Entries in Honeymoon Island State Park (5)
The streak continues for photographing past clients. This time it was DSLR Photography Lesson student Angela's family for sunset beach portraits out at Honeymoon Island State Park. We had to reschedule our candid portrait session three times due to various weather, including tropical storm Debbie. There was a bit of a time issue as well as one of Angela's daughters was soon off to college! In the end we had perfect weather for the entire shoot.
This bench swing was the first and only prop we used during our photo session. With a little careful arranging the entire family of five were able to (comfortably?) fit on the bench. To make the image more candid and natural I had them actual swing back and forth, capturing this image as they swung farthest forward. This also helped solve a problem with shadows coming from the beams holding up the swing.
Using a handy new iPhone posing app, I showed the family exactly how I wanted them to arrange themselves for a more together looking portrait than if they were all just sidding side-by-side or even in a standard two-row pose. This was Angela's favorite photo from the session.
The above image is also an entirely new shot I never made before. I asked if everyone was willing to lie down on the sand. Everyone agreed and we were thus able to make this fun photograph that somehow reminds me of The Monkees or other such 60s era type of promo shot. Since they were wearing white shirts and the sand was off-white, I decided to convert the image to black & white as there was little color in it.
We had a theme going of giving piggy-back rides which the three sisters continued for their siblings only shot. This is yet another uniquely composed beach portrait staggering height rather than depth, creating a vertical look in a square framing.
As we were finishing the family beach photo session, I noticed the moon rising and a great purple sky. Now I have made a shot very similar to this one before a few years back much further south near the Tradwinds Resort. Surprisingly similar as I myself look at them both side-by-side right now. I was glad that Honeymoon Island State Park provided such a variety of backgrounds for what I consider one of my very best family beach portrait sessions ever. I have to give a lot of the credit to Angela and her family for their relationships with each other and how well they all interact and can simply just have fun and be themselves, even though I am surrounding them with speedlights and pointing my lens at them.
Photographing a portrait session on a beach, even at sunset, can lead to quite a few similar looking shots. How can you add a little spice to some of the shots? Topaz Adjust 3 makes it quite easy actually, as it has a "spicify" filter right in it. I used that filter among others to process the above candid portrait of two brothers who added their own kind of spice to every shot I took of them with their great energy and playfulness.
Steps for making the above shot:
- import RAW file into Aperture 3
- applying sharpening, exposure & shadow adjustments using the simple sliders
- use the polarizing filter in Nik Color Efex Pro 3
- send that image to Photoshop CS4 as a 16-bit TIFF
- apply unsharp mask at 68%
- apply the spicify filter in Topaz Adjust 3
- dodge the boys to make them stand out a little (save file)
- adjust hue and red channel in Aperture 3, export jpg
Below is the non-spicified version:
So what do you think of the spicify filter in Topaz Adjust 3? Did it help or hurt the portrait? Or did it simply offer an alternative version of a shot? Please let me know what you think and why in the comments below.
Another great Florida sunset set the backdrop for a very fun candid family Florida Vacation Portrait session at Honeymoon Island State Park. Robert and Bonnie, and their two boys Alex and Aiden were visiting Florida from Kentucky, and picked a great time for a vacation here as the colder than normal winter weather just finished, and the full on heat and humidity has not yet arrived.
The boys were real characters making my job easy as they loved to play around and were not shy at all. We found this small hole in the beach and turned it into a prop for this natural light (Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D @ f/4 1/1600th) candid portrait. They were both good sports about everything.
I really enjoyed all the personality the whole family had and it is a lot of fun to be able to make candid family portraits like the one above. I just set up my strobe on a light stand to frame left, dialed in the settings on my D300, and shot away as they had fun with the portrait session. I gave no directions at all. I did not need to, which is fine by me. This let's me focus on composition and timing and making the best shots I can.
The above was another natural light portrait. Just 30 minutes before sunset on a day like this makes for great light, and the Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D lens at f/4 produces great results. The 80-200mm remains a good budget alternative to the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G VR lens, especially for outdoor portrait work.
Thank you to Robert, Bonnie and the boys for a great candid portrait session.
Yesterday's Deluxe Candid Portrait session with Mary, her husband Nathan, sons Kyle & Avery, and Emily was a whole lot of fun! They were such an energetic and loving family that it made my job pretty easy. They were willing to run, splash and frolic, and even walk through a bit of Florida jungle.
This was a two location portrait session with the first at a great little waterfront park in Belleair Bluffs. Besides the water views there were these low-lying, horizontal tree branches that were good for wrapping up Mary's family in for a Robinson Crusoe-ish treehouse portrait. The above shot is in sepia, my new favorite processing filter for my photographs these days.
After Belleair Bluffs we drove to Honeymoon Island State Park from some signature candid beach portraits. The afternoon sun was still high in the sky and strong, so it was a bit of lighting challenge, but my trusty Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm F2.8D lens with a polarizing filter on it was able to tame the sunlight enough.
For the first time I included an infrared image (above) in the 40 professionally edits photographs included in the Deluxe Candid Portrait package. I am increasing the variety of images available to my clients now with infrared, sepia, high structure black & white, enhanced tonal contrast and old plate images just to name some. Often these types of images are in included in addition to the original color image.
The three hours for this portrait session flew by and I made the drive home from Honeymoon Island State Park very much looking forward to seeing the images on my 24-inch monitor at home. I was so excited in fact that I finished editing all 40 images by late last night!
Thanks very much again to Mary and her family for a very fun and creative afternoon.
Linda was beginning to think it might be a lost cause, as our first scheduled candid portrait session was called off due to a passing hurricane and this second one was on a day with a 50% chance of showers. Despite blustery conditions, the weather was very accommodating and we were able to have our portrait session at last.
Besides the weather, the other unpredictable aspect of this session was young Kayden, who did not lack for energy or a desire to run and play in the sea. In fact, he was so caught up in the beach that he was mostly oblivious to me shooting away. This is great for my preferred candid style of photography, but also challenging to try and stay enough in front of him to include some of his face in the shots! He was very quick.
Big brother Zach was great with Kayden, especially as seen above "helping" Kayden cross a large beach puddle. It is not often I see such affection for a younger brother by an older brother as I did with Zach toward Kayden.
For this shoot I mostly had to concentrate on finding a way to stay in front of the two fast moving brothers and avoid the errant shell throwing of toddler Kayden. As can be seen above, his brother was not so lucky!
While the kids attempted to rid their bodies of the sand covering most of their lower halves, I went with grandparents Linda and Jerry to make a portrait of just them amongst the tall beach grass that is so abundant on the beach at Honeymoon Island State Park.
Can you tell who was playing in the sand and who wasn't in the above family portrait? I had a great time during this candid beach portrait session and actually like very much the dramatic, gray, stormy skies. Thank you again to Linda and her family for their business.