I’m sure most of us have photographed shy children at some stage in our careers. Some run away, some hide and some cling to their parents for security.


This pretty little subject was very shy and would rather hang onto her dad than be photographed on her own. I did achieve some images on her own, but in this post I would like to show you, that not all is lost if you can’t get them to be independent from their parents.


First, find the light, look for subtraction of light (trees, walls, buildings etc) and check the background (avoid overly bright highlights).  In this case I placed the father and daughter under the edge of a tree to subtract light from the top, to avoid dark eye sockets. The tree trunk and her dad’s body is subtracting light from her right hand side, creating shadows to form shape/contour to the face.


A square image helps with the cropping of the father.


4641 44 BLOG B4


The next image shows a quick overview of what post production is required before converting to black and white.


4641-44 BLOG


Next is to remove the father from the image.   His face was cloned out. You could clone and burn in his shirt, but I felt a better result for balance, would be to add an arm/shoulder to her right hand side. So I made a duplicate copy _ flipped the image horizontally _ made a rough oversized selection (lasso tool) of the arm/shoulder area _ copy and paste the selection to the original image _ rotated the selection to fit _  then used a layer mask and brushed the excess areas away to blend.




PORTRAIT TIPS: Before converting to black and white I prefer to finish the colour portrait and save it. You never know when a client may ask for a colour image, even though they booked a black and white session. I don’t want to redo all this again.

Simply make a duplicate copy for the black and white conversion.


The portrait was converted using NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 including the border and (coffee) toning. In this case study, I used the “soft sepia” preset and used the adjustment sliders to further enhance. (structure slider for hair and a control point  to bring up the shadows and detail in the clothing.)

The grain slider in the Film Styles was adjusted to suit. I like a more gritty film like look.


 I like to use texture screens with this style of portrait when I feel it will enhance the image. In this study I added the screen below. I prefer the texture to be less intense over the face, so I brushed the texture on the face back to suit my taste.(each to their own, there’s no right or wrong)


PORTRAIT TIPS: I added the screen twice for more effect. Just vertically flip or rotate the texture screen so the texture is more randomly spread across the image. 


Cream Canvas




The image below is another using the same technique, but without the texture screen. This time I included her father. Although it would have been easy to remove him, I felt he emotionally contributed to the portrait.


4641-47 BLOG


I hope this has helped you and any time you are in a similar situation, you can try these portrait tips and techniques.


Happy shooting and until next time,





  1. Rob Heyman Says:

    Good advice for all there Wayne. Those subtleties separate
    those who know from those who don’t.

  2. Wayne Radford Says:

    Thanks Rob,
    I guess subtleties are developed with practice and time.
    It doesn’t happen overnight.

  3. Jan Ramsay Says:

    Thank you Wayne. You are always a great inspiration. Thank you for sharing your great knowledge.

  4. Wayne Radford Says:

    Thanks for the support, Jan, much appreciated.

  5. Yonex Sterno Says:

    Great post Wayne! Surely, these tips can help me capture amazing pictures. Moreover, I can also improve its looks with your tips. As of now, I also visit websites to increase my knowledge. Check .

  6. Joe Martin Says:

    Thanks for this great insight. Like the way you think about creating this as your shooting and not trying to fix what you ending up with.

  7. Sjoukje Says:

    Hallo Wayne,
    Thank you very much for your tips ! I ‘discovered’ you yesterday on my search for pictures which inspire me and to learn from. Already bought one of your ebooks.

  8. Chandan Gupta Says:

    Thanks Wayne for sharing the dedicated and magnificent work behind such a charming picture.

  9. Anne tailin Says:

    Great tips, i will try to use this myself to improve my portrait photography.

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