Emily Lucarz blog

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St. Louis MO Child Photographer | Lucy – how to get soft skin in the camera



How to get soft skin in the camera

Miss Lucy

There is something about the color red that I totally love.  I love it even more when it’s red hair! I have always been in love with red hair. I  know when you are a kid, sometimes you curse away your red hair.  But when you get older, you embrace it. Well, I know I would!   This session consisted of the most darling little girl with red hair, I could hardly stand it. When you hear the term doll baby, you think of her. I have to tell you. When I started editing this session, the first thought that came to my head was, “you softened her skin too much and over sharpened her eyes.” All of the things I teach new photographers not to do. We don’t want fake looking children! 🙂 But this little Lucy (she is very appropriately named), just LOOKS like this REAL LIFE! When mom got out of the car with her, I about hit the floor.   They were a JOY to work with. I will love watching little miss Lucy grow up. I could have smooched her all day. I was so happy they chose me to be their family photographer!

Now back to this skin soft thing. Here are some tips on how to get soft skin. I know if you are not a photographer, you are probably wondering how in the world I do that. Well, I don’t. You CAN, and there are times where skin needs to be a touch smoother. But with children I try to stay away from doing too much of it.  Keeping kids looking real is really the way to go. If you want to get that bright skin tone that I do here with Lucy, there are a few things you can try to get this straight out of your camera.

The first thing to achieve this top photos skin is to make sure you have your white balance correct. I like to shoot in Kelvin mode as it gives me more creative control of how I want my photo to look. I shoot all of my family sessions at sunset. That time of the day, skin naturally looks pink. If you let your camera decide the color, or even use a grey card (way too much work for me), you camera will want to cool everything down to bring it back to neutral. Learn to let go and trust your eye a bit. If you want your subject and surroundings to stay super warm, start playing with Kelvin (or even cloudy) white balance modes on there. Start around 5600 and go up and down as you like. It will take some time to figure out what you like the best, but once you get it, it is worth it. I promise.

The second thing to get that nice skin tone, is to overexpose by about 1-2 stops on your camera.  I don’t always do this, (I like moodier images as well, which are also below) but if I want bright skin, I do. Make sure you turn on your “blinkies” in your camera. If you shoot with Nikon, you can turn on your “red channel” blinkies. The red channel will show you which spots on your skin are being blown out. If you see anything on the skin blinking, you overexposed too much. Easy peasy.

The third and last trick for perfect skin is to shoot wide open (the lowest your camera will go). If you shoot with a lens that will go to 1.2 or 1.4, do it! Just be mindful of your focus.  This shot was taken with my 70-200 2.8 lets, at 200 and 2.8. So the longest focal length I could go (200), and the widest (2.8) which let in the most light and caused the NATURAL softness you see. There is no need to soften in photoshop if you can nail those three things.

Make sure to follow me on Facebook to receive notices about upcoming openings for sessions as well as more random tips 🙂  This shoot was edited with Hazy Dream photoshop actions as well as a new matte set coming soon!

Here’s miss Lucy 🙂


How to get soft skin

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 Emily Lucarz Photography specializes in newborn, child, baby, maternity, family and senior photography in Saint Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas.


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