Self Portrait

The images in today’s post are © 2010 James R. Lee, All Rights Reserved. These images may not be reused without my express permission.

As regular readers know, I participate in the Monthly Scavenger Hunt on Flickr, which is a game where people try to take pictures that represent clues. It’s a fun group, and I find it spurs my creativity as a photographer. This month, one of the clues was “Kiss kiss,” and I opted on a self portrait. I knew I wanted a black and white shot, thinking more drama would make the image more fun. I waited until the end of the weekend for some stubble, put on a dress shirt and bow tie, and got a little help with my makeup.

When I first took the picture, it did not give me what I wanted. It’s cute… but no punch.

Adobe Lightroom to the rescue, where I darkened the dark areas, and told the computer to really emphasize red tones when selecting what was going to be dark. Last, I had to lighten my teeth a touch, because while they looked perfect in the original processing, once I darkened the shadows, they disappeared into the contrast. A little selective brightening of that area worked wonders, and this was the final image:

I’m really happy with the final image – if you know me on Facebook, you’ve already seen this as my profile image.

The images in today’s post are © 2010 James R. Lee, All Rights Reserved. These images may not be reused without my express permission.


  1. IHSAN says:

    nice! who gave you the kisses to make this photo? ;)
    IHSAN recently posted Wet Dragonfly

  2. TJ McDowell says:

    I think the edited image definitely has more impact. So are the clues on Flickr clues that you give to other Flickr users or does Flickr give the clues and you have to illustrate with a picture?
    TJ McDowell recently posted Canon 5D Mark III Feature Wishlist

    • James Lee says:

      Flickr isn’t involved other than that’s where the group is located on the Web. It’s run by people in the group who are administrators (there are several). They take turns making up lists of 20 clues, and everyone who plays chooses which, if any, they will participate in by submitting photos. October was my eleventh month playing the game, and I was recently asked to participate as an administrator, so I get to help with the clues sometimes.

      Winners are chosen by confidential vote; we have a voting booth app that taps into the Flickr API to allow users to rate each image on a scale of one to ten.

  3. Alexander says:

    The final picture sure have a bigger impact than the first one. However it feels a little that perhaps it went a little too strong on the contrast? Or perhaps it’s just me lately, been feeling the same with my own pictures too.
    Alexander recently posted Black background lighting with Point and Shoot Camera

  4. #1 fan says:

    I dunno – I think you look entirely too pleased with yourself!! . OK, J.K. – the whole image, idea – sweet :) eckso eckso

  5. Olivia Lin says:

    the scavenger hunt sounds fun. the edited image looks great!

  6. Olivia Lin says:

    oops, sorry for the bad link above!

  7. James @ Orange County SEO says:

    Maybe to give your picture a little more punch you should have edited the picture in a editor to make the lip stick color. Maybe not the color red but a funky color to show the emotion of happiness which seems you are showing with your smile.

  8. Sophia @ Glow Sticks says:

    Haha, VERY charming.

  9. Maggie @ Virtual Server says:

    Adobe Lightroom is really amazing! The edited pic is awesome, it emphasizes details such as the lipstick and the face. Great work!

  10. John says:

    Fake kisses? or real :d lolz

  11. Claire says:

    Real kisses.

  12. I like the clarity of the 2nd picture better and the kiss marks are more dominant. Such a cute picture and I like the look of the undone bow tie. Nice touch.

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