An Incredible Candid: Student Success Story

Lori R. is an Improve Photography alumnus of the Beginner and Photoshop Elements classes, as well as a current student in our Intermediate class.

openQuoteI had a clear goal in mind this past 4th of July to get a good shot of my kids holding sparklers. I fear flash and low light so was hoping for a shot where the light from the sparklers was sufficient enough to light up their faces.

“While trying to get the sparkler shot, I noticed not too far away, this safe and sane firework lighting up the face of this girl who seemed completely mesmerized by the light which flashes and is so bright most people need to turn away from it. I didn’t hesitate and just started shooting (it was one of those moments that was just screaming to be photographed).

“This is a candid shot, no flash and no tripod. I used my Canon Rebel T3i and 75-300mm lens at 1/250 f4.5 ISO 3200. This is a RAW image (thank you Beginners course) that I uploaded into PSE11. I was surprised that it looked pretty good SOOC but it lacked just a bit of drama so I added a smoke overlay (something I learned in the Elements course) to tie the girl and the bright firework together.


“While I never did get the sparkler shot I wanted, I did learn a few things: (1) Look for other opportunities when others don’t work out; (2) If the light is bright enough a tripod is not needed at night; (3) Beginner gear is pretty darn good when you learn to use it; and (4) Low light and lighting are pretty awesome!!

“I am currently in the Intermediate course at Improve Photography and have taken the Beginners course as well as the Elements course. After taking this shot I am very excited to take the next step and learn all about lighting and flash (maybe flash won’t be so scary after all). If you are on the fence about taking any classes at Improve Photography, all I can say is do it! I have been studying for 8 months now but feel like I have been studying for YEARS. The knowledge I have gained is incredible. Thank you Jim and Dustin for your awesome courses!”

— Lori R.


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