Before and After

Those Pesky Limbs

I’m sure you have heard the cliche, “the devil is in the details.” That is certainly true in photography.  Those pesky limbs, or evil tree branches that pop up out of nowhere in our photos.  What can we do?  Often we resort to Photoshop, Lightroom or some other form of photo editing software to fix our mistake. As a novice photographer we might just leave the photo as shot, or not even see the offense at all.  As a pro, semi-pro or serious hobbiest, this mistake mortifies us because it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

The fingers appear

click to enlarge

Take, for example, this photo.  The couple you see is one of two couples in the shot. I cropped out the other couple for illustration purposes. It looks nice enough until you see that alien hand creeping up around the woman’s neck.  Fingers coming out of nowhere.

It looks incredibly unnatural since his arm seems to be laying against his body in a downward positions, yet these fingers appear. CREEPY!!!

In this example, I edited out his fingers but in an actual shoot I would scan my scene for things like this; anything that might be growing out of the heads, like a tree limb, light pole, or. . . These sort of things are pretty easy to spot but, when shooting, you have to keep your eyes out for missing or hidden arms, hands or legs.

If you’re subject places one arm behind their back, in the photograph, it will look really strange.  Granted, most people will assume the other arm is there but it still doesn’t look right, nor professional.  It’s far easier to fix things like this before you shoot versus spending time in Photoshop trying to fix your mistake.

Be aware of your subjects, their surrounds and their pesky limbs.


For more information about private/group photography lessonsContact Joe Randeen

Boy and His Dogs

A Boy And His Dogs

It’s never easy seeing your kids sick, even if it’s just a cold.  You try and comfort them as much as possible but no one can do it as well as a pet, or so it seems.

When you’re not feeling well there’s nothing like falling asleep with unconditional love.

This is an example of a photo that lends itself much better in black and white rather than color.


There are too many shades of the same color and different colors.  It got too busy.  With the shot in black and white the emotion of the photo pops better.

Experiment a bit with your photos.  See what your favorite photo will look like in color and black and white.

– Joe Randeen (Lessons)

Black and White or Color

Black and White or Color?

After you take a photograph you many find yourself faced with the following question: black and white or color? Each type can create a completely different emotion or convey a differnt message to the viewer.

A couple of weeks ago I took the following photograph of a young boy in front of a brick wall with a painted sign on it.  It’s a nice photograph, warm, conveying some attitude on part of the boy despite the fact that the sign next to him states, “drop on it.”

Drop On In Color

The sign on the wall looked much more vintage that what this “color” photograph could convey.  Plus, this boy is wearing crocks with blue socks and a modern t-shirt.  I wanted a more vintage feel so I converted it to black and white. What do you think?

Drop On In - black and white

Albeit, the photo doesn’t look totally vintage, but it does certainly convey a different message and emotion from that of the color version. It takes the focus away from the blue socks and crocks and brings the majority of focus back to his face and the message, “drop on in.”

Color vs Black and White

Here’s another example: a wedding party in front of a graffiti wall.  Do you see how “different” the emotion that each version conveys?

Challenge: Take a look at your photographs and see what they would look like in a black and white version.  You may like it better.

Joe Randeen
3 Penguins Photography

Aperture – What is in focus?

© Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Photography

F 2.2 – 1/4000 – ISO 500 | © Joe Randeen :: 3 Penguins Photography

When I teach photography, one of the common questions is that of aperture. It’s a part of a larger subject – exposure. Exposure is the relationship of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. We are not going to tackle that in this short post.

The other day I was shooting an event. I saw these 3 sisters and asked them to gather together. If you notice, they are staggered from front to back. I opened up my aperture to f 2.2, which is relatively wide. As such the only thing that will be in focus is what I focused on and anything on that same plane.

I focused in on the sister in the center, resulting that they other two sisters are out of focus. I did this on purpose, for effect. I had plenty of light (speed was 1/4000), so I could have closed my aperture down to 8 or more and had all three girls in focus.


Depth of Field

So, what this photograph illustrates is that the larger the aperture the smaller the focus depth.

If you’re taking pictures of more than one person, you’ll have to either have both people on the same plane or reduce your aperture size.

Hope this helps.

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