Sunday, October 25, 2009

Madison's Photo Shoot

Today, I had the pleasure of doing a photo shoot with the adorable Madison. Her mom (Bic) is my cousin. I asked Bic to design my upcoming photography portfolio website. In exchange, I was more than happy to photograph her family. It was a fun shoot and Madison was very cooperative. Normally shooting babies this age can be very challenging because they won't sit still or they will be looking in the wrong direction. At least, this has been my experience from trying to photograph my kids for our annual Xmas card. Hah! Madison however, was very comfortable in front of the camera and smiled easily for me.

1) Let's start with a simple natural shot. We set up a mini studio in their upstairs bedroom. We had great light coming in from the window and we just threw a white sheet on the bed. Babies have such nice skin tones. Look at those huge eyes.

2) Here's a peek at Madison's Halloween costume, a Ladybug. Madison is currently teething and enjoys a nice afternoon snack consisting of her shoe. Munch! Munch!

3) I asked Madison to strike an elegant pose for me. She gave me the classic "looking over my shoulder while pushing a wall" modeling pose. What a natural. I'm very happy with the dress choice. The colors and patterns made for great shots.

4) I like the sharp focus on the eye in this shot. It really pulls you in. That is critical for any type of portrait shot. The eye (at least the closest one to the viewer) must be in focus for the shot to be usable. I always shoot with my camera set to center point focus only. Even though modern day dslr cameras a very smart and are suppose to employ predictive focusing algorithms, there is always room for error. By using the center point focus only, I am basically manually pointing the camera to focus exactly on the spot I want. I learned this while shooting birds in flight. The camera focus so much faster and successfully when you use the center point focus only. This is important when using telephoto lenses or wide open primes which have very shallow depth of fields. If the camera miss focuses on something in front or behind of the eye this renders the eye out of focus and the shot is worthless. No amount of photoshop can fix that. When you put the center focus point on the subjects eye, it gives the camera a nice contrasty area to focus lock on. You will find that you get more in focus usable shots this way. You can always focus lock on the eye first and then adjust the framing of the shot afterward if need be.

5) What a funny expression. Not sure what she was thinking about.

6) I got my 2 front teeth! I took this shot in the shade of the backyard. The green grass and surrounding lush green foliage gave a slight green tint to the skin tones.

7) Just chillin on the brick fence.

8) We spread out some bed sheets on the grass and let Madison crawl around. I was on my belly shooting some low angle shots, when it occurred to be to have both Bic and Keith get in on the shot too. Now everybody was laying on their bellys on the grass.

9) This was shot in their kitchen. We had some nice window light reflecting off their hardwood floors and illuminating their faces. I used Neat Image to smooth out their skin tones.

10 ) Another belly shot. This time everybody is looking at the camera. I think out of the two, I prefer the other shot because Madison has a more interesting expression on her face.

11) Lunch time. During the middle of the shoot, Madison started licking her lips. That's her way of saying, feed me! We took a break from the Photo shoot so that she could down a jar of baby food. I took some quick shots over Keith's shoulder while he was feeding her.

12) We tried to attach a little bow to her hair but it wouldn't stay. Madison did not agree with it and kept on taking it off. We settled for this headband.

13) One of Madison's toys. I like how the green glows against the dark counter top.

14) I wanted the juxtaposition of size between Keith and Madison. She's so tiny next to him.

15) Family shot. I wanted to use my external flash for this shot to give the colors more pop. However, the disposable batteries for my flash died. We ended up moving the couch to the other side of the living room to catch more of the window light. Remind me to purchase some rechargeable batteries.

16) More munching...

17) Bic seems so peaceful in this shot. Ah the beauty of motherhood.

18 ) Hi there!

19) Even her frowns look cute. Hehe.

20) I had to reprocess this shot a couple of times before I was happy with it. For some reason, Keith's face had a lot of red color tones. As I tried to adjust the contrast, it made the redness more apparent. I ended up pushing the cyan color tones to neutralize the red a bit.


  1. I'm telling ya Hung, it's time to hang up the White Coat. Your work has become top notch. I'm in awe at every shoot you've done. Excellent job ;)

  2. I absolutely agree - these are incredible

  3. Thanks guys. I appreciate the feedback. For now I need my day job to pay for my photography equipment. Hah!

  4. Well done Hung!! You are so professional!
    Madison is adorable. I liked them all but
    especially these: 1,3,7,9,12,17. ;-)

  5. this baby looks so good, i want one of my own! i wish i could pull off a ladybug costumer as well as her :)


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