Photo Shop or Natural?

Another round of photoshop or not?  This year’s Holiday photo stars a beautiful butterfly, a combatant clone trooper and two weary parents.  In fact, we’re so tired that our Christmas greetings were sent on Friday, but let’s face it, everyday is Christmas with kids.  So do you think I used Photoshop for this image or do I have an uncanny ability to make my kids do what I want (answer below the picture)?

You parents of rambunctious children will know that some digital manipulation was used, but in a different way then you may have thought.  Each individual was photographed next to the tree and then selectively masked (i.e. combined) into a composite image.  This process allowed the safe suspension of my daughter (yeah she doesn’t actually fly) and facilitated processing each photo differently (e.g. the edgy look of my son and the soft glow of my daughter).  In reality, it could have been done as a single shot (notice the pocketwizard in my hand to trigger the camera and strobes), but without an assistant, we would have taken an inordinate amount of time snapping away.  The tree is an HDR (three bracketed exposures combined) photo itself for a total of six images to create this year’s holiday photo.  It was a lot of work, but significantly less then raising kids.

The same technique is used when photographing my clients with large families.  It’s next to impossible to get everyone, especially multiple toddlers, smiling at the same time.  With this approach, each person just has to be caught smiling (or doing whatever they’re supposed to be doing) once.  Ah modern techniques meet classic baby photography.
… and in case you’re wondering, we did recycle our Halloween customs because the kids enjoyed them so much.  Okay, fine, we’re also cheap and rather give the money to charities then spend more on outfits/props that only get one use.  Next week I’ll be shooting a wedding so wish me luck!

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