The beach shots - a little insight for photographers!

I had some questions and comments this week regarding the photos I took of my girls on the beach regarding -  how did you process that? What I responded, and what I thought may be interesting to show, is that the processing of the photos is really one of the least important elements.  Well, yes, how a photographer processes their photos is very important and reflects their style.  But the true key to capturing an amazing shot is finding the most beautiful light and knowing how to compose your image and set your camera to capture that image almost perfectly right off the bat.

And part of the beauty of these shots were just dumb luck.

Well, sort of.

I know that the most beautiful light of the day is the hour before sunset or the hour after sunrise.  So late evening was when I planned the shoot.  The dumb luck came in with the fact that the light that particular evening was just stunning.  I wish I could say I picked that night for photos because of the light, but no, it was just the last night and my last opportunity.  I was lucky.

I always use manual settings on my camera -  the Nikon D700.  I used my 50 1.4 Sigma lens  - definitely my most used, most loved lens.  I made sure the sun was in front of me (behind my subject) and I used spot metering to exposure for the faces.  I have also found that my D700's meter way overexposes so I need to underexpose by at least 2 stops to get a properly exposed image.  My final settings for this particular shot were ISO 400, F 4.5, 1/500.  This is the shot completely SOOC:

I had my girls walk towards me and away from me a few times.  I composed the photo so I showed plenty of the gorgeous beach and so I could capture their reflections in the surf.

I imported the photo to LR3 where I cropped a bit, straightened up the skyline and bumped up the vibrance.  I think I cooled down the photo just a touch and upped the exposure just a tad.  I then exported to CS4 where all I ran a quick action at low opacity for just a touch of warmth and glow.  I used "Morning Glory" from Florabella actions.  After that, I sharpened via Kubota's Magic Sharp and that was it!


You can see that the beauty of the shot is not the processing, but the light, the settings and the composition (and, for me, the adorable subjects!).

Until next time!!!!