In March 2020 I took photos of my first client and couple Andy and Kaylei. They were so much fun to photograph and such a cute couple. I remember being so excited to shoot them that I talked my boyfriend's ear off about it (sorry honey :) ) I remember feeling so proud of the photos as they were the best I had taken at the time. Fast forward to six months later, September 2020. I had the honor of photographing this wonderful couple again for fall photos! I was estatic as I truly loved working with them in the past. When I went to edit the photos I noticed how I improved A LOT in the six months which I want to show you guys! So without further adieu let me show you the before and after photos!
The photo on the right I took back in March and the photo I took on the left was taken a few weeks ago. Almost all the March photos were really grainy and a soft focus on their faces or even body in general. On the Right they even have dark eye sockets, which now I know how to prevent. My editing has vastly changed as well. I would kind of wing editing in March and now I know how to get the desired look I am going for!
I remember when I first started out I rushed changing my settings. I felt pressured that the client would think I am taking to long (it was all in my head of course) and so I ended up with a lot of over or really under exposed images. which is shown with these photos on right, I way over exposed the image and tried to save it. Andy's arm is still very over exposed on the right. Now I know the importance of taking a few extra seconds to double check my exposure. I now usually will talk to my clients as I am changing my settings to not feel pressured and to not have awkward silence.
What I love about these photos is all were taken at Quarry Park in St. Cloud MN and some like these two above were taken in the exact same location on the exact same rock. The reason why I got a much better photo on the left vs. right is because I know how to use lighting to my advantage and framing techniques to get the perfect shot. On the right I was more too my Left (their right) which made them darker not to mention because of not being careful of my settings I under exposed the image to the left. on the right I stepped more to my right (their left) which got better lighting with where the sun was creating that glow on them that I always strive for. I was able to move in a way to get the tree branches framing the photo to have some lead lines that brings your eyes to them. Overall the right was one of my favorite photos I took of them from our last session.
Another thing I did not do in March was not shoot in RAW. I did start after I watched a you tube video saying you should. But in March at the start of their session my camera wouldn't save the photos on the SD card and it would buffer and would not let me take photos of them. I thought I was going to have to end the session early. I thought it was because I switched to raw, but it was actually that I was using a very cheap SD card that got damaged. Luckily for them I had a spare SD card with me and was able to still take the session. Because of thinking it was because I was shooting in RAW I switched to Jpeg for their session which makes correcting images (especially under or over exposed) very difficult. I now have a good quality SD card and now that I have switched back to shooting in RAW I have had zero problems and I always carry a backup SD card just in case.
Above is the last photos I will show you. I have been talking about lighting mainly in this post, but although the lighting is partly what makes the right so much worse it is also my posing that has changed. I admit I was not good at giving directions and coaching my clients on posing. On the right back in March I think I said something along the lines of "wrap your arms around her from behind" and that is all. Where now I fully coach my clients on how to pose from the tips of their toes to where to place their hands, where to look etc. I pair my posing with encouraging words to help relax the clients and to ensure they know they are doing it right! This has resulted in a more natural and relaxed posing.
Overall, I hope you enjoyed reading about my transformation as much as I enjoyed seeing it. I am glad I have learned so much from my photographer mentor KJ and that I am able to break down my shoots and analyze them myself in order to improve as well as giving my clients a better experience.