It Comes Down To Complacency

I’ve become complacent. Yup. I finally figured it out. I like to think I’m such a great photographer and then I go and do something that a beginner would do. I took a photo of my kids in a more or less back lit scene and screwed it up. I know better but I was in a hurry and just rushed through it.

Here’s what I did.

I posed them on a rock that I use every year out at the lake for their portraits. It was late in the summer and early in the morning. That rock is to my south so the sun was coming in from behind them camera left when I took the shot. I used spot metering (no idea what got me on that kick) and just took the shot.

Well to say the least, it looked like crap. I’m not happy with the photo at all and when I tried to fix it up a bit, I just made it worse. Here are the results.

Original image.

Ok, I could have just adjusted the exposure on the image but if you look at the hot spots along the side of the kids and the rock where the light is coming in, you can imagine how blown out that gets with even the slightest adjustment.

So called edited image.

The Rock.

To say the least I’m going to have to redo these shots. The problem is it’s a 2 hour drive out to the lake one way just to take them. Fortunately, I have to go out in a couple weeks anyway so I will take the kids and reshoot the photos.

What will I do differently this time? Well first off I’m going to pay more attention to the direction of the light. I’m going to take my flash, my light stand and my umbrella this time to get a nicely exposed image that I will be happy to print and give out to family and friends. Not this crap I produced this time.

It just goes to show that once you start thinking you are a good photographer, you start to make mistakes that can just be avoided. All I needed to do was slow down and analyze the scene.

Here is a shot I took using my flash in a very similar situation. Much better exposure.

20120904 _MG_9866

The sun is coming from behind her camera left just like the rock portraits but by this time I had figured out my error and popped the flash on my camera with the diffuser as well. I’m happy with this photo. I didn’t do any editing other than a crop and a very slight exposure bump. Very slight just to bring the whites up a bit.

Now if you are a potential client of mine, please only look at the last image. šŸ™‚ Talk about not showing your mistakes! I believe in helping people to learn and showing how human I am no matter what I tell myself.



3 thoughts on “It Comes Down To Complacency

  1. Chris, Have you thought about a gradient adjustment in LR from the right side to bring up the exposure and have it diminish by the time it hits your highlights on the left. Of all the tough photographs that are out there, this one doesn’t seem that bad. LR4 also has much better control of darks, shadows, exposure, highlights and whites on their own sliders which could afford a better result. If you need a fresh set of eyes, or a guest editor I would like to offer my service to you before you head out for the long drive of shame. CheersCorey


    • Hi Corey, I didn’t think of that one! I’ll have to try it out and see what happens. I’m not overly happy with the whole image really. Didn’t like the light to start with but was under pressure to get the shot and so I rushed of course. The drive of shame will be all right. We need to go back out anyway.Chris.


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