Hey everyone!

I’ve been asked many times how I edit portraits, specifically up-close portraits. Let’s face it, no one has absolutely perfect skin, we all have blemishes that we would rather not expose to the world. ;)
Even models have HOURS of work and editing behind their good looks, perfect tans, lack of blemishes, and ideal makeup.
We all love to look a little bit better.

Today I am revealing a few of my editing secrets to show you all! Welcome to my workshop and behind the scenes of Danica Clark Photography! :)

Now, before I get into this, I will warn you, to get a full effect of this editing of blemishes, I took my picture WITHOUT makeup and without brushing my hair. (Prepare yourself, it IS kind of scary!) ;)
I also shot this picture a little underexposed to make every bump, lump, scar, and red spot more visible. Normally, I would shoot it a bit lower to bring in more light, so you may NOT have to brighten your subjects as much as I do.

SO, without further ado, here’s my tutorial of “How I Edit Portraits”:

To start with, here’s a Before and After:

Before you edit the exposure, color, white balance, or anything, I strongly suggest you work on facial edits first.

1- Open RAW image in Lightroom, and zoom into the subject’s face.

2- Spot Cleaning
Start with basic spot cleaning on any rough or obvious blemishes on face. I also do spot cleaning on “Heal” NOT “Clone”.

3- Soften Skin
Normally I DO lighten up the skin a smidgen too. I run a second layer over the skin on the darker and rougher spots

4- Sharpen Eyes
I love a good shot with SHARP eyes. (Truly, the secret to a good portrait is SHARP eyes!)
I sharpen and lighten the eyes up a bit. It really makes a huge difference.

5- Burn Eyes
Every woman especially loves bright eyes, a burn over the eyelashes, and shadowing the surrounding creases around the eyes helps bring out the eye. It deepens the eye, and makes a sharper contrast between the whites of the eye, and the eye socket.
Generally I just darken around the entire eye, sometimes I even darken the eyelashes to bring them out more.

6- Enhance the Irises
I admit, I lightened the iris a little more than usual, because I underexposed this picture (as I mentioned before). One of my favorite things to do to the iris, besides lighten and sharpen it a little more, is add a bit of color. Not too much, because it will look too fake. But just enough to bring out some pretty color!

7- Burn the Pupils and Whitening the Whites
(Whitening the whites is a little self explanatory so I don’t have a screen capture for that)
Burning the pupils is important to me, because after enhancing the irises you have a bright iris, and by darkening the pupil and around the iris you bring out the eye more. I find it adds more depth to the eye brings out the eye making it more inviting to stare into. (That sounds creepy, I know, but try it and find out for yourself!)

8 – Edit colors… etc.
NOW you can do your own editing of the colors, white balance, exposure… etc. And admire the finished product of your image! :)

That’s all I have for you today, guys! :) Hope that helps you in your post production work.
Now, open Lightroom, find an awesome portrait to edit, and enjoy! :D

Thanks for reading, hope you have a fantastic week.

I’m trying to catch up these next few weeks. :)

Today I’m SO excited to display the ADORABLE Clark James! <3 We are especially excited about Clark because his daddy was one of my closest cousins growing up. ;)
So watching him switch to daddy mode is just so exciting to us!!!
Welcome Clark James, we LOVE you dearly! Can't wait to do more of your pictures.



While I was in California I got to see a dear friend of mine! <3 Miss Melissa Jane, otherwise known as "Emmy". :P

Even though we only got to be together for about 2 hours, we still had a blast!
Here's some of the "MANY Faces of Emmy".

And, of course, my favorites!


The last time I wrote a blog for Photography tips it was on “What Makes a Good Photographer“. (Which, in all honesty, I never quite finished that series. *BLUSHES* But I have plans to! I wrote out most of the blog I just need to finish it.)
Which I really enjoyed writing because I learned all of this the hard way, but I had so many other photographers encourage me and invest time and information into me. That is what helped me learn the most, the encouragement. Now I want to encourage others and pass on some of this amazing information that was given to me, or that I’ve learned myself!!!

One of the things I REALLY struggled with (and I mean REEEAAAALLLLYYY struggled with) is posing.
Yes, I know. I lost you there for a bit, didn’t I? Who really is a natural poser? Who can really pick up a camera and naturally know how to pose someone else in front of the camera in a beautiful way that compliments their figure in the best possible way?
Yeah… I didn’t think so, me either. ;)

It’s okay, you’re not alone!
Even though I’ve had a good two straight years in learning this, I still struggle with it sometimes!!!

When I do, however, I always find myself remembering some words of wisdom I’ve heard from some other amazing photogs. (One of which is Jasmine Star, and her “Posing FAQs” blogs and advice. And DPS’s “What Everybody Ought to Know About Posing” articles. Can’t sing their praises enough! Definitely read these, they’re worth your time!)

But how can you keep from having your subjects look like their posed in strange positions and have that look like they’re just smiling for the camera… that cliched “Cheese” look with no emotion in their features?
The secret is… You don’t pose and create moments, you CAPTURE moments.

Here are my quick tips on how I do just that. (These are only my techniques, not claiming to have all of the answers, just telling you what has worked for me! :P)

1- Have the couple enjoy their time with one another.
I want them to have moments where they even forget I’m even there.
I mean really, who is comfortable in front of the camera all the time? (Other than models who do it for a living. But I bet even they have times where they’re nervous.)
We’re real people. We want real moments, and real emotion. But when we feel like we’re in the spotlight we panic and feel like we need to perform, and we lose that real emotion.
When you’re shooting a couple you want to keep their attention on one another. Give them a few moments to talk to themselves, look in each other’s eyes and get that “connection” between them. You can snap away so they feel comfortable with you around, snapping pictures, but to truly capture that “moment” you need them to connect with one another’s souls.

2- Constantly encourage your subject/couple.
Again, they’re NERVOUS!!! They feel so self conscious right now. I know how that is, I’ve had to pose for other photographers as well, and I feel so awkward in front of the camera.
One of the best ways to encourage them is by telling them how amazing they look, and how beautiful they are. If your picture looks bad in your view-finder, it’s NOT because of your couple. It’s our job to make them feel comfortable and find another position or setting that makes them look amazing. Sometimes that means scrapping that picture idea and moving onto the next.
But I never EVER, EVER tell my subject that a picture turned out awful. Because they think it’s their fault, something they did wasn’t right, or they looked ugly, or whatever… You want their confidence to build during your shoot.

3- Try natural poses first!
Sometimes a position just doesn’t look right. Even if it looks beautiful to the naked eye, through a lens it just looks iffy. Ever have those moments? Your couple looks AMAZING, but as soon as you take that shot… what happened? It’s a completely different look, and it’s awful! It just doesn’t work.
Instead of trying to pose your couple in grand fashion-magazine-worthy poses, try the natural classic poses first! There’s always a way to make a classic pose look new and different! (Yes, that means you need to get creative with angles, lighting, background, framing… etc. But those are for another time. We’re on poses right now. ;) Don’t let me get side-tracked!)
Find a natural pose that works for your couple, ask them what they do when they’re alone on a date… do they sit down and snuggle? Does he like to put his hand around her waist and pull her in to kiss her? Does she like to play with his hair whenever she hugs him? Do they like to hold hands while they smooch?
Each couple has different things they do to show their affection to one another, and because it’s natural for them, it becomes a cuter and more realistic pose. They naturally fall into the pose, and do their thing… and that makes it easier for you to do #1. ;) Become invisible and capture natural moments and pure emotions.
Keep it simple and natural. You’ll have some of the best outcomes, you don’t need to go all out and find the perfect movie-poster poses that look stiff and positioned. You’ll save yourself the energy and frustration if you find something they’re already good at… just being themselves.

That’s all from me for now!
I’ll bring more to you soon…

Happy shooting!!!

Okay, not going to admit that I’m an expert at this. Just showing some of my first steps with my new “baby”.
I don’t have my rechargeable batteries or my wireless triggers and receivers yet, so the things I REALLY want to shoot with flash I can’t do quite yet. :P
Should arrive early this week. (YAY!)

Anyway, today I was testing out my new Macro Filters!

Macro Filters
(My new Macro filters!)

I walked around the house testing my new babies on just about anything that caught my eye with a “OoOoo! I should capture that!” (Only other photogs would know what I mean. I’m not crazy, I promise, it’s normal.)
I found this gorgeous little baby and put her in front of the window to catch the late-evening sunlight through her petals.

(SOOC – Exposure: 1/100th, Aperture: f/2.8, Focal: 35mm, ISO: 200)

One serious problem with this, the background lighting is pretty, and it lights up the back of the petals well, but the front of the flower is too dark.
Well what do you know?! I did just get a new flash you know! :D

I grabbed my new “baby” (LumoPro LP160) and mounted it onto my camera. I cranked it down to the lowest setting 1/64th, angled it to about a 60-degree angle and bounced the light off the white window frame.

(SOOC – Exposure: 1/100th, Aperture: f/2.8, Focal: 35mm, ISO: 200)
I didn’t change any settings to just test it.
It’s too bright here. Way too bright. I start playing with the settings, I bring up the aperture quite a bit (to bring out farther detail in the flower) and the exposure (to make it ever so slightly darker).

It brings out this image.

(SOOC – Exposure: 1/125, Aperture: f/3.5, Focal: 35 mm, ISO: 200)
This is a lot closer to what I had wanted in the first place. A very soft brightened flower, and a lighter background. Blowing nothing out and soft lighting all around.

I threw it into Lightroom and brought out the colors a bit, fixed the white balance to a warmer tone, and lightened the exposure just a smidgen. ;)

To a full image of…

Anyway, the whole reason of my putting that up is… “A quick pop truly does wonders” :)
I’m encouraged a bit, will be shooting a lot more with the flash as soon as I get my trigger and receiver! :D OCF all the way! It’s the beginning of my whole journey as a strobist! :)

Blessings all!