editing

Portraits Sessions With Kids Can Be a Challege, But Rewarding Too

I have stated in the past I believe it is a good thing if a photographer branches out and photograph a wide variety of subjects. I enjoy trying new things that I feel will improve my photography skills no matter what the subject is. Even though I don't do a lot of portrait photography shoots with kids I do enjoy the challenge of photographing them and sometimes the images are awesome. What makes my photo shoots even more challenging for me is I don't like to carry around a lot of gear to do my portrait shoots, especially when trying to chase down "Little Johnny". Kids don't like to sit down to get their photos taken. So, I have to go mobile when photographing kids. That is where the challenge starts. 

I don't mind chasing kids down when photographing them. Walking around observing them and trying to capture unique and unstaged portraits is my main goal for children portrait images. My goal is to get at least one special image for the photo shoot. Sometimes, I may only get one or two special images and sometimes I may get really lucky and get more. Below are four images I took during a photo shoot of a beautiful little girl that was not staged and each photo was taken on her grandparents front porch in the Spring. I believe the photos are unique because they captured the little girl emotions and her expressions were priceless. The cute and colorful outfit was a plus as well. 

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There is a little history behind the images. The images were shot about 7 years ago and taken with my old trusty Canon 60D camera. I wanted to go back and re-edit the old images since my photography post-processing skills have improved over the years. I knew when the images were taken it was important for me to make sure I shot my images in "RAW" which would allow me to work with all the data from each image if I needed to in the future. It is important for any new photographer to remember to shot in RAW when possible. It is always important to save all your images and back them up. You never know when you may want to go back and revisit them and improve the images. You can do that if you shoot in RAW and don't lose them. 

For me, portrait images of little kids can be fun but it requires me to be observant and ready at all times. Kids photo shoots can be short or take longer than most portrait shoots. I always remain myself that I have to disregard time when it comes to photographing kids. I am on their time, not mine.

 It is great to have your own studio to photograph kids and have all the gear you need to take awesome well-planned images of the kids with fancy props, but what is the fun in that? I like the challenge of sneaking up on the kids to get my shots and using the natural environment around me. That is more fun for the kids and a big kid like me. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Restoring Faded Memories

Let's face it, everyone these days has a camera and millions of photographs are taken every day. Many photos are forgotten over time and some special photos can become damaged, faded, even worse, lost. Many people fail to remember how precious old photos are. Sadly, many old photos are usually stuffed away somewhere and forgotten. When they are found, that is when reality sets in and some smart owners of the image realize I have on one copy of the image and they need to get their photos restored and digitized. 

Just recently, I was given a couple of photos to restore and to see if I could bring back a little life to the old images. Both photos were over 20 years old and there was only original image for each photo. I really enjoy restoring old images. It is always a fun challenge to make an image better and it is a joy to see the clients or customer's reaction to a restored photo. Now I have to admit that in today's digital age and with access to cheap editing software, it is much easier to make an old photo look a little better, but it often times requires a level of skill, great post-processing software, and a "creative eye" to give an old photo some real life. That is where a good and talented photographer is needed. 

Many people that take photos think that what makes a photo look great is the camera. With today's cameras that is sometimes true. They think the free filters on a phone or iPad is all they need. In most cases, that is correct. But when it comes restoring an old image a little more work is sometimes required.  Old images did not come from a high-quality camera. Many times an old image may have come from a film camera or even worse a camera that would spit out an old paper image you had to shake the image to see it. Who remembers those? 

When I receive an old image it is usually the original print of an image. I actually prefer the old hard copies of images. For the two images, I needed to restore, I needed to scan them. One of the best investments I ever made was the purchase of my own flatbed scanner. As a photographer, I could not work without it. I always scan all old images at 300 dpi. After scanning old images, the real creative process begins. 

Restoring an image requires great software. Most people are only aware of filters they see on their iPhone or iPad. People are not aware of the types of great software that is available to help them enhance a photo. Let's face it, some people could care less about software. They are content with applying some weird filter to an image and passing the work off as a photo restoration success. That is not photo restoration! Understanding how to use post-processing photography software is very important in editing any image. Just ask a photographer. 

Most experienced photographers know they cannot enhance any photo without great software. I use a variety of software applications to enhance all my images. My primary post-processing software is Lightroom. I take advantage of many presets from Sleeklens. I have hundreds of them and I use many of them depending on the look I want for an image. Sleeklens presets gives me a great starting point for my editing process and saves me a great deal of time. Sleeklens is also are a great educational resource to help any photographer improve his or her skills as a photographer. To learn more about them visit presets, products, services, and resources visit;

Below is the original images I worked on and the enhanced versions. Since the original images were over 20 years old I wanted to keep the nostalgic feel of the images, enhance the colors and apply some much-needed sharpening. The best part about providing photo restoration and enhancement services for my clients and customers is the process of providing a digital image for them after the work is done. A digital image of a restored image can then be shared with others and can be available for many years to come. 

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My advice is to find all your old images and a scan them and make sure all your old images are stored in a safe location, preferably, off-site. If you find a nice old image that could use a little work, find a great talented photographer to restore the old image and don't rely on some cheap filters or no-named software to do the job. Remember, one-of-a-kind photos are "priceless". 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Stabilization is Kind of Important for Sharper Images

Every photographer knows that there is more to taking a photo than just clicking a button. There are so many elements to keep in mind when it comes to taking a photo. But, one thing I find not mentioned enough for beginner photographers is the need for stabilization and why it is important to keep in mind when planning a photo shoot. In this post, I will explain how I forgot to keep stabilization in mind on a recent photo shoot at a car show in Greensboro NC called "Cars and Coffee". 

I decided to attend the car show for the first time even though I have lived in Greensboro many years. It is that time of year when I look for photo opportunities and like to photograph beautiful cars. So, I decided to attend the Cars and Coffee event. The event was a pretty big event. When I arrived I had no idea the event was that popular. There were cars and trucks of all types and it was interesting to see the cars and the size of the crowd. 

Prior to my trip, I had to decide what gear I would need for the event. I felt it was important that I took my wide angle lens, new Canon 80D, cell phone for taking a quick video, and my tripod. I even took my 50mm lens. I felt that was all gear I would need. I knew that I would need the wide angle lens and I would have to get fairly close to each vehicle to get a decent shot. My original plan was to use my tripod to help me get some very sharp images. But that did not happen. I decided when I arrived at the location that I was not going to have the luxury to set up for my shots and set a 2-second timer like I normally do. There were way too many people and I knew they were not going to cooperate with that plan. So, I decided to leave my tripod in my vehicle and just shot "hand-held". 

Here is why it is important to remember the type of gear you have and do a little additional planning for any photo shoot. In my case, I had no stabilization. My new Canon 80D does not have stabilization. I knew that. However,  I thought my wide angle lens did. I was wrong about that. You are probably wondering if my tripod would have helped. Yes, it would if I could have used it. The problem was there were too many people around for me to set up properly. That is why I left it in my vehicle. 

So, whose fault was it that I could not get the sharp images I wanted to get? Why that would be me. I did not take into consideration stabilization. All of my lenses have "stablization", except for my wide-angle. I forgot that little detail. So, what did I learn from my experience? I learned I need to do a little more in-depth planning and take into consideration all the obstacles I will have when I get to a location. A car show sounds like it can be an easy location to shoot but it is not. Every car show I have ever attended was very difficult for me and I can imagine it is for many photographers. The conditions can be very challenging. 

I learned that no matter how bad I want to use car photos for my gallery it is not going to happen. There are too many people getting into the shots, many times the sun is directly in your eyes, vehicle's glass causes a great deal of glare, and most car shows are pretty unorganized. The Cars and Coffee Car Show was very unorganized. 

With all that said, there really is no excuse for not properly planning for the car show. I learned a valuable lesson about the need to plan for stabilization issues. I can not blame anyone but me for not getting sharper images from the car show. Below is just one of the images I was able to salvage from the photo shoot with a little help with some Sleeklens presets and Lightroom. It is not a great image but the best one I got. I will do better next time. 

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Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger 

Enhancing a Special Image for an Old Friend

One of my favorite things to do in photography is to help an old friend with an old photo. Recently, an old friend sent me an old photo he has taken and wanted to know if the image could be blown up and asked if the quality of the image good enough to have it printed so he could hang the image in his office. He stated the image meant a great deal to him so of course I wanted to help my old friend out. Below is my friends story behind the image;

On my first trip to Amsterdam last April I was able to see some great sites; the famous channels, the thousands of bicycles, buildings, tulips and of course the home of Anne Franks. But it was my excursion to the northeast town of Volendam that made the trip. Volendam is a Dutch town on the Markermeer and is well known for the colorful wooden houses, traditional clothing worn by some of the residents and the old fishing boats in the harbor. The waterfront of the town is packed with seafood vendors, souvenirs shops and restaurants and let me just say the food is awesome. After my meal, I was walking along the waterfront and I wondered what it must be like to sail the open water and what that freedom must feel like. I was also impressed with the many old fishing boats that I had seen and when I saw this particular boat pull into the harbor after a day of fishing I was struck by its beauty and elegance for its age. Much like me this ship is old and still functioning in order for that family to keep fishing. An old boat is still very much the backbone of the family so they are able to provide that daily haul of fish. I took some pictures of the boat as it pulled in because it looked cool in the lighting and moved through the water like it had a purpose. This boat reminded me that even the old have a place in the world – we just have to keep moving with a purpose.  

As I looked at the photo I felt that the image needed some work. My friend sent me an image that had been edited and it had a moody feel to it. So I decided to do some work based on what had already been done. His edited image provided me with a starting point. I knew I was going to start by using some of my favorite presets in Lightroom to begin the editing process. I like to use presets because I feel they give me a quick start to the creative process of editing an image. I have hundreds of presets and my favorite presets are those available through Sleeklens. Sleekens has a variety of great presets for just about any effect I could ask for. I started the post-processing by finding a nice moody preset that would bring out the clouds in the image. The image also needed come clarity, sharpening, exposure corrections, color enhancement, lens corrections, and leveling of the image. My friend also wanted me to suggest what would be the best size for the image. I suggested a 10x20 print so the image would not have to be cropped and so the smaller boats would remain in the image. I also suggested that the image should be printed on metallic paper to bring out the moody colors of the image, depth, and details. Below is the original image and the edited moody image. 

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Original Image

Edited Moody Image

Edited Moody Image

I truly enjoy enhancing old images. I understand that images that may not be a big deal to others are many times very special and have special meanings for others. It was an honor to help out an old friend and I believe the new and improved image will look great in his office. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce

 

Reediting a Not-So-Old Image

As most people know I love waterfalls. I can't get enough of them. When I can't photograph a beautiful waterfall I do the next best thing; I reediting the ones I have. Today was a great day to look through some of my favorite waterfall photos to see if I could work some creative magic on an old image. I decided to work on a small but beautiful waterfall called the Mountain Meadows Falls. My objective was to use a combination of Lightroom CC and Luminar to edit the image. Here lately, I have started my editing process by beginning with Luminar. Luminar provides me with a nice baseline to start my edits. Some of the presets are great for landscapes and provides some creavity options to work with. 

Mountain Meadows Falls is a simple waterfall in North Carolina and the location provides a nice hidden type of mood to the image. I wanted to focus on the rock formations and the beautiful flowing water from the falls. After I found a nice preset in Luminar I exported the image to Lightroom and used a couple of my favorite presets from Sleeklens. Sleeklen presets are awesome and there many preset packages to choose from to get the look I wanted for the waterfall. I think the image turned out great and judging from the positive feedback from my socials media channels, the image was a hig hit.  

 

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Mountain Meadows Falls. 

Until next time, keep shooting. 

Roger