The other day, I was taking photos at my daughter’s school for Grandparent’s day. Some of the compositions were sweet and natural, with children happily working on their art work while their grandparents stood nearby. And because I can not resist the beauty of a child’s eyes, a good deal of the photos had the children looking right down inside my lens. One mom asked me to take a few photos of her child and father together.

The first thing I did wrong, was forget to reset my camera settings back to default. The whole time, I was shooting in ISO 500. This could have been worse, but why on earth 500? There was no reason other then that’s what I was shooting the last time I was out.

The second difficulty I had was the absolute RANGE of different lights there. Clearly getting any sort of consistent WB was going to be a bit tricky. I had florescent lights shining down on me from above…all at different ages, and temperatures. The other side of the room had large windows with the late morning sun pouring in. To top it off, the desks were shiny, and bouncing all this light back up under the noses of the very children I was trying to make look angelical. It should have been a Halloween Shoot Out instead.

As you can see from the original image below, it was difficult to shoot this. Next time, I’m shooting in Raw for these types of shots, like my teacher told me to ;)Peter West.

Grandpa WB and Boy

In order to create the Color Corrected version, I made two copies of the layer. In layer one I color corrected the orange face on the boy (which messed up the face of his grandfather, but I left that for the next layer). In the original layer I also took out the distracting writing on the black board. In the second layer I color corrected the face of the grandfather. After I had finished work in the second layer, I erased all of the image (in layer two) except the grandfather’s face. I then merged the two layers into one, to achieve the ‘color corrected’ image.

I wanted to have a bit of fun with the images as well. After all by this time I figured I had earned myself some playtime. The first thing I did was to desaturate the image just slightly. (Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation > Master). I wanted to decrease the distraction of the grandpa’s hat, and bring some softness into the image.

My next adjustment was to take the image and convert it to a black and white photograph with a little punch in the outcome. I loved the look of the BW but I thought he looked like he was standing in front of a black and white poster of his grandfather (the shadow falling off of the child’s face is strong and obscured the detail on grandpa which added to this effect).

This gave me a great idea of turning that mistake into something more artistic. Bringing back the color to the child, while leaving his grandfather in black and white combines the concepts of age and youth quite nicely, I think.

Over all, I am happy with the photos I took that day. Apparently the parents are quite pleased as well. However, I could have done a LOT better knowing even what I do now. What a difference a few weeks can make when you are on working the learning curve. I’m very confident in photoshop, so most of the mistakes I make, I can patch up, but it’s a time sucker. I’d much rather spend hours working on a photo to turn it into a creative or artistic image, then to correct for color balance.

Click HERE for the image of Grandfather and Boy in BW.

Click HERE for the image of Grandfather and Boy in BW and Color.

Leave a Reply