Lighting, Lenses, and the Power of Photoshop | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

Image Last Friday I scheduled my first model shoot with someone from model mayhem.  I was pretty excited for the shoot because it was going to give me a chance to really test out the 55-200mm lens for portraits and also to work with someone who wasn't shy in front of the camera and who already had a good idea of posing.  I scheduled the shoot for early morning which meant I'd be able to try some backlit shots and see what I could do with my new reflector.  This model had been working with several different photographers in the area and had some really nice pictures to show for it.  Needless to say, I was looking forward to the shoot.

Well Thursday night she cancelled on me.  That left me with all that gear ready and nobody to take pictures up.  I put out a callout to my Facebook friends in hopes that someone would pose for me and Erika and Aubry stepped up.  We had a lot of fun and now I'm quite glad that I ended up working with them instead of my original model.

It turns out that these two had a lot of the qualities I was hoping for in my model.  It may have taken them a little bit, but by the end of the shoot they seemed very comfortable in front of the camera.  Erika was full of ideas for concepts and poses the photos turned out great because of it.  Aubry was the perfect candidate for close up portraits with her strong facial features and striking eyes.

As this shoot went on I really felt like something clicked for me as a photographer.  I was noticing small details that I haven't in past shoots, I was getting my exposures spot on and I was seeing the lighting situations in a way that I haven't before.  I was able to find the best places in the park to take certain pictures and then get them right within one or two shots.  Of course I had my reflector this time, so that helped a lot too.

When I started editing the pictures, I decided that it was probably time to start figuring out photoshop.  The photos looked good with some basic tweaks in camera raw, but I wanted to be able to make them really pop.  I did some online research and learned about actions, textures, brushes, and where to get them online for free.  Suddenly I have a folder full of 3 gigs of photoshop stuff, and a lot longer editing process on my pictures.  But I've got to say learning about these things really did improve my work.  I learned how to smooth skin (not too much) and really make the eyes pop in portraits as well as how to do some more specialized edits of photos.  I spent about two days editing these photos, but I think I ended up with quite a bit of good stuff for my portfolio.

Tomorrow I have a new 50mm f/1.8 lens coming in the mail and a bunch of ideas for my next shoot. Who wants to be my model?