Recently I had a seaside portrait session with Maggie. She needed a yearbook picture and we decided to shoot at golden hour down by the beach near her house. After trying a few locations we chose the lighthouse jetty in Scituate. I liked the location as she was slightly higher than me and her lovely face was in full view of the pink and fading September sun.
Now that it’s fall the colors in the sunset can be a bit more pink and orange than the summer sunset, at least, as a photographer, that’s what I see! When I reviewed the images the next day I noticed that the sunset images were particularly pink. When I work with a client, I try to give them several options so they can decide which image reflects them best. From Maggie’s shoot, I chose the image above as I like the curve of her figure in relation to the jetty and I also like that she’s looking directly at the camera. Just beautiful.
I then processed the original image to use as a base, that’s the first image above. I always try to make people look like themselves, only more refreshed and illuminated. I don’t believe in over working images in Photoshop and doing drastic editing. My philosophy is to get it right in camera and make minimal adjustments later. I was on uneven ground, so I went in and straightened the horizon line slightly.
In the second image I tried a digital variation on the traditional bleach bypass technique. It’s not that extreme, but I prefer the softer light and love her illuminated skin. In recent years, I see more highly-saturated images due smart phone and apps. As a result I often go in the opposite direction in my work and try something a little more subtle and light. It can be flattering on sitters of any age.
Finally, in the third example, I tried a straight black and white conversion with a slightly warm overtone. I like this one as well, but it is much more serious and has a maturity about it, especially with the accentuated shadow on the right side of Maggie’s face.
As it turns out, Maggie selected a completely different image…you just never know!