Where I look through old favorite photos and disclose what I would do differently if I could go back, then take a new approach to editing…
3/8/2010 Today’s photo is from when I first decided I wanted to do photography professionally. I was looking for friends to photograph to start building my portfolio, but I wanted to practice a bit with my son first. I took him to a park mid morning in New Jersey in March. We walked all around the park, picking up rocks and climbing trees. I remember the day fondly, as we played and enjoyed the rare warm sunny March day. I even blogged about it on my old blogsite: http://kendrakrishnanphotography.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-boy-child-photographer-new-jersey.html
Here are the original photos, straight out of the camera and my very scary original edit 🙂
Yikes! Here’s what I would do differently: The light is harsh with no leaves to filter the mid morning sun. I should have looked for full shade, not just a tiny patch of shade behind a tree :), or come at a less harsh time of day. The very bright background is distracting to the portrait, and the bright light all around is throwing color casts into the shadows of his face. Also light related, I should have turned him in a way to get more light into his eyes. His eyes are a little dark without enough catchlights to make them sparkle. My composition is not very interesting, as his face is right in the center of the portrait, and the only real texture is a big tree right behind him. I should have followed the rule of thirds and placed his eyes on the upper 1/3 line, and found a spot that was more interesting for composition. Finally, because I was just starting out and didn’t know yet how to shoot in manual mode, I had my camera in auto. It measured the light in the entire scene, and because the background is so bright, it adjusted exposure and his face is underexposed. Though this can be fixed in the editing process, the results will not be as good as if you start with a properly exposed image. Finally, my edit is horrendous. I increased exposure, but way too much, added too much black to compensate, and added magenta to cover up the green color casts created by the harsh light. Triple yikes!
Though I obviously can’t fix the lighting and background, I did a new edit. I went back to the original RAW file, increased the exposure slightly, corrected the white balance, and cropped it for a bit better composition. Then I took it into photoshop to make a few other adjustments for skin tone and color casts and here it is. Still not perfect but looks a lot more like the adorable little 2 year old I took to the park that day <3