Archive for the ‘Then & Now’ Category

February 1st

Then & Now

What can you learn in a year of taking pictures??  Let’s see….

It was right around a year ago that I did my first (and sadly only) Then & Now post.  After looking through some photos I found an old not-so favorite anymore and wanted to see if I could improve it.

See the results of my Then & Now picture of Itty Bitty here.

I thought I’d try it again with a photo of Glamor Girl.



The first photo is at least a year old.

I tried to set up the second photo just like the original.  Both pictures are taken around the same time of day (early afternoon) at the exact same window.

In the first one I had her facing *away* from the light worried about creating light and dark areas on her face.  This actually caused more shadows (making the circles under her eyes stand out).  Also she didn’t get any pretty catchlights in her eyes so they look dull and flat instead of sparkly.  I also didn’t know how to change the metering mode in my camera to expose for her face and not the bright window causing the picture to be underexposed and dark.

To fix the problem I turned her around and let the diffused light from the window highlight her face and fill her eyes with gorgeous catchlights.  It turned her skin from shadowy to creamy (which I capitol-L-Love!).

I also changed my camera settings…

Shutter speed stayed the same – 1/100.  She wasn’t a moving subject so 1/100 was plenty fast for me to hand hold my camera and get tack sharp focus.

My aperture changed A LOT!  From f/5.6 to f/2.5.  The background in the first photo was distracting to my eye and the window trim seemed to be growing out of her head!  By setting a wider aperture I got a creamy bokeh background putting all the focus on my sweet girl.

The wider aperture let more light into the camera so I could lower my ISO from 800 to 320.  The difference isn’t huge until you zoom in (where you can see the noise in the shadows) but it also helped keep the details nice and clean.

Obviously I changed my white balance.  My baby girl really isn’t a smurf 😉

As for posing, I just let her do what was comfortable for her in both photos.  I’m not a posing snob or anything, I really just don’t know how.  Maybe that will be something I work on this year.

One last thing… I cropped the new photo a bit.  It’s still a head and shoulders shot, but I felt that having too much of the window in the picture was distracting.  In the first pic I thought it was “neat” that I had captured her reflection, but now I like the focus on only Glamor Girl.

Is my second photo technically perfect?  Absolutely not!  However it is way WAY better than the first.  I still have a long road ahead of me and oodles to learn!

What do you think?

A sweet pic of Glamor Girl but she looks a bit too much like a smurf!

A sweet pic of Glamor Girl but she looks a bit too much like a smurf!




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Day 33



This morning I was browsing through some old photos.  When I came to some old favorites that used to make me smile and beam with pride I had to stop and stare.

They weren’t so fabulous to me anymore.

Yes, they were still photos of my Littles that I cherish, but I was looking at them with a new perspective – 6 months of growth and learning.

To challenge myself I’ve decided that once a month {or more if I get really inspired!} I’m going to re-create one of those cherished photos.  It’s a way for me to *really* see how much I’ve grown as a photographer.

This photography adventure that I’m on is full of highs and lows, smooth roads and ones covered in pot holes.  It’s easy to begin to doubt yourself {especially if you fall into the trap of comparing yourself with other photographers!}  Comparing photos side by side is one of the *best* ways that shows ME how far I’ve come.  Each and every one of those pot holes was worth it, the struggles a blessing because from them I have risen up, taken what I learned {often the hard way} and used it to improve my photos.

Okay.  I’m ready.  I think…

Here’s my “THEN” photo.

THEN - Itty Bitty August 2011

Oh My Gravy I loved this pic!  I loved the small smile on his lips, how he’s looking off into the distance.


Here’s a list of what I want to change with the “NOW” photo.

  • The focus.  This photo is not tack sharp.  I thought that because you could see his eyelashes clearly that the photo was in focus.
  • The white balance.  His skin has a bluish-green tint that I now know is what happens when light comes in through a window.
  • Follow the Rule of Thirds and back up a bit.  Itty Bitty’s face fills the frame too much.  I feel claustrophobic looking at it now.
  • Have some space on the side that he’s looking off at.  It makes your viewers uncomfortable if your subject’s sight line looks outside the frame.
  • Increase the exposure.  This pic is way too dark.  Slightly over-exposing a photo helps you with focus and gives your subject creamy dreamy skin.
  • Catchlights!!  Itty Bitty needs some beautiful catchlights to make his eyes sparkle!

Aaaand now I present to you the NEW and IMPROVED version of this photo!  {drum roll please!}

NOW! Itty Bitty February 2012

What do you think?  Big difference?

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