SOOC = straight out of camera. It looks flat to me and her skin temp is too cool.
Here it is after editing.
Not a lot done, but enough to make it look good to my eyes. I increased the contrast a bit and warmed up the temp to change her skin tone back to how it actually looks in real life. And that's it.
What's equipment do you use? I have a Nikon D200 and 2 lenses that I love. My wide-angle 14-28 2.8 and my fixed 50 1.4. Those lenses are what make my photos good. The lower the aperture the better the sharp front/blurry background will be. So if you want that look, you have to get a lens that can do that. The sharp eyes I am often asked about are because of that 2.8. I also mostly always shoot in manual mode in order to keep that 2.8. Otherwise the camera auto mode will switch it higher.
Good SLR camera's have become very affordable these days and tons of people have them. However, paying $700 for a camera is still quite a lot! I always suggest getting a model a couple years old off of ebay or craigslist. Make sure it is USA built, but otherwise you can get a great camera for 1/2 the price. Any Canon Rebel-type or Nikon are optimal in my book.
How do you get action shots of your kids without them going blurry? Haha. A fast shutter speed is the answer. And a lot of patience! I take A LOT of photos of my kids, knowing that 75% might not work. But that 1 photos makes it all worth it:) If your camera has an action setting--use it when you're playing around on the playground. Making sure you have enough light is another way to reduce blurriness. I don't ever use a flash. I just make sure my window shades are up if I am inside or we go outside.
When and where do you take your photos? Rustic, brick, nasty buildings are my favorite. I will choose that over a green leafy background any day! More specifically, I look at texture. Facial expressions really pop if they are in front of great texture. I also love color. Red wall, turquoise wall, green wall. I love them all. You can find these locations in the worst part of town..and that's where you should go! In the daylight, of course:)
I do all my newborn shoots in the client's home. A lot of people are weary of doing this because you don't know if the home will have enough light etc. However, I can always find light and the comfort of my client and that new baby is worth it! If there is a window, I can make it work. I usually switch furniture around and move from room to room.
The best time of day to photograph is right before sunset or after sunrise. However, you have to time yourself well to make sure there is enough light left in the evening. I can usually shoot anytime of day though because of the locations I pick. I use buildings, and so there is always a shadow on some side.
Cloudy days are best, but sunny days are lovely as well. Just always shoot in the shade. I refuse to shoot where light will get speckled on the face. It ruins a photo for me.
Is it possible to take good photos with a point and shoot camera? I think so, although I am not an expert. The best advice I can give is to get on their level. I am always down on the ground getting extremely dirty at eye level with the kids/babies and as close as I can get.
How do you design a logo in photoshop? I wish I could answer that! I finally came to realize that I am talented in photography. I also came to realize that I am NOT talented in graphic design. I have zero experience. And so my logo came from the lovely Rita. She did everything I didn't have the time to do, and since my logo was important to me, I researched what I wanted and who I wanted extensively.
What props do you use? I rarely do because I think they often detract from the person--but the props I love are ones with TEXTURE. Just think about viewing a photo in b&w, and could you see what the object is? I will bring different fabric to wrap a baby in, or for instance, I used an umbrella in a maternity shoot. I knew the umbrella curve would go well with the belly curve. This image was nothing like what I had envisioned, but I love it anyway!I also took a picture of a belly with a teacup on it. I didn't do it because I thought it would look cool (although it did). I used the teacup idea because she drinks tea almost every day..and those kind of props are meaningful.
Okay-- Thanks for all your questions! It was fun having to think a bit deeper about things.