Tips + Techniques

Rena Durham: Vintage Summer Holiday

August 1, 2011

By RF Staff

What sort of post was done on this image?
I did some adjustments to the curves and levels to brighten up the image. I used MCP Photoshop Actions (www.mcpa to tweak to my liking (Details, specifically color, from the “All in the Details” set to get more color contrast, and “Lemonade Stand” in the MCP Fusion Set to get that vintage summer vibe). I always adjust them to my preference. I had always done all of my postprocessing manually and was introduced to the world of MCP Actions and have found them to be a real time saver. I love using them. I also added texture to it using Jessica Drossin Textures’ ( “Ruined” from Texture Pack 3. It added some texture to the background and gave the image warmth.

What’s the story behind the shot?

There was a time when kids could be seen playing freely in the streets, running through sprinklers with the wind in their hair and not have a care in the world. I wanted to capture the innocence of childhood, the excitement and carefree spirit that children have. I had the idea of doing this shoot with an adorable little red-headed girl that I found during a casting call at this particular location. This location was amazing; we shot at a vintage kids playhouse from the 1920s. I thought the old suitcase and teddy bear lent to the feeling of going on holiday for the summer, and it wasn’t difficult for the model to give me the energy and emotion I was going for. I absolutely love the way she has her hands clenched in excitement, that sparkle in her eyes, the wind-blown hair and those two missing teeth. This image just screams childhood to me.

What’s your secret to getting candid moments with celebrities and children?

I really believe that you need to be yourself and get to know your subject before you just whip out your camera and start shooting. Talk to them, find out who they are as a person and just engage them. And have fun! Especially when shooting kids, don’t be afraid to get silly (ask them if they have stinky feet, or if they ever ate a worm sandwich. Get creative.) With teens it’s a little different, they don’t find the same things funny as young kids do, but I find that just being on their level, talking with them and getting to know them a bit gets you connected.

Strathearn Historical Park and Museum, Simi Valley, California.

1/1000 at f/3.5, ISO 100.

Camera and lens?
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III; 58mm on my Canon 24–70mm f/2.8 IS Lens.

What sort of lighting equipment 
did you use?

Natural Lighting with a Photoflex 
LiteDisc Reflector.