The Making of "Bletchley Park"

Winner of the August, 2017 "Portraits in Natural Light" photo contest

By K McCall in Photo Contests on Sep 28, 2017
The Making of "Bletchley Park"

I’ve adapted the writer’s axiom to “write what you know” to my photography: I shoot what I know. My kids are featured prominently in my photos, but like most kids, they don’t always enjoy sitting still for a shoot. I try to limit their “official” photos to once per month, and then they’re often rewarded with a new episode on a handheld device that I can hold off to my side as I shoot. This gets them to look in the direction I want without me having to give directions, and they’re so interested in their show that they forego a cheesy grin.

My daughter had just turned four when she sat for this portrait, and I had chosen her outfit with care. I usually shy away from reds, but this jacket was otherwise so perfectly suited for a photo (textures galore!) that I decided to use it anyway. I usually pick one window in my house that will serve as my “studio” and I refrain from hanging anything at all on the wall behind so I have a relatively blank slate for a background.

I always shoot free-hand (no tripod) with them so I can move about freely as they move their chins, rotate their bodies, etc. I find they’ll naturally go where I want them to if I just move the screen in that direction. The photo was shot with a Pentax K-30 and an smc Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited lens.

This is what the photo looked like straight out of the camera:

Once I adjusted each slide in Lightroom, paying especially close attention to the Luminance and Saturation of each color, I was left with this:

I used one brush to make the face brighter and warmer. You can see my settings here.


The end result was the photo I submitted for the “Portraits with Natural Light” contest. It was truly an honor to be nominated and have so many people vote for this photo.

Thanks again!

- Keitha (K McCall)

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