CC on photo shoot with my kids

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TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2390
CC on photo shoot with my kids

OK, so last night was only my second time ever to really specifically try to do a 'shoot' with my kids. Usually I just take shots while we're out having fun, as it feels like there's no pressure then. You can always just say, "It was just a snap" if it's a lousy shot. I honestly cannot explain why I get soooo anxious about shooting my kids; I see such amazing photos here and doing a formal 'shoot' just feels like so much pressure!! But I have GOT to get a decent picture for a canvas gift DH and I have planned for our parents, so last night I tried. I'd really welcome some CC as I'm trying to figure out how to get something really good in the next week or so, before the weather turns.

I got a couple of images I really like, BUT I made mistakes or had problems with all of them. My very best shots were the backlit ones I wanted to try, but in none of them do I have both kids smiling naturally at the camera. Having said that, my absolute FAVE is one where they are totally goofy... and 100%, purely, absolutely THEMSELVES. It's this one:

But I really don't think my mom would like hanging that on her wall. She's very fussy and would say, "Yes, it's them, but they look so silly!"

I got another one in that spot that's cute, but not really the most natural smiles:
Photo Shoot of the Kids

The best smiles and light in the eyes I got were in this spot -- however, I learned that putting your kids too low on a hill like this and having the horizon right through their heads is a really lame idea. Sad

The last place I tried was here, but the kids were getting tired of the process and have goofy expressions:

I know my turn on the CC thread was yesterday, but if I could get some CC on these, it'd really help me out. Whether we use one of these, or take them out one more time, I need to know what to do better with the shoot and the post-procesing.

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3449

Oh Tracy, I'm with you! This goofy shot is SO wonderful! I love the backlit glow and how they are having fun together. My only CC on this shot would be the bright spot on the ground in the bottom right of the frame. It keeps drawing my eyes away from your kiddos. I'm not sure on the fix for that - maybe try burning at a very light opacity. Maybe someone else will have some better advise. I love the shot though!

On #3 ... hae you tried a tighter crop? At what size/ration are you planning to print this? Despite the horizon and the branch through the head, it's still a nice shot and I'll bet your mom would love it. There is a blown spot in teh background. You might try cloning that out or something to minimize that. I think that might cause some issues when printing. This is my favorite spot and I think it has a lot of potential if you want to try here again.

I really like the setting of the last one. It may be my monitor here at work (which is not the best) but the blacks look a little heavy in thi one, especially in Michah's hair.

On the whole, I think you got great focus and color in these. The last one looks a tad under exposed and maybe a touch warm.

I love these Tracy! TFS!


Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Ahh! I love these! Not much time for CC right now, but you have to keep using that spot. It's perfect! #1 and #2 are my favorites. Great job, Tracy!

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2390

Thanks for the CC and comments so far!

GiGi, we've got SwarmJam coupons for 16x20 canvasses. The ratio/proportion is what you would see here, just much bigger, of course!

On #4, I added a soft light layer and didn't decrease opacity enough, so yeah, I see now that it made the darks too dark.

I did a couple of edits based on your suggestions, GiGi.



#3 - Here's a tighter crop.

I also tried one with cloning the tree right out... just a quick job to see if it's worth it, but I don't think it looks much better.

shadow_grey's picture
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581

Tracey, I agree with Steph that you have to keep using this spot!

#1 I definitely prefer the tighter crop to the original. I can see how you Mum would prefer something not 'silly' as a display piece but, as a parent, I can see why you would love this. Their personalities shine through beautifully. I am going to try be nit-picky with the CC, only because you said you really wanted to get a good portrait of them. In this one, I would like to see Nora's left hand - maybe on her hip. I know it is hard to get them to be in the perfect pose, but I just feel her arm behind Micah's hand is a little confusing and might be more so when it was blown up large. I don't know if your camera allows it, but having a more open ap might be beneficial. You would still get those beautiful fall colours but they would not take away from your children.

#2 This is my favourite. The backlighting does make it seem a little hazy, but it really works for this image. What sort of canvas were you thinking of getting? They are really centred in this shot, which will be fine if the edges are going to be stretched over the canvas but I thought I'd check. I prefer the crop, but if the image is going to go over the edge of the canvas you will lose some of their feet. Again, opening up the ap (or moving back and zooming in more) would give more of a blurred background which I think would be great with these, especially with all those fall colours.

#3 This is my least favourite. There isn't the same connection between them. I think it is because they are so separated? If they were closer together, or even just touching hands, it would bring them in to the same image as opposed to almost looking like could have been two different pictures. Ok, I really didn't explain that well......

#4 This one has my favourite colours but it almost looks like Nora is sitting on Micah's shoulders. How about the same spot but with Micah standing beside the rock or behind Nor's shoulder?

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3449

I love the new edits! For your mom, the tighter crop of #3 (with the tree) works best for me.

What a fantastic location! I have an engagement shoot coming up and I would love to have access to a place like that!


sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6205

GREAT job Tracy! I am loving these.

1. LOVE the new edit, but I can see where you cloned. This one is my fav. I understand a grandmother might not want it, but man, I LOVE it! Smile

2. I can see the cloning again. Personally, I like seeing the red above them like in this pic compared to #1. The background is GORGEOUS!

3. Yes, that position may not be the best, but I still think you have a winner! They are both looking AND smiling! Smile And yes, I like it with the tree. I feel like it just adds more to the location rather than just bare.

4. When it comes to poses like this, I think it helps to back up. I tend to shoot wayyy too close and I end up like this. I like it better when you can see more of them. Is this in camera crop? And can we see the new edit with lighter blacks?

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2390

Thanks for the additional comments - really helpful!! Smile

Shadow_grey, I can't open up my ap anymore. I did Steph's background compression trick and this was as soft as I could get the background, sadly. I would love more bokeh in those warm reddish leaves, though!

Sadie, on #4 there were some distracting elements in the background (a Dairy Queen sign off to the left in the distance!) so I got in tighter to remove them (in camera). But I think I could try it a little less tight and probably still get away with it. If I go back, I'll try.

Here's an edit of #4, but it appears that most of the darkness on his hair is that way SOOC. A bit weird. Must've been the way the light was hitting it.