This activity was particularly challenging for several reasons. Mostly because I am an introvert, and very independent. I don’t like asking for help – but as you know, this was an assignment that required not only an assistant, but live subjects. The added element of time – and feeling rushed, caused a great deal of anxiety for me. My husband was extremely kind to volunteer as my assistant, and my step-son Ryan and his wife, Sara agreed to let me drag them and their sweet Macie around, and place them in poses for the shots.

The other struggle I had was learning to shoot with my cheap-o tri-pod  and the checked-out reflectors, as well as still trying to get used to shooting in Manual mode.

Individual – Side Composition

Macie May

Macie, was so happy and full of sunshine, and fun to shoot! The setting below is on our trampoline. We threw a bunch of leaves on top and put Macie in the middle of them. I gave her a silk daisy so she wouldn’t eat the leaves.

In post production, I used Lightroom to increase the warmth by upping the temperature and increasing the hi-lights. I used the adjustment brush to add clarity to the eyes. I used the luminosity tool, as well as the vignette.

Macie May

Macie May: 11 October, 2014, 5:02 PM; Lyman, Idaho; 280mm; f/5.6; 1/100; ISO 500; Nikon D5000. Other: tripod; reflector

Individual – Head & Shoulders

Cheer Up

Ryan was really kind to let me pose him in some old-style clothing. I wanted him to be more in the shadows, so although I like the shot, it’s not exactly what I was going for. I set my camera up in front of a big window in my home, hoping to get lots of light on the left side of his face, in spite of the overcast day. I used the black reflector, trying to darken his the right side of his face.

Post edits included decreasing the hi-lights and increasing the clarity. I also added more contrast and a heavy vignette to try to get more of a dramatic feel.

Cheer Up

Cheer Up: 11 October, 2014, 4:43 PM; Lyman, Idaho; 56mm; f/5.3; 1/13; ISO 320; Nikon D5000. Other: tripod; reflector; natural light.

Group – Activity


Here’s Macie again with her momma, Sara when we took a little break from the shooting family portraits. I continued to shoot  while Sara was talking to Macie and trying to get her to smile. She let  Sara know she was just about finished with portraits! Keith held the silver reflector, and I shot this using my tri-pod.

In post production I reduced the vibrance and saturation. I cropped Ryan out of this photo (on Macy’s right side) and added a bit of luminance, and post crop vignette.


No-no!: 11 October, 2014, 5:08 PM; Lyman, Idaho; 120mm; f/5.6; 1/60; ISO 500; Nikon D5000. Other: tripod; reflector

Group – Posed

Little Family

Here they all are in a posed portrait. I loved how Macie was shoving leaves into her mouth.

I asked Sara to lean to her left, and try to put Macie more to the right, so it wasn’t just a block shape. This added a little more irregularity to the composition.

In post production using Lightroom,  I reduced the vibrance and saturation.  and added a bit of luminance, and post crop vignette. The sky was completely blown out, since it was an overcast day, so I added a gradience of blue from about the tops of Sara’s shoulders up to the top. This made her face blue as well. I memorized the settings I added in the gradient, and then did the exact opposite applying the adjustment brush to  her face.

Little Family

Little Family: 11 October, 2014, 5:10 PM; Lyman, Idaho; 65mm; f/5.3; 1/60; ISO 500; Nikon D5000. Other: tripod; reflector

Individual – Environmental

Yes, He Drives a Tractor

Here’s Keith in his natural environment, the garden and yard. He finds peace in caring for his lawn, growing produce, and raising his cows.

This was after a sweep on the lawn with the lawn-mower, picking up leaves and grass he just mowed.

I set my tripod low in the corn row, and asked Keith to stand where he was so I cold focus and lock my lens.  In post production I cropped it just a little and used the blue pre-set in Lightroom to change it to black and white.

Yes, He Drives a Tractor

Yes, He Drives a Tractor: 11 October, 2014, 3:27 PM; Lyman, Idaho; 21mm; f/3.8; 1/200; ISO 320: Nikon D5000. Other: tripod.

4 thoughts on “Portraits

  1. I absolutely love your portrait style! I like the natural feel but the way you compose your photos is excellently done as well. I also like the angle you took on your environmental shot.

  2. Wow the lighting in all of these looks really good! I like the unique angle of Bro. Patterson walking through the corn, its great composition! ps. I had Bro, patterson as my accounting teacher two years ago, he was great!

  3. I love your photos! They look like they were taken by a complete professional. I think my favorite picture is the one with the little girl and her mother. The angle is very interesting and different from most portrait takers. I am also really impressed because children are so difficult to photograph sometimes. You did a fabulous job and I wish I knew your secret.

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