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Yesterday’s Portrait Project 365 image of Lauren listening to her coach is a beautiful portrait of this athlete.   But there is a lot more than just shooting a well exposed, realistic image to getting a great portrait that clients can’t wait to display in their home.

I shot several images of Lauren (mostly hoping that she would look over towards me) but she is an intense athlete that can not be distracted from listening to her coach.  Take a look at the top image.  It is a “raw*” image unprocessed directly out of the camera.  Sort of flat but an ok image.  The image below is the final processed image with a little extra work done in Lightroom and Photoshop to remove the distracting athlete behind her.  Nik software ColorEfex was used to soften the tonal quality of her face.  I like using it on portraits to create a glistening dew like complexion.

The Technical stuff made easy to understand:

*  Many cameras (available on consumer/pro cameras) allow you to choose the format that the image saved as.  Although many people use JPGs I choose to mainly shoot raw.  JPGS is a convention of saving certain data (throwing away the data that is not in it’s logarithms) to create a pleasing image from averages (average exposure, white balance etc.)  Shooting “raw” allows the camera to save all the data collected by the sensor.  The image is not viewable/printable without being “processed.”  There are many applications to process raw data images.  I discovered Adobe’s Lightroom several years ago.  It is an affordable application (approx. $200).  It is really easy to learn to use and there are lots of online free tutorials available.  The glory is that although you should strive to nail the exposure and control the white balance (enabling control of reliable color representation) you can adjust the exposure by several exposures up or down and adjust the white balance.

Did you realize there was so much work to prepare the images?