Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Making My Job Easy

Remember how I said that last Wednesday I did my first "real" people photo shoot?  Well it was both nerve wracking and fun, and I've included a ton of pictures in this post to show you how it all went.

I'm very fortunate to have photogenic children of my own, and I just wish that I had found photography when they were little, but better late than never right?  Up until last Wednesday, my kids were the ONLY people I had ever really photographed.  The idea of photographing other people really terrified me, but I knew I wanted to at least try it.

So I sent out a few emails and asked a few friends if I could practice on them or their children, and "C" was my first subject!  C is the daughter of one of my oldest friends, her mom and I have known each other since we were kids, which means I've known C since she was born...well actually even before she was born!

She and my son are just 3 weeks apart, and they practically grew up together.  Our last house was right down the street from their house, so both C and her older sister K, who is just a year younger than my daughter, were constantly at one another's houses growing up!  Our son Bugs still reminds us about how he was constantly in the company of girls growing up.  I would have to say that it made him who he is today, and one day, some lucky girl will get a husband that won't be one bit phased by everything girlie because of it!

C and her sister are both beautiful young women, and I sometimes have to remind myself when I see them that they are no longer the little kids that used to dress up at my house or sleep over!  Case in point, if you look at the photo above this one you'll notice a little photo editing which I did to appease her mom.  If you look closely, you'll see that in the first photo there's no nose piercing, but the one above has it!  I did virtually no photo editing for this shoot, except turning images into sepia or black and white and a few actions, but for my friend's sake I edited out the piercing.   My friend S admits that it's growing on her, but she's not quite there yet...give it time mom! ;-)

C was such an easy subject to photograph.  She naturally pretty, and is comfortable in front of a camera without being fake or unnatural.  I loved when I would catch her just being herself like in the shot above.

She has two horses which she keeps at a beautiful farm and the fields aglow with yellow buttercups were perfect for taking pictures.  We did wonder if there were any snakes in the grass so to speak, but she was a good sport and laid down anyway...thanks C!

And animal lover, just like her mom, from the day she was born, she brought along one of her 5 dogs (a stray she found) for the shoot.  After posing in the fields, I had the two of them jump in the back of her big 'ole truck so that I could get a few shots.  She loves this beagle to pieces, so I'm glad we could get some pictures with her pooch even if the light was kind of harsh.  I used an action on this shot to punch up the color and give it a slightly different look.

After the truck shots, we moved inside one of the barns.  I knew as soon as I arrived at the farm that I wanted to take a few shots in this space because the light was wonderful and I loved the setting!  The picture above is one of my favorites from the shoot.  I used one of Pioneer Woman's free actions on it to soften it just a bit and then I played around with the colors to slightly mute them.  I really love the way it turned out.

I love candid shots like the one above, they somehow capture the essence of a person and I think that makes for a great photo.

I also love the way adding sepia or making a picture black and white can change the whole feel of an picture!

This saddle was sitting in the same barn, and I thought it made a perfect prop for this shot.  Finding an interesting place to shoot is so important, so I felt lucky to be able to use the farm as my backdrop for this shoot.  This picture is one of her dad's favorites!

It was a gorgeous day, and even though the sun was a little intense when I took this shot, I still like how it turned out.

Here is the same basic shot, just without being cropped.

As the sun was getting lower in the sky, we moved over to a pasture where C keeps her two horses.  I love this shot and thought the texture would frame it nicely and give it a bit of a vintage feel.

Of course we had to get some shots with C and her horses!

The horses were wonderful and posed as naturally as C did!

Even before the shoot started, I knew that I wanted to try and get a few silhouetted shots if I could.  The sun wasn't quite low enough to get a "real" silhouette, but I still liked the way it turned out and how it gives you a sense of place with the water and pasture in the background.

I don't even remember what action I used on this shot, but it turned out to be one of my favorites, and also my daughter's favorite.  It just seems so natural to me, and I love the vintage 70's feel to it.  I wonder if C would mind posing as an Anthro model...I think she has what it takes, don't you?!

Thanks for indulging me and letting me share this shoot with all of you.  I quickly overcame my fear of shooting people, though I'm not sure it's the career choice for me.  And having such a beautiful and willing subject in C really did make my job easy.  Thank you C for being the perfect model!

What do you all think makes a good portrait, I would love to hear.  Is it the setting, the lighting, do you prefer color to black and white or sepia?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Check back later this week...I'll be hosting another giveaway!


  1. I have the same regret... that I didn't pay more attention to photograhy when my kids were little...OH, the possibilities!!! Kat, we'll have to save it for grandchildren.

    Love this series, especially the black/white/sepias.

  2. Kat - I love your photos, I never get tired of looking at them. Your neighbour's daughter is a natural beauty. My daughter loves horses too - she has three.

  3. OH MY! She really is beautiful...naturally beautiful! I love the candid shot of her to looking to one side and when she's walking with the horse. I think a big smile or laugh makes someone look best! ♥

  4. Beautiful gal and beautiful pictures !! I absolutely love the last shot ... you truly have a gift !!

  5. I tried hard to get past how beautiful your subject was (very like my grand-daughter) in order to see how good your photos are. Really good! Everyone should be happy with these pictures.

  6. You are GOOD !!!!! And she is very beautiful ! Ag

  7. These were fantastic! You can tell what kind of person she is..and THAT is what makes a great portrait.

  8. The gorl, the horses, the dog and the photographer all marvelous. You did a great job. My fav is the one of her with her two horse near the end.

  9. Wow, C is beautiful and your photographs are amazing!!!

  10. You did a great job for your first time! I bet her mom loved that she has these. special photos!
    Keep clicking!

  11. I don't know what it takes to make a great portrait...but you obviously found it! Kat, these are really wonderful photos! She's so lovely, and her personality just shines! Beautiful job!!

  12. Oh my gosh ~ what beautiful photos. and I have to say C is a very beautiful girl. She is absolutely lovely and you captured here beautifully ;-)

  13. Kat, you did a fantastic job. I love the first b/w photo, and the soft lighting in the barn, and the one with her walking across the field with the horses.

    For me a good portrait (and I have been thinking about people pictures recently natch) needs to have an interesting setting with some texture or even an all white background, and some soft lighting or the lovely light from a side door or window, and then the most important thing - an expression that captures their soul.

  14. Kat, what absolutely awesome photos!!! C is a beautiful young woman!! Horses are a passion of mine and those pictures are just gorgeous!!

  15. Kat, they are all so good. Of course you had a beautiful subject.

  16. Kat, beautiful photos. Especially love the ones with the horses and the silhouette shots. What makes them so good is the setting, the barn, the horses, different textures. Great job!

  17. You should feel confident - you did a great job - especially the photo with the dog - you capture the sun beautifully and in all the pics - you know how to capture sunlight to get the best photo

    Best Wishes!

  18. Oh C you are so beautiful. Stunning photos. You have such a talent! A-M xx

  19. Kat she reminds me of my daughter in law, Robin, very naturally beautiful, with an infectious smile and huge heart!

    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my New Giveaway from Serena & Lily! You will love it!

  20. Beautiful!!

    Since you asked, I think a good portrait captures the likeness of the subject AND their personality. Proper lighting, a complimentary setting or backdrop, props and/or wardrobe, and camera technicalities are all important, of course ...but if the portrait doesn't capture the essence of the subject, it's just a picture and it's nothing special.

    With these portraits, you have captured the light in C's eyes, which lets us see her in a special way. You captured images of a very self-assured young woman ... and they are lovely. I'll bet she and her parents love them.

    Though you are still a bit uncomfortable with it, I think you have a gift for portrait work because you are so people oriented. You should do more of it.

  21. Gorgeous! Having a beautiful subject does make the work easier, but you have the talent to pull it all together. Now would you please come to NC and photograph my boys?

  22. Kat they are just GORGEOUS! I love the candid shots of her and my favorite are still the ones with the horses by the water. I bet that she is just loving all of these.

  23. Great subjects or not these are incredible! I don't know how to choose a fav, but I love all the ones with horses and one of her laying in the grass! Congrats!!!

  24. Such a beautiful girl, and such beautiful pics! I especially love the last one and the one with the single horse in the pasture. Love that vintage look! So beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  25. You did a wonderful job capturing the essence of C! What a beautiful girl and a beautiful place. *high five*

  26. Love the black and white photos as well as the color ones. Beautiful work!

  27. I really can't add a thing here Kat...these are so great!

    xo kelley

  28. Incredibly beautiful ~ but I've told you that before. I'm completely wowed.

  29. Kat-you did a wonderful job! It didn't hurt that she is such a beautiful girl and knowing each other well probably made you both more comfortable and it shows! You have found your passion...it is fun watching your skills grow!

  30. I love them all. What a fantastic job you need. If I had to pick a favorite it would be with C walking between the two horses. I love that one.

  31. Kat,

    So hard to pick a favorite out of this batch, as I love them all. You did an amazing job! Such a beautiful subject on a fantastic day with her favorite things...all the elements of success! Add to that your talents and VOILA, FABULOSITY!


  32. You should be so proud of yourself Kat, these are awesome!! One of my very favorites is the one taken in the field of buttercups. What a gorgeous girl C is. The way you set these shots up with the barn, horses, dog and props gave them all that WOW factor. Yep, yer talented fer sure! xo ~Lili


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