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Christmas Card 2011
Christmas Card 2011

Photograph Information Photographer's Comments
Challenge: Family III (Basic Editing)
Camera: Canon EOS-50D
Lens: Canon EF-S 15-85mm IS USM
Location: Madison, WI
Date: Nov 28, 2011
Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1
Galleries: Family, Animals
Date Uploaded: Nov 28, 2011

I debated entering this photo. I assume it won't do all that well due to the "boring" nature of it. This photo doesn't break any real new ground, but does show a classic family in a classic Christmas pose. Plus, all the work I put into getting this right, I had to use it for something other than just the annual Christmas card :)

Lighting of this shot was just about the most DIY I have ever done. I don't yet have an umbrella or soft box stand, so I really had to improvise. I setup a ladder to the left of this scene. I put a flash gelled with full CTO on the second rung of the ladder. Because I wanted somewhat softer light, I used a dowel to hang a 5-in-1 reflector as a make shift soft box. To prevent light leak, I moved a chair to the side of the ladder. the caused the somewhat dramatic lighting, but I needed some fill light. All I did here was close our bright white window blinds to cause some reflection of the flash light. I then used a long shutter time to ensure the tree and background were nicely exposed.

Then came the hard part. We all donned some nice clothes, and got Cody to stop crying for a few minutes (evenings he is very fussy). Then we had to try to get him and Nala to look in the general direction of the camera while I popped off shots with my wireless trigger.

The end result is a fantastic (in my mind) shot of our family, and the very first family photo we have done. This is going to be one of my treasures that I keep in my office.

Post Processing:
* Crop
* White Balance
* Increase exposure, brightness, and recovery
* Decrease black point
* Increase definition
* Curves to lighten the photo
* Brighten the shadows slightly
* Export as TIFF
* Resize
* Sharpen Edges
* Save as JPEG

I really wish people oriented challenges would stop being Basic editing. I really could have used Advanced to remove the reflection in the glass of the fireplace, whiten my teeth, and brighten Nala's eye.

[Dec. 1st, 2011 11:37:10 AM]

It's funny, I already have two comments about the dog looking to the camera. Nala is actually very good about this. Probably because she has been a major subject of mine since she was a puppy, that now she seems to understand what is going on (as much as she can). She does a good job of interacting with the camera, and even listens to the shutter clicks to know when I'm done.

It was actually harder to get Cody to look forward, he was much more interested in the ladder holding up my lighting :)

Place: 11 out of 64
Avg (all users): 5.8430
Avg (commenters): 7.3000
Avg (participants): 5.5870
Avg (non-participants): 5.9365
Views since voting: 745
Views during voting: 297
Votes: 172
Comments: 11
Favorites: 0

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12/07/2011 08:13:38 PM
"This is going to be one of my treasures that I keep in my office. "

... and in your heart.

I love it. Congrats on it all. :D
  Photographer found comment helpful.
 Comments Made During the Challenge
12/06/2011 08:50:49 PM
First intellegent lab Ive seen in a while !!! He steals the show
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2011 05:32:35 PM
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/06/2011 09:09:54 AM
It's a lovely family photo but you've apparently squashed them into the bottom half of the frame. To me it looks much better cropped just above their heads.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/04/2011 03:25:56 PM
Nice Christmas picture. Lovely portrait of a handsome family. I like the soft, darker background with lights.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/04/2011 07:07:20 AM
Does the job well,realistic lighting.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/01/2011 11:30:58 AM
like this naturally look of this nice familiy portrait
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/01/2011 01:14:31 AM
Bonus point because the dog looks so darn serious, and the kid just a little silly. Makes for a great card!!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
12/01/2011 12:46:56 AM
Merry Christmas!
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2011 01:37:53 PM
Rare to get perfect eye contact from the family pet, haha. This is a nice happy shot, it would indeed make a nice xmas card for friends and family. Good exposure, nice focus, it certainly portrays family. My only niggle would be that the main subjects are half-way down the shot, although I understand you wanted the tree in there too. A very nice image overall.
  Photographer found comment helpful.
11/30/2011 09:16:56 AM
WOW - I wish I had our tree up. Sweet!!
  Photographer found comment helpful.

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