June 2021 // The Children Edition

june 2021




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JUNE 2021 | ISSUE 105

1 2 A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography with Brett Stanley


Product Spotlight with The Profoto B10/B10 Plus


How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men with Vanessa Joy


Are Print Competitions Worth It? with Melody Smith


Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop with Dustin Lucas


5 Expert Tips for Child Photography with Anne Geddes


Creating Children’s Portraits with Impact with Kahran & Regis Bethencourt


3 Creative Ideas For Your Motherhood Photoshoots with Donatella Nicolini

108 120

Newborn Photography | 6 Tips for Choosing Props with Ana Brandt

How I Got the Shot with Barbara Macferrin


Inspirations from Our Readers


Inspiration not Imitation | Creating Your Own Art Work with Karen Bagley


Post-Production Best Practices For Printed Artwork with Holly Lund

190 198

Staying Competitive in a Saturated Market with Rob Adams

Final Inspiration with Annie Marie




90 96












P U B L I S H E R S a l C i n c o t t a

E D I T O R - I N - C H I E F A l i s s a C i n c o t t a

D E S I G N E R E l l i e P l o t k i n

C O P Y E D I T O R A l l i s o n B r u b a k e r

Shutter Magazine ’s focus is on photography education. Our goal is to provide current insightful and in-depth educational content for today’s professional wedding and portrait photographer. Shutter uses the latest technologies to deliver information in a way that is relevant to our audience. Our experienced contributors help us create a sense of community and have established the magazine as one of the leading photography publications in the world.


C O N T R I B U T I N G W R I T E R S A n a B r a n d t A n n e G e d d e s B a r b a r a M a c f e r r i n B r e t t S t a n l e y D o n a t e l l a N i c o l i n i D u s t i n L u c a s H o l l y L u n d K a h r a n & R e g i s B e t h e n c o u r t


Shutter Magazine: By photographers, for photographers.

K a r e n B a g l e y M e l o d y S m i t h R o b Ad a m s Va n e s s a J o y

Are you photographing children? This genre is fun, entertaining, and profitable. This month we focus on how to maximize and grow your business with some of the best children photographers in the world. - Sal Cincotta



CAMERA: hasselblad h6d50 WEBSITE: annegeddes.com

ABOUT THE IMAGE: Here’s the story of how this image was created. There are a number of images in this series, which I wanted to seem very “womb” like. We hand made very thin sheets of latex, almost transparent, which took many days of experimenting to get right. The liquid latex was painted over a flat, dust free surface and needed to dry slowly overnight. The results can often be uneven and totally unexpected. Many mornings we’d be faced with another failed attempt - often bubbles formed, which meant another day of experimentation. Finally we had a number of sheets, each carefully stretched over wooden frames and mounted vertically. My Studio Manager Natalie was draped in fabric of a similar tone to the latex (rendering her invisible in the image). Standing behind the sheet, she gently placed sleeping newborn Poppy’s tiny feet against the latex, which had also been coated with fine powder. Everything about this image is real - no retouching necessary.

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley

with Brett Stanley

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley

settings: f4.5 @ 1/160 iso 100

Being underwater can feel amazing! That weightlessness, the silence, the way our bodies move—it’s truly a unique place, and taking our cameras underwater is a great way to create images that are unique as well. But with any specialized genre of photography, there are a few techniques that you need to master to make the most of it, and of course specialized gear. I’m going to outline some of the skills and equipment needed to start your underwater adventure.


Underwater photography covers a broad range of topics, from wildlife and scuba to sports, documentary, and even landscapes. But what I want to talk about is underwater portrait photography, which is the process of creating images that feature people in a posed setting underwater. Just as a portrait photographer on land could shoot in a studio or on location, we have many options when it comes to shooting underwater. We can shoot in swimming pools or tanks, which is a controlled environment and what I call “underwater studio work,” or we can shoot in the ocean or a lake, for example, which is uncontrolled and termed “open water work.” Just like on land, these different environments can use similar techniques and gear, but they can require some different approaches as well, as I’ll outline on the following page.

settings: f4.0 @ 1/160 iso 100

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley


You can take underwater photographs anywhere there is water deep enough to submerge your camera. You can even shoot through the side of a fish tank. Like most photography there’s no right or wrong way to do this, but I’m going to limit the scope of this article to places where you can comfortably submerge yourself and your camera underwater.

settings: f6.3 @ 1/250 iso 500


Any natural body of water, such as a lake, river, or the ocean is classed as open water. It’s basically open to all the elements and is a reasonably hard environment to control. You’ll encounter currents, varying water quality, and of course you’re subject to whatever weather comes at you. For these reasons, shooting underwater portraits in open water can be very difficult and the results can be quite disheartening. But when all the elements come together, you can also make some amazing work that justifies all the effort—plus you can get some stunning underwater landscape!

settings: f6.3 @ 1/160 iso 50


A swimming pool is a great example of closed water as it is highly controllable. You’re not subject to currents in the same way as open water, and you can tweak the chemical levels to make sure the water clarity is top-notch. If it’s an outdoor pool, you might still be at the mercy of the weather, but at least you have a nice stable environment to create your images. This means you can control the lighting as well as the look of the pool, just like you would do in a dry studio, but it is just that: an empty studio space for you to create in.

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley


The one thing that separates regular dry-land cameras and those used for underwater photography is their ability to be waterproof. Water and electronics don’t mix very well, but luckily we have some great options for keeping our devices watertight whilst we create some awesome underwater photographs. If you’re looking to take your expensive DSLR underwater for better image quality than say a GoPro or your smartphone, there are a few affordable options, like the Ewa Marine or Outex range of soft underwater housings. These are great if you just want to shoot in the pool or in some calm open water, but I wouldn’t recommend them for shooting surf or going deep whilst scuba diving—they just aren’t that tough. They are nice in that they allow access to almost all your camera controls directly through the soft container, but the deeper you go the more the bag might push on the buttons, so there’s a trade-off. In the more durable and versatile category are hard housings, which are made of either acrylic or metal and form a nice hard watertight shell for your camera. These are a bigger investment though and range dramatically in price with brands like SeaFrogs on the lower end and Aquatica or Nauticam at the top. These housings are very durable and can shoot in the most extreme conditions, but they are generally made for only one model of camera, so if you buy a new camera body, chances are you’ll need to change the housing as well.

settings: f3.5 @ 1/320 iso 800

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley

settings: f4.5 @ 1/200 iso 100




Before we talk about lenses, we need to discuss ports, which are the glass or acrylic windows in your housing that allow the lens to shoot through. There are two types: flat or dome. Flat ports are just like a lens filter in that they are flat and fit the end of your lens allowing the camera to see out. They are low profile and fairly cheap, but they do magnify your lens focal length by about 25% due to the refraction of water. If you’re using a flat port, make sure you know that your lens will automatically be zoomed in by about 1/4 once you’re under the water. Dome ports on the other hand are spherical, kind of like a half globe, that fit onto your housing and allow your lens to shoot through. They actually correct for the refraction of water, meaning that your lens’ focal length stays the same above and below the surface. They also push the water away from the lens, allowing you to take shots both above and below simultaneously which can be very cool. Dome ports are much more expensive than flat ports, but the investment is worthwhile. So, back to lenses! Most rules of dry photography apply here in terms of lens choice. If you’re shooting full body then you want a wider lens and if you’re shooting headshots, a longer lens is preferable. But—and this is a big but—when shooting underwater we need to take the water quality into account, which is to say that if the water is not very clear you need to be closer to the subject to get a crisper image. It’s like shooting in a smoky room, and the closer you get to the subject the less smoke there is between you. Sometimes we need a wider lens so we can move closer to the subject, which is not something you’d do on land. With this in mind, I prefer to shoot with a 16-35mm lens with a dome port (no magnification) as it gives me a nice wide focal length for full body or to push in closer if the water is dirty, and it gives me a wonderful headshot focal length for those closer and more intimate shots.

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley

settings: f3.2 @ 1/640 iso 200


The best place to start with underwater lighting is natural or available light and you can treat it like you would a dry shoot. The same techniques apply, but with a few caveats. Once light passes through water it starts to change color quite quickly, from warm to cold, and its intensity drops as well, so take these things into account. You also get ripples from the water surface which can be quite distracting, so I suggest diffusing the direct sunlight with some light fabric to cut down on those harsh ripple lines and to give you a nice soft light to create with. You can also use reflectors in the water to bounce some of that light around.

A Beginner’s Guide to Underwater Portrait Photography | Brett Stanley

settings: f9.0 @ 1/160 iso 200


• If you feel unstable or too buoyant in the water, wear a quick-release weight belt. • Have your model practice breathing out their air and sinking. It will help them look more natural under the water. • Using a faster shutter speed will help the motion blur and a smaller aperture will help keep things in focus when everything is moving. I like to use AI Focus to keep things tack-sharp. • Fabric can look amazing in the water, especially organza and silk. • If eyes are starting to hurt, keep some moisturizing eye drops and water to rinse with by the edge.

Have fun! There are so many ways to create amazing images underwater.

Brett Stanley is an award-winning underwater portrait photographer based in Los Angeles, California. He’s also the presenter of The Underwater Podcast, editor of Waterproof Magazine , and

an educator/mentor for underwater photographers. website: brettstanley.com instagram: @brettsphoto



Product Spotlight | Profoto B10/B10 Plus


product spotlight

Why the Profoto B10/B10 Plus?

Let there be light! It’s everywhere and its no where. Light and the absence of it are what shapes an images from the highlights to the shadows. We, as photographers, need it to create. It comes in different prices, different sizes, different power options. “Cheap" rarely works with anything in life and it surely doesn’t work with professional lighting. Im not debating that there are give-gets with every decision we make. It is truly no different than the decisions we make with our camera and lenses or the computers we buy. There are always trade-offs.

So, when it comes to light, what are you willing to give up?

Here is why I love the Profoto B10/B10 plus // Color, power, consistency, and proven results. If consistency is important to you, you are going to want to check out the B10 or the B10 plus.

-Power // 500 Ws -Recycle Time // 0.05-2.5 seconds (do you understand how fast this is on a battery?) -Capacity // 200 full power flashes (this is insane stamina) -Continuous Light // 2500 lumens (yes it offers continuous light as well) -Weight // 4.2lbs (perfect for any wedding or portrait session)

Portable. Powerful. Consistent Color.

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

For more information, visit bit.ly/2ZWz3m3

How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men | Vanessa Joy

with Vanessa Joy

How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men | Vanessa Joy

When you work as a photographer, you're often dealing with subjects who aren't professional models. This puts more responsibility on you to coax good poses out of the subject. Today, I'd like to give you some useful tips for doing this when your subject is a man, or someone who wants to portray a masculine image. There are a variety of ways to combine body positioning, lens choice and angles to make your subject appear more masculine. Let's take a look at some of them.


First, I'd like to talk about the basic positions your subjects can pose in and how to tailor those to men. Although these are natural positions people use every day, they can present some challenges in a photography setting. The biggest challenge comes when working with people who have no modeling experience. When people are asked to pose for a photograph, they often take a very unnatural stance, as if the pressure made them forget how to sit, stand or lean. Providing them with some guidance can help here.


For standing poses, you want to start from the bottom. The feet are the foundation of the standing pose and if the feet aren't right, nothing else will be. I like to tell men to pretend they are riding a skateboard towards me. The stance provides a nice foundation, and it's an easy pose for them to assume. From there, they should point their front foot slightly towards the camera and stick their chest out towards the main light. A nice wide chest brings out the masculinity and exudes confidence and power. A common point of confusion in standing poses is what to do with the thumbs. Should they be in the pocket or out of the pocket? There may be some obscure reason to choose one over the other, but ultimately, it doesn't matter. In this instance, having the subject do whatever is most comfortable to them will work fine and aid you in getting a pose that doesn't look artificial.

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 400

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 400

Good: good head tilt

Good: leaning towards camera and good head tilt

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 400

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 400

Bad: leaning away from camera and bad head tilt

Bad: good head tilt but leaning away from camera

How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men | Vanessa Joy


When your subject is leaning against something, you want to be careful of the angles you shoot from and the pose they are in. For example, if the man has his knee bent and his foot placed flat against the wall he's leaning against, certain angles can make it look like his leg has disappeared. I also like to try and mirror the positions I'll be asking the model to get into. Leaning requires a certain weight distribution, and some poses that look great may be difficult to hold.

settings: f3.2 @ 1/160 iso 250

Bad: higher angle and wrong head tilt

settings: f3.2 @ 1/160 iso 250

Good: lower angle correct head tilt

How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men | Vanessa Joy

settings: f3.2 @ 1/160 iso 250


To begin a sitting pose, just tell the model to sit in whatever way makes them comfortable. This prevents the whole “forgetting how to sit” thing I discussed earlier. Once they are sitting, they'll probably be in a pretty symmetrical pose as that's how we tend to naturally sit in a formal situation. It doesn't provide for the most interesting photos though, so break up the symmetry a bit. Have the model put one foot further ahead than the other, and do something similar with the arms. The post should look natural, but casual, or at least more relaxed than someone who was just commanded to sit and is dutifully obeying orders. One more thing to keep an eye out for in sitting poses is the jacket of a groom, or really anyone wearing a jacket. It should be unbuttoned when taking a sit-down photograph to help facilitate more natural movement and poses.

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 200

How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men | Vanessa Joy


Now that we've gotten some general positioning out of the way, I'd like to talk more about how to bring out that masculinity and create more interesting photographs.

settings: f3.2 @ 1/160 iso 250

settings: f3.2 @ 1/160 iso 250

Bad: bad angle, missing leg

Good: correct head tilt towards lower shoulder


Here, I'm specifically referring to the angles of the man's body. Some angles are very dainty and feminine, while others are better at presenting a masculine image. The first angle to pay attention to is the tilt of the head. When shooting a photograph, perspective is going to put the farther-away shoulder a little lower in the shot. For men, the head should be tilted towards the lower shoulder. Tilting towards the upper shoulder would create a more feminine look. For the arms, 90-degree angles will provide a strong, masculine body language. This could mean arms crossed in front of the chest, resting on the knee at an angle, or whatever else feels right at the moment. Just remember, the more acute the angle is—that is to say, the closer the forearm gets to touching the bicep—the more you'll be moving away from masculine territory and into a playful, feminine vibe.


I've talked several times now about making the shot seem more natural. A great way to do that is to add some motion to the shot. If the subject is standing, have them slowly walk towards you as you shoot. Ask them to check their watch, or adjust their cufflinks, or whatever else might seem natural. Capturing these natural motions will help breathe life into the photo.


Sitting isn't the only time people can act very unnatural during a photography session. Many people, when asked to smile, will pull their head back and tuck their chin into their neck. Even if only done slightly, this can give all but the most chiseled of men the appearance of a double chin and detract greatly from the photograph. Keep an eye out for this and correct it when it happens. You can do so by asking them to stick their chin out like they are mimicking a cartoon turtle, or having them pull their forehead up and towards you like they are skeptical of something you said. Just be careful that they don't overdo it in the other direction.

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 400

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 400

Bad: head tilt towards higher shoulder

Good: head tilt towards lower shoulder

How to Get the Best Poses Out of Men | Vanessa Joy

settings: f4.0 @ 1/200 iso 160


The pose isn't the only thing that will help your male subjects present in a more masculine fashion. The way you take the shot can have an impact as well. Let's look at what your camera work can do to improve the outcome of your photos.


I've already talked about how a strong chest presents a masculine image. If you reduce the focal length of your lens, it'll bring more of their chest into the photograph and aid in that process. Similarly, you can get more chest and upper body in the shot if you shoot from a lower angle. In addition to a more chest-dominant shot, lower angles will make the subject appear taller and more commanding.


Once you've got the initial pose down, don't feel as though you have to stay still and take the shot from the exact angle you posed them from. With the subject still, move around them and take some shots. This can lead to some interesting angles and help you develop an eye for which angles work best with which poses.

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

Vanessa Joy has been a professional wedding photographer in New Jersey since 2002, and an influencer in the photographic community for years. Since starting VanessaJoy.com in 2008, she has taught photographers around the globe at almost every major platform in the industry (LearnPhotoVideo.com). Vanessa has been recognized for her talent and business sense at the renowned industry events CreativeLIVE, Clickin’ Moms, WPPI and ShutterFest. Her peers love her informative, open-book style of teaching. website: vanessajoy.com instagram: @vanessajoy

Are Print Competitions Worth It? | Melody Smith

with Melody Smith

Are Print Competitions Worth It? | Melody Smith

2014. I will never forget that year. I was in a place with my work where I did not know how to move forward. My friends and colleagues at the time could no longer offer me advice other than “this is amazing.” But deep down I knew I was not there. I had seen amazing work. I needed—as my good friends Luke and David Edmonson have stated—refinement. This little term changed my entire body of work in the course of seven years of WPPI and PPA/IPC print competition. In that first year I entered three photos with the help and support of my best friend and colleague, Jennifer Brindley. My first image judged was in the premier category. I was a wreck! My heart was beating so loud I was sure the entire silent room could hear it and identify me as the maker. Then the whole room erupted in cheers as my scores came across as GOLD. My life in that moment was forever changed and of course my soul screamed with validation. Then the conversation on the image began (every image entered receives verbal love feedback) and Jerry Ghionis walked in the room and saw me crying in the back like a lunatic. I can still hear him in my head in his Australian accent, “Was that your image!? Beautiful work.” He hugged me and I took home my first trophy of second place.

Are Print Competitions Worth It? | Melody Smith

The following years I sat for countless hours in these rooms for judging. Hours upon hours. They began to know my face as I moved from the back row to the front row behind the judges to see what they saw, to be involved. Some do not see the privilege that takes place in those rooms. The hours spent looking at wonderful images, seeing vulnerability, and watching stories be told in a few moments. But for me, this has been the greatest learning experience and joy of my life. There have been years I have not done so well. In the last seven years, I have earned over 70 accolades and 14 placements with WPPI and PPA/IPC. I choose these print competitions because they honor the greatest of craftsmanship. When sitting in these rooms watching judging take place, I have learned the greatest, most important tools to express my visual voice. Technical abilities only get you so far and I am only slightly a technical photographer. Images MUST speak.

settings: f2.8 @ 1/100 iso 800

settings: f11 @ 1/125 iso 200

settings: f3.2 @ 1/100 iso 200

Are Print Competitions Worth It? | Melody Smith

settings: f4.0 @ 1/125 iso 250

First, the greatest images demand that you look at them (impact). They ask you to read them. Little hints here and there reaffirm and reward the viewer. I have learned terms such as “crash points” (thanks Jill Hillenga!) where the viewer’s eyes are taken away from the story to a distraction. I have learned about gesture, where the hands tell you where to look or how a subject is feeling. I have discovered how patterns and shapes can reward a viewer for taking the time to see a portrait or work. I have learned so much about symbolism. Sometimes these things require a bit more brain work from the viewer, but once you see it the reward is astounding. The thing is that when you enter into actual live judged print competitions you are able to hear conversations about the world before you. I have found myself mesmerized in these rooms. Sometimes I have missed the story then a judge sees it and I am filled with tears of pride for the maker. And even with my own work, my friend David told me to stop asking myself why NOT this one and WHY this one! It took me several years to gain the coveted gold distinction and a first place in a category. I actually thought I was going to get a 79 on it (not a merited image with WPPI) and when I did get that 98 score, I was overwhelmed. I immediately did what David Edmonson and Luke told me: I asked, “Why this one?” And I saw it. I saw the brilliant composition and impact from the dominant mass of my subject. I saw all the little confirming shapes and patterns mimicked in her dress, hair and crown. I saw the presentation of the dandelions framing her, ironically imbalanced, placed in a perfect circle. I saw this story of this little wonderful wondering girl proclaiming herself perfectly as the dandelion queen.

Are Print Competitions Worth It? | Melody Smith

While it may seem like I am tooting my own horn here with those statements, I find myself reading people’s comments who do not understand why they DIDN’T win. My question for them is, “What did you do right?” Then keep doing that. Make it better. Perfect it with technique. To achieve any award in our industry that is so self-isolated in many ways drives a maker to strive harder towards—that term again—refinement. It also makes you become more of a storyteller, for yourself and your clients. But really what makes it worth it are not the awards and accolades, it is the process of learning what inspires you. This deep-down connection we have with image making, what makes us look, feel, and connect to a portrait or any image. Because what we do is make people feel something. We long for that. No matter if you are shoot and burn or spend months designing. The end result is making someone, the client or your audience, FEEL something deep in their soul, to connect to an idea, another world, or a moment.

settings: f11 @ 1/125 iso 200

settings: f11 @ 1/200 iso 200

settings: f5.6 @ 1/125 iso 200

Many will ask regarding competition, “What is the point? An award? Self-validation?” Oh man. It is so far from what is gained. Print competition is not a contest. It is more of an evaluation of a set of skills judged by experienced peers. These skills are imperative to improving not only technical abilities, but also your ability to become a great storyteller. I have sat through hundreds of hours of judging watching thousands of prints from all genres be measured against the elements of design, creativity and storytelling. I prefer to enter print competitions and not digital. The process does not end with a digitized version that will be forgotten in a year. I strive to create heirlooms of art for my clients to display in their homes. Becoming a master print maker is something I feel every skilled photographer should strive toward. Not only do print competitions provide insight into your technical and creative, but they also speak to your final finished product.

Are Print Competitions Worth It? | Melody Smith

I have also heard many times in my 20-year career that print competitions do not earn you clients or money. I say, horse shit. Let me tell you what this has done for not only my confidence with my visions for clients, but what my clients SEE! They walk into my studio and my trophies are placed in a dark corner by the restroom. They likely never see them. But what they do see are the 100-plus prints in a trunk displayed right by my makeup station. They ask questions such as, “Who is that?! That is amazing! What is that ribbon? What does it all mean?!” At that point I am afforded the pleasure of telling them my personal journey towards connection and expression. It will let you imagine how every single client’s mind wonders, dreams, and most of all how that inspires them to not only trust me, but how to take a chance and let go for the sake of an eternal portrait.

Melody Smith is an international award-winning double master photographer, makeup artist, and stylist specializing in fine art and contemporary portraits for individuals 10 and up. Her full-service portrait studio is located in Petersburg, Virginia. website: melodysmithportrait.com instagram: @melodysmith_portrait

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

When it comes to creative editing my work, I am constantly pushing quality, but I also need to edit faster where it makes sense. Sneak peeks, or what I like to call down and dirty edits, are something I love to offer days after a session to take my client’s experience to the next level. Now, it’s not just about editing fast and throwing something on social media; these edits are leading indicators for my in-person sales, or IPS. I use these images to get impactful reactions from clients to forecast what they may potentially spend. It’s all about showing more to sell more. If they don’t buy all the creatives, these edits are still used for marketing and booking the next client, remember that! End of the day, I want to know if I should double down on creatives to sell more or stick to my standard recipe. Whether I have two clients on deck or 10, editing fast allows me to scale this experience versus only offering it when I have time. There are dozens of ways to edit an image in Lightroom and Photoshop. Here is how I use both programs to accomplish this. In Lightroom I build presets specifically to bulk apply custom profiles and local adjustments like the radial and graduated filters. This lets me fly through images without having to go into Photoshop every time. Photoshop allows me to apply actions on more complex edits as well as using Content Aware to remove unwanted distractions. I have a dodge and burn selection technique to really dial in my creativity as well. Let’s dive into Lightroom to get some edits started.


I am a huge fan of efficiency and Lightroom offers this like no other program, along with a powerful workflow to handle thousands of images. I exclusively use my Custom Profiles to get started on an edit. If you are interested in learning how to build these, check out my article from the February 2020 issue of Shutter Magazine : “5 Reasons to Build Custom Lightroom Profiles.” This is the first step because it immediately shifts color and tonality in the image. (Fig. 1) You can see that after applying the profile Matte Warm NEW, my image immediately stands out from the shot out of camera, or SOOC. (Fig. 2) Now, we aren’t done by any means, because my subjects are getting lost in the background. We need to dodge our client and burn down the background.

fig 1

fig 2

Let’s jump into my favorite dodge and burn tool in Lightroom, the Radial Filter, by holding shift and striking the m key. Understanding how this tool works is very important. Simply drag and oval over the subject. You’ll notice everything outside the oval gets an effect applied. (Fig. 3)

fig 3

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

To see where this overlaps on the client you can strike the o key to see our mask. (Fig. 4) Lower the exposure to burn down the background and with the Mask Overlay turned on you can lower the feather effect to remove some of this off the subject. (Fig. 5) Now, with manipulating the mask you can reshape the entire oval by holding shift and changing the size. Another way to only extend one side is to hold option while changing the size. After I dial in the background burn effect, I right-click on the pin and duplicate it. (Fig. 6) This saves all my work and lets me invert the mask to dodge our client. (Fig. 7) Now I can lift exposure and shadows to separate them from the background a bit better. (Fig. 8)

fig 4

fig 6

fig 5

fig 7

fig 8

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

Another great tool is the graduated filter to burn on our blown-out sky. We can strike the m key to open this tool, drag and drop downward to control the direction of the gradient, and bring it down to the horizon. (Fig. 9) Now you’ll notice this applied the effect on our client. Use the Range Mask tool to apply a Luminance mask and use the Luminance eyedropper to pick a bright tone in the sky. (Fig. 10) With the Show Luminance Mask option turned on we can see exactly where this is applied to dial in. (Fig. 11) Now we can drop highlights, whites, exposure and temp to bring back the sky. Boom—this is really starting to look client-ready just from Lightroom! (Fig. 12)

fig 9

fig 10

fig 11

fig 12

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas


Where Lightroom really outperforms other programs is the ability to make presets for bulk applying, or in this case we can sync settings. Once we sync settings we can easily tweak our local adjustment pins to match up to the subject. (Fig. 13ab) This makes creative editing insanely faster than Photoshop. With Lightroom there is no need to start from scratch per image and this is exactly what I need in busy season to have continuity in my creative edits. If I want to take my edits to the next level, I can edit in Photoshop quickly.

fig 13


For my Lightroom workflow, I like to use the Edit In option to bring images into Photoshop so after I am done editing they are saved alongside the raw files. When working in Photoshop, I like to save actions for repeated tasks such as dodge and burn layers. Before I start editing I will record an action to save for future use. (Fig. 14) Once the action is recorded, I can quickly select the subjects by going to Select in the top menu bar and choosing Subject. (Fig. 15) In order to make a burn layer for the background, we have to inverse the selection by holding shift, command, and striking the i key. (Fig. 16) Then we are ready to burn down the background with a Curves adjustment layer.

fig 14

fig 15

fig 16

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

Once I select Curves, I can pull the curve downward to darken the background since the subject is masked out. (Fig. 17) Once I fine-tune the settings to make it a universal setting, I can start with the dodge aspect of the edit. By right-clicking on the Curves layer mask, clicking Add Mask to Selection and inversing the selection, I am ready to make the next layer. (Fig. 18) I choose Curves again and drag the curve upward to brighten the subjects. Once I am fine-tuned I then add additional layers for skin smoothing, white recovery and other basic corrective adjustments. Once I am done I can save the action and use it on other images. (Fig. 19)

fig 17

fig 18

fig 19

Of course there are some limitations to the Subject select tool when it comes to acute angles like under his chin (Fig. 20) and also where the skin blends into the background. This can be caught when you select the layer mask and strike the \ key. (Fig. 21)

fig 20

fig 21

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

These areas can be quickly cleaned up with the brush tool, but our goal isn’t to perfect these edits—I want them to be good enough to show on the web. Once they are cleaned up I’ll dial in masking, of course. (Fig. 22ab)

fig 22b

fig 22a


If you want to use custom profiles in Lightroom and run my dodge and burn action in Photoshop, you can. First we need to make a droplet in Photoshop by going to File>Automate>Create Droplet. (Fig. 23) We can choose where to save the droplet, name it the same as the action, select the action and choose Save and Close. I recommend making your action have Save and Close included. Then you won’t have to save new files every time. We also need to select the option Override Action “Save As” Command. (Fig. 24)

fig 23

fig 24

Next we need to create an export preset. For this workflow I want these files to be in the same folder as the raw files, so I can choose to export to the original folder. For file settings, I choose TIFF in order to keep layers and have a larger file capacity. The last important setting is to have the images run the droplet script. (Fig. 25)

fig 25

Down & Dirty Creative Editing in Lightroom Classic & Photoshop | Dustin Lucas

Once I save the preset I can quickly apply it to multiple images at a time. Once the export and droplet are done, the last step is to re-import the TIFF files back into Lightroom. Boom—now we are done! (before/after)


settings: f2.8 @ 1/250 iso 200



Now that I’ve set up a solid workflow, I can keep up year-round on delivering sneak peeks or down and dirty edits to my clients. By using both Lightroom and Photoshop I can batch multiple images at once to save a ton of time. In Lightroom, it’s all about profiles and local adjustments to get started. After I create presets and sync develop settings, editing couldn’t be easier. With Photoshop, everything always starts out with long step-by-step processes. Once I create actions and droplets I can turn images so much faster. By using Lightroom for custom profiles and Photoshop for my dodge and burn technique, I am set. If you want to offer quick creatives for your client, I highly recommend working efficiently and trying out these techniques. You got this!

LEARN MORE . youtube.com/btsShutterMagazine Click here or check us out at

Dustin Lucas is a full-time photographer and educator focused on the wedding industry and the academic world. After achieving his Master of Fine Arts degree, a career opportunity opened once he began working with Evolve Edits. Through teaching photography classes and writing about photography, Dustin continues to expand his influence on art and business throughout the industry. website: evolveedits.com instagram: @evolveimaging




| 5 Expert Tips for Child Photography with Anne Geddes | Creating Children’s Portraits with Impact with Kahran & Regis Bethencourt | 3 Creative Ideas For Your Motherhood Photoshoots with Donatella Nicolini | Newborn Photography | 6 Tips for Choosing Props with Ana Brandt | How I Got the Shot with Barbara Macferrin | Inspirations from Our Readers

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5 Expert Tips for Child Photography | Anne Geddes

with Anne Geddes

5 Expert Tips for Child Photography | Anne Geddes

As I write this article from New York, it’s mid-April and the world is still grappling with the effects of the coronavirus. I can only assume that by publication date, not much will have changed. My career has always revolved around spreading joy, and like many of you I’ve found the last 15 months or so very challenging with the virus. It’s good to mention this, because I have no doubt that many of you are feeling the same way. I was very nervous about doing studio work during this crisis and did’nt do any shoots between March and November of 2020, when I shot a cover image for L’Uomo Vogue Italy. The logistics around planning this shoot were vastly different from any projects I’ve done over my entire career. When I was invited to once again contribute to Shutter’s annual children’s issue by recommending five tips for photographing children, the first thing that came to mind was the importance of safety on set in this new world we’re all navigating together.


Whether you’re a photographer with your own studio or you mainly shoot on location, you’ll need to have your own set of rules to follow diligently. Here in NewYork, I don’t have my own studio. I regularly work out of Blonde Studios (Blonde + Co) using a great freelance crew of generally the same people every time. Every evening a cleaning crew cleans and disinfects the whole studio—every surface is wiped down and there are disinfectant stations and signage everywhere. L’Uomo Vogue wanted a cover image of two little babies wearing tiny bucket hats, plus a single baby in a double-page spread inside the magazine. I recommended that the babies needed to be twins, because in Covid times I wasn’t going to be placing individual babies next to each other, nor have more than one family at a time in the studio. Normally for a shoot like this, I would have maybe five babies there on the day in order to guarantee a great image of two together. What a luxury that would have been! We began a search for twins aged around seven months (meaning they would be sitting confidently but not able to crawl). On the day of the shoot everybody was temperature tested on arrival and asked to complete a detailed health questionnaire relating to any exposure to Covid. We wore masks at all times. One set of twins arrived at 9:30 a.m., a single baby came at midday and another set of twins arrived early afternoon. In between, everything was wiped down, including the set. I always work with a trusted nurse who stands next to the babies on set at all times. A nurse is a standard requirement in New York for any commercial shoots. The toys we have to distract the babies were able to be sterilized in between use. The day worked very well and made me totally confident that I could be shooting in a completely Covid-safe way.

Publication: February 2021 Issue of L’Uomo Vogue Italia

5 Expert Tips for Child Photography | Anne Geddes


This probably sounds strange and it’s not even good grammar, but this has literally been my mantra for years. What I mean is don’t try to attempt too much at once when working with babies. They have super short attention spans and you can’t make them do anything they don’t want to do. Make it as easy as possible for them and you. Everyone loves images of babies because they know that what they’re seeing is real.


This may sound pretty obvious, but I’ve seen other shoots where the babies have all been asked to arrive at the same time and they end up being kept waiting far too long. It’s a recipe for chaos. Make sure everything is ready to go before babies come to the studio. Have your lighting set up and tested beforehand, and organize a special welcoming area for the parents and babies with changing tables, spare diapers, etc. Make them feel valued and special. Think of anything they may need and have it on hand. Don’t just assume parents will arrive with everything. They will truly appreciate your thoughtfulness. By the way, I never have hot drinks such as tea or coffee on offer for parents for obvious safety reasons. Don’t overcrowd or overstimulate babies, particularly those babies who are old enough to interact with other people. They can quickly become tired or anxious and you want the absolute best from them when they’re on set. I’m generally very quick when I’m shooting and when it’s over, it’s over. Don’t keep pushing and pushing if you already have the shot. Parents are often very surprised that the shoot was done so quickly, but that’s the best way to get the best from your young models.

5 Expert Tips for Child Photography | Anne Geddes


You need to be telling your own story, which is unique to you. Don’t fall into the easy trap of photographing to a formula. Ask yourself why you’ve chosen to photograph babies and young children. For me, it wasn’t a conscious decision to specifically photograph babies, but I knew I wanted to tell my story of the miracle of new life. You’re on an artistic journey of your own, and your work needs to come from a place of your own personal storytelling. Every shoot needs to be a progression for you. That’s why you’ve chosen to be an artist. Of course, the age-old debate as to what constitutes art is always simmering beneath the surface among photographers. For me, a photograph is art if it does something more than record or decorate: if it causes the viewer to be awakened to an idea or visual experience they might not otherwise have had, allowing them to see and consider their own world afresh.

*pre-covid behind-the-scenes

5 Expert Tips for Child Photography | Anne Geddes


The “KISS” rule works every time. That’s “keep it simple, stupid” and I tell myself this a lot! Not just in relation to my images, but also with my lighting. After all, there really is only one light source in nature, right? I do quite a bit of private portraiture. In fact, for the first 10 years of my career that’s all I did, which was a great learning experience in how to deal with children of all ages. A beautiful classic portrait needs to stand the test of time. And the essence of a great child portrait for me is that the magic and the intangible energy of that child at that particular age is captured. Loose parameters are helpful in order to get the shoot underway and also to avoid total anarchy and chaos. But if you’re too set with your ideas you’ll miss the magic. I think of photography as creating magic out of thin air. And often magic happens suddenly, fleetingly, and completely surprises you. That’s the best gift.

Anne’s imagery singularly captures the beauty, purity and vulnerability of children, embodying her deeply held belief that each and every child must be “protected, nurtured and loved.” A multiple New York Times bestselling author, accompanied by an array of global awards, Anne’s photography has been treasured and enjoyed by many generations. Anne is an inductee in the International Photography Hall of Fame, joining a very select group of photographic luminaries. Anne is recognized as a Global Advocate for children. website: annegeddes.com instagram: @annegeddesofficial

Take Your Business in the DIRECTION You Want Professional Photographers of America is the nonprofit that helps you move your business forward. Education, equipment insurance, marketing tools: it’s all here at PPA. Join our community of 30,000 photographers and find everything you need to take the next big step in your journey.


Creating Children’s Portraits with Impact | Kahran & Regis Bethencourt

with Kahran & Regis Bethencourt

Creating Children’s Portraits with Impact | Kahran & Regis Bethencourt

As artists, we’re constantly responding to the world around us. For years, we’ve photographed so many amazing kids that we felt needed a larger platform. We felt that for far too long we’ve seen a one-sided view of black culture, so it was important for us to share our own stories our own way. We decided to highlight the under-celebrated beauty of black culture that is rarely represented in its full glory. We didn’t want to just question traditional standards of beauty—we wanted to shatter them. We wanted to create images that flew in the face of the established spectrum of acceptable standards of black beauty. Within each image, we wanted to tell a story of a people who for centuries were artists and artisans, strategists and intellectuals, warlords and warriors, kings and queens. That is how the AfroArt series was born. At its heart, it is a recognition and celebration of the versatility of black hair and its innate beauty. The purpose of the series is to illustrate the story of our royal past, celebrate the glory of the here and now, and even dare to forecast the future. As we ventured more into this project, we learned that it was much bigger than hair. Each child has their own personality and talents that we want to highlight in each subject we photograph. We are grateful to be able to work with children around the world to tell their stories in our own unique way. We often say that we’re more than just photographers. We’ve made it our mission to empower kids of color around the world by showcasing their beauty, uniqueness and creativity. We believe that the first step to success is imagining it, so we like to use our work as a stepping stone in each child’s journey to success.

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