In March an opportunity arose for me to do a photo shoot of my girlfriend’s son on his first birthday. After feeling good about Bane’s birthday photo shoot, I felt hopeful that I could give my girlfriend at least a few pictures worth printing and hanging on the wall. I made sure to warn her over and over again of my beginner abilities and made no promises for amazing pictures, and she was a total sport about it! She was gracious enough to spend her Saturday morning with me while I practiced my photography skills on her adorably photogenic one-year-old, Baby Hugo (isn’t he a cutie?).
We decided on Cheesman Park for the location and a 10am start-time. I arrived a little early to check out the park and noticed there were several other photographers wrapping up their photo shoots for the morning. Panic mode set in. WHY was everyone else wrapping up their shoots? I definitely must have missed that “perfect time of the day” window for an outdoor photo shoot. Also, let’s talk about intimidation… These other photographers were clearly professionals with their super fancy-looking camera+lens+other gear setups! I felt a little silly sitting there with my little red D5200 and 50mm lens.
I calmed myself down in time to see my friends, Mr. & Mrs. Hugo, walking up to me with their beautiful son. How could I mess this up? Look at that kid. I did what I knew best, put my camera in aperture-priority mode, and got to snapping.
I decided to start looking into photo-editing software to ultimately get the professional-quality photos I’ve been gawking over on Pinterest and professional’s websites. My husband had used GIMP in the past for various things (mainly to create prankster pictures of friends) and had downloaded the latest version onto our computer. After watching several tutorials, I decided I’d try to work with it. Since I’m not at a point to invest in a program like Photoshop, it seemed like a nice alternative. Unfortunately, I don’t have any originals to show you as a before and after (I’ll make sure to do this in the future), but I mainly edited the white balance, exposure and things like the eyes to make them stand out more (ALSO, I shot in RAW as I was told this helps with the post-editing). Here are a few more of my favorite pictures from the shoot (ok, ok a lot more – but I couldn’t resist, this little family was the sweetest!):
What do you think of my very first outdoor photo shoot?! I’m so grateful to the Hugo family for taking a risk and choosing me to photograph such an important milestone in their son’s life. I learned so much from doing this photo shoot!
Here are a few of my takeaways from the photo shoot:
- Even though there is the “ideal time of the day” window for photographing outdoors, you can still make it work. Using shaded areas was helpful and I also think some of the super sunny pictures didn’t turn out too bad!
- A takeaway from the above takeaway.. Don’t photograph in shaded areas with lots of sun spots coming through! I had to discard several pictures because of all of the sun+shade spots on the face and I didn’t know enough in GIMP to edit them out.
- Don’t let yourself get intimidated! Photographing is FUN and when you’re taking 400+ photos, you’re bound to have a few good ones in there!
- GIMP is not user-friendly and very complex (although I’m certain Photoshop is the same way). I think a program like this to start with was way over my head, but I did make it work! And, it was free!