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10-24-2015, 04:35 PM   #1
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My wife hired a pro...and she's ticked!

My wife hired a pro to take some portraits/headshots she needed for publication. We got the photos today and...is it us or these photos aren't exactly professional quality? Her eyes are dark on all of them, some appear to be not in focus at all? These are the finished products he sent us. In retrospect, the two shots below I took on a whim on the front porch while she still had her makeup on - (Yes, that is a wind chime and flag post in the background, LOL). I did it with a K5/DA*50-135. I used a Metz-48 bounced on wall I may have overpowered it a bit though. He shot with a D610. What do you guys think, are we being too picky?


Last edited by K57XR; 11-13-2016 at 10:26 AM.
10-24-2015, 04:47 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Your wind chime image is very nice. I hope you collected a fee
10-24-2015, 04:47 PM   #3
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Technical aspects aside, your pics have life to them. Next time save your money and trust your own abilities to do the pics. I will take your stuff over the pro shots any day. BTW, technically, your images blow the Nikon into dust. The close up image is outstanding.
10-24-2015, 04:55 PM   #4
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I don't want to point fingers or talk bad about a professional photographer, but eh. Photo #2 seems to have motion blur from handholding. Photos 1, 3 seem to be OoF. 4 and 5 are actually better, sharp and well-lit, with details where they should be. The bokeh might be a little distracting in the last two, but photographing the person right is the first priority of portraiture. Focus and light. Fancy bokeh is useless if the focus is off

It seems you and your wife are right. The "pro" wanted to do fancy bokeh photos, but missed focus. The provided light also doesn't seem really good. If the other photos the photographer provided are not any better,.. well, I hope you didn't pay much. Warn your friends.

Edit: Though, I will say - the "pro" did look at the background, which is the main weakness of your two photos. That said, you were not doing a photoshoot, but took them just on a whim, so of course they won't have the same interesting locations as an actual paid photo-shoot would.


Last edited by Na Horuk; 10-24-2015 at 05:02 PM.
10-24-2015, 04:58 PM   #5
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the below ones are more interesting but you did get pro work above.
10-24-2015, 05:00 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
I hope you collected a fee
The model married me 17 years ago....
QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
Technical aspects aside, your pics have life to them. Next time save your money and trust your own abilities to do the pics. I will take your stuff over the pro shots any day. BTW, technically, your images blow the Nikon into dust. The close up image is outstanding.
Thanks for the kind words!
QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I don't want to point fingers or talk bad about a professional photographer, but eh. Photos #2 seems to have motion blur from handholding. Photos 1, 3 seem to be OoF. 4 and 5 are actually better, sharp and well-lit, with details where they should be. The bokeh might be a little distracting in the last two, but photographing the person right is the first priority of portraiture.

It seems you and your wife are right. The "pro" wanted to do fancy bokeh photos, but missed focus. The provided light also doesn't seem really good. If the other photos the photographer provided are not any better,.. well, I hope you didn't pay much. Warn your friends.
#4 and #5 are mine on a whim before she removed her makeup. She emailed the "pro" and...."expressed" her disapproval. Lets see what he says. Thanks for the tip.
10-24-2015, 05:09 PM   #7
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Did the pro put his photos through post-processing?

In any case, why couldn't he have shown you and your wife the images on the back of his camera (zoomed in) so you could vet them right then and there. You could have pointed out the dark eyes.... I do this sometimes with informal shots of students. They can ask me to take another photo, or they can point out a flaw. Isn't a pro supposed to want to please the client?
10-24-2015, 05:27 PM   #8
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Looks to me like his camera front focuses. Ask for retakes. Could be focus screen issues if he was shooting manual.. or AF is off a bit if he used that technique. I don't think eyes are too dark just out of focus and no definition so the dark parts run into each other.

10-24-2015, 05:34 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Did the pro put his photos through post-processing?

In any case, why couldn't he have shown you and your wife the images on the back of his camera (zoomed in) so you could vet them right then and there. You could have pointed out the dark eyes.... I do this sometimes with informal shots of students. They can ask me to take another photo, or they can point out a flaw. Isn't a pro supposed to want to please the client?
I'm fairly certain he processed his photos, some of them (to me) looked over cooked actually - too crispy, I think? His exif shows lightroom 5.2. I was tailgating them with my K5/16-50 during the shoot and purposely stayed out of the pro's way. I did ask him if I can shoot around as well if I don't get in his way, he was fine with it.

---------- Post added 10-24-15 at 06:39 PM ----------

@Sliver-Surfer - Yes, some of his shots looks like focus locked on her hair. He just told us he'll see what he can do with these photos to improve them, we'll see what he comes up with.

Last edited by K57XR; 10-24-2015 at 05:39 PM.
10-24-2015, 05:46 PM - 1 Like   #10
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May I offer my observations? (I'm not a pro - just an active amateur).

I would not be satisfied with the "pro" shots.

For example:

- They appear to have serious problems with focus - e.g., the face; half of her shoulder and torso (pics 1,2); she is OOF in pic 3.
- Pic 1 - what happened to her hands?
- Pic 3 - Does the setting fit the subject's profession and the purpose of the publication shots? I find the right hand side messy and distracting - especially the vent, the roundish blob, and the door. The photographer should have cropped. And the concept seems odd - she's gazing intently off to the right, but there's no indication of why or what's happening over there.

Pics 4 and 5 do justice the the subject's beauty and warmth. And they're better technically in my opinion.

- Craig
10-24-2015, 05:47 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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Everything was shot wide open... Just because you can, doesnt mean you should.
Plus you already identified the shadows around the eyes... amazing what a bounce card or a little fill flash (even off camera) would have done. Instead of letting you "shoot around him", The Pro should have handed you a reflector
10-24-2015, 05:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by K57XR Quote
My wife hired a pro to take some portraits/headshots she needed for publication. We got the photos today and...is it us or these photos aren't exactly professional quality? Her eyes are dark on all of them, some appear to be not in focus at all? These are the finished products he sent us. In retrospect, the two shots below I took on a whim on the front porch while she still had her makeup on - (Yes, that is a wind chime and flag post in the background, LOL). I did it with a K5/DA*50-135. I used a Metz-48 bounced on wall I may have overpowered it a bit though. He shot with a D610. What do you guys think, are we being too picky?
Boy, she looks just like Mariska Magdolna Hargitay from SVU!

The first couple of photos her eyes are simply way too dark -- you NEED to see the eyes if you want a good portrait. The last two are better.

M
10-24-2015, 06:22 PM   #13
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C.A.M - we're on the same page. I too am not a pro but just an active amateur. My style is more in the documentary and sporting events that's why we decided on a pro for her portraits. As for Pict 3, I thought of exactly the same thing - that door and the mini boulder on the right.

mattt - since he came alone I did offer him my assistance. He did ask me to hold a reflector once - you don't want to see that shot.

MJSPhoto1956 - You're not the first person who said that about her looking like "Detective Benson"....
10-24-2015, 06:22 PM   #14
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I feel that the first one would have been better if the hands weren't cropped out.
Catch lights in the eyes would have gone a long way in all the pics IMHO. As a pro he should have know how to position her to have catch lights or used a tiny bit of flash to put a bit of sparkle in her eyes.
F4 would have been a wiser choice.
I find your first shot was excellent and the only thing that could be improved in the last one is if you put her further away from the background and at least give it some blur. Maybe a simple background?
Anyways by the looks of these pics yours stand above the pros
BTW I looked over the pros pics again and the shadows in her eyes are not the most flattering
Randy
10-24-2015, 06:38 PM   #15
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The ones you took look definitely sharper than the others.
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