Jordan Thompson » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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May 102015

Photo copyright Jordan Thompson

Portraits to me, should capture the true essence of the person that is photographed. With portraits, I am not a big fan of photographs that look extremely posed and unnatural. This image of my friend Andy does just that. She is someone with a beautiful smile that sometimes is a bit camera shy and I truly wanted to grasp that smile in a natural, gracefully type of way. My friend and I went to Lake Mary during sunset to achieve the look I aimed for with this photoshoot. We decided to go at a time we were both available but would also give beautiful light, and since it happened to be cloudy on this day, I thought it was the perfect time. However, when we arrive at Lake Mary, there is not a cloud in sight and harsh sunlight lit the whole area. I have to adjust to the situation at hand, I ask my friend to try a variety of different poses and postures until I find one I really liked. Andy sat on a rock in the field and the backlight from the sun creates the most beautiful rim light around her as well as the illumination of the grass field behind her in such a gorgeous way. Her friend came along the shoot as well and told jokes and sang songs to help me achieve that natural smile you see in the finished photograph. To get this backlit photograph, I had my Canon 60D with a 50mm fixed lens at F1.8 to get that nice shallow depth of field, I was at 1/400 because it was getting dark outside, this is also the reason I chose to shoot at ISO 320. For post-processing, I use Lightroom to edit and make small changes to the picture. I added a radial filter to brighten up her face, this allowed me to maintain the background because of how beautiful and whimsical as it is. I continued to edit the image further with slight increases to the overall contrast, exposure, and clarity. I choose not to add filters to the photograph because the way it was lit was just too beautiful to adjust. In black and white, the image looked a little flat and unlively. In a cool tone, the image did not read as beautifully as it does currently. The warm tones really added to the photograph and gave Andy the nice radiant effect a lot of people look for.

About the Photographer:
My name is Jordan Thompson and I am currently a student at Northern Arizona University. I am majoring in photography and minoring in sociology. My main passion within the photography realm is portraits. I don’t have a specific area of interest within portraits because I love to photograph sports, senior portraits, weddings, engagements, newborns, and everything and anything in between. Capturing the true essence of a person is what I am so incredibly drawn to and what I make my mission as a photographer, whether they are running down the field with determination in their eyes or a couple gazing at each other with complete and genuine love.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your insights and constructive comments in the Comment section below – the student would love to hear from you!