Photography, Portraits

Mixing Portraits, D5100’s and Silver Efex to Get . . .

. . .

Briony - My ChoiceThis morning I put the clothes horse with a black sheet over it, put a chair in front of it and sat Briony down on it.  Then I put up the tripod and put the D5100 in it.  I opened up one of the curtains, and let the light from our overcast day come in.

I am not going to lie, she hates having her photo taken, she thinks she looks ugly, but she did sit for me.  This was my choice of image and was the last one I took.  I started with the camera on portrait mode, then switched it back to Aperture Priority with the aperture set at f5.6.  I think it worked better this way.  The aperture in the portrait mode gave too much depth of field for images like this and you could see how crinkled the sheet behind was.

The image was processed in camera raw, then any marks and blemishes were removed from her face.  The image was then made into black and white in Silver Efex.  I showed her the image, she complained it wasn’t in colour.  I am starting to see that after all these years they are now finally starting to like their red hair.

Briony - her choiceThis was the image she choose and wanted me to do.  She likes how her jaw looks.  I think she looks angry in it, or not happy.  I don’t think she looks as gorgeous.  The first photo, well I can’t take my eyes off hers.

Her choice of image was processed in the same way as the first one, and given the same treatment in Silver Efex.  Though, I did use the burn tool to give her eyes and little bits of her nose more shadow.  I drew them on.

It is so hard to believe she thinks she is ugly, and that she doesn’t photograph well, she has always been good to take photos of.

It was nice to take photos with the D5100.  You can take just about anything you want with it.  It is a great camera, and so far it has passed every test that I have done.  Though, with sports I think the shutter lag would be a problem.  With cycling you need a fast shutter, so it would be a problem for that.  I can see how any new photographer or hobby photographer would enjoy taking portraits with this camera.


It has come to my attention that I have been nominated for some another award.

Blog of the Year 2012, I have received another nomination for this from

Teacher as Transformer

Thank you so much, and I hope others will go and look at their blog.


  1. Tricia's Blogs says

    Hi Leanne, I have not been on the computer in a week or so, but I have the chance now, so I wanted to comment on your daughter’s portrait photo. I agree with you, that the top/first image is the best, and really well done! I think you captured her natural beauty in that pose, and you did a great shot and editing with that one too. Take Care! ~tricia

  2. You have an ‘award’ problem! They keep coming after you. ;) Your daughter is very beautiful and very photogenic! Great work!!

  3. These are wonderful photos of your beautiful daughter. I love the expression in the first one.

  4. Your daughter will one day be very grateful for the gorgeous photos (of the gorgeous subject!) – so make her sit :-)

  5. I prefer the first shot of your daughter but I can understand why she prefers the second. Attitude!

  6. Please tell Briony that these photos are stunning, and btw you don’t always need colour because the colour of your charactor shines though when B&W takes all other distractions away.
    Seriously… I like both photos, very much, she thinks she’s not photogenic??? wow, think again!!!
    The top photo is more “conventional” in it’s pose, yes I agree that her eyes draw you in, but I’m with her on this one, the second image shows SO much more personality.
    This is the portrait of someone I’d be happy to have a long conversation with , she is clearly intellegent, a thinker, has views, opinions, it’s a strong photo, but yet soft at the same time.
    She may not be smiling in a conventional way but her eyes are *not* hard, and the sparkle in them leads you to believe that there is a big grin just seconds away.
    I can only wish that I could get such a beautiful portrait as this from my kids…both are going through a camera-shy phase at the moment.
    Briony, even if you may not think it yourself, you ARE a BEAUTIFUL young woman and you photograph brilliantly!

    • Thank you kiwidutch, she has, or so she said read all of the comments, so she will know what you have said, thank you so much for writing this.

  7. Your daughter is a real * Stunner * Leanne, and I am sure that she will be thrilled in the future to have these portrait images of herself , which others have thought were beautiful too . Lovely, just lovely.

    • Thank you glanceobservecapture, you daughter is as well, aren’t they terrible thinking that way about themselves. I don’t understand it.

  8. I agree with all that has been said of your subject etc. I can’t help but wonder if there would be any difference had you shot in black and white mode on the D5100 rather than get rid of the colour post-production. Would be interesting to see the beautiful Briony in a native B+W shot. :-)

    • I don’t tend to do that Bruce, because I don’t like the way it limits my use of the images, then they always have to be black and white. One day I will look at the photos and think her gorgeous hair should stand out. I like being able to choose.

  9. ladyjemini says

    Your daughter is beautiful! These are lovely images, nice work!

  10. I too like the first shot better. The symmetry of the hands, the textures of the hair and the depth of the eyes – all come together to produce a though-provoking image. Nice shot, nice light, nice work. D

  11. You are such a Beautiful young Woman……………………….Enjoy life ! Let no one take advantage of you or your Heart.

    Jamie Lee – Crystal Connection

  12. She’s beautiful! I especially like the first portrait. I can understand why she likes the second though – if she’s a teen they go through their angry phase – I think it is an outward protection of inward insecurity – they want to project a tough image to the world so their insecurities won’t show through.

  13. I’m on the verge of picking up a D5100, but like you mentioned one of my biggest concerns is the 4fps and the fact that I shoot a lot of sports (mostly soccer) and wildlife and I’m wondering how that’s going to work for me? I use a Sony Cybershot with 10FPS burst which is perfect, but its not a DSLR . Still…The D5100 is mostly likely going to be my choice. I’ll just have to hone my skills and anticipate the play more closely. Great site you have here!

    • The real problem is that if you want a camera that will be good for sport you have to spend big bucks. My camera was a couple of thousand, and it is really good for sport. You have to decide what is more important. I would try it with the 5100, see how you go, you might find it is fine. Good luck.

  14. I prefer the first photo as well. It’s not just the eyes, but the eyebrows and cupped hands which, to me, work to accentuate them. As a very unprofessional photographer myself, I can, however, appreciate good composition. Anyone who thinks photography isn’t a creative art is living in the Pre-Kodak Age.

  15. Beautiful portraits. The first is conventional and I see why you prefer it as a mother. But as a photographer I think the lower image is stronger and exhibits more of her character. It looks less posed and more interactive.

    • I’m not sure about the look up the nose Andrew, I can see some merit in it, but I would have liked the look without the nostrils, haha. Thanks for your thoughts.

  16. It’s unanimous – She is a beautiful young lady. I personally prefer the 1st pic. I like how you included the one she preferred too though.

  17. Beautiful photos and your model is beautiful too. I agree with you that the first picture is the best. Her eyes just draw you in and make you wonder what she’s thinking. The second picture is good too, though she seems sad, like she needs a hug. :) I assume she’s your daughter. Keep telling her how lovely she is, and let her know that many others agree. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes cshowers she is my daughter, nice to have models living in to practice on. I agree with you about the eyes, they really do draw you in. Thank you. :)

  18. Gorgeous!! I like both shots…the first is captivating to say the least, but the second, the one she likes…I also like her jaw, but the line of her neck is striking.

    GORGEOUS!! :) Thanks, once again, for posting and teaching!!

    • Thank you, she would have been happy with what you said about the second shot. You’re welcome, glad you like it. :)

  19. both are great pictures, I agree that the first is more captivating, but can see why your model prefers the second. Amazing what you can do with a sheet and some natural light ;-)

    • The sheet and natural light were brilliant, I really want to play with it a lot more. The other daughter wants some photos taken of her now. Haha, she loves having her photo taken. Thanks.

  20. What lovely photos — Briony looks beautiful. Both your girls are gorgeous, Leanne. I’m glad they are liking their red hair. (It’s no wonder redheads get self-conscious when they’re called rangas!)

    • I can remember my girls coming home very upset about being called a ranga, I told them that if that was the only thing that kids could find to tease them about then they were lucky. Thank you so much Steph.

  21. Beautiful portrait work.

    Like you, the first one is an absolutely gorgeous photo. The second photo, it has to be done in B&W to convey the “attitude”.

  22. oneowner says

    I did one senior photo for a family member this year and, although everyone agreed the photos were good, she didn’t seem pleased with any of them. Could be a teenage thing, I don’t know.
    I’ve been using the D5100 with kit lens in the studio at the Museum and I’m very impressed with it. Granted, studio work is not hard on cameras like field work, but the resulting images are superb.

    • I think it might be, teenagers seem to hate what they look like.
      The D5100 has gone back now, but it was fun to use, and I can see how it would be good for some things. I think I would end up breaking it, probably not good for me. It did do well in these images, thanks

  23. Oh, Leanne…these are so very perfect in B/W!!! Whatever it is in Briony’s head that’s telling her she is not beautiful, I hope she can lose ASAP! She is gorgeous, and has very expressive eyes and wonderful bones…and GREAT hair! (Please tell her I said so…and I’ve photo’d many people, especially back when I was shooting video and NO amount of ‘lighting tricks’ could ever make them look more than what they were–not pretty at all!).

    The D5100 is on my list!!!

    • Thank you so much 1000, she did read the comments, so I know she read what you wrote. I love her hair too, I would have loved her hair when I was her age.
      The D5100 nice camera, though I am finding I am falling out of love with Nikon right now.

  24. petit4chocolatier says

    Your daughter is beautiful! Love the pictures :)

  25. She is just a beautiful girl and her eyes in that first shot really is amazing :) She shouldn’t think she’s ugly at all! She’s very photogenic! Nice to know you’ve tested out the camera and it really sounds like a good one :)

    • Thanks Amanda, I agree with all your said about her. :) The camera is good, and I think anyone who has one would be very happy.

  26. thanks for popping over to my blog! your daughter looks great in both pictures but like you I prefer the first one, those eyes are incredible. Also I quite liked that they’re somehow in contrast with gentle positioning of her hands

  27. Leanne, these portraits of your lovely daughter are so excellent and wonderful. I wish i had a model for portraits like you have ;-)

  28. Leanne, tell that child to stop it. She could have been born ugly. :-) Both of these are really good, but the first one is so pretty … I just like her expression in the first. BEAUTIFUL girl. Period!

  29. Love that top image, Leanne – the tones are gorgeous and, as you say, the gaze is mesmerising. Also I’m a huge fan of Silver Efex. Adrian

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