13 April 2010

The making of a photograph.

First off, let us ignore the fact that this photo is of me.  It's weird and awkward, but it serves it's purpose. 

Okay, so, now that that little issue is out of the way, this story can begin.

Yesterday, it was such a beautiful day.  We took a blanket, some lunch, the camera, and ourselves out on the lawn and vegged out.  Perfect.

However, Rosie is increasingly becoming fascinated by my camera.  She's in that 'I-want-to-do everything-real-mommies-do' stage.  This includes cell phones, lip gloss, purses, babies, strollers, checkbooks, etc.  It is cute, and not a bit annoying.  Not one bit.

I had finished taking a bunch of photos of the girls and was laying down on the blanket when the 'busy body' came over and wanted to take pictures of me.  This is just out of the question.  For several reasons...

1. My camera costs more than all the shoes in my closet put together, AND all of the clothes, AND possibly all of the furniture in the house.  Of course, I'm thrifty, cheap, and repurpose everything, but still.
2. I have the additional battery pack on my rig which makes it weigh about 43.893 lbs., and that little lady has a tough time holding it, let alone operating the shutter WHILE holding it.
3. I try not to encourage her touching things I'd rather her not touch on any given day.  It's just easier that way.

BUT, I was feeling sentimental, I was trying to be in the moment, and was telling myself she won't be this interested in me forever, and I should really embrace it.  So, I put the camera on the blanket, fooled with the settings a bit, and told her to snap to her heart's content without 'holding' the camera off of the ground.  She was estatic, I was relieved, and the whole process began.

Out of 6,839 pictures that she took of me, I thought this one was pretty decent.  Here it is straight out of the camera (SOOC). 

She can really find the light.  No?

It was such a decent photo, in fact,  that it required few edits.  Even with my huge pores, and complete lack of make-up...even Chapstick.


Here's what I did: {all in Photoshop CS4}:

1. Creative cropping...do not underestimate the power of the crop.  It is, by far, the most powerful editing tool.
2. I LIGHTLY feathered out some of my ginormous pores.  I have found that the key to these types of edits is to adjust the opacity so it looks natural, otherwise, you will look like a plastic Barbie.  That's never good, unless, of course, you ARE a Barbie.
4. I painted out the large veins in the whites of my eyes.  This really makes the eyes pop.  Also, it's really quick & easy to do.
5. Finally, I blew out the exposure on the photo.  I played with this a bit until I thought it looked right by creating a layer and using the lighten tool.  Sometimes, blowing it out too much can backfire on you.  It worked on this one.  I have discovered that increasing the exposure can decrease the appearance of ugly-type shadows, and even wrinkles in some situations.  Score!  In this case, it even brought out the high-lights in my hair.

And, that's it.  It took about 5 minutes of quick edits, and the result is pretty astounding.  Don't forget...let's not focus on the fact that the photo is of me.  I'm referring to the photo itself, not the subject matter.  Honestly, I wish she had snapped Betsy or even the dog.

I am also a huge fan of Pinoeer Woman's Photoshop Actions.  Although, I tried to do my own thing on this photo, I do love them.  They are free, easy, and can make a crappy photo look incredible.

Moral of the story:
Even a 3-year-old can take stellar photographs. 

Watch out, Annie Leibovitz!

P.S.  I have started running, again.  Alas, I think another toe-nail is going to pass on.  All the runners out there...is it time for new shoes? 


  1. Whoa great photo! Love the sun highlighting you hair and the sparkle of those eyes.

  2. Losing your toenails doesn't always mean you need new running shoes. My second toes are longer than my big toes, so they hit the ground first. I lose them constantly. Nothing to do with shoes. Others lose their toenails because their shoes aren't the right size. Have you been fitted by a professional? Marathon Sports (Jerry and Greg) is my fav. My rule of thumb is to replace shoes every 300 miles. Any race plans this year?

    PS- Can Rosie take pictures of me and make me look good?!?!

  3. I LOVE this picture of you.. And one of the first things I learned at Photography school is that... if you want to be great behind the camera then you have to learn to be good in front of it.. MAN that has stuck with me many times over the years.. It's so hard to be that "out-there"... But man oh man if that is you without makeup... then BOY you are fabulous.. Embrace that and hold on tight... LOVE it..

  4. thanks, ladies! i think it's a riot that she snapped this! ahhhh, the magic of photoshop!

    shannon, thanks for the tips. i, too, have the cursed longer second toe. so, i'm sure that's what's going on. as of now, i am working on improving my 5K time. my pops wants me to do the 10K in clayton with him, as he was a cop there for over 25 years. he's a machine for 60. but, i don't know. i'd LOVE to do a half in about a year. and, someday...someday i WILL do the chicago.

    i will be paying Jerry & Greg a visit, because i do think shoes are dead. :)

  5. Beautiful photo!


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