So I was initially going to write a blog about this image because I love how it turned out. I love how the butterfly and the feathers around her fit with the theme and the image. I love the styling in this. However, having thought about it a lot, I decided this blog would better serve as an example of just how much work goes into creating each individual fine art portrait and how I get to a final image.
Below are two completely unedited images that are part of the composite that made up my final image. I actually used more layers than this, to enhance the shawl, add the butterfly and even change the direction of her gaze (she was looking at me next to the camera as I was holding it to my right).
So how long did this portrait take me to create in total? Planning and outfits aside, I spent about an hour in the studio photoshoot and another two to three hours editing. That's just for this one portrait. I will explain briefly what that editing entailed:
The photos are not all this different from the original, and there are some which are even more so, but I guarantee the work that goes into making an image this refined is a similar process in terms of time and skill. I've shared another example below, where I had the outfit and expression I wanted in camera.
You may wonder why I needed to do all of this editing and not 'just get it in camera'. While I do usually get a lot of what I want in camera, my priority on the day is to create a fun enjoyable experience for all - including and especially the children, some of whom are very young! I tend to prefer to refine the details in post that would affect the mood of the photoshoot. For example above, I knew that I could have covered the t-shirt under Finley's cloak, but I preferred to make sure I captured the pose expression he had at the time and did not wish to ruin that!
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom allow me to create and enhance outfits and styling, which really helps, especially in family photos, where it is difficult to coordinate outfits to a professional photograph standard on the day eg. consistent colours throughout. These photographs, after all, are intended to be artwork you can hang on your wall for generations to come!