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There are some shots here to salvage some badly exposed shots, and then there are some creative edits where I actually did exactly what I wanted to do in the shot for this specific edit, and other shots where I just needed to think outside the box. I'll try to explain my thoughts and post-processing on each of these shots. Some of the processing is just plain my style.
1. I wanted to start with this one because I need to send a huge thanks to FMer davenfl for taking the time to show me how this shot would work with some creative editing. I was pretty excited about this shot when it happened, it was the last shot of the night for an e-session and I had a couple trees with Christmas lighting behind the couple, so I thought it would work out well. Histograms are tough to go by with these shots since so much of the image is black. It looked good on the camera, as they often do, but when I pulled it into LR, I wasn't happy. I almost gave up on this shot until davenfl played around with it and opened my eyes to the possibilities. Most of the work is in LR4 -- exp +.45, - highlights, + shadows and blacks, clarity +43, vibrance and saturation up, then just noise reduction luminance of +52. Cloning of the lights in PS, crop to remove ppl from right. This is really lit by one speedlight about 8 feet behind the couple. 1/60, ISO 3200, f/3.5. D4 and my 85 f/1.4G.
This is a shot where I knew I wanted to finish in high key b&w, so I made sure I was exposing for the whites. Naturally, you want to expose for the whites when shooting a bride in a wedding dress, but I was particularly attentive knowing I was going to edit in high key. Shot outdoors in the shade of the house. D4 and 70-200. 1/500, ISO 250, f/3.2, as I wanted a shallow DOF.
Rookie mistake. I had a little time with the B&G and their party at the golf course where they had their reception. It was late afternoon, gray boring sky. I obviously had other places where I could put the crowd, not here where that log stump is... but that's what I did. Rookie mistake. I asked the B&G to do a dip and kiss while the party (cliche alert!) oohed and ahhhed, and when they did, the groom stuck his arm out like you see here. As soon as I saw that, I thought it'd be a fun shot to have the groomsmen trying to pull him away, and the bridesmaids trying to hold onto her. The bridesmaids were a bit lame, and I realized I really wanted to focus on the groomsmen's faces, so I cropped in tight and ended up loving the shot. Not a lot of special processing, just showing how a crop can sometimes make all the difference. D4, 70-200. 1/400, ISO 160, f/5.6.
Another mistake, this time with the exposure. It was dusk on a cold December day, and I had just shot them in the opposite direction with better light on them. I saw the Christmas lights on these trees in the background, and thought this would be cool. He suddenly picked her up and I just loved how this looked! Until I saw it in Lightroom, anyway. Then I thought... man, I've always wanted to turn one of my images into an illustration, so I just went crazy on it. The blacks in their face is intentional as part of the illustration effect. D4 and 70-200 and SB 910. 1/100, ISO 3200, f/2.8.
My kiddies in my backyard. I wanted to get some of that golden sunlight to backlight my kids, pick up a little flare, and then I hit them with some light from my Einstein and a 64" PLM. Turned out a little darker than I wanted, but managed to get it to pop with some post-processing. This is now a 24x36-inch canvas print in our living room, I just love my kids' expressions here, so them. D4 and my 85. 1/200, ISO 400, f/5.6.
This was a backyard wedding and as crazy as this sounds, this was my one shot at getting a really nice shot of the bride on her way to the aisle. You can see the top of the tent above her, and some gardening crap to each side of the stairs. As soon as she tilted her head like that, I thought we had a chance of getting a really nice shot. I think it's pretty funny how well it turned out, compared to the original. I added an iris blur in PS to give it a dreamy effect. Lots of cloning. D4 and 24-70. 1/160, ISO 320 and f/3.2.
Okay, yeah, this is one of my favorite shots. I do it every time. This was shot indoors using window light. I had originally edited this for b&w, then realized later it needed to be in color but more high key and radiant. When I was done, I was pretty happy. I added some blur, esp on her hair to her right (our left), so the focus would be on her face/eyelashes. D4 and 24-70. 1/100, ISO 2000, f/2.8.
This band was getting ready to go to SXSW and then go on tour, and needed some publicity shots. They wanted me to shoot a rehearsal down in a basement that was... challenging. I had just bought this Doug Gordon Torchlight and decided to use it to look like a light on stage. I then took the colors and made it all a vibrant blue, and I was pretty happy how this ended up. This is just an example how changing the color can impact the shot. D4 and 85. 1/100, ISO 2500, and f/1.4.
One of these two is a tight end in a professional football league. This was the last shot of a fun family session, and I just wanted something with the two of them. It's December, so gotta get those lights in the background. I showed this only because of the glow/iris blur effect I added to this, just something I sometimes do to give it a more ethereal quality. Plus, I like to show off that I got to shoot a pro football player. (But I've got nothing compared to who Lisa shot twice last year!) D4 and 70-200. 1/400, ISO 640, f/3.5.
I'd been wanting to shoot a backlit umbrella shot in the rain of a bride and groom all year. I was 2nd shooting for a really good photographer here in Chicago, my second time shooting with him, and I convinced him to let me do this shot. He was inside getting some shots and she was getting her dress worked on. I got the video guy to model for me, and I loved how everything looked, except that white half-wall to the right. So I moved the lights over to get me away from the wall, and had no idea I changed the angle of the lights so they were now lighting the tree behind where the couple would be. I waited and waited for the B&G to come out and when they did, the rain -- which had been coming down pretty much all day, practically came to a stop. It was like everything just came apart, as I could see what was happening with the lighting. Four shots, and I was done. So I decided to pull the rain from the shot with the video guy and bring it all together. Nobody really remembered that it stopped raining during this shot. I'm including all the setup shot, the actual shot, and the finished piece so you can see how it all came together. When I backlight rain or snow, I used two speedlights about a foot up, pointed 45 degrees up and 45 degrees away from the couple in opposite directions to capture as much rain (or snow) as possible. D4 and 70-200. 1/160, ISO 250, and f/6.3.
ACTUAL SHOT WITH B&G