Watch this interview with Gayle Loewen, and find out how she fixed this image, plus tips on how to become a better photographer.

Highlights of this video:

0:33 Who is Gayle?
1:17 The problem with this image
2:30 Is there an issue? (real encouragement from other photographers)
3:20 Camera & home-studio settings for photographing kids
5:08 More tips for photographing kids
6:37 Before/After (how Gayle improved the image)
8:44 Gayles top tips for how to improve your photography
9:28 Getting positive feedback in the SIC Lounge community, and how it’s helping Gayle.

Here is the original image – Notice anything wrong with it?
this photo belongs to Gayle Loewen/permission for use required

Here is what Gayle says about her image:

Well, the image itself is what I really really love. And I was happy with 98% of it but on the little girl’s sleeve in the lower right corner of the photo. I wasn’t really sure of what it was. It was a line that I was wish was not there. And wasn’t sure how much to work the picture or to get rid of it or improve it using lightroom which is my editing software choice. So I thought I’d tossed it in the lounge (our photography community) there and see what people could suggest for me.

What Gayle learned from the feedback:

I learned a couple of key things actually.

  1. There was a few tips on the possibilities for hiding or disguising that line and I did work with a few you know darken the edges a little bit and soften it with some brushes and techniques that way.
    And that was very helpful to minimize the look of that line.
  2. But the other thing that I did learn from the people, they were so gracious that I heard a lot of people saying that they hadn’t really notice that what I perceive as an issue that they didn’t see as an issue. And that it was a better picture on its’ own than I was thinking it was. So I got a lot of encouragement and maybe a little bit of reminder not to be quite so hard on my images.



How Gayle Photographed this image:

Macro lens but I use it actually a bit for portraits and I was wide open (aperture f2.8).
I made a homemade backdrop and setting using my bed with a blanket that I made into a backdrop holder with some PVC pipe and I clamp the blanket over the PVC pipe and have her sitting comfortably.

In this case she was laying on her tummy on the bed. And in this particular room I’ve got a couple of nice east windows so it brought in some good light. I brought her Dad into the whole thing by having him hold the reflector to my left so that it just softened her a bit on her left. And it worked really well.

Tips for Photographing Kids:

Well, she’s 2 and a half. It took a little bit of an encouraging but you tap into your inner-clown. You engaged them. I do know this family so that was helpful to me. I could chat with her and got her to lay on her tummy. I actually had a small pillow rolled up underneath the blanket under her so that it helped elevate her upper body so that I could really get a nice view of her face. And I showed her a couple of hand poses and said can you do this? Can you try this? And this was not exactly the pose that I had suggested she try but in her own 2 and a half year old way it was adorable and your kind of modeling and shooting one hand at the same time and it just really worked. 

She was doing her own thing and with a little bit of my suggestions her own version of it worked really well.

How Gayle Fixed this image:

I increased the vignette a bit – first I enlarge the picture a little bit and went over the line using the clone tool with the brush. I then added a bit more background to the sleeve to cut away a little bit of the sleeve in a very minor amount. Soften it using the clarity feather and softness with the brush again and soften that change so that you couldn’t see the line and then increase the vignette.
In fact, with this one I did use the grad filter and brought it in rather than just a whole automatic vignette. That was something that I was kind of afraid to do because I really like the light on the first picture. I like that it fell off, but some encouragement of some people in the Lounge had me think that it might be okay to really darken the edges and bring that feather even more to enhance her eyes.

this photo belongs to Gayle Loewen/permission for use required

Tips for Becoming a Better Photographer:

Well, one thing that helped me was having my camera in my hand daily. Learn the equipment. You’re taking pictures often the same things of the same scenes. You think you’re getting bored but that challenges you to look at it from a new angle. Find a way that isn’t boring. And just really becoming comfortable with your equipment and looking at your surroundings and saying what can I take a picture today. Where’s the light . What can I make extraordinary out of ordinary. Again, a daily use was key for me to becoming a better photographer. 

you guys have been great, very positive, very encouraging, very affirming.

And the next thing for me was honestly joining the SIC Lounge. Taking the risk to put my pictures in front of people to whom I don’t know, who aren’t my friends. They don’t have to say something about me. That’s one thing to put your pictures on Facebook and get likes but this is in front of people who are very talented, very knowledgeable and getting their feedback. I took a big risk and was kind of scard but you guys have been great, very positive, very encouraging, very affirming – but not just saying nice things, saying helpful things. And just keep inspiring me to get out there and keep trying, keep growing. It’s also been good for me. I really do appreciate how you are encouraging us to be positive. One of the hardest thing I experience as a photographer is the whole comparison. There’s just so many people taking pictures and photography is in various levels , quite a popular thing. And it’s hard to not measure and come up short. But that whole comparison is just set aside and forgotten when you are encouraged to look at someone else’s images and be positive and see the good in them and encourage them . It just changes how I feel about my own photos and other photographers. It’s been a really great experience!

Go check out Gayle’s brilliant images here and send her some love.

Please leave comments below, what do you think about this interview? Brent


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