Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Retro Safi Takes Panama" Photoshoot and Lightroom Tutorial:: Mamatography Photography Lessons for Moms

 For a while now I've been holding onto a vintage toddler
dress that my mom gave me. Safi's Daddy and I thought that sunny Panama was the best spot to finally shoot some photos of her wearing it before she outgrew it...any day now. So on a HOT morning in Rio Mar we suited her up, I grabbed my gear and off we went to the beach side pool at our home away from home.

This day I chose to shoot with my long zoom lens, a 70-200mm. I like the background blur, a.k.a. bokeh, the longer lens gives my images compared to lenses with shorter focal lengths. These days I almost always have to shoot with a zoom to take shots of Safi. She's just too damn fast for a prime/fixed focal length lens (i.e. a 50mm-very popular for portraits).

Luckily, Daddy was around this day to spot Safi while I was shooting. Considering we were on the pool deck, this was a must! He also was able to put her hat back on EVERY TIME she threw it to the ground...grrrr.

If I were to improve upon my images I would've had a third person hold a reflector to fill shadows, but I was short a person and reflector which I left home in Florida...we make do!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, when shooting young children you MUST keep snapping! Make sure that your camera is set for continuous and not single shot mode. Hold down the shutter release button and don't let go as long as your little subject is in your frame. Same goes for all portraiture. If you want to catch moments as they happen, keep snapping and you'll find that you'll turn out natural "candids" rather that traditional poses...posed has it's place in photography too however.

For this series of shots, I knew that I wanted not only the clothing to be vintage but the style of the photos to be so as well. THINK 1960'S KODAK PRINTS.

To Post Shoot Process my images I always start with using Adobe Lightroom 4.

I don't often use actions and presets that I haven't my self created but the new version of Lightroom offers a few default presets that I find very helpful including their General Auto Tone.
For this retro series, I knew I wanted to simulate an old color photo or Polaroid. For this effect, I started with the Old Polar default preset and then made fine tune adjustments using the Develop panel (see screenshot 2). A few qualities that make Polaroids recognizable are 1. Color Warmth-each photo has a yellowish tint 2. Color desaturation-see the lack of green on the leaves and 3. Over exposure..BRIGHTNESS!
Note: If you DON'T have Lightroom, you can use any photo editing software such as iPhote or Picassa to creat a similar effect. Just use the steps above in your software's tool panel. 
Lastly, I added rounded white borders as a Polaroid would have but with a modern touch.

{Notice how flat the image is on the left. This is from shooting in RAW format. If you don't want to have to make color and exposure corrections, I don't recommend shooting in RAW-stick to JPG}

Check out this video clip and see how I'm constantly AND literally always on my toes when shooting my 18 month old! If you've perfected the art of "posing" a toddler will you let PLEEEEASE let me know?!

I hope you enjoyed another Summer photo tutorial. More to come!
Happy Shooting, Vicky