Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bath Time

People complain that the internet is full of too many pretty pictures of babies, flowers, and sunsets.

Well, I'm going to choose to be part of the problem here and not part of the solution.

My wife Jess and I just became parents last November when she gave birth to our son Logan. Logan has a pretty wild story--after looking at the ultrasound the doctor told us we were having a girl. My wife kept up a nice pregnancy blog about preparing for little "Kate". We didn't find out that he was a boy until the doctor caught him and handed him over to us. What a shock!

The story gets juicier, but I'll let Jess' blog tell you the rest. She started a new one once we had our little man; here's the first post of the new blog detailing the drama.

Back to the photography...

One of our favorite things now is getting the whole family into the bath together. Logan loves it, we love it, the lighting's beautiful, and it's just dying for some photographs.

Baby pictures are fun because you get to just blast away. I took about 60 photos, about 10 of which were garbage, and another 40 were good memories but not worth sharing. Out of the rest I tried to pick a few that were blog-worthy.

A few things I learned:

One, where the baby's looking is all-important. The problem with a lot of the photos was just that he was looking down and to the right (like he always seems to be doing). The photos looked best when he was looking at the camera or at Jess; I imagine they would have looked cute if he was looking upward, too, but he never seems to do that :).

Two, I need to learn to use the auto-focus better. Things were moving too quickly for me to focus manually (and I often seem to do a poor job of focusing manually anyway!), and I had trouble getting it to focus on what I wanted. One of my favorite shots from the batch (below) turned out to be out of focus :(. I had some success with centering the image on something, holding the button down to focus, and then framing the shot. Just being more deliberate with that technique may be the key. Anyway, I think this calls for another post all about focusing!

On to the photo editing. The photos responded well to some work.

First, the colors came out a lot stronger with a good increase in saturation. The saturation alone seemed to really brighten up the image.

After that, everyone looked really pink! This was the first time I've made use of the "Hue" slider; moving the hue to the right made his eyes brighter and his skin greener, balancing out some of that pink.

I also increased the contrast a little, but it didn't need much.

Finally, before posting the image to her blog, Jess did some of her own work on the photo in Picasa. Picasa has some impressive tools that seem to work magic. She removed the little blemish on his cheek in Picasa using the retouch tool, and added some fill light to further brighten the image.

The other photos took the same adjustments to different degrees. I never touched the levels or curves directly for these--the sliders seemed to produce the best results.


  1. Congratulations on your new son. These photos are beautiful and very special.
    I have just started learning all about photography (and my new camera), and luckily have two precious subjects of my own. Your entries are terrific and perfect for what I'm experimenting with at the moment.
    Keep up the great work!

  2. I can never get enough of baby photos :) I just became a grandmother and Sarah is 8 months old. I am taking photos of her all the time. Your wife Jess is beautiful and Logan is such a handsome little one. What a beautiful family you have!

  3. can i just say.. GORGEOUS!! photos and especially the subjects! ;) and i agree.. can NEVER have too many photos of babies! oh how i MISS those years!! my babies are all grown up, and my little grandson has graduated to toddler world now..and oh so far away.
    thanks for sharing your art.. and your KNOWLEDGE to us newbies!


  4. The reason the web is filled with babies, flowers and sunsets is because we continue to see the inspiration and the beauty in those subjects. I do try to push myself beyond those subjects as well, but we'll always come back to the people and things we love for inspiration. Your family is beautiful.

    Thank you for noticing my blog. I appreciate critique and hope you enjoy what you see. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future. :)

  5. Hi...your baby is sooo cute. And I love all your pictures....

  6. Great job! I just recently started to use Picasa as well. Keep up the good work! :) Congrats on the new member of the family!