Thursday, January 06, 2011

Blog Hop-- The Secret to My Success With the Family Photos..

My father-in-law has been begging for a family picture of the WHOLE family since my niece was born in July of 2008.  That proved to be a difficult task since one of the family members (me) is also the photographer.. So, I spent the past few months mastering using my tri-pod and then filling the photography gap with photoshop skills so that my children won't grow up and wonder what I looked like when they were kids..

My mother-in-law posted our family picture on her facebook page and everyone was amazed that we didn't have a bad expression in the whole bunch..  While I did enjoy tricking people into thinking I'm that great of a photographer, it kind of made me feel like a fake.. Plus, I thought it would be an awesome edit to enter in the editing Blog Hop over at Pixel Perfect so I decided to reveal The secret to my success.. Besides, I think that in the era of digital photography, The editing is at least half of the talent anyway...


So I give you the before pictures.. Yes, pictures as in plural... My secret to getting a great family picture with children in it?  Take more than one..

So,  I instructed the adults to not worry about what the kids were doing and to just worry about themselves in the picture and to not make a move once the picture was taken.   I sat the camera up on the tripod and sat the time and was able to get a decent picture of the adults.



 Once I knew that my part of me being in it had been taken care of, I was able to move away from the camera and get a good picture of the three kids..  Then I managed to get a decent picture of the three girls once I was able to move behind the camera and dance and sing like a fool..



Then, using Photoshop Elements 8.0,  I cropped the three girls out of the second picture and pasted it into the other picture.  Using various editing techniques: erasing, smudging, airbrushing, cloning etc, I blended the edges.  It's really just a decide as you go, a little here, a little there kind of thing.  It wasn't that difficult.  Just tedious.. I was fortunate to get all three girls smiling or I would have cropped them all out of a different picture.

I cropped it in a little closer and straightened it from where the camera was leaning a bit on the tripod.  The rest is just your basic lighting, color, smoothing, defining edits..





Dana Ellis
Thoughts on Life After Dirty Diapers

13 comments:

Gina said...

I do that alot...swapping faces. Kids are just so hard to get and when they are looking, it's almost guaranteed that one of the adults won't be...:) Nice job.

Hyperactive Lu said...

Such talent! Love the family photo!!! A work of art! ;)

*Jess* said...

awesome!

Mandy said...

There's no pretending...you are fab! And you look great in them, too!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing fake about you or your talent. BTw, Coffee and teas ordered, but I got some too
SO, will mail when I receive your stuff. Love you -Lynn

Michael and Hannah said...

Very impressive!! You should teach classes! Gorgeous family to work with, too. :o)

Amy said...

Love it! I did something like that, but with only two people. A lot easier! I actually put both pictures together as different layers, and then used a layer mask to get the heads that I wanted...

Amy said...

Thanks for the comment! I'll be posting a demonstration of my layer-head-switching later. I'll let you know when it's up! Does PSE 8 have layer masks?

That would be pretty cool if I was asked to review a camera.
Unfortunately I'd probably have to 18 before they'd do that.... You never know though!

Kristy said...

These are great! Group shots are the most difficult!

Perry said...

You did a great job! You are right on, take more than one shot and get the "one" in post processing. My 13 year old daughter thinks that more than one shot are a waste of her time. :-) Great edit here.... and you described it perfectly: Not hard, just tedious. Thanks for sharing! Here is my entry.

Sarah Halstead said...

Looks great. I like it! I did this for our family photo.

Winn (aka Koreen) said...

Love these composites! Just wish I had the nerve to do them! ;)

Sara-Beth said...

You are awesome! Is that something a normal person could perform? Mom keeps fussing that we can't get a good one with all of us and Maggie...

Can't wait to see you Thursday!