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How You Shot It: ‘Sword Play’ – A Summer-y Children’s Portrait

By Guest Contributor on September 21st 2014

How You Shot It is a series where you show us how you shot an image. Many who use our presets love to share their special processing recipes. You can join the SLR Lounge Textures and Presets group on Facebook and share your favorite images and recipes as well! For our wedding and portrait photographers, please join the SLR Lounge Wedding and Portrait Photographers group.

Today’s post is from Chelsea Higgins of Snap Happy Photography By Chelsea. She previously shared with us how she shot Goodbye Little Wish, which you can read about here.

In an attempt to prolong the last days of summer and warmth, I’ve been taking my girls to play down by the river:

Chelsea Higgins -1

The lighting in this little area varies from day to day, dappled and unpredictable. It was nearing 5pm, and the sun was on its way to being covered by the trees on the other side of the river.  I crouched down low, and shot upwards toward the light, but not high enough to get the sun into the frame.  This resulted in some really sweet haze.  I had been shooting at the largest aperture for my lens (2.0), but had just adjusted it to get a few shots of both of my daughters.  I was a good distance away, shooting with the 135mm.  Probably around 15-20 feet.


There were a lot of little bugs flying around, which ends up looking really neat when they’re backlit.  The irony is that my daughter and I really don’t handle bugs very well, and if she’d seen the one in the shot just behind her, she probably wouldn’t have stuck around long enough for me to photograph her.

Gear Used

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 135mm f2L


1/1000 sec, ISO 400, f 4.0

Straight Out of Camera


The biggest challenge was in that the area is very green, with the grass being reflected back to the skin, dress, and hair.  The fix for this was really simple.  Four clicks.  I did 100% of the edit in Lightroom V5, using the SLR Lounge presets.

I used the 03a. desaturate and 23b. dynamic range+ presets.  From here, I adjusted the kelvin temperature from 7300 to 7595 and added a slight temp boost and increased the exposure by about half a stop.


Final Image

Chelsea Higgins -1About the “How to Shoot It” Series

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Basit Zargar

    Awesome click

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  2. Barry Cunningham

    I like the color temperature boost, but the final is a bit washed out for my taste. I prefer a bit more contrast, vibrance, or something. But, it’s not my vision that’s important. Thank you for sharing your vision.

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  3. Dre Rolle

    I loved the work done in post, the ooc’s are great too but the post add that dreamy/cinematic feel the the images. The river shot is a great example of how a shot could’ve change in a instant. Bien fait!!!

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  4. Austin Swenson

    I just may have to invest in some of these sweet lightroom presets to know what the heck you guys are talking about when you use that code stuff before the action…

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  5. Ian Moss

    Definitely prefer out of camera.

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  6. John Cavan

    I’m torn… both are really nice, but I think I prefer the out of camera just a touch more. The already present haze serves to soften the image already. Either way, it’s the kind of photo to cherish, well done.

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