I know people have enjoyed Before & After posts, so here’s another one!
Shoot Your Kids with a Fast Lens
When shooting kids, it’s important to use a good, fast lens (like a 50mm, f/1.4 or 50mm f/1.8). This will not only give you beautiful depth of field and make your images seem more personal, but the faster your lens is, the more light it will allow in, and you’ll be able to capture images of your quickly-moving children, well… more quickly!
If you use a “kit lens” – the one that came with your DSLR, chances are the aperture doesn’t open up as wide (aperture controls how much light is let into your sensor). Since the lens doesn’t allow as much light in, you will have to use a slower shutter speed to compensate in order to ensure your image is properly exposed. The trade off is that you need to either a) have super steady hands or you will have camera shake, b) have children who don’t move (or you will have crazy motion blur).
A good rule of thumb when dealing with shutter speed, is that your shutter speed should never be slower than the inverse of your focal length. So, if you’re working with a 50mm lens, you shouldn’t be shooting slower than 1/50th of a second.
Find Your Shooting & Editing Style & Your Favorite Tools
After shooting and editing for a while, you’ll begin to discover your editing style. I personally love warm-toned images that range slightly on the vintage spectrum.
Today’s Before & After is an image I took while up in Tennessee on vacation for the holidays. If you look at the “before” image, there’s technically nothing wrong with it. The image is properly exposed (though maybe a tad bright – I tend to shoot on the bright side). The colors are a little bluish but it WAS wintertime, so I don’t actually see that as a problem since. However, I really wanted to warm it up a bit since we were visiting a vintage train, and I like the editing style to match the subject.
The vintage look can be achieved by adjusting the sliders on your own in Lightroom or using Photoshop, but since I’m a professional photographer who loves editing and happens to be extremely busy — too busy to do this manually for each individual image I edit — I really love using presets. This is the second time I’m showing off Totally Rad‘s presets (I swear I’m not affiliated with them, I just love their products). Their Lightroom presets include a mix of basic color editing, black and white, and vintage flair, so they really suit my photography studio very well, and allow me to do a wide range of editing using just one set of presets (though I do own a few different ones that I enjoy other than the TR set).
As I mentioned in my last Photo Friday post, I really love Lightroom for editing because it is simple but powerful and allows you to do a lot to an image that does not need the additional retouching that Photoshop offers. Every tool has a purpose, and while I do adore my Photoshop Actions, they’re certainly not needed on every image. I’ve taken the time to discover the Lightroom Presets that work well with my photography style and deliver the type of effects that I need when editing images for personal use or for my clients. There are lots of options out there, but I encourage you to do research and see what direction you want your editing style to take. The best kind of photographer is a consistent one, so if your editing is all over the board using a million different types of actions and presets, you’re not heading in the right direction. I love when I see an image and I can tell who photographed it not only by their shooting style, but because their editing is consistent, too.
The presets I used for the final image not only fit with my style, but they really captured the mood that I wanted to create with this image, and I’m planning to make a print for my wall!
Edited completely in Lightroom:
Totally Rad’s “Eddie Would Go | Lite” Preset
Totally Rad’s “See-Pee-Ya! | Lite ” Preset
And here it is much larger so you can take a better look!