I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so...

It's really nice when all the perfect conditions align and you can control every single aspect of your shoot.


Ok. That is nice. But it rarely happens at family sessions. Family sessions are super fun for me and every single one is different. But there are few moments of perfection. It's more like controlled chaos. All family sessions are chaotic fun. So what you really need to be, as a photographer, is ready for anything and resourceful. And sometimes, you need to be fast and then edit things after the fact.

I remember an episode of a TV show where the family dressed up for family photos but then there was some hilarity and they ended up with mud all over their white shirts. And I remember being mad at that photographer because they stopped shooting and stood there. Dude. Take the photos of them in the mud, ok? haha MEMORABLE. Ready for anything. Keep shooting when that stuff happens.

Anyway I'm here to talk about editing. We didn't have any mud wrestling or arguing. Just a very Corrales goose flyover.

This session was so good. The family is awesome, they all looked great, and the house is absolutely gorgeous. It was cloudy that day, but it didn't rain, so the weather was cooperating, though I would have preferred a little sun on the mountain, at least. I don't usually drag around a ton of lighting stuff for shoots with small kids because speed is of the essence. I do have some lightweight and fast options but, you know...we didn't need it.

I totally caught that goose flyover! But it was at a just between photos time. So here's the thing. The original flyover photo still would have been cool. But there were a few distracted faces and remember that part where I said I was a perfectionist? I grabbed some faces from a previous photo and made the flyover photo a little better. Is that cheating? Eh, not really. It's enhancing. The faces came from the immediate photo before the geese.

Now to the real reason for the post...

The cover photo image up there...(which is frustratingly chopped as a cover photo if you're looking at it on a mobile device, but is also below, chop free)

They built this beautiful house and it has a really cool deck up top. But we used this backyard area with more room for everyone to sit for most of the photos. The clouds were keeping us from having that epic Sandias afternoon glow. And the sunset was looking like it wasn't going to happen, which was sad because I know dad wanted that sunset.

So we were wrapping up and I was about to leave but then...we had a split second of that famous Sandias glow and sunset. Like...end of the light and fading fast.

No time to set up things or move stuff.

Barely time to get everyone back out there:

Those babies are both looking. I don't know! Sometimes I just get lucky! Anyway. We got like one photo there and we all ran upstairs to grab a photo with the sunset.

There was deck furniture and a grill but the light was fading and we would miss our chance if I even went for a second to move things. Let me tell you. I know the dad wanted a sunset photo on his deck. I was not going to miss our only chance to do that.

Photo editing skills to the rescue.

See, it was actually getting dark. This is the end of the light sunset with the sun sneaking under the cloud cover. There are deck chairs and there's a grill. I cropped to a more panorama sort of size to crop some of it out.

I could have just edited the photo and called it good. You get what you get. Or something. Except I'm not that kind of person and you know, this photo is the kind of photo you have printed and hang on your wall. Do you want to hang a photo with stuff that shouldn't be there on the edges? No judgement if you do, I suppose. haha But taking them out brings it up a bit.

So I removed that deck furniture. I did a first pass where I just removed the chairs and the grill. Then I had to get creative and reconstruct pants and the stucco wall because those tools aren't perfect. They work great, for sure, but sometimes there are artifacts and weird shapes that don't look right.

Maybe most people wouldn't notice it. A weird dark spot on a leg or a seam that is slightly off. Or a darker spot on the stucco wall. You know who would notice it? ME. haha I cannot leave it.

So I zoom way in and I make sure that the line of the hand next to the grill is the same as it was before I changed things and I digitally repaint pants and use the clone stamp to fix seams.

Do I do this for every photo? Definitely not. I'll cut stuff if it's not a big deal. But we needed that sunset photo here.

I love my families and I just do that extra stuff for them. You have family visiting from out of town and this is your only chance for a while to get photos together. You picked me to do that for you and I am honored you did. So you're getting that photo. <3

And both babies are looking again!! Nobody is blinking and everyone's looking. The stars aligned.