October 30, 2009

Renaissance Festival—Part 5 for 2009

I meet these two little girls and their mother while I was taking a photo of the girl behind the counter. The smallest girl wanted to know what I was doing, so showed her a lot of the photos that I had taken. I then offered to take her and her sister’s photo. She agreed and so I asked mom who also agreed. Since Doug and Bob were off socializing with other members of Bay Area Photo Club, I had to solicited mom to be my VAL. Mom was quite nervous—she was afraid that she would hurt my light. I assured her that it would be hard since I had dropped my flash several times with no adverse effects.

For some reason, I wanted to light the portrait to be more dramatic. Now, dramatic lighting and portrait of small girls usually does not go together, so I was not really sure how this one was going come out. I showed mom the position that I wanted the light, and she did a great job putting the light where I wanted—watch-out Steve, you may have lost your VAL job!


Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 70mm, shot at ISO 200, f/11 and 1/90th of a second with a SB-800 at 1/16th power.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, added clarity.

Photoshop—used nik Color Efex Pro Monday morning filter to add a little more drama to the photo.


  1. Okay, so I got distracted for a few minutes. It's not hard to do with the target rich environment of the Texas Renaissance Festival.

    Color really pops in this shot. What's even better is the great detail in everything and the sharpness you kept with both the girl's eyes. Maintaining proper DOF is a difficult thing to do when they are on different planes of focus, even with F11. Love the diagonal too.

    Nice job.


  2. Another amazing shot Patrick! I really like the unconventional pose with one behind the other and that you were able to light them both so well and to keep them both in focus.

    Hopefully you got there mom's email address so you could send them a copy!

    Well done!

  3. What an interesting and unusual composition for a portrait --- the angle of girl's head in the front helps lead my eyes into the frame and to her eyes first. Where did you place your focus spot? I was wondering if maybe you focused on the front girl's ear area so you had some sharpness both in front and in back of that spot. F11 would not be plenty of depth of field for two people so close together? I recently photographed a friend and her dog and did not use a small enough aperture to get the dog (in front of her) completely sharp...I think it was f5.6, and I definitely should have used something with more dof.

  4. I forgot to ask if you used a vignette to reduce the background influence.

  5. Another WOW photo. I bet mom was very happy with this one. You just do not see portraits of two sisters like this very often. My only negative is the bright object in the top left corner. It is distracting.

  6. At first I did not like this one very much, but I must admit as I studied it, I grew to liking it more and more. Different way of showing small girls.

  7. Now for me....This Is A Shot! Mom has to frame this one! So what I hear you say is while a couple of "VALS" were yapping it up you were making a special gift for two girls. It's hard to find good help these days. :-)