November 16, 2010


Every once and a while the photography gods smile down on you and give you a great subject, soft light and pleasing backgrounds.  That is what I had the other day when I took some photos of Sarah.  I do not think anyone can take a bad photo of Sarah.  She is a natural in front of anyone’s camera.  She is so relaxed and has an easy way about her that readily comes through.
Because of the subject and the soft light, I decided that I wanted to shoot a lot of natural light with shallow dept of field.  I felt that the shallow depth of field would really set Sarah off from the background.  I also believed that the natural light would make Sarah's photo look as good as she looks in real life.  
I shot this photo at f/1.4, f/2 and f/2.8.  I felt that the photo at f/1.4 had too narrow depth of field while the one at f/2.8 showed too many unwanted details, especially in the brick wall to the left.  This photo at f/2 seemed to provide adequate details of Sarah's face while allowing the unwanted details to go soft.
Camera settings:  Nikon D3, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 shot at ISO 200, f/2 and 1/180th of a second.
Post Processing:  
Lightroom 3—Set black and white points, added clarity, vibrance, mid-tone contrast and vignetting.
Photoshop CS5—removed a few distracting elements within the photo.


  1. I think Sarah will be happy with this photo. I like the softness of everything except her.

  2. Beautiful portrait. The lighting and DOF makes you look immediately at Sarah. I do wish that the brick wall was a little more out of focus and also a little darker. I think that would make her face even more of an anchor within the photo. I do like the fact that her earring is in the photo but because it is dark it does not draw you immediately to it. The earring helps provide you a little insight into her personality.
    The Professor

  3. Larry, this is one of my favorite shots I've ever had taken. It was such a pleasure to work with you. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. If Sarah likes it, enough said. You must have been on your best behavior for her to say you were a pleasure to work with. A high impact portrait.

  5. I feel like she is looking right at me. Her eyes are full of life. Good portrait of a beautiful girl.

  6. If this is how all your portraits turn out, the you can take my photo anytime you want. Beautiful portrait.

  7. Just a great natural light portrait! Any particular reason for a slanted background?

  8. I am with Elizabeth. You can book my portrait session. Sarah's face jumps off the page, thanks to the lighting and the softness of the background.