Photography, Portraits


For a while, I have wanted to get photos of my daughters.  They aren’t very co-operative, well, not like they were when they were little.  Now the hair has to be right, and, of course, they need to be in the right mood.  One loves to have her photo taken and the other hates it.  Impossible to get one of both of them together.

She wasn’t happy, wouldn’t do much, and I think the face says it all.  Though, her expression really helps with the tone of the image.  I like the intensity of her eyes.  They seem to stare straight at you.

I wanted to do these photos to try out the new lens I got.  I purchased a 24-70mm 2.8 lens.  I wanted a good lens for portraiture, and I believe this one is going to be perfect for it.  This image was taken with it.  It is beautiful to use.  It is very heavy, but that is OK.

So, processing, well I did much the same as I have been doing in the past, just a few things were done differently.  I copied the image and layed it on top, blurred the new layer, then added a mask and went over the eyes, the lips, a little of the nose and some of the hair, so they weren’t blurred.  I think this helps give an intensity to the face.

The second session was brilliant, she was happy to have her photo taken.  We agreed that she would let me take the images I wanted, as long as I did some that she wanted.  It was a pleasure doing these.

This image is one of the last.  I was having a lot of trouble with the light in her room, and then in the end what we did was have her sit on the bed.  I focused the image with the lights on and turned the auto focus off, turned off the light, then took the image with flash bouncing off the wall.  I loved the effect.  It is great having family that you can practice with.

I processed this image the same as the first.  Though the background has two blurred layers, her body one, and no blur on the eyes, lips, around the nose, and some of the hair.

I forgot to mention that I promised both of them that I would remove any acne I saw on their faces, and I did that with the spot healing brush on Photoshop.

It is unusual to see portrait like shots on my blog, but I do think it is necessary at times.  I want to do more, but I would like to do more like this.  I don’t think a portrait has to be someone looking beautiful and smiling in front of a camera.  I like these images because I think they both tell a story.

I have included the originals, they are very different, in colour.

Hope you are having a great weekend.  If you are in the Northern Hemisphere I hope you are keeping cool, and those in the USA that are near the fires, I hope you are keeping safe.  For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, I hope you are keeping warm.

Oh, just quickly I have just realised that this post is my 350th, can’t believe I have written that many.  They all have photos, that is a lot of photos.  Sorry, had to share.


  1. Stephanie says

    You have beautiful girls!!! In spite of their different approaches to the portrait sitting, both shots came out wonderfully….

    • Thanks Stephanie, The first was a pain, and I got about 20 shots, the other was great I did almost a 100. I didn’t mind, I liked the attitude.

  2. I have the same problems with my kids. Great portraits though and I love the processing you’ve done. really sets them off.

    • Kids can be a pain can’t they. Yeah, I was happy with them in the end. It was the first time I had processed portraits like this, and I think it is something I want to do more in the future. Thanks.

  3. Congratulations on 350, Leanne! These are really arresting – love what you’ve done with the processing. It’s really brought out the intensity in the gaze. Great stuff.

    • Thanks Richard, it didn’t seem to take long either. I love the intensity too, I really want to do more now. Though I might have to find some other subjects.

  4. Mary-Q says

    Pretty Photos, never really taken any portraits images (with the intent of them being just that) I usually just photograph nature and still photos. Really like these ones, as you say different stories, different personalities and beautiful girls.

    • Thanks Mary, it is interesting photography people, you should try it. It seems like an easy thing to do, but when you start doing it, you realise it isn’t. Can get some lovely results. Thank you, they are very different girls.

  5. Great tips on layering and blurring. It really makes the eyes ‘pop’ and softens the background.

    • It is great, I had sort of heard of it before, but it was the first time I had tried, will definitely be doing it again.

  6. those are beautiful portraits, your girls should be proud, I think you’ve really captured some of their character in these pictures.

    • Thanks Mr Bunny, I am proud of the shots and the second was happy, but the first wanted to be paid to have her photo on my blog. I didn’t pay her, she will get over it.

  7. Congratulations on 350 posts – very impressive. Love the images. They seem to speak teenager to me.

    • Thanks Liz, seems to have happened quickly, the 350 posts that is. They really do speak teenager, especially the first one, she was so annoyed and it is written all over her face. Attitude, and plenty of it.

  8. Great shots, Mom! The final images are atmospheric and moody…like most young-adult women I know!
    Love that yellow wall in the original…

    • I like the way you have aligned their attitudes with the images, or the processing of them.
      The yellow wall is new, we did it earlier this year, not a great colour to photograph in though.

  9. Lovely daughters! She clearly doesn’t like her photo taken aye? Thanks for the well wishes for those in Colorado too, and yep it’s been super hot. Was 100 here 2 days ago, 95 yesterday and 90 today with ZERO rain in sight. 100 is not normal for Michigan.

    • You wouldn’t think so when you see how many self portraits she does with her phone. She just wasn’t in the mood, normally she is really good about it.
      No need to thank me for the well wishes, I know what it is like to live through bushfires, we had the worst ones in Australia’s history here about 3 years ago, they weren’t far from where we lived. Though the aftermath was far worse in many ways. Keep cool John, it is freezing here.

  10. The processing is lovely. I actually like the pose on the second one with her hands around her knees. I think you have captured something about each of their personalities. Good job!

    • She was fantastic to take photos of, and these were some of the last of the session. It was my favourite as well. I think the first one, was the best of the bunch. It was hard with her, perhaps another day. Thank you.

  11. I like these portraits – they have captured the mood of the moment and shown a bit of your daughters’ personality. Thank you – and them – for sharing them with us.

    • Yes, definitely the mood of the moment, they are definitely teenagers, and have the attitudes to go with them. Wonderful and loving one minute, the horrible and rude the next. I live in hope they will be wonderful adults one day. Thanks Colline.

  12. You have certainly captured both your daughters with looks of determination (which they have obviously inherited from you?)…they are very good-looking and even better-looking in the finished shots. It is also obvious that you ‘let them be who they are’, which comes across well in each pose.

    Fine, very fine work, Leanne…portraits someday become great memories!

  13. freespiritfelts says

    I think the pictures turned out awesome. you have beautiful girls. The expressions were perfect to be honest. They have readable faces.

    • I have to admit, while the first one was being a cow about it, I really like that her expression tells you what she was thinking. Same with the other one. I really the images. Thank you.

    • I think she would love to hear that, she certainly has a very strong personality, so it seems I have captured her well. Thank you.

    • I have to admit that I was really happy with how her eyes turned out and the process I used is something I really want to do again. Thanks Rebecca.

  14. I really like the fact that my eyebrows are visible. My self esteem just went up!

  15. Such lovely photographs! I haven’t tried portraits yet, mostly random shots of loved ones. Maybe I’ll try some more ‘formal’ portraiture in future.:)

    • YOu should, it can be a lot of fun. Especially if the people you are photographing are fun. I did some yesterday and it was hard, but the people I was photographing were wonderful and it was a lot of fun. Go for it. :)

  16. I really enjoyed the photos of your daughters, and I especially like reading about your process–both how you enveigle them to pose and how you post-process. You give me courage to try to get my daughter to pose again.

    • I think it is a great idea. I think taking the attitude that it doesn’t matter what they give you, you will be able to use is good. I had also been telling my girls for a few weeks that I wanted to do it, so by the time I said, now, they just let me. Good luck.

      • My daughter posed for me once last summer, and I loved it. Inspired by you, I asked her again yesterday and she said yes. So tonight it is. See what a good effect you’ve had?

  17. Great portraits. Taking pictures of family is truly hard because its difficult to set aside the history of your relationships and patience can get frayed quickly. Other people can be encouraged and persuaded. Moving on with our photography is very necessary, I see that with your next post. I feel that about mine. The technique of layer blurs is great on landscape as well. These two are very strong portraits of two strong characters. Love the toning and dark moodiness.

    • Thank you John, you are so right about family, they are so tough. Though, the second one was great, she wanted some images of herself, so we made an agreement. I know the other one will let me do it again. She doesn’t feel great about herself, so seeing what everyone writes her, I hope, will boast her confidence.
      I love the blurring and the layering, it is fast becoming very important to my processing.

    • The second one was very happy to have her photo taken, but the first one loves taking photos of herself, but she really didn’t want me to do it that day. She can be a bugger like that sometime. :)

  18. 2kdb2 says

    I actually liked the originals as well in these — the glowing shelves behind her, and the yellow wall. One thing I’d suggest in either case, original or post-processed, would be to edit out the backgrounds… In the first, the railing could be ‘erased’ by smudging the color or painting over; in the second, I’d crop it oval, and leave out her lower legs and the shelves. Just a suggestion, to bring more focus to her face… (which is “pensive”, not unhappy!)

    • It is always interesting to see what other people would do. I have to admit, I didn’t really like your ideas, and they aren’t the way I would do it. The things you wanted to take out where exactly the things I wanted in them. I wouldn’t crop her legs, because I like that, and oval cropping, not for me, that takes me back to images from 100 years ago. Thanks for your suggestions.

      • 2kdb2 says

        Thanks Leanne; those were just some suggestions. Although perhaps I should rephrase that the idea was just to erase a few marginal elements, and not the entire backgrounds! I agree that an oval would be too victorian, but if the just the sheet to the left of her leg could be darkened, I think it would be less of a distraction, and provide contrast behind your signature. I loved the softening and blurring you did, and assumed it was a lens effect, like Lensbaby. That’s something missed with digital cameras these days. Cheers! — Kim

      • I am sorry, I do get very protective when people start telling me what I should do, I have had a bad experience in the past, and I get very defensive.
        I think what you have just said about the backgrounds is worth considering, I never know how far to go with the blurring, it is something new for me. I haven’t heard of Lensbaby, what is that? Sorry again, if I seemed rude.

  19. Wow, you have some awesome “post-production” skills. The enhancements are really effective!

    • Thank you, it has taken a lot of learning and research. Well worth the effort. Thank you, it is always good to hear that people like what you have done.

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