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