A very happy guy. / by Ashley Brown

So if I had to pick one age to photograph every day... it would be 9 months. Ok, ok, so it's not that easy. There is something to love about every stage of childhood. But 9, 10 months is just perfect. Little S was a very typical poster child of this age. Sitting well on his own, crawling about, and FULL of every expression in the book. Just an incredibly happy guy in general.

S and his parents were in town visiting his grandparents, so the whole family got in some shots. I could tell that there's a lot of love in this family, and it really shows in S's awesome demeanor.

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S's mom asked me a great question today, which inspired me to give my blog readers a little more insight into my post processing techniques. She asked a question I hear a lot... "What do you do to get their eyes really pop?" I definitely believe that the eyes are the focal point of any picture, and make a point to really set up the shot so that they are front and center. Actually, I never touch the eyes themselves in Photoshop. The key to getting a great shot (from all aspects) is exposure and finding the light! I can't stress enough how important it is to find the light and position your subject correctly.

Here's an example of a "straight out of the camera" shot from today... taken right from the memory card and only resized/sharpened for web. You'll see how the lighting is nice and flat (no harsh sun to create squinty eyes) and that I've positioned myself slightly above S. By doing this, you'll notice how his eyes are filled with light. You can even see me in his pupils.

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Since this image was well-exposed to begin with, it took minimal effort to create the finished product. All I had to do was sharpen a bit to remove "digital haze", bump up the exposure and contrast a tad, eliminate a bruise, and crop a bit. And voila!

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So, when taking snapshots at home, make an effort to seek out good lighting. Simply moving your subject out of direct sunlight or deep shadows, noting how their eyes reflect the light, and turning off the flash on your camera can make a huge difference in your images!