Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Photog: Miss Marley's photoshoot

A year ago, our friends Tim and Kellen had a beautiful baby girl, Marley. A few weeks ago, Kellen flattered the heck out of me when she asked me to do Marley's first-birthday photoshoot. We did the shoot this past weekend, and despite a few tears from Marley, we got some excellent shots.

Editing them has been a huge learning process for me, but a fun one. I edit all my blog photos, certainly, but the process is fairly simple: correct exposure/white balance/noise/etc in Photoshop RAW, then switch to Photoshop and crop, sharpen eyes and hide undereye circles, remove any blemishes or what have you on my face/clothes, and finally run a few sharpening actions I made. The whole process takes about two to five minutes per photo.

Portraits, and especially baby portraits, present different problems. Babies often have red and/or splotchy patches of skin, and they also can have cooler skin tones than adults. And because they often have such striking eyes, they demand a little extra work to bring out the best of that feature.

I've learned a lot about editing with layer masks in the past few days, and have streamlined my process quite a bit, but it still takes me 10-15 minutes per photo to make it look just right. (If you're wondering, that process involves the same edits in Photoshop RAW, a crop if needed, same eye sharpening/shadow correcting, then a Vibrance mask on the eyes, a Hue/Saturation mask to reduce any redness in the skin, another Hue/Saturation mask at a reduced opacity to lighten the skin a bit, Pioneer Woman's Warming action at a reduced opacity to warm up the skin, and then any fancy edits like black and white, select color, sepia, etc. Let me know if you'd be interested in a tutorial on this process!)

Kellen has been kind enough to let me share a few photos of her sweet baby here on the blog. I'm totally open to critiques to improve my process/technique. Let me know what you think!





(I know, I know...select color is a little dated/cheesy, but people still like it and frankly, it's fun to do. Sue me :P haha)

I think this is my favorite shot of the whole day, maybe because it kind of happened on accident. Marley had been crying, but saw the mirror in my lens flash when I snapped a shot. It intrigued her, so she started laughing and crawling toward it, getting her face right in the lens. I was scuttling backwards, one-handed, on my butt and snapping furiously the whole time. As it was happening, all I could think was, "These are either going to be awful or freaking amazing." I loved this shot so much, I gave it a few other special treatments:


I like desaturated shots in general, but this one doesn't do it for me. As Matt said, "It's a shame to remove any color at all from those bright, gorgeous eyes!" And he's right.

What about you? Have you ever shot portraits or baby photos? Do you have any tips or tricks?


  1. beautiful!! They turned out so well!! Well done you and congrats!

  2. Aaawww!! Great shots. And babies are like animals -- always moving and hard to pose. You did well. It helps that the baby in question is beautiful.

  3. Thank you! It also helps that I had a great camera to shoot with ;)

  4. You did a great job! Your friend was so spot-on asking you take the pictures! And I LOVE those last ones - her eyes are so beautiful and you captured them so well!

  5. Thank you so much Ashley! You're so sweet :)

  6. These are gorgeous shots! And I totally agree with you . Love the one close-up of her face. Beautiful :)


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