Making “The Shot” | McGowan Images Blog


Making “The Shot”

It’s that time again! Because we’re not shooting as much through January & February, we’ve got time to go through the questions we’ve been asked, and do a few “behind the scenes” blog posts.

As with most of our posts dealing with editing, the point of this blog is making the distinction between “taking a photo” and “making art”. We do take photos. That’s the biggest part of our job. We WORK at it, and leave nothing to chance. But beyond just setting the camera properly and clicking the shutter, there’s work that goes in before and after to make sure the final product is a piece of art we’re proud of, and something our clients can treasure for generations.

A great example of that was Miss Taylor’s bridal session. This was a bridal mini-session, and due to circumstances beyond our control, we were losing the light FAST. The bride’s gown hadn’t been altered completely yet, so in order to have it fit right for our portraits, we used her Dad’s wood clamps to hold the back in place… you can see that here. 🙂

The light was hitting in her parents’ front field PERFECTLY, but it might not have still been there in the time it would take to drive around through the gate. So what did we do? We helped the bride in her gown climb a fence.

And through fences and clamps and brambles and sharp rocks, we found this spot of complete gorgeousness, which created one of our favorite bridal portraits of all time… seen here both before & after editing.

So beautiful, right?

We had a lot of opportunity for this when we were in Tahoe recently. We’ve heard so many comments from Kevin & Nicole’s portraits, saying the lake just didn’t look real. Well, I’m here to tell you, it WAS that still, with that kind of perfect reflection. Absolutely stunning. But obviously, the piece of art was created with a little help from lighting on location and editing at home.

I wish I had a pulled back shot of this lighting set up, because I think y’all would enjoy seeing Mack standing on a rock between me and the couple, just out of frame on the right, holding a huge light stick way up over his head. Just picture it… that’ll have to do. 🙂

Here’s the shot we got straight out of camera, including with all the dust on the lens from the crazy wind we’d had earlier in the day, followed by the same image after I tweaked it in Camera RAW to bring out some of the natural definition in the clouds & water.

And finally, here’s the image you saw last week on the blog… a piece of art that I’m proud will hang in Kevin & Nicole’s house! I added in more color and shadow to up the drama, and removed all those pesky dust spots.

We often share our vacation pictures or scenery images straight out of camera, but sometimes, even those can use a little bump. Here are two from Cabrillo back over New Years that got the benefit of a little color-bump and tourist removal. 🙂

 One of my favorite parts of being an artist is having this freedom… knowing that sometimes a shot is perfect the second I click that shutter, and other times, allowing myself to be inspired to do something else with it. Sometimes that inspiration comes before I ever lift my camera… other times it strikes me after downloading. Either way, I’m proud that we can provide our clients (and ourselves!) pieces of finished art that use all our skills, and preserve real beauty for generations.

It’s a good gig. 🙂

  1. Kevin says:

    Tourist removal ftw! And Mack holding the light stick would have been a great pic!

  2. Mike says:

    I greatly enjoyed this post. Y’all are artists. No doubt about that. I love the tourist removal. I seriously couldn’t tell just looking at the after shot. These are all so gorgeous, even SOOC. I can totally picture Mack with the light stand. Go Mack! So worth it!

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