lights was a bit more, probably would have tried to take the photo twice with a more glowing tree and then masked in the people
girl looks a bit oof, could be the ap if you were too close but probably the ss since i bet she was moving.
being nit-picky here but I wish either the tree/people were a bit further away from the fireplace to get more bokeh on those white lights or wish they weren't there at all. The wires makes the nice simple christmas photo seem a bit busy
ds1 Evan ds2 Adam
I agree with PP--wish there was a bit more bokeh on those lights to make the green wires disappear. I know you have to close up your ap to get that twinkling effect, so I guess the only way to do that would be to pull the family further away from them. Also, I'm a bit distracted by all the pictures/frames over them.
I do think the lighting and skintones look good though, and I'm sure the family will be more than pleased with these!
okay I must be weird but I kinda like the mantle and pictures above, gives a real family home feel. I would like to see the tree brighter, and to me dad looks a little red in the face and baby maybe a little yelllow, or I may just be staring at this too much
Great eye contact, that's something I can never get anymore:0)
the only thing that may be a little distracting is on the right of the photo, looks like a dvd player and a dvd or something
I totally agree with all of this. Except that the girl is not OOF...I think the only thing I think I nailed was focus. Everything looks perfect in both full size and the 100% crop. Because I was using flash to freeze motion, the shutter speed was fine.
Going to share my struggles lest it should help anyone else out there.
Going into the session I was worried because I called before I went and they said that she had skipped her nap (uh oh). I asked them if it would be better for me to come later...they could call me while she was napping and I could be there just before she woke up to set up etc...but they insisted that it would be fine. I should have insisted harder.
It was such a tough little session because I was literally only shooting for about 10-15 minutes at the most. I wanted to try lots of different things...but I started out with the "safest thing" first, and never got to try anything else. I knew about the issue with the lights...the lights on the tree itself were tiny and there were not very many, so it looked sparse. Getting bokeh on them would have meant I needed to move them a good deal forward, which I tried later...but ...the picture above was about the third picture shot...there were 4 more shot after that. Then the baby started to cry....about 5 minutes into shooting, so we took a break. I moved them forward to try and get blur and bokeh on the lights...by that point she had had it. I took about 5 minutes of snaps while they tried to keep her happy...but after that she was done done done and they changed her out of her dress.
It would have looked like this:
Ah, such is shooting with (napless) children.
The worst thing is that when shooting, I forgot how to bracket on my camera!!!! I looked and looked but gave up. I was sitting there totally remembering how to bracket on my dumb Xti....but I've never needed to bracket on the 5D. Silly me. Going to put the camera's manual in my bag!!!
UGH...I really really need to work on my indoor shooting. It was so hard for me to not have the flexibility I'm used to, and I'm just so terrible at using artificial light. Many lessons learned. I never should have tried shooting them so close to those wires...I knew what would happen. Sigh. Photography always seems to be one step forward and 5 steps back.
Skin tones...yes, Dad is a little magenta...though his forehead colors actually read correctly. I left him that way...he is a little magenta IRL and it looked so strange to me when he was fixed because that's not what he looks like, so I changed him back. If it looks strange to me, it would most certainly look strange to his other friends and family. If this were a portfolio image (which clearly it is not) I would go ahead and use the fixed skin image.
Last edited by AmberBella; 12-14-2009 at 11:03 AM.
don't beat yourself up too much ... with babies you just have to be prepared to roll with the punches.
I like the photos on the mantel myself. have you tried addding a little artificial bokeh to the background. it won't help the lights much but can soften the wires. I wouldn't go overboard with it, but a slight gausian blur to the background could help the family to pop a little.
Personally ... I would be happy with that as my family Christmas photo. I remember the family pic we took for Loli's first Christmas and it was not NEARLY as nice as this (and we did have a "pro" taking the pics).
Anyone is welcome to have a play by the way!
ha ha...okay...does it work, or does it just look weird?
Added some more lights to the tree using the clone tool...and blurred the background using "lens blur". Tried to mask the subjects back in without it looking too strange.
OK. this was done pretty quickly and I am NOT an expert at this kind of thing, but I think the overall effect is OK.
The one thing I did that was out of the ordinary for me in these situations is that I did a slight transformation of the family and tree (the areas I did not blur). this brought dad's head higher on the mantle and I did that to disguise the slight halo that I just couldn't get rid of with other methods. I kept it in the end b/c I liked the effect. LOL
Also, I did a slight crop to remove the side table w/ the vcr on it.