Mommy Necklace Photoshoot!

So I mentioned yesterday that we had a mini family reunion Saturday. It was a beautiful but HOT day (hence why Jasper is in diaper only!) with a lot of overhead sun – not at all ideal for picture taking. But I had just received my mommy necklace in the mail that we both love  (thank you readers who recommended it to me!) and I wanted a picture to show you all. My mother used to be quite a shutterbug back in the days before digital so she was game to snap some photos.

Here was a shot  SOOC (straight out of camera, no editing) from our first attempt. I wanted to show you this because even though it SEEMS like a pretty background, it is far from ideal. (By the way – I always feel  like showing you SOOC is like going out of the house with no makeup on – like feeling NAKED!)

First of all, you can see that even in the shade, afternoon sun is challenging because of the dappled light falling on my arm and also because to expose properly for our faces would lead to a totally blown out background:

dappled light, bad backdrop

dappled light, bad backdrop

So then we attempted to find a spot without so much direct sun in the background and got a little bit better:

different background - still a bit distracting

different background - still a bit distracting

This one was edited in Lightroom and is definitely better, but the backdrop is still more in the sun than the subjects and still a bit distracting.

Then I spotted a very unlikely but perfectly gorgeous background – the holding wall next to the entrance into the basement! The cement had a stucco like old world feel, complete with cracks and a few stray vines and stains.  Not the place you would think to take photos at first glance, particularly as compare to say my parents’ beautiful backyard, but this illustrates perfectly how what we see with our eyes is not always the same as what will be interpreted through the lens.

The shots my mom took in this new location were great, even SOOC not so bad:


Straight out of Camera

But what you can’t see from this distance is that the focus was a bit soft on most of them. Here is a crop so you can see the faces up close:

close up crop

close up crop

Now I admit I am a little focus obsessed.. if it’s not perfectly in focus and sharp I tend to not bother. But, I really loved everything else about the photos, particularly given that there are so few photos in existence of me and Jasper together (have you noticed?) as the person who usually TAKES the photos rarely ends up IN the photos.

So, what to do? When in doubt, particularly with color or focus I like to go vintage!

Most vintage photos have a slightly softer look and tac sharp focusing isn’t really necessary. Plus, I’d created a ton of vintage looking presets in Lightroom and really wanted to try them out and this was the perfect excuse.

And so… finally, here is the whole shoot after editing, you can see it in this little slideshow or also on my flickr account. Because I was trying out different presets there are multiple versions of the same image with different post processing, so don’t let that throw you off. BTW, if you click on that little square icon thingy on the bottom right of the slideshow below it gives a nice full screen version!

I think that out of all of the images, this is my favorite:

Sleepy Pumpkin

To give it an even more vintage feel, I added a texture in Photoshop. I think that adding texture to photos will be the subject of this week’s photoshop tutorial if anyone is interested in learning that?

And now, for the interactive portion of today’s post

I would love to share my lightroom presets with you all, but need to know first if anyone is actually using Lightroom?

I also have been thinking I would like to make it conditional on joining a flickr group for the presets so that I can see what you all do with them (I am curious like that!)  But then I thought maybe there is no one reading who A) uses lightroom b) is interested in my presets and c) is also a member of flickr.  So… if you fit all three of these requirements, make me a flickr contact (my account name is arianamusic) and let me know your flickr account name in the comments so I know to send you an invite you to join my group!

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ariana says:

Hi Guys, I should have done this a long time ago, I’ve so enjoyed looking at everyone’s flickr streams!

So I think I totally overcomplicated things, I’ve invited everyone who replied, but I think all that needs to be done is that you request to join my group by going to it here:

What I think I am going to do is make the group open to anyone who uses flickr at all and wants to share what they’ve done with any of my presets and/or tutorials in general. So that way if you use a preset, or take a tutorial you can come back here to the comments section and post a link so everyone can see! That sounds like more fun to me.

I guess I should write a separate post about this, and also one that convinces all you no flickr users to sign up :)

PS: if you haven’t taken the Lightroom plunge yet you can always download a 30 day free trial from adobe!

Juliana says:

:-( Yes, I use Ligthroom now (after your tutorial last week). I am interested in your presets. But I do not have flickr… well, but I can still send you the pictures… So, am I still alowed to join in?!

Keri says:

I love the pictures, Ariana. They turned out so great! I haven’t purchased Lightroom yet but am really intrigued. If I do buy it, I’d love to try your presets!

Meghan says:

I haven’t taken the plunge on lightroom yet. I keep thinking about it. But I have created SO MANY ps actions… I don’t want to re-invent the wheel…

I’m on Flickr. Meg_meg_

Sarah J says:

I forgot to add my flickr name nates_mami

Sarah J says:

Me! I meet all three requirements and I would love a set of your presets!

mandy says:

Hi, I am all of the above as well! Thank you!
My flickr name is seriouslycute

anne marie says:

oh and im interested in textures. i just started playing around with them

anne marie says:

i do! pink.lemonade

Lee Ann says:

I am all of the above. I love Lightroom and I’m always looking for great presets! My flickr name is LA in Texas.

Tabitha says:

i am all of the above, sign me up! flickr name-tab.itha

I meet all three requirements, and I love getting more presets! What is your flickr name?

ariana says:

Yay, one taker! Michele, my flickr account name is arianamusic :)