I love the look of her face in this photograph. Of course when I took it, I was so entertained by her reaction from the vintage phone prop that I didn't notice her brother in the background trying to figure out how it worked.
I took the original photo a few years ago at a nearby park in Orangevale CA. My idea was to have a vintage-styled child model photoshoot. I found a phone at a local thrift store and imagined how cute it would be to take some child portraits with it.
When I went home to process their portraits afterwards, I fell in love with the series. I still smile whenever I look at them, remembering how wrapped up she was in talking to her imaginary friend on the phone. In fact, this photograph was, and still is, one of my favorites.
I took it as a challenge to fix it so that her brother was not in the shot.
Photos like this are a good argument for over-shooters. Sometimes my camera has a mind of it's own & it takes more photos of the same scene than I intend. While I have gotten much better at not taking a million shots of the same viewpoint & subject matter, it's worth noting that I intentionally do so when I photograph children. Aside from the fact that I love their expressions (and I don't want to miss their many micro expressions), they move really fast. I always feel like they move faster with other children - this is probably not scientific fact, but my perception (perhaps this is yours too??). Trying to keep them in one place & where you want them is part of the challenge. Inadvertently, as is also the case with capturing multi-person portraits, eyes & smiles often do not face the right way. For this reason, it's helpful for post processing to set my camera to continuous mode. This way, I have several shots to use when I need to composite a scene.
This technique allowed me to find several images of the phone & piece them together in Photoshop to create the final piece.
I used a Curves layer (several, actually) to brighten up her skin, bring out the orange in the sky behind her, and fix her skin tone.
Lastly, I added a couple overlays to give the bokeh some texture. I brushed a bit off of her skin to make it look like a photograph on canvas.
Claire Toney is a Child & Family Photographer living in Sacramento County. When she is not running after her clients' children trying to get the best shot, Claire is homeschooling her son, driving her daughter to her daughter's friends' houses, and laughing at her husband's jokes.
She loves child & model photography as they give her a creative outlet. The best way to contact her for a session is through the below information.