I’m really loving going back and re-editing photos and seeing how much I have learned regarding both taking photos and also editing them.

August 8, 2015: Rutgers Community Christian Church, Somerset NJ.

Jasmine studied abroad for the Fall semester, so this was the last time I got to really see her before she left! We both had a free afternoon on this Saturday at church after praise practice on the same team. We took a Sunday school classroom and I set up some simple lighting with two soft boxes. Jasmine brought 4 different outfits to wear, so I’m going to split up photos from this day into two days.

This is my first time trying to use studio lighting for portraiture, and it was not easy. Here are five photos that came out nicely 🙂

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Tried a different type of lighting here:day3yeswater-3

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Lesson #1: Be prepared. Know how you’re going to set up your lighting. I didn’t really know what was doing… so it was not easy to get started. However, it was a good first learning try.

Lesson #2: Make sure, make sure, the subject is in focus. It may look nice from far away, but the photo may still be blurry or out of focus. Using two slow of a shutter speed will cause blur and unsharpness too.  A lot of my photos were off because I didn’t make sure they were coming out sharp and in-focus.

This photo had a cool candid expression from Jasmine, but was out of focus 😦
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Lesson #3: Back up your SD card photos as soon as possible. Don’t put it off! I only imported a couple of photos what were RAW format (more data to edit on Adobe Lightroom). Then I lost my SD card. Most of the photos I ended up having are the .JPGs, which aren’t as nice to edit as RAWs are (RAWS are around 18-24 megabytes, when .JPGs are around 1-9 megabytes). Losing nice pictures are the worst! I took parent/student photos about a year and a half ago for a youth group graduation for 8th graders headed to high school, and then I broke the SD card before backing up the photos. I never got to send those kids and their families their pictures, because the pictures were essentially gone forever!

Lesson #4: When using a muslin or cloth backdrop, IRON THE BACKDROP, or else it’s all wrinkly and bleh. I didn’t iron the backdrop and used wrinkly backdrop. It is hard to edit the photo in a way where the backdrop wrinkles were not so obvious.

Lesson #5: You can only edit so much. The goal of editing is to make the photo look even better.  However, like all things, there can be TOO much editing.

Collage BEFORE AFTER final

Here is an example of the original photo, the edits I made last August, and the edits I made today. Big difference. You can see the wrinkles in the first photo, before editing. In the second one make the whole background behind Jasmine bright white, which looks simple overdone (tried too hard). The final one, used blurs and such to take away the wrinkle, but keep a sense of real shadows in the background.

However, it’s not perfect. You can still tell that there are wrinkles in the background, especially near the subject… so note to self: IRON THE BACKDROP! It’ll make life so much easier

To be continued… check out the rest of the series below!

The Jasmine Series

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Part I

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Part II