Increasingly, the DSLR Photography Lessons I teach invovle digital photo editing practice as well. Each one of Sarina's four lessons have been a split between shooting the first hour and editing the second hour. If one's goal is to produce pro or as close to pro looking photographs, I cannot stress enough how one must work on shooting and editing skills simultaneously. In Sarina's photo above, it took shooting skills to setup the strobist portrait and to pose the couple accordling and frame them well on the rocks and include the water. The exposure is off some and that could have been improved in the field with better settings, but as Sarina realized when you have a client making constant requests, and you are standing in ankle deep water with waves coming in, and you have to keep track of a light stand as well as your camera, it can be a lot to keep track of and missing the exposure by a little bit for a portrait photographer just starting out can be forgiven.
So without any digital photo editing skills one would be left with the image on the left. Nicely composed, but nonetheless flawed. However, if you do about 4-minutes worth of editing the results, by evidince of the image on the right, can be dramatically improved. During my photography lessons, if you have Color Efex Pro, I can teach you how to transform your photos like this in minutes. Sarina will be purchasing the full suite of Nik apps including the aforementioned Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro too, which she tells me is on sale now.
We started out the fourth of four lessons by getting in some tripod practice. The first tip I gave Sarina was to always make sure the front of the lens points out directly over a leg of the tripod (see above). This adds stability. One can almost always use the smallest ISO when using a tripod since camera shake is not an issue when having to use a longer exposure to compensate for lack of light. Plus, using a tripod just slows ones shooting down to a nice pace. When I use a tripod I really feel like I am crafting a shot much more than one I handhold my Nikon D300.
I look forward to following Sarina's burgeoning portrait photography career and I think I will see her again in the not too distant future for some more advanced lessons.