Going, Going, Gone…

No, I am not talking about this just gone August month. It’s about my $35.00 promo portrait session.

Why Oh Why? That’s what a couple of my good photog friends had to ask when I had posted my real sweet deal about a month ago. Surely they knew what it takes to do a successful outdoor portrait session and they cautioned me not to get burned with my promo sessions 😉

Ah yes; I know that, my dear friend. I am doing the month long promo all in the name of marketing my spanking new photography venture and just want to get out there and shoot/show what I have to offer..that’s what I said.kids

Surely, it took a lot of work. You see, I have a day job that pays my bills and I’m a weekend warrior when it comes to my photography business. So it did take a lot of ground work. From the time it takes

to coordinating with the client, to come with an agreeable time on the weekend and location for the shoot
to get something going for the kids when me and wifey are gone for the shoot
to get the post processing done in a reasonable amount of time
to get the marketing aspect of the business going
to continue working with the  client when the shoot is complete
….and the list goes on….

No, I’m not complaining.
I am just making a point on what a heck of a deal this sweet promotion was 😉

Some of my favs from this past 30 days or so





Nikon 105mm, ISO 125, 1/200sec at f/5.6

Just about a month ago, I had a gig to do some portraits and location shoot for a client in St. Louis area. During my initial conversation with the client, as they mentioned doing portraits my mind started fancying the idea of doing headshots. Then about a week before the shoot, I started doing my homework on taking decent headshots. Read a lot on doing headshots using a single/simple light setup and eventually settled on clamshell lighting which involves 2 lights setup – you set up the lights such that they look like a clamshell and you shoot in between the gap.

Then came the time to practice the setup and pose. Now, I am not the kind who likes to be photographed and did I mention I like hiding behind my camera. But for this trial shoot I was a willing model besides my lovely wife.



We used a muslin backdrop that I had dyed using Rit fabric dye about 2 years ago – I had a hunch that this gig was coming before then (right ?). Since I knew beforehand that my clients will be wearing black tops, I want to experiment with a black polo shirt for this trial headshots shoot. So, that’s how I ended up with a headshot with a wine red backdrop which I wasn’t a big fan of…

Fast forward, I am a long time user of Lightroom and it has been the post processing software – I religiously post process the pics before the whole world could see my pictures. Started with Photoshop (about 5+ years ago) but switched to Lightroom and never went back to Photoshop. Although I use Nik collection, and a couple of Topaz plugins – my workflow has always been around Lightroom. Now, I am not the one who spend hours on post processing or do composite images. I would spend about 30 minutes max (on extreme cases) on an image.



Nikon 105mm, ISO 100, 1/200sec at f/5.6 with masked background

But lately, I do want to spend a bit more time on post processing – call it the effect of spending time on 500px and Pixoto. Further, if that’s what the client wants, it’s just about time to start learning new skill sets. So I’m on a quest to master layer/composite techniques. Here is where OnOne Perfect Photo Suite comes into picture – I have been reading quite a bit lately on Perfect Suite and started playing with this quite a bit. Masking is one area, where Perfect Photo Suite really shines.

As a part of learning and experimenting with Perfect mask, I picked my headshot with burgundy backdrop and played with it for a while and voila, I’ve a headshot picture that I really like. Still a lot more to learn but I’m heading on the right track!

Now, if you asked how did my headshot shoot for the client go – that never happened. Client was okay with just the portraits. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed 😉

Mini portrait session for Sangita & family

Having done my first promotional family mini portrait session for Sangita, I want to blog about the shoot on what worked, what didn’t work, process flow and such. Want to get this post done when things are still fresh in my mind.


Needless to say, the session went very well.

Family portrait sessions are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re up to until you’re onto the shoot. That’s the challenging part and having done five sessions now, I’m liking it so far.


Things that worked

Simplicity is the key – be it location, pose or clothing choice, keep it simple. I had requested Sangita to get her kids dressed on “less busy” looking clothes and some dark shades. That really helped. On location choice, we had picked a park close home with trees and picked a spot where there aren’t any man made distractions. That really helped to get the subject pop out.

Things that didn’t work

30 minutes is really short for a portrait session. Client is concerned about the clock running and I’m concerned about getting at least few decent shots in the stipulated time.

2 year old have a real short attention span and you’re working on a narrow window of opportunity to capture the moment. This is something I will need to practice 😉

Anyway, in the end it turned out to be a successful session. I am all ready for next mini portrait challenge or my box of “dark” chocolates 😉
Gear used:

Nikon D600
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Nikon SB-600 on a Westcott Octa Box mounted on a Manfrotto light stand
Neewer 5 in 1 reflector – used the silver reflector to fill the shadows

Post processing:

Lightroom 5

Post processing workflow:

Adjust color temperature
Tweaked exposure using local brush
Tweaked saturation on the greens
Tweaked luminosity on skin tones
Tweaked clarity and tweaked tone curve

$35 promotional mini portrait session

What better way to celebrate owning a photography business – throw a promo mini portrait shoot session 🙂


Yes; it’s official – I have a photography business Aperture 22 Photography LLC registered here in Missouri. Though the idea of starting a photography business has been seeded in my mind for a long long time now, it didn’t turn into fruition until this Spring. It’s one of those things, you wait and wait for no apparent reason – I hear that as procrastination. May be so 😉

Back on the promo detail…

What does $35 buy you?


We will work on a date/time preferably in the evening (before sunset) or weekend for the shoot – did I mention I’m a weekend warrior 😉

You pick a place – park/backyard and such. Outdoors are way better than studio for portrait session. You still want it be done indoors. No problem 🙂

If you have some idea for pose, you can share them via Pinterest or email.

I may suggest what color clothes to wear for the shoot.

I drive with my handy, dandy assistant a.k.a. wife (she got an “eye” for portrait and we work as a team) for the photo shoot session.

Mini session will run for 30 minutes – oh yes; I will run my stop watch. Just kidding 😉

We will try 3 – 5 poses during the session and will try to capture candid moments too.

After the shoot, you will get the digital copyright to all the You will get about 10 pictures professionally post processed.

You do get 2 8×10 pictures (of your choice) printed.

You will get all the pictures on a DVD media or uploaded to cloud services (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc)


Contact me here to schedule your portrait session.

w52.32.1: Bhajans

Had a chance to shoot pictures for my friend (on Friday) who had Pooja & Bhajans at his home. He is an Ayyappan devotee who is observing 41 days fasting.

Shot this as my friend’s daughter was singing bhajans.

On a side note, I had a chance to put my hands on full frame Nikon D700 and some nice lens (Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8) on Friday. Another friend of mine, who had bought these recently was nice enough to let me shoot with his gear. It was a nice experience handling D700 – given the fact that  I had to shoot at extreme low lights. I was amazed on how I could bump up to 6400 ISO with minimal noise.

For now I’ll be shooting with my D70, but I will keep on dreaming 😉

Getting ready...

w52.5: Getting ready…

Getting ready...

My wife was a willing model for this portrait.

Shot this as she was getting ready for a friend’s baby shower party. She was about to be done with her makeup touches and took this shot with her reflection in the vanity mirror.


A quick portrait of my daughter as she was working on her math homework this evening.

I purposely bumped up the ISO on this shot as I was working on limited window lighting.


I was pleasantly surprised when my daughter obliged to my request for a quick pose 😉

I have already blogged in the past that she is not good at posing for a shot…either she shies away or makes a silly smile, which just sounds like me. I tell folks that I take pictures to hide behind the camera 😉

Anyway, shot this using my macro lens as that’s what I had in my camera and didn’t want to lose the moment.

Math time

Shot this as my daughter was polishing her critical thinking math skills this evening.

Little one…

Picture shot with D70. Minimally post processed using Picasa 3.