How To Capture and Edit a Lifestyle Photo

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Ever wish you could get a peek behind the lens of another photographer and watch them work?

Here’s your chance!  In this “How To Capture And Edit” series I provide a look into my shooting and editing process behind a particular image and share helpful how-to’s.

Shot with Canon 5D III and 35 mm 1.4 lens. Camera Settings: ISO 125, f/3.2, SS 1/250

I took this photo at a local frozen yogurt shop.  We were there close to sunset and my daughter was standing in direct light from the sun while serving herself some froyo.

I love to shoot with my subject in a pocket of direct light – meaning that the light isn’t diffused or reflected off of anything else, but shines directly from the light source (in this case, the sun) onto the subject.

This light is considered harsh, and wouldn’t be as flattering if the subject were facing the camera, but in this case, it works well because she’s facing away.

It creates a “spotlight effect” on her while the rest of the scene falls into shadow, drawing attention to her and away from other parts of the scene that might be distracting.

I took the shot in manual mode and set my exposure using a bright area of my daughter’s skin.  If you need help understanding how to set your exposure in manual mode, see How To Use Your DSLR Camera.

After I set my exposure I toggled my focal point to compose the photo. 

Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) photo: 

Editing Tips

I altered the crop to place my subject along the rule of thirds line, meaning that she is roughly in the right third of the frame.  This composition is more interesting than how the image was shot with the subject in the middle of the frame.

Also, I was bothered by the trash can in the foreground and wanted to crop out as much of it as possible.

Related: Basic Photo Editing Tips

Don’t miss the full editing video at the end of the post to see a demonstration of the editing steps below:

In Lightroom I adjusted the photo’s temperature by sliding the temperature slider toward blue.  This neutralized the warmth of the sunlight.

A few other adjustments I made:

I lowered the shadows globally to enhance them.

I used graduated filters to lower the exposure on the shadowy areas on the left and the right lower corner to enhance the shadows and minimize the trashcan.

I used a radial filter on my daughter to raise exposure and bring her out of the shadows a bit. 

I like the overall result, but if I could take this photo again, I would have stepped a bit farther to the left so as to avoid the trashcan in the image.

A step to the left would have also put the yogurt machine in the foreground and led the eye toward the subject.

I only had moments to set up the shot before my daughter moved on, but maybe we’ll go back for some froyo soon and give it another shot!

Check out the full editing video:

Want to improve your own photos right now?  Sign up for my free e-course HERE.

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