When I really sat down and thought about it, I realized how difficult it is to capture spontaneous laughter in photographs. For although our house is frequently filled with laughter, it is usually not at the moment that I just happen to be holding my camera and pointing it ready to press the shutter release button. Maybe a huge grin, but rarely full blown hold-your-sides laughter. I considered tickling my youngest child, or even putting on a Will Ferell movie, as I knew these would be instant hilarity triggers. Instead I started to think about my brother’s family visit at the beginning of the summer, and a particular moment when I was trying to capture an image of our kids together. Obviously it would be totally cheating to just repost my favorite picture from that shoot, but I decided that I definitely wanted to use it. I cherish this photo so much that I had it blown up large and framed it. While the kids are trying so hard to smile for the camera yet again and keep still, my nephew Joe just erupts into laughter. I put the framed picture on the sofa in our gameroom that they sat on back in June, and you can even see one of my Union Jack cushions that is also in the print. It was such a wonderful visit and I love this photograph more than I can say.
It as around 2:30 in the afternoon when I took this photograph. With the framed picture on the white sofa in our gameroom, facing a window, the glare and reflection on the glass was obvious. So I decided to take this shot from an angle, and just focus in on the features of my laughing nephew. To this end, I set my aperture at f/1.4 to ensure that he was the focus of the image, and the rest was blurred out. I set my ISO at 320 and my shutter speed was 1/160.
The steps I took in Lightroom 4 had the effect of making the image sharper and clearer. I increased the contrast, clarity, sharpening, white and black clipping. I decreased the temperature to cool the image down a little, then finally with a brush stroke I individually increased the sharpening and clarity of just Joe alone.
Laughter… My initial thoughts were to go out into the world and find it, but since I am surrounded by so much of it at home, I decided to choose a pic from right under my nose. Ninety-five percent of the time my children are being silly and laughing, and well, ninety-three percent of the time, I am laughing with them! 😉 I had just pulled into our driveway with these two cuties, and as usual, they had been laughing the entire 6 minutes that it takes us to get home. Libby, on the left, and her sweet friend are in French class together and they were gigging about a song Libby had written in French and sang for Madame. As soon as I stopped the car , I turned to the back seat and snapped. No time to focus, so it was a bit of a blur, but I caught them unaware in a very real moment!
I have to admit, when photographing people, I much prefer my canon DSLR. The reason being, I do not like to do a lot of creative editing on a face. I like to see the person as they really are. When I photograph with my phone, I am creating a whole different type of art. Basically, I am capturing a base image on a canvas, and then with a picture in my mind and assorted apps, I create my own little piece of art. I prefer to do this type of art with a landscape, architecture, etc.
So, for this photo I did not do much editing. I really wanted the focus to be on the girl’s faces, so I took the distraction of color out, and chose a neutral black and white with a red tone in Snapseed. Then in the same app, I sharpened the photo.
I like what I captured. It makes me laugh! 🙂
“I prefer to photograph people and try to capture an emotion which can be universally understood. Photography is the language I use to translate other cultures. ~ Tina Manley