Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 200. Copyright Levi Sim
Most of the time, when I’m making a portrait I have a million things running through my mind all at once: How bright is the light? How soft is the light? Is the light flattering? Is the pose flattering? Is my subject comfortable? Is she enjoying herself? Are my jokes too cheesy? Did I have lunch?
There’s a lot to think about, but I’d like to encourage you to consider one last thing: how do the details look? As you can see from the image above, I didn’t think about the wrinkles in her shirt until after I’d made the first frame. Fortunately, I did notice the wrinkles in her shirt over her belly and spent ten seconds smoothing them out before clicking again (well, I asked her to smooth them out). Sure, I could fix something simple like that in Photoshop, and if I did that every time I would surely bemuch more efficient at using Photoshop than I am. But if I take the ten seconds to refine my image beforehand, I can then engage with her and make more images of different expressions without having to fix them all later.
It’s a little thing, but someone pointed it out for me and improved my work, so I thought maybe you’d benefit from hearing it, too.
Incidentally, these images are straight from the camera, save the toning. I used the yellow filter option in my monochrome settings (most modern DSLR’s have this option–check your manual) to brighten and smooth the skin tones. The toning is a Lightroom/Adobe Camera RAW setting Scott Kelby has shared. Go to the Split Toning Tab in the Develop Module and set the Shadows to a Hue of 28 and Saturation of 17.
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