The Shot to Final Composition.

The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and times spent with loved ones. Often times this is true, but lets face it. Times right now are tough for so many people. With the burdens we face because of the actions of our so-called leaders, I feel compelled to mention that although the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy they are often overshadowed with real life problems and tragedies. Over the last week, I played a small part with my circle of friends who have in fact suffered personal loss. Where am I going with this post? The title says , shots to final composition.  I am simply going to say that photography is not always glamorous, and from this photographers perspective, I have learned over the years that positives can come from the tragedies, if you simply stay true to your resolve.

To sum my opening up, This last week has been busy. I have been asked to scan images, blow them up, enhance them, so they could be used at events that are not photographer friendly. Taking on these tasks are worth it, when you are able to do something that brings just a smidgen of joy to people who you care about. Knowing that you were able to help is a reward in itself and although it does very little to ease the pain of those who are experiencing it, you know right away that your efforts are appreciated. Virtue is its own reward and I am pleased that I was asked to help. That is what friendship is about. As this post moves along, I now switch to the main purpose of this post.

In addition to photography, I am associated with a small but very good production studio. The owner of this studio has been a long time friend of mine, and in the past we have produced content that has been very well received by the viewing public. John who is the owner of Torquil Studio is a huge fan of music and he has been searching for local talent, in vocal arts. One of his prospects, Samantha, who happens to be a very talented young lady, was recently in studio and I had the opportunity to take some photographs of her in action. I am going to show you how I composed this image from start to finish.

After some initial test shots, I proceeded to set the stage and pose my model for images that I would use later for album covers or profile shots.

Step one :

Sam original shot

Sam original shot

You see this shot,and you think wow, really under exposed. This was intended. I used no flash, no tripod, and underexposed the image simply due to my understanding of my camera and the way it shoots photos. This is a key step in your final compositions, because shooting in raw gives you the ultimate control of how you want the final edits to look upon completion. I imported this shot into lightroom, and made adjustments to the exposure, the contrast, and the vibrance. I also use a healing brush to fix minor imperfections  and proceeded to isolate the subject of this photo. By  under exposing  this image it allowed me to put the focus on my model. This is the composition after my lightroom edits.

LR edit

LR edit

As you can see the subject is now brought into the foreground and as one person has put it, she looks soft and dreamy.  I don’s know about all that, but I do know that I like this image, and feel that it gives my model a very soft and feminine perspective.

However I did not stop at this point. My goal here was to further enhance and highlight aspects of this image to put a more detailed but softened look to this photo. I then exported this composition to a program I often use for portraits. ( I would tell you the name of this program, but I can’t give all my secrets away.)  Plus most of you who do portraits will already be aware of the software I use.

I first went through the steps of enhancing the facial features, and lining up the eyes,with the nose and mouth in contrast. I also put highlights on the subjects hair and smoothed out the skin tone to further give a soft look to the subject. And my final step and one that I feel is very important in almost every photograph I take. Enhancement of the eye’s. I learned a long time ago, that when photographing wildlife, the most important part of photography is detail on the subject eyes. They must be in focus even if parts of the photo are slightly distorted or not as in focus.  With my portrait enhancements completed, I then imported the image back into lightroom to adjust slightly the exposure and vibrance of the image.

My final composition.

Final Composition.

Final Composition

The equipment. I used my Canon 7d camera, in combination with the Tamron 18-270 lens. Shot with an iso of 800 I used the spot metering mode, and set my aperture at 5.6.  The shutter speed was 1/90 of a second and although the raw image was underexposed, through software and knowledge of my camera and how it shoots I was able to make this work.  I personally feel that this is a great composition and I am proud of it. I also feel that this young lady could very well be a talent that you will be hearing about in the future. Her voice is angelic and with hard work and dedication, she could easily earn her way to the spotlight. Yes I am proud of this image, and the fact that I was allowed to create it.

May 2013, be a blessed year.

Thank you.

Mike

www.xroo.com

www.mrsargent.com

www.msargentphotography.com

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One thought on “The Shot to Final Composition.

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