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You have been incredibly helpful, thank you so much.  I have seen the photo on Flickr, you may remove it.

You are correct in that a lot of the photos are softer than the need to be – likely because they were done before I knew about the masking/adjustment brushes in Lightroom/Camera Raw.  That particular photo of the girls running is out of focus but I thought it had artistic merit (maybe not…).  It was also from our very first session we did as a business and the very first one either of us have ever done outdoors so the experience was/is definitely lacking (and I guess it shows).

Thanks for the sharpening comments.  From the prints we have already done I knew that screen vs print were different to some extent but never realised how much.  Most of the images we are selling to customers are electronic copies on disc.  With digital photo frames/displays becoming more and more common I honestly don’t know whether they will eventually be printed or kept in electronic format.  I know when we print out the images ourselves (and ‘by ourselves’ I mean sending it to the pro lab) we can process it as such – and for when we do the client viewing we want them to be processed for the monitor – but what about the ones we put on disc?

Also, when you say “might look better with proper sharpening”, how do I do this?  Is it a case of setting the overall sharpness slider in Lightroom appropriately, or doing selective sharpening by using an adjustment brush (like you have with the eyes on the Flickr photo), or is there another technique that I need to research?

Looking at your other Flickr photos, I see what you mean about EXIF data.  She is about 1.5-2 metres away from the rear backdrop but close to the ground so you’re right the dress is probably affecting the backdrop colour.

With regards to lighting – you are dead right again about using the rectangular softboxes 🙂  We were originally going to just use three – two pointing to the front of the subject and one mounted on the ceiling pointing more or less to the top and back of their head.  I guess we’d need to experiment where to put the fourth one.  We have 4 x Elinchrom D-Lite RX2’s, they have some really good features (such as variability in the modelling light).  I have tried to do some research into lighting techniques and setups – but could only really find ones on either doing it really simply, or an all-out fashion shoot, nothing really in between.  I have youtube blocked here at work but I will do some searching there tonight.  In the mean time if you can provide some links I would be forever grateful.

Thanks again…