Saturday, February 9, 2013

Don't teach 'em to say cheese

Kid pictures are best if the child isn't looking at the camera and sporting one of those awful say-cheese smiles.

Get down on their level and watch for an action moment. If you have trained your children to ignore the camera, you can get in close with a wide angle and capture an intimate moment unmarred by an eyes-toward-the-camera stare complete with a foolish say-cheese grin.

Fiona had been having a ride in her sled when she realized she should share the fun. She loaded her teddy bears in the sled, grabbed the rope and trudged through the deep snow with teddys in tow. This was the picture. This is the memory moment. Keep its uniqueness intact by not injecting yourself into the moment. 

I shot this with a Canon S90 set to 28mm and fully automatic. I could have brightened the image a little more in Photoshop, see below, but I hate reopening images that I have enhanced and saved. Each time that you open 'em, change 'em and save 'em, you degrade 'em. That's the rule.

If you may reopen an enhanced image later and modify it, save it as a TIFF or another file format that does not cause image degradation with multiple openings followed by changes before saving again.

What magic did I perform in Photoshop to brighten my first image? I moved the white endpoint in Levels taking care not to lose too many highlight tones. Using Levels makes this easy. Just note the tonal graph and don't cut out too deeply or eliminate too many. Then in Curves bend the tonal curve by grabbing it near the highlight end and giving it a smooth curve along its entire length. I prefer a smooth curve. I find it makes the tonal change appear natural and not forced over what we used to call at work "over worked."

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