Ainsley's First Communion

© Elaine Hessler

Ainsley's First Communion

Uploaded: June 27, 2012


I was asked by a friend to photograph her daughter's first communion. I took a portrait class to help prepare me for this daunting task. It definitely helped, especially since I had to take the pictures at noon in full sun (there was no open shade in sight)!

Exif: F Number: 8, Exposure Bias Value: 0.33, ExposureTime: 10/1250 seconds, Flash: did not fire., ISO: 200, White balance: Manual white balance, FocalLength: 60.00 mm, Model: NIKON D5100


Dale Hardin June 27, 2012

Elaine, your first entry for the club is a winner and shows your natural talent. I like the demure expression and soft bright lighting. The details in her freckles and eyelashes are very good.

You mentioned you have limited editing powers but I do think there a couple of things you could do to improve this image. First, I'd recommend a crop to elleliminate the bright spot on the top of her head that tends to draw the eye.

Try an 8x10 vertical format starting at the bottom left so that you crop off about 1/2 the area from the top of the photo to the top of her eyebrows. This will get rid of the bright spot and place her eyes in the ROT position.

If your program has a levels adjustment, check the histogram and move the left (black) slider to the right untill it meets the base of the main data display. This will give you better contrast.

Finally, add just a bit of sharpening to enhance the eyelashes and the hair.

It's a beautiful image and I'm sure your friend is very pleased with what you've done. #1471560

Peter W. Marks June 27, 2012

Of course Dale's suggestions are all worth trying and might well improve this image Elaine. For myself I am just seeing a delightful young lady beautifully captured on this most important day in her young life. God bless her. #10203712

Jeff E Jensen June 28, 2012

Yup, this is a fantastic image and with a few tweaks it will be even better. In addition to Dale's suggestions, I think it could be warmed up slightly. #10203765

Aimee C. Eisaman June 28, 2012

Great job getting in close for a shot like this. Many new photographers are afraid to get in so close and often take shots from afar. I agree with Dales suggestion of cropping and sharpening to enhance this image. Ugh I missed what kind of editing software you use in the welcome post. I was going to suggest desaturating the cyan and blue both to zero in this. Jeff's idea has merit too, but I think the blue/cyan in the white of the dress will still show thru. You are far ahead of where I was in portrait photography a year into having my first DSLR...should be proud of this shot! :~) #10204392

Elaine Hessler June 28, 2012

Thanks everyone for your honesty and encouragement! You are absolutely right with the glare of light on her head, but didn't quite know what to do with the cropping, because I liked her hairline in the pic. Right now, I have iPhoto. I am looking into Elements, but won't get to it for a little bit-busy with lots of other stuff too, right now. But will get to it soon.

Dale-what is ROT? Did you mean right position? I recropped, sharpened, and warmed up the photo. I now remember I screwed up the WB during the shoot....

Let me know if I cropped this right-I have a REALLY hard time cropping portraits. #10204640

Rita K. Connell level-classic June 28, 2012

congrats on your EP this is a great capture. I love the sweetness of innocents I do like your edit better. the distraction of the hairline lets you focus on her sweet face. great job #10204904

Beth Spencer June 28, 2012

Congratulations on you your EP!! I think the edits you did work well. You have a great capture of a very important day!!! She looks so happy and innocent! #10205187

Anthony L. Mancuso June 28, 2012

Great portrait Elaine, I'm sure your friends will cherish it for years to come..I think the crop was well advised and a definite improvement. To answer for Dale, ROT stands for "Rule Of Thirds" #10205325

Aimee C. Eisaman June 28, 2012

Yes I like the changes....they work very well. I know it's often difficult to go below the hairline. Always afraid the forehead will look too big without it, but it works well here! :~) #10205328

Carla Capra level-classic June 29, 2012

This is a delightful image of this little girlie. I love the moment you captured here. Congratulations on your EP. The suggestions and your edits work great. The tighter crop eliminates that bright area in her hairline and increasing the focus on her soft expression of delight. Just lovely. #10205923

Debbie E. Payne July 03, 2012

Elaine -- she is precious and you did a great job . I do like the bright spot cropped out of the picture. Show us some more!

Susan M. Reynolds level-addict July 07, 2012

I like the portrayal of this little girl's shy, sweet, innocence you captured in this portrait. The crop further complements it as well.
One quick question. I had a problem with a slight green, yellow cast in a snapshot I took of my husband is his City of Lincoln street safety vest as he worked the 4th of July parade this year, like the slight casting I see here most likely reflected from the grass. What would be the best way to remove that greenish tint from the grass or my husband's safety vest?
Sweet little girl. I remember my first Holy mom made one dress that all five of us girls wore...memories...made to last a lifetime and beyond and you truly captured one here even winning an EP on your first try! Congrats Elaine! Looking forward to more of your art ~

Dale Hardin July 07, 2012

Susan, since the greenish tint is only on his vest, simply use the lasso to loosely select the vest and use the desaturate tool on the greens or yellows. #10218465

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