Nikon D800, 105mm f/2.8 Micro lens, f/11, 1/200s, ISO 200

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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Join the conversation! 4 Comments

  1. Ahh, you got me! I thought this was going to be insight into some great post techniques, but you actually are emphasising getting it right in camera, tricky tricky! Great advice though to slow down and get more right in camera!

  2. Good way to say it!

    Thanks Levi for recommending the Get it Right in Camera.

    I hate sitting in front of the computer.

  3. Caught you, Greg! Pablo, I like finishing my pictures on the computer, and reealizing my vision…but spending time fixing stuff makes me grumpy.

  4. It such is amazing how the tiny little things can sure add up on a batch edit.


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About Levi Sim

Passion drives Levi to make photographs, teach, and help new friends. He tells people he's a photographer, but he really does more than just make pictures. His professional photography is primarily commercial work for businesses, both small and large, and he really helps show how great it'd be to work with those companies. He excels at photographing people, from two-year-olds to oil field workers to couples married for 60 years, everyone has a good time making pictures with Levi. Besides people and businesses, Levi enjoys all other aspects of photography, and practices landscapes and still life, as well. Other people enjoy photographing everything, and Levi wants to be able to help, so he practices as much as he can to be ready to help. He also runs a local photography club, is a Rotarian, actively helps at church, is a husband, and poppa to a peppy four-year-old girl. Levi writes regularly for and is co-author of books on Adobe Lightroom.


Adobe, Photography, Portrait, Shooting, Technique & Tutorials