Some images that you capture haunt you. This one does that to me. Maybe it's because I don't have children, and I'm not around a lot of children, so there's something about the intense gaze of a child into my camera lens that intimidates me. I'm not used to seeing it through my viewfinder, and I'm a little uncertain how best to process it now that I've captured it. This young girl was one of the first people Doug and I met at the Renaissance Festival a couple of weeks ago. We were walking through the fairgrounds as the gates opened and came across her and her mother, who was the violinist in the Gypsy Dance Theater group that performed at the festival. We asked to take their photos, and the young girl seemed very shy, perferring to play with her doll than have her photo made. We took a couple of photos of them --- nothing too spectacular. About lunch time, Doug and I were in the audience as the Gypsy dancers performed, and during one of the breaks in the show this young girl came out onto the stage to collect donations. She leveled the look you see above at me, and I couldn't help but fire off 5-6 shots --- no flash, no posing, no composing a background.
First off, I got lucky with the background, which was a large gold-colored building that sold Greek food. Since light was constantly changing I was shooting at f/3.2, 1/400 sec, +0.7 EV with my 70-200 VR lens, just getting what I could out of a challenging situation. In postprocessing, I did some minor touchups to the background, took out some shadows under her eyes, brightened up her eyes a bit, and did some selective sharpening to the face and hair. I also added two layers at the end to warm the skin tones a bit, and I also put a black and white Silver Efex layer in at 36% opacity to add some contrast and depth. Now my question is this. What else should be done to this image? It's a starting point, but I don't feel it's final. A couple of things I thought about doing were: 1) to go ahead and crop into the top of the head and 2) to color shift her blouse from blue to yellow/gold to make the image more monochromatic. Like I said at the beginning, this one haunts me. I like the shot. I just don't feel 100% comfortable postprocessing images of young children. Any suggestions are welcome.