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In a Rut? Try a Spontaneous Photo Shoot

I sometimes like to be spontaneous. Particularly if my photography can bring happiness to others.

The Setup

I called my Goddaughters parents and asked if I could steal her and her big sister for a quick 15 minute photo shoot before her birthday party. It was 3:45pm and the party started at 6:30pm. We took the girls to a local park. With help from her big sister Megan, 5 year old Morgan blasted through our spontaneous photo shoot.

I was home by 4:15pm. I quickly loaded roughly 150 photos into Lightroom using Hoodmans USB 3.0 Raw Steel card reader. It took me about 5 minutes to select 40 images. I made a collection and selected two images to edit. From the collection I created, I used those images to upload to my SmugMug gallery so the family could see the images at the party. As the images were uploading, I started my 5 minute edit on the two selects.

Camera Settings

  • Nikon D700
  • 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens
  • ISO 200, aperture f/4.0, shutter speed 1/400, Focal length 90mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Spot metering
  • Matrix Focus
  • Camera raw
  • Hoodman 16GB RAW card and USB 3.0 RAW Steel card reader
  • Stored on Drobo S


I could have used Lightroom to edit my images, but while shooting, I envisioned the shot using the new Tiffen DFX V3 Software Filters and printing the final piece using Metal Mural. I exported the image into Photoshop, changed the layer to a smart object (just in case I need to tweak the filter) and fired up the Tiffen plugin. I applied a preset I created a few days ago that I knew would work for this image. Back in Photoshop, I ran a lens flare (to create a blown out area) and saved the image.


Inside Lightroom, I exported the image to a full size jpg and uploaded it a local one hour photo lab. Yes, Im embarrassed to say Walmart. But to their defense, the images are more than acceptable for a quick print. I printed 25 images for Morgan to give away as a keepsake at her party. I also printed an 8 by 10 of the two girls.

New Ideas Were Formed

Without realizing it, new ideas were formed. My spontaneous photo shoot with my Goddaughter gave me a great soft sell marketing idea. By giving away keepsakes to family and friends at the party, they could purchase other prints online or request I photograph their child. Keep an open mind and take notes where it leads you.

So to recap

  • 15 minute photo session with a vision in mind.
  • 5 mins or less to load into Lightroom using Hoodmans high speed USB card reader and cards.
  • 5 mins to select 40 images.
  • Created a collection of the selected images and uploaded them to my SmugMug gallery for the family to see at the party.
  • Used the new Tiffen DFX V3 Software Filters for the edit with a custom preset I created.
  • Applied a Lens flare in Photoshop and saved the image.
  • Exported a full size jpg from Lightroom and uploaded to Walmart
  • Picked up the photos on our way to the party.
  • Sat at the little kids table enjoying the reaction from Morgan and Megan.

Editor’s Note: I’d like to see a picture of you at the kid’s table.

Morgan said she has an idea for our next shoot, it involves her princess dress!

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