April 15, 2015

Adventures in Editing - The Gleam In Her Eye

I recently purchased a new lens - the Canon 50mm 1.4. I shoot clients exclusively with prime lenses, and felt this would be a good fit for the type of photography I do.

This is a lens photographers either love or hate. There is no in between. Those who love it say if they could only have one lens, this would be it. So far, I am in Camp Love. But I have learned the lens is a bit tricky. You really have to spend some time with it to get to know its nuances and be able to get the best performance from it.

It is not a lens you can just put on the camera and be good to go. I've been playing around with it for a few weeks now, and have developed a good feel for it.

When you get it right? Your image is stunning. When you miss, you really miss. Turns out there really isn't any in between in that respect either.

Obviously, I'm not going to practice with a new lens on a client. So, my child gets to be the victim, I mean my subject. When she's in the mood. Which on this day, she was. She was just doing her thing, and I liked the look of the light and the way she was resting her face on her hand.

I asked if I could take a few shots and she said, "Yes." In the end, we looked at the images together. She pointed to this one and said, "I like it, Mommy. You can put your mark on it and post it to Facebook."

I really like it, too. Her personality shines through. I love the gleam in her eye, the smirk on her lips and the hint of the dimple on her cheek.

So, here's what I did with this image in Lightroom...


Right off the bat I went with my Greater Than Gatsby, "Dreamy" preset. I love what this preset does with color and skin tone, especially in children. And it adjusts exposure to keep the focus of the image on the face and eyes, where I want it to be.

I did some overall sharpening/noise reduction; a standard step in my post processing. Then I played around with white balance and settled on, "Tungsten." I applied a very slight vignette. Used the heal tool to remove a red spot from her cheek. And then added some additional sharpening around the eyes.

I have been shooting wide open with this lens to see what I can get away with. For this shot, I knew one eye would have a softer focus because her face is turned slighting from the camera. It was an effect I liked, but would not always necessarily choose.

This one? I'm printing and framing. And I know years from now it will be a favorite...

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