One of my clients, a local university, recently asked me to come shoot a celebration they were holding at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Department staff and their families gathered to give well wishes to the departing head of the department. I got a few good snaps out of this day, but there is one in particular that I love.
The boy pictured below had been hanging around the edge of the party area (a big cook out space next to deep left field) for several innings, hoping to maybe catch a fly ball. Eventually, one of the pitchers in the bull pen took pity on the kid and tossed him one of their practice balls. His face lit up (unfortunately, your intrepid photographer was eating a hamburger at that particular moment and was unable to capture it, despite taking note). The cute thing was, he did not let go of that ball for the rest of the game. Even while he ate he had a hotdog in one hand and his ball in the other. I managed to catch him in a quiet, content and appreciative moment. I wish there was no trash can in the background, and that his friend had been sitting a little further away, but I really like the expression on his face.
I will admit, though, that this shot took a little bit of processing to turn it into something really special. SOOC* it was okay, but when I played with the levels a bit, increased certain color saturations, and upped the contrast a bit, it really popped. I am very happy with the end result.
By the way, check out the beautiful ‘catch-lights’ in this kid’s eyes. Normally I might have had to use a filter to achieve that kind of effect, but these were all natural. I think it was all the bright lights of the baseball stadium that made it so obvious in this photo. However, I wanted to provide a suggestion for anyone trying to achieve that kind of effect with their photos. My favorite “eye highlighting” action is definitely “Bring on the Eyes” from the Pioneer Woman action set #2. This is a kickass action which allows you to highlight eyes in close up shots like this one. I’ve used it a lot (though not in this particular shot) and would recommend it to anyone who does a lot of portraiture.
* straight out of camera, for those who aren’t familiar with the lingo!