Photo shoot on the dock, part 1

During Family Vacay 2010, there was a lovely dock. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to photograph my newly-married sister Erica on that dock. At one point, both she and my cousins’ wives Steph and Kelsey were all hanging out thereabouts, so I cackled “this is my opportunity!” and grabbed my trusty Nikon D5000. “Pose! Pose now!” I commanded– “and I won’t take no for an answer! Get to work! Hop to it! No time to waste!” I’ve always been bossy–it’s an older sister thing. But hey, it works. So for today, I bring you the pictures of Erica. Tomorrow will be the pictures of the other ladies.

My sister is not just beautiful, but also a natural in front of the camera . . . a skill of which I am extremely jealous. More on that later. She knows what to do with her face, with her hair, and with her body, so it’s a pleasure to take pictures of her.

Me, on the other hand . . . when I know my picture is being taken, my face immediately configures itself into an awkward and tense expression. My nose starts to get red. My limbs start to look like they were sewn on by Dr. Frankenstein, at slightly odd angles. My back hunches, my eyes water, my mouth seizes up, and it’s just a visual nightmare. My problem isn’t my face or body in real life . . . just when it’s captured on film. I hope you understand.

Anyway, Erica doesn’t have that problem. No, not one bit.

Maybe I can convince her to write a guest post with some tips. There are plenty of Photoshop and photography tutorials out there, but I could definitely use a good tutorial telling me how to act when the camera is turned on me. Um, Erica? Whaddya say, huh, huh?

Some of these I messed with a good bit in Photoshop–Gaussian Blur, Selective Color to amp up the blues or yellows, increased exposure, etc.

Some I didn’t even touch, like this one below.

She makes it seem so effortless–not even this lovely splinter stopped her from being a relaxed model for me.

OK, I’m sorry!

No more pictures of splinters, I promise. At least for the next 24 hours.

Though you should know that when I get the urge, I can’t deny it.

As you look at these shots, are there any in particular that you like? Compositions that work, or don’t work? Photos that are too obviously processed? I’d love to hear your feedback.

My black and whites are looking a little odd . . . I haven’t discovered the trick of how to make them “pop,” and they end up looking more flat than I’d like. I want dimension! Any tips from you Photoshop users out there?

Could someone that knows them confirm that Erica looks a lot like her new sister-in-law Nicole in the picture above? I think it’s the hair.

No to influence anyone’s opinion here, but I think the one below is one of my absolute favorites. There’s just something about the composition, with her face in the upper part of the frame, the motion of the hair, the natural laugh, the color of the water . . . it just makes me feel good inside.

You can really see the processing differences between the picture above (bright yellow hair) and the picture below (more of a faded yellow.) I think they both have their merits . . . but they definitely create a different mood.

Her hair look almost white in this picture below–I can’t tell if I love the effect or hate it. Decisions, decisions. They’ve never been my strong point. That’s why I need you all, to tell me what’s what. To make up my mind for me.

Do any of you have a photographic muse? A person that makes you want to grab your camera and just shoot away till kingdom come? Or are you the muse who is perfectly comfortable in front of the photographer? (if you are, please send suggestions my way, and fast) I love hearing your comments and opinions!

Update: my cousin’s wife Kelsey recommended using the “channels” mixer for my color to black and white transformations in her comment below. A little later, I pulled up a favorite blog of mine to read, and what do you know! There on the front page was a tutorial on black and white processing with an explanation of how to do exactly what Kelsey was talking about. If you’d like to read the post (from Kayotic Kitchen), click here.

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7 Responses to Photo shoot on the dock, part 1

  1. She is radiant! I loved viewing these. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kelsey says:

    Jenna these photos are great! I love the ones where you have highlighted the yellows and blues, although the one where you were comparing a saturated photo to a not so saturated looked great too!

    When you do your conversion to black and white how are you doing it? Are you going through image>mode>grayscale or through the adjustment layers>channel mixer>monochrome. I tend to have more success from the later since you can adjust similar to how you would in curves in the channel mixer. You can add a gradient map adjustment layer on top of the channel mixer. Also try copying your background image/layer and setting it to overlay and add a little gaussian blur to that layer.

    Happy Wednesday!

    • Jenna says:

      Kelsey, thank you for the tip!! I’ll mess around with my B&W conversions this weekend . . . I’ve never used the channels thing you’re talking about. Sounds promising. There are a couple B&W’s I’m posting tomorrow of Steph and you that I already prepared and unfortunately won’t benefit from your wisdom . . . but I can’t wait to get my hands on Photoshop and play some more! =)

    • Kathy Berg says:

      Huh?……… I have no idea what you said to Jenna, but it was sure impressive!

  3. Kay says:

    Great photos as always! Your sister is so beautiful!

  4. Kelsey says:

    minus the splinter, this looked like a GORGEOUS DAY! my oh my she is a stunner. beyond words. i love the photography and the whole ‘essense’ of the shoot. laid back summer feel with a whimsical youthful vibe :)


  5. WOW…Erica really is lovely! It is like the joy inside her heart is JUMPING out of the photos. I’m not sure she can explain how to do that…but I would be interested to read it if she did guest-post for ya. I think your sis just sort of…radiates beauty. Of course, it also helps that she has a big sister who is skilled in the art of capturing such a subject =)
    I agree about the one you said was your favorite…its a very cool shot. Good angle. Interesting pose. Unique.

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