The Art of Keeping it Simple

I look back at some of my earlier work, from when I first started photographing people and I cringe. That's not a joke. The first thing I look at is the amount of over-editing that I did. Like, Holy Hannah, let's tone down the smooth and blur tools. Since learning more, furthering my education, mentoring with wonderful photographers who've become friends, I've learned the art of keeping it simple. And by it, I mean editing. 

It breaks my little baby photographer heart to see gorgeous senior images but their skin looks over edited. They don't look like themselves. So, I've made it a goal, every year, to get faster and more natural looking with my editing. If I have to spend more than 3 minutes per image, there better be a good reason and it better not be because I can't decide to add more contrast or not. I'm not saying I don't make mistakes and end up having to fix them. But I am saying that I want it to be a simple fix. Something like exposure. And not a complete head tilt.

So, this week's blog is all about showcasing the different kinds of ways I try to keep my senior's editing and images as close to perfect in camera and spend fewer moments of my life editing and more moments chasing around that almost 9 (omg) month old baby that keeps us up at night and gives us premature gray hairs. I've taken all my senior sessions from this week, found one of my fave images from the session and compared it with a before and after.

Feel free to ask questions -- what I did to each image is listed in the caption area under each picture. 

A. We love Abbie. B. This image was really just about brightening and making our whites white, removing the red and removing that weird electrical pipe I have running throughout my studio. And also a crop. That's about it!

Gah. This is seriously one of my absolute favorite images so far this year. Ok...so this one was a little more tricky. Normally I have a reflector, but I didn't end up having an assistant this day. I had to find a natural reflective surface to do the job for me. Remove the red, tone, do a few quick fixes and then she's done! Super fast, 2 minute edit here!

Becca seriously has some of the most gorgeous eyes and THE PERFECT skin. Like, it's smooth like butter and requires so little retouching. This was just a tone, a brighten (hello, summer floppy hats that create shadows) and a slight touch to the under eye. Boom, done.

I luck out with seriously the best clients in the whole wide world. Sidney took me to this super neat little hilly road. And because that road faces north and south and we were in the prime time part of the evening, we were fighting the sun. BUT. As you can see, there were a lot of clouds. We waited for the cloud cover and shot. Because I was exposing for her face, the pretty sky and hilly road became a bit over exposed. So, I took her into photoshop, did my normal every day senior treatment, then went back and created a new layer just for the sky and did a few tricks on that in camera raw. Probably six minutes on that one including fixing the rip in the chair to look like worn fabric.

So this one was actually kind of a happy accident, I'll totally admit it. We shot Ashley's session in the morning. Like...MORNING morning. Like 7 am. Which is early for me to be shooting but that's neither here, no there. Ok, so I love this wall, it's one of my favorites. But I'm used to the light coming from the other way when the sun is setting. So, we are shooting and him-hawing around in this alley when I happen to notice that this light is awfully cool looking. We did not have a reflector or off camera flash...that's ALL natural light. Pretty cool, eh? Have Ashley pose up on this wall with her gorgeous ballerina hands (it's a thing) and LOVED how it was photographing. The light is coming through the trees as the sun was rising. It wasn't too bright for Ashley to look into so we took advantage! Tone, brighten, under eye and eye enhancement. Plus a little added blue in the back because I thought it was purdy and matched her gorgeous blue eyes. K, done. 

Seriously, I can't ask for better clients. I don't even think there's a request form available because I'm so incredibly lucky to have the amazing guys and gals that I have. Ok, ok...get to point. So Kristan has this super cool old building on her farm and we have used it for every single sibling that has come to me in one way or another. Abd, because I had my trusty light guy with me and because he's so dang good at what he does, he was able to create a little more dramatic light that I could play with. Brighten, brighten the eye (thanks hats) and tone. Also....done.

This is probably, by far, my most complicated edit of the week. Are you ready for this? We had to do a foot swap. Not a head swap, but a foot swap. NO joke. So, here's how this went. During Lizzie's consultation she showed me some super awesome pictures of her town, Pukwana, and all the places that she wanted to shoot. We are walking around town and shooting in all kinds of cool locations and then by the time we get to this really neat little place, it's in full sun. Like full on sun. I had no flash with me at that point and was like...well, we are making the best of it. Thank goodness I had Sam with me. She stood in 20+ mph wind with a giant diffuser and covered the majority of Lizzie's face and body. But it wasn't quite big enough for this pose so her foot was left exposed to the sun. I made her sit perfectly still and then took a second shot of just her foot with her face exposed to the sun. And mashed the two together in photoshop. Normal, simple editing and boom, we have one of my favorite images of this gorgeous girl! 

I hope you enjoyed this week's blog! More tips and tricks as I get more comfortable with blogging and have the time in between our busy schedule and life. This one was a fun one for me and so important for my clients and potential clients to see how much we like to get it right from the start and keep it simple to the end!

Katie