I know how much some of you love picture posts.  I like them too.  It’s funny because when I started blogging I shared very few pictures because I had an awful camera.  I wrote a lot more then.  I still love to write but photography has become such a passion of mine that I realize I am doing a lot less real writing.  Oh well… we go in seasons right?  Thanks for sticking with my blog through the changing seasons!

Sunday I shared some snapshots I had taken at church while shooting pictures for our church directory.  I had fun manipulating those photos a bit but Karisma, you were right, the girls looked perfectly beautiful before I did any fiddling with the pictures.  Still, it’s fun to see what all you can do with these pictures!

On Monday the family of two of the girls in those pictures offered to watch all of the boys for us so that we could have a day out to get stuff done and to just be a couple for the day.  So we dropped the boys off in the morning, went out to brunch, took the dog to a dog park where he had a blast and got very muddy, we went to the mall and got a new pair of shoes for me and then we ended the day back at our friends’ house where we were fed a delicious dinner and shared in fellowship and laughter.

Also that evening I got to take several more pictures of the “kids” in their family.   I was so nervous… I’m still always super nervous when other people ask me to take their pictures and offer to pay me in return.  As nervous as some may be to be photographed is how nervous I get when asked to photograph.  I’m sure with more experience, my jitters will eventually diminish.

Despite my nerves, however, we got a lot of great pictures.  Something I always try to remind myself is that even good photographers take a lot of mediocre pictures… they just don’t showcase them!  So for every decent picture I get, there are probably five that were anywhere from mediocre to awful!

First we took a bunch of pictures of them on their trampoline.  These pictures were not terribly easy to take as obviously people are moving quite a bit.  In half of the pictures various body parts, including heads, sometimes did not make it into the picture.


The colors in the one above were such that the picture would not have looked right as shot.  But turning it into something a little more artistic sort of saved it.  The same was true for the one below.  Though shot at sunset, which generally is a good time to take pictures, the lighting was still a bit too harsh.  To save the picture I had to apply a couple of lighting effects.  I also added in those dramatic clouds in the background as the sky was completely washed out in the original image.

All four sunset clouds

After shooting several pictures in the backyard, we went to the front porch to take a few.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Arranging even groups of people is less easy, as you might imagine, than arranging odd groups.  People in group portraits, like flowers in a florist’s arrangement are just easier (to me anyways) to organize when they are in odd numbers.

Still some of these pictures still came out cute despite my obvious lack of know-how!

VanH all 4-2

All 4

Then it was time to split them up and take some individual shots.  I was super happy with how several of these turned out.  And of course they really come to life in Photoshop where you can adjust the coloring and lighting as you see fit.  Often times digital images come SOOC (straight out of the camera) looking somewhat flat and dull.  Photoshop is where they really come to life.

Here you can compare the SOOC version next to more than one altered version of the same image:

Jerome4 color boost

That (above) is SOOC.


And here (above) you can see that the picture comes to life after making several adjustments.

Below, you can tell that I was toying with colors a little bit more to see if changing the color of his shirt would improve the picture at all.  You can be the judge of that… In the first image, his shirt is its natural color.


And here you can tell that I colored it darker… However I did a poor job as you can see the edges of it are nowhere near clean or convincing!

Jerome dk brn shirt

Hmm… what about red?  Brick red!

Jerome red shirt

Cropping an image or making it into a black and white… OR heck… BOTH can really change the feel of a picture.

Jerome 3 BW

Of the next two, which do you prefer? Color or black and white?

Jerome2 (color)

Jerome BW

I think when we first all looked at this picture we thought maybe it wasn’t going to work because he was being goofy.  But I sort of think it’s fun!

Jerome5 color

And lastly, this one is a keeper I think.  I really like how natural his smile is.

Jerome1 cropped

Okay… so moving on… Here is the oldest girl in the family.  She is every bit as sweet as she looks, as are all of the girls.  I just love this family!

Sam 1

I don’t have a lot of comparison pictures of her to share with you… Here is a pretty close to the original shot, followed by a “diffuse glow” look and finally a highly saturated black and white.  What do you think of the diffuse glow look?  I really like when applied to the pictures of the girls.  It’s awesome for female portraits and baby pictures as well.

Sam diagonal color pop

Sam diagonal diffuse glow

Sam diagonal BW

And here are the rest of her…

Sam2 BW


She was worried about not having any make up.  But I think she looks just gorgeous without it.  I won’t tell you just how jealous I am of how little retouching these girls’ skin needed.  (Ahem… NONE!)

And I must say… it’s patently obvious that some people are just made for the camera.  They don’t even have to think and they know what to do to make a picture look incredible.

Case in point:

Esther 2 color pop

Look at her.  Does she look like she needs any assistance in feeling comfortable in front of a camera?

Esther3 BW

I’m just standing here like an idiot taking the pictures. She was doing all the work… and it didn’t look like it was too great of a challenge.

Esther2 bw

And can I say again that all of these girls are as sweet as they are beautiful?  They are!

And again, we see the power of cropping…

Esther 2 close up

Whoa! That was a real challenge!  I don’t know how I managed that!  (Yeah right! Click click… uh… duh… umm… click click) VOILA!  Gorgeous pictures!


And why am I not at all shocked that the same is true of the third sister?  Gorgeous pictures — little effort.

Nicky 2 color

Again, I like to crop and see how it changes my picture…

Nicky close up bw

And sometimes it’s fun to play with selective color…

Nicky close up burned

Another thing I like to play around with is applying light makeup to help bring out the eyes.  Now, mind you, I am fully aware that none of these girls need anything to enhance their natural beauty.  I merely practice with these things so that I can learn these tricks of the trade. My goal in adding makeup is to have it be as subtle as possible.   The first two are the ones to compare. One has makeup added, the other does not.  Can you tell the difference?

Nicky No makeup

Nicky light makeup

The last is the same image with the diffuse glow effect applied.

Nicky1 diffuse glow

And that’s all she wrote folks!  Thanks for letting me share what I am learning with all of you!

6 thoughts on “More pictures!!

  1. Okay, I loved that. The different things you did to different shots. (and you’re right, those kids are just born to be photographed!). Did you enjoy the photo shoot? It looks like you did, because the kids are all relaxed!

    kacey’s last blog post..Left Brain Right Brain

  2. Lookin’ good. I, too, love to crop and b/w pics for a TOTALLY different take. Amazing what a huge difference such seemingly minute changes make huh?

    Tara’s last blog post..Update

  3. That family should do toothpaste ads! What fabulous teeth and smiles. Printed and framed, those shots against the bricks would look awesome in the family’s home.

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