Ashley Reeves + The Story Behind

Love is in the air today and for us, it’s baby love! One look at Ashley’s photo and the next thing you realize, a big smile has come over you. That’s just one of a thousand reasons why photography is our passion. We knew we wanted to feature this little cherub in a The Story Behind segment and it just happens to fall on Valentine’s Day. Coincidence? We think not.

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Where was this photo taken?
Our home in St.Paul, MN.

How did the location add or hinder to your image?
It was beneficial to me doing this in our home since I know the best time and areas for lighting in each room.

DSLR, iphone, instant or film?
DSLR, Canon 5D Mark II.

What were your camera settings for this image?
f3.5, 1/320, ISO 2000, 35mm focal length.

Can you tell us “The Story Behind” this shot?
This is my son Atlas, 5 months. He struggles pretty badly with acid reflux, which can make him upset for many hours of the day. We have good days, and we have bad days. But when we have a good day, it’s important to me to capture his happiness and joy. My husband can get some good belly laughs out of him and I really wanted to showcase his smile.

What speaks to you about this image? What specifically made you press the shutter?
My husband was behind the camera, talking with Atlas. His whole face just lights up when he sees him. I love that this not only shows his smile, but also the emotion he has when he looks at his dad.

What was your composition technique with this shot?
I wanted the focus to be on my son, so I decided to intentionally keep my face out of the frame. I centered him in the middle, but also wanted to incorporate the details of our surroundings, so I made sure my lens was wide enough to show the chair, window, and myself holding him.

Did you have any lighting challenges/How did you light the image?
I used natural light for this image. On this day, it was really overcast outside. Darker than usual for a cloudy day. It created a challenge with the amount of light I was able to use. I had to place the chair closer to the window than I normally would to get the amount of light I needed for this shot, but I was happy with the results.

Did you use any special techniques – freelensing, prism, etc?
No special techniques for this one 🙂

Was this photo happenstance or did you visualize it prior? If so, how did you envision the image and set up for it?
This was something that I had a vision for prior to taking the shot. I’ve been taking photos of Atlas and I by his window since he was born, so I wanted to keep this tradition going. I placed his chair by the window about a foot and a half away so the light was coming directly from our left, took some test shots prior, and had my husband stand behind the camera to entertain Atlas and get some smiles.

Did you use a preset to edit this image, your own selective edits or a combination of both?
used a combination of both. I started with Meridian Presets, the Solstice set by Meg Loeks, and then added my own editing afterwards.

Do you have any addition information you would like to share with our readers?
In low lighting portraits like this, I like to make sure I can see the highlights in the eyes to make sure I’m close enough to my light source.