My little guys can be good sports most of the time. Here is a quick stop to the hotel on vacation in NH. I don't care for normal portraits ;)

Someone asked me how I did this, here is what I told them:

Nothing I do is a secret and I am more than happy to share. First off, I like the surreal effect of these little guys. I also wanted to keep the killer clouds in the shot and HDR is the best way to achieve the surreal and the detailed sky. This is a heavily tone mapped set of 5 brackets -4, -2, 0, +2, +4)...yes, 5 brackets and I had Photomatix auto-detect the movement and I was surprised at the great job it did at removing the movement (my kids cannot stay still for a second).

After tone mapping I loaded it into PS and did some selective coloring, brightened the faces, darkened the sunglasses (they were a purple color in the tone mapped product), applied some targeted contrast to the ground and brought up that color as well.

I then loaded that image into the Imagenomic's Portraiture plugin and smoothed the heck out of the skin tones to remove the dirty/grungy texture on their skin from the HDR. This softened the skin. I like this effect as well, very surreal. I also used this plugin to warm the skin tones.

To complete it, I added a liberal amount of vignette to highlight the little dudes. Some of the vignette was added via the burn tool and some using lens correction in PS. Nothing like using a lens correction to add vignette, hehehe.

Oh, and to take the shots. I was laying down on my side with a Sigma 10-20mm set to 10mm at probably around 2 inches from their sneakers...pleading with them to stay perfectly still ;) All hand held. You should have seen the looks of the people waiting to look at the scenic view. I am sure they were wondering why I would be lying down on the cement trying to photograph my kids in such a way.

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