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07-04-2012, 04:30 PM   #1
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Attempt at a candid portrait & post processing

Today we had a small family reunion near my home. The location was an old wooden school house (at least 100 something years old) way down here in East Texas.

(of course its been restored but basically forever people have been meeting up there for special occassions)

Way back when my grandparents were kids it housed K-12 in exactly 3 rooms although they didn't call it K through anything back then...it was just "school" and you walked to it from miles around every day.

It presented a bit of a challenge because of several factors...

1) when they built the school house way back 120 something years ago they put A LOT of windows in every room on every side of the building because they simply didn't have electricity back then.

It was practical for them but from a photography standpoint it was weird because I was casting a huge shadow into my shots no matter where I was or how I turned.

2) when they restored the building and did a little upgrade (indoor plumbing, electricity, air conditioning, etc) they installed lights inside... some were flourescent and others regular old light bulbs... I never had to deal with it before but it was a lighting nightmare.

3) even though it had all these light sources it was still dim so stopping down too much wasn't in the cards...it was dim inside but near the windows it was blazing bright outside....It was blue skies with a high noon summer sun blazing down and it was really bright....

Net result, it was dim inside right next to a really blazing bright light source coming in from the windows...which washed out a lot of photos...

4) the inside walls were painted a weird green color which gave everything another loop in the lighting scheme of things...

Anyway I picked one image that I took and here it is...I have never tried to post process anything before but I took a stab at it this time...(it was frustrating to say the least)

Please note this was just a candid snapshot...I cropped it a little and did a resize smaller than normal because I wanted to draw attention to the whole frame...



07-04-2012, 04:40 PM   #2
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The subject in the front is my little cousin... in back is her big brother...

Taken with a K-5 and a Tamron 17-50.
07-04-2012, 05:21 PM   #3
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White Balance is off, hope you don't mind but I just put it in LR and use Auto WB instead

07-04-2012, 05:25 PM   #4
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That's what I'm here for... I am trying to figure out all the WB stuff and this and that... Don't have the foggiest how to do any of that... I am ready to pull my hair out.

Also any other critiques of the photo are more than welcome. Keep in mind its supposed to be a learning experience

07-04-2012, 05:42 PM   #5
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Here is a second go at it...

I didn't use the auto function because that defeats the purpose of me learning what all those buttons, those numerous numerous buttons actually do...

Now that I look at it the first one looks a little green to me still... the auto WB to me (its all subjective) doesn't make the photo 'pop' like it could...

I will go out and shoot something in RAW and try to PP those later on...this was shot straight to JPEG...

07-04-2012, 05:56 PM   #6
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I don't know... maybe Auto WB is pretty good...
07-04-2012, 06:10 PM   #7
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I think it's way too crunchy now. Also try strainghtening it.
07-04-2012, 06:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I think it's way too crunchy now. Also try strainghtening it.
What does crunchy mean and how do I straighten it?

This is my very very first attempt to post process anything. Speak English (simple English) please...

The shot was taken straight to JPEG... I hope that dealing RAW isn't so complicated.

07-04-2012, 06:38 PM   #9
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What I think he meant is that you applied too much sharpening to the point of giving the image a unnatural look, which I agree.

Straightening here means your horizon is off but quite a lot which, to my eye the correct horizon would be like this

07-04-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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Which one is supposed to be right in your diagram? The inside box or the outside box?

(Thanks for the visual aid by the way--those are ALWAYS preferred in my book)...

Like I was saying, today was the first time I ever processed a photo other than cropping out a thumb or a spare foot or something...

You are looking at my very first ever try in that department....I will need to take a whole year long course on post processing...geez...this stuff is keeping me even more busy...

I am reading 3 books right now about taking the actual pictures...looks like I will have to do the same for 'after I take the picture'...

And that is on top of the previous several books I read before I bought my camera (first DSLR) a little over a month or so ago...I unboxed it June 1...so you can say that I am a beginner.
07-04-2012, 08:21 PM   #11
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Sorry, yes the crunchy look was from way over sharpening.

Every post processing tool I've ever seen has a straightening tool, your original photo looks like the boy is going to fall off the chair it's so leaned over.

Don't worry though, if you figure out how to correct WB, don't over sharpen, and straighten your pictures, you will be ahead of 99% of people posting pics on facebook.
07-04-2012, 09:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Sorry, yes the crunchy look was from way over sharpening.

Every post processing tool I've ever seen has a straightening tool, your original photo looks like the boy is going to fall off the chair it's so leaned over.

Don't worry though, if you figure out how to correct WB, don't over sharpen, and straighten your pictures, you will be ahead of 99% of people posting pics on facebook.
I can straighten it but the kid in the back was on a rocking chair so when I snapped the photo it was just in the moment when he was going forward...

I am trying out several different software(s) and they have things and terms that I have no idea what they even are. I just tuned and played with buttons and slides and knobs on the thing until I could notice things happening in the picture...

I need to note down each one of those functions and see what its supposed to do...if I know what its supposed to do then that will help me a lot.
07-04-2012, 09:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
I can straighten it but the kid in the back was on a rocking chair so when I snapped the photo it was just in the moment when he was going forward...

I am trying out several different software(s) and they have things and terms that I have no idea what they even are. I just tuned and played with buttons and slides and knobs on the thing until I could notice things happening in the picture...

I need to note down each one of those functions and see what its supposed to do...if I know what its supposed to do then that will help me a lot.
Use the line where the 2 walls meet as a guide when you straighten, that line should be vertical and currently it's sloping.

Here's a starting point for your editting, use these tools in this order (top to bottom)

Straighten
Crop
Adjust white balance
Adjust exposure
Adjust contrast
Adjust saturation
Apply (subtle) sharpening
07-05-2012, 08:28 AM   #14
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My attempt:
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