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03-24-2019, 02:41 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Getting the eyes razor sharp shooting wide open (the kicker, subject wears glasses)

I've always struggled with this. When your nice & tight to the subject shooting larger than f2 the DOF is so narrow that even the distance from the glasses to the eyes produce soft eyes and it is hard to lock onto the eyes. (I know you can switch to Manuel focus but with my eye sight I'd be lucky to get anything in focus at f:11) My technique is to focus and get a lock then slightly lean forward, its not perfect but I get a lot more keepers.
I've read that some people adjust the micro adjustment in camera to make the lens back focus so focusing on the nose will nail the focus on the eyes.

What are your techniques

Looking forward to all of your suggestions
Photobill

03-24-2019, 02:57 PM - 6 Likes   #2
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My solution?

I don't shoot wide open when I need critical focus and can't shoot on tripod. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but the oft-stated desire for narrow DOF in portraits with eyes super sharp is not borne out when looking at the catalog of good work. OOF nose, brows, and ears paired with in-focus iris does not appeal to me.


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03-24-2019, 03:59 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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For critical focus I use live view enlarged view. Harder when subject is also moving. You can use sharpening to increase the in focus area (play with radius first then sharpen) For not viewing at 1:1 that often works pretty well.
03-24-2019, 04:14 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photobill Quote
even the distance from the glasses to the eyes produce soft eyes and it is hard to lock onto the eyes
Are you trying to make it look less obvious that the subject is wearing glasses? Even if you avoid glare, there is always refraction and the curvature of the eyeglass lenses to worry about, especially if the shot isn't straight on. Wearing glasses is a choice for many people and it definitely affects how they look, so they might not be entirely pleased if you eliminate the glasses effect. It was a very long time ago, when anti-reflective coatings weren't very good, but for my wedding, our photographer gave my best man and myself empty frames for the formal portraits. Even without the bags I now carry under my eyes, there is something about the way I look in these photos that doesn't look natural (to me at least).

03-24-2019, 04:39 PM   #5
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Do as the macro guys do, use Live View magnified in, Photobill.

You can use a loupe or HDMI to a monitor if you really want to nail it.
03-24-2019, 04:46 PM - 3 Likes   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
My solution?

I don't shoot wide open when I need critical focus and can't shoot on tripod. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but the oft-stated desire for narrow DOF in portraits with eyes super sharp is not borne out when looking at the catalog of good work. OOF nose, brows, and ears paired with in-focus iris does not appeal to me.


Steve
Yeah, I reckon there's something wrong with somebody who uses it all the time, but it certainly has its place in giving a picture an intimate feel

03-24-2019, 04:56 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Yeah, I reckon there's something wrong with somebody who uses it all the time, but it certainly has its place in giving a picture an intimate feel
The interesting thing is that the glint is in focus, but not the iris. Of course, that might be because the glint is a reflection and the apparent distance of that image is some further away than the subject.


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03-24-2019, 05:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The interesting thing is that the glint is in focus, but not the iris. Of course, that might be because the glint is a reflection and the apparent distance of that image is some further away than the subject.


Steve
If the autofocus is catching the edge between the pupil and the highlight, it brings us back to Photobill's point, Steve!

03-24-2019, 06:16 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
The interesting thing is that the glint is in focus, but not the iris. Of course, that might be because the glint is a reflection and the apparent distance of that image is some further away than the subject.
QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
If the autofocus is catching the edge between the pupil and the highlight, it brings us back to Photobill's point, Steve!
Dang, you folks are picky...

I love the photo. Frankly, all that matters to me is it looks "right"... which, given the very shallow depth-of-field, is (in my book) spot on...
03-24-2019, 06:27 PM - 1 Like   #10
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If you have to use a narrow F stop for an increase DOF you might try this method in Photoshop (if you have PS).

03-24-2019, 11:42 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
OOF nose, brows, and ears paired with in-focus iris does not appeal to me.
I always felt in a similar way about generally shooting portraits. I feel depth of field should be chosen to allow all the visible facial features to be in acceptable focus for tight head shots. Also, for head and shoulders approach, the ears and hair should also be mostly sharp. I discovered very shallow focus long ago using my 50 f/1.2 but I didn't like it much for tight portraits. Results most often just look like missed focus with poor technique.
03-24-2019, 11:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
Are you trying to make it look less obvious that the subject is wearing glasses? Even if you avoid glare, there is always refraction and the curvature of the eyeglass lenses to worry about, especially if the shot isn't straight on. Wearing glasses is a choice for many people and it definitely affects how they look, so they might not be entirely pleased if you eliminate the glasses effect. It was a very long time ago, when anti-reflective coatings weren't very good, but for my wedding, our photographer gave my best man and myself empty frames for the formal portraits. Even without the bags I now carry under my eyes, there is something about the way I look in these photos that doesn't look natural (to me at least).
Thanks RGlasel
No I'm not trying to eliminate the glasses just keep the glasses from being the only tack sharp object.
03-24-2019, 11:54 PM   #13
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Reflecting on comments by Stevebrot and Clackers above, I believe focus in the eye was missed favoring eyebrows and eyelashes. The visible teeth are also likely on the same plane and appear to be sharper than the eyes too. I have seen this before where a model's makeup enhanced lashes can distract from the eyes and become the easiest item to focus on. Wherever very shallow depth of field is acceptable I still feel the portrait needs to be anchored with sharp eyes if nothing else.

So if a subject has glasses the angle of lighting needs to be chosen carefully so as to not reflect into the lens. You have to see sharp eyes and the sharpness is measured by a sharp iris for a very tight shot.
03-25-2019, 12:12 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by D1N0 Quote
For critical focus I use live view enlarged view. Harder when subject is also moving. You can use sharpening to increase the in focus area (play with radius first then sharpen) For not viewing at 1:1 that often works pretty well.
Thanks D1NO
I absolutely hate using LV with client's. I wear glasses myself and to be able to see good enough to focus on the
3" screen I have to pull them up over my eyes or remove them all together. Then manually try to achieve & hold perfect focus. (I do have bi focus lenses but still have a hard time with things that are that close) then replace them for everything else. I know its just me but using a DSLR and holding it like a smart phone makes me feel so unprofessional.
03-25-2019, 12:12 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I did portraits recently and could focus right through the glasses.

However, if it deoesn't work in your case and the subject looks exactly straight at the camera, your leaning-forward techneque seems to be a not too bad although it's never 100% precise. An alternative I can think of is to focus on the outer end of the eyebrows if not the glasses obscure them. Pr right between the eyes on the lowest part of the nose back. This would be closest to the pupil, somewhere between the pupil and eyebrows. Assuming that focus is 2/3 behind and 1/3 in front of the focus point, it might work.

Depending on the anatomy of the particular face, maybe focussing on the cheek might be feasable.

Other than that, if possible, try to turn the head slightly to one side and focus on the center of the eyebrow of the front eye, this should get the front eye in perfect focus.

If none of that works, I'd try manual focus + focus confirmation.

Last edited by sbh; 03-25-2019 at 12:25 AM.
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