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Small Town Girl

©2013 Melissa Kelly

©2013 Melissa Kelly
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8 Comments | Report
davidhb February 28, 2014
roboto February 28, 2014
The mysterious look, the mesmerizing eyes, the backlit hair, the flowers in her hands and the processing make for a superb portrait, awesome work!
tkphillips November 25, 2014
Dsavolt November 29, 2014
Beautifully captured
lexisavolt November 30, 2014
I voted
AnnSeymourPhotography September 09, 2016
Stunning! x
tjimz September 09, 2016
Overwhelmingly stunning.
livioferrari PRO+
livioferrari Jul 06
Nice portrait.

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Behind The Lens

I took this photo on my small farm in Peck, KS. I had her pick some of my wild sunflowers. I have been photographing this girl since she was 12 years old and the very first time I photographed her, I looked at the back of my camera and she took my breath away. Its that feeling of excitement that comes over when you think, this person really is special.
This was one of the last shots of the day after photographing her family around 8pm. Here in Kansas we have a beautiful golden hour from 7-8:30 in the summer.
I use all sorts of lighting during shoots. Strobes, different light modifiers, OCF, reflectors. I don't characterize myself as a "natural light" or an "in studio" photographer. I want to broaden my knowledge base for not only myself, but for my clients. If I were to say anything about lighting, I would say be an "all light" photographer. When you think about the great artists like Matisse and Picasso, they were classical trained. But then used their knowledge to create something new. Its so important to have a base knowledge of lighting.
I use a Canon 5D Mark III and an 85mm lens. The 85 is my baby and I rarely take it off my camera body. For this image, I also used just a simple reflector. This was a pretty basic set up.
There's so much that inspires me about this girl. Having photographed her and her family for several years now, there is a beautiful simplicity about her. She can be hauntingly beautiful or look like the girl next door. After her family session, I had her pick some of my wild sunflowers, had my assistant hold the reflector, told her to breathe out and took the shot. It happened in the spur of the moment.
Yes, but I try to minimize my post as much as possible. I do use a skin softening at a lower opacity. I do brighten the eyes just a tad and white teeth. I want to ensure that I am staying true to the person, unless I were doing a beauty shot for a clothing store or magazine. But that's pretty much it. I want to get it right in camera as much as possible. If this was a high school senior client, I would have fixed her stray hairs, but I think this image called for messy hair. She's on the farm. I wanted to keep it organic.
In my camera bag
I keep it pretty simple. I use my Canon 5D Mark III all the time. This is terrible to admit, but I have a 5Ds and never use it. I love my 5D Mark III. I also always use my 85mm 1.2. I rarely switch out to a different lens for portrait work. Its creamy and lovely and I love it. I also always carry a Photovision Pocket One Shot Target. You can use any gray card, but I love the Photovision Pocket One Shot Target because it has black, gray and white on it and can get a good idea by looking at my histogram versus just using a gray card. I also carry with me a PhotoFlex silver reflector with a white back. I have tried lots of other reflectors, but the PhotoFlex one that I have (which is old and looks awful) offers just a kiss of light when I need it. I also carry a Strobie 360 with me at all times. I just added a Cheetah 360, which is basic the same light, but has a little bit more capabilities than the Strobie 360 that I am excited to try out. I use the Strobie 360 with a softbox because I live in Kansas and we can end up with 60mph winds. And lots of sandbags. I also use a Think Tank roll bag. I love that I don't have to carry it and I actually drove over it the other day in a hectic haste and the thing survived. No joke. Not one piece of my equipment was damaged. But shhhhh. I haven't told my husband yet. I thought sure someone would notice, the bag doesn't look the greatest now, but it kept everything safe.
To try to capture something similar, you can download "golden hour" apps to your phone to ensure you are working during the right time of day. Be sure your subject is facing away from the sun. Here is worked out in the open because of the placement of the sun, but you can also work in open shade. Just make sure your subject has rim light around their hair. And don't forget to use a reflector. Reflectors add that kiss of light to someone's face and it can make a huge difference.

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