Tween Headshots { Studio City Children’s Headshot Photographer }

I lucked up.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t luck.  It was law of attraction manifesting.  And after having done the cute preschool girl and appreciating that so much, the universe sent me  a variation on the theme.  I had the pleasure of photographing a tween girl, Miss A., from Sherman Oaks.  She’s a child model / actress and needed some headshots, so we went out to the park, and voila!

She’s a pro, she keeps it moving instinctively and I hope she gets a lot of work!



Shelter Dogs

I belong to an organization that photographs shelter dogs, so that they can be seen at their best and improve their chance of adoption. Most of the photos taken by the shelter itself are of a very frightened dog, in an unattractive surrounding with fluorescent lighting. We take the dogs outside in the shelter yard, let them romp a bit, wait until they are tired enough to give us the time of day and then try to catch their personality on film.

For instance, this dog, Sasha, is part German Shepherd and part Pembroke Corgi. But if you only saw her face, you’d think she was a large dog, thereby erroneously scaring off people who don’t want a large dog. So I attempted to get her body in the shot so that you see she’s a German Shepherd head on a Corgi body. LOL. He/she (I swear I can’t remember – the name Sasha is a boy’s name in Russia, girl’s name everywhere else) was the sweetest little house dog. You could tell by the way she sat on the park bench as if it were a sofa. Lounging is a learned skill for domesticated animals, and she was lounging very comfortably and accustomed to being petted, especially behind the ears.   And she was all about the treats, unlike some of the other dogs who eschewed all manner of bribery. I don’t know why her owner surrendered her, but she was loved before she got here, that’s for sure.


This is just my initial post – I’m in a hurry, but I will update this with her shelter number and links to other pages with information on her, as well as photos and profiles of the other two dogs I photographed that day.

UPDATE:  This dog was saved from the shelter by an area rescue! Not sure which one, but if you’re really interested, I could find out from my shelter contact.

Outtake from Tween Headshot Session w/Miss A. – { Studio City Child Headshot Photographer }

I will not post the best picture first.
I will not post the best picture first.
I will not post the best picture first.

I have to remind myself to not ruin the presentation of things by getting to the dessert without an appetizer or main dish first.  I always zero in on something I like and work on it and can’t wait to show the client, but I’m trying to curb my natural responses, so I’m posting a nice, casual outtake.

Working on editing a headshot session I did for a really pretty tween aged girl. I’m a singer, so I’ve done tons of promotions photos, and what I know from doing that is that I am not a model.  I don’t think like a model, I don’t even understand the concept.  And although I’ve gotten better over the years (make sure there’s a smile in my eyes, tilt my skin down – but not too far), there is nothing naturally photogenic about me.

This girl, however, reminds me of an adult model I’ve shot before.  She instinctively knows to keep it flowing, to give me something different every so often.  She’s fluid and keeps altering teeny things – a head tilt here, a smile there.  Natural model.  The girl I did before was a natural model for a toddler. Totally the correct modeling aptitude for a little person, but there is a different level of expectation for older models.  And Miss A. knows how to work it.  Instinctively, little direction needed, no lessons or anything contrived – just an innate concept of what having your photo taken is about.

The Value of Weeding Through Old Photos

I just rebuilt my website back in March of this year, and so there is the business of going back and rebuilding all the posts I lost from my previous site (death at the hand of Euro-hacking), which apparently, I’m not that jazzed at doing, seeing how sparse prior entries are.

But in the process of doing this, I have to go back through my old photos and it reminds me which things I previously thought were blog worthy, and thus are worthy of revisiting.

I came across these pictures of my youngest son and was struck by so many things.

1)  Don’t wait for special occasions to photograph your kids.

Anytime in the first 5 years is a special occasion.  They change every 2 seconds, and although they change significantly less quickly  after age 4 1/2, every photo is a time capsule.

For instance, here in these photos is a nice, round scar on Cole’s forehead.  I was SOOO upset when it happened. I saw the whole thing and was helpless to do a thing about it.  It was my older son’s first week of preschool, and as we ran back from the bathroom, Cole upended himself and fell so hard that he actually rolled forward AFTER hitting the ground face down.  He didn’t cry for super long, but that scar remained for months.  In these photos, it’s already 3 months old. but still visible.

2) Casual can be great.  These photos allowed him just to play and be himself, and I worked around that to get smiles.  Much more genuine that having him seated.  It really depends on age and temperament, but super young toddlers aren’t having it.  You’ve got to meet them where they live.

3) Go back and weed your photos later. You never know if you’ll remember to take any other photos in this time span of one tooth, or natural mohawk, whatever, so you keep everything initially.  But, it’s so much easier to be objective a year later.  Do I really need a bunch of out of focus photos?  Do I need 17 of the exact same, perfect photo? Having a lot of photos is great, but keeping bad ones sort of has the effect of devaluing the whole bunch.  Sort of like a Prince four-disc CD set without anyone else editing his work. I’m sure Crystal Ball has at least 8 KILLER songs on it, but I never seem to find the time to weed through 30 other songs.

Child Model Headshots – { Studio City Child Actor Headshot Photographer }

I had the pleasure of doing a headshot photography session with a preschool-aged girl that I know.  And as all moms are, hers was nervous and concerned, but no need.  This kid’s a natural.  Most of the photos below are merely outtakes. Visit her entry in the Galleries page to see the slides with the best shots, but even her outtakes are great.  She’s got tons of personality and didn’t wear down, even having to ignore distractions of other kids playing at the park in Studio City where we shot.  She’s a child actress-model, and with her love of being in front of the camera, it seems to be a great match.

Anatomy of Minimal Color Correction & Retouching – { Studio City Children’s Headshot Photographer }

What a camera does, in the way of measuring light, is to give you a correct exposure.  It gives you a mathematically correct  photo.  Here’s where a photographer comes in: technically correct is not necessarily aesthetically pleasing.  Everyone has a camera, so it’s so easy and to assume that it’s better and more expensive equipment that makes the difference between an okay photo and a dazzling photo. Here is an example of why any decent photographer isn’t going to “shoot and burn”, to take a bunch of photos and turn around and hand them over with no culling, no post-processing.  Just as photographers back in the day who shot on film had to go and to develop the film and make prints a specific way, adjusting things to make a great photo, so do digital photographers.

This example was from a recent photo session for a toddler girl’s acting/modeling headshot in Studio City. It was a great day, but quite sunny, so we shot most photos under the bough of some trees.

Notice that although the first photo is adequately exposed, meaning there is enough light in it, but the QUALITY of light is the issue.  The light in the shade is slightly bluish, and the light is so soft that there is very little contrast.  Once I warmed up the color temperature, her eyes pop naturally – no enhancement necessary.  Contrast was tweaked as well. I lightened a few blemishes, but no major surgery – for children’s headshots, agents prefer or require natural looking shots of what a child actually looks like. The mole on her left cheek is a permanent feature, thus it was left alone.

For kids’ headshots, the aim is closer to really high quality snapshots than retouched portraits. Better than what you’d do on your own, but not overly “done”.

*Note: the unretouched picture on the left was shot in the RAW format, so picture is even less sharp or bright than an in camera JPEG would be, however, in camera JPEGs compress photos and lose information, so a lot of photographers shoot in RAW, which requires a little more post-processing, but ends up with higher quality photos.


Super cool hidden Mac Feature: Undelete file back to original location

When I bought a mac 5 or 6 years ago, I was astounded and disappointed to see an old and oft-used feature from Windows was missing in what was touted to be such a user friendly platform.  Undelete.  Yes, you can sift through the OS X trash can and find things you’ve deleted, but you can’t get them to pop back to their original location, which is a serious, serious pain in the butt.  Where’d it come from?  With Windows, you undelete and it just goes back to where it came from.

Searching on Mac forums to find a solution, I didn’t see one.  I saw convoluted and ridiculous (as usual) workarounds from fanboys and admonishments to not delete things period.  Wow.  Turns out, OS X only suffers from lacking PR in this area: the feature exists!

Why it’s not touted or publicized enough that people know it, I don’t know, but there is indeed a working undelete function in OS X!  Yay.

Here’s how you do it:

1) Go to the trash folder

2) Click the file(s) you deleted that you want to restore to the original location

3) Right click and select: Put back.

or if you’d like, you can Delete the file from trash and instead of it erasing the file, it pops it right back to the previous location.  So either click command+delete, or use the red delete icon (if you’ve enabled that in the finder toolbar) and it restores your file.

Screenshot: How to undelete Finder Files from Mac OSX Trash

Screenshot: How to undelete and put back Finder Files from Mac OSX Trash to former location

Holy crap!  You mean it’s been hiding under my nose this whole time?  Apple forum apologists were defending Apple for not including a necessary feature that they actually DID include? Maybe if they’d stop being so defensive, they’d realize this feature exist and publicize it.  This solves one of my top 10 OS X peeves, and I’m thrilled.

Please share this so your Apple friends and Windows switchers know that you can restore files almost as easily as you could in Windows in OS X.



There are some caveats.

1) The delete has to have occured inside finder and not inside an application

2) The file needs to be on an indexed drive

3) There is still no way to sort trash files by useful columns such as “Date Deleted” or “Original Location”

So while it’s nice that they (re)introduced this feature with Snow Leopard, it still needs work to be as useful as it could.