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06-13-2009, 05:52 AM   #1
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Hit me with your best shot
Lens: 50mm Camera: K20D ISO: 400 Shutter Speed: 1/60s Aperture: F5.6 

I am taking a few one on one (well two on one really as my daughter is joining me - that is her in the shot) lessons from a professional photographer. The initial lessons were outdoor portraits. I was using the 540 flash and a home made difuser.

I have shot everything from donuts in a shop to one of the 7 wonders of the world. I want to learn portraits and lighting thus the lessons. Here is what I think is my best shot from the lesson.

Be honest , brutal, I can take it. You can comment on anything from pose , composition, pp (there was actually none - from raw to jpg using lightroom) - this was taken with the DA* 16-50.

thx...........Dave

Click on image for larger view



06-13-2009, 07:25 AM   #2
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I love the saturation and "freshness" of the photo (trees, leaves), very spring like. My only observations would be to soften the portrait, it seems a bit crisp and sharp which detracts from possible mood. Also, the greenery behind the subject could be slightly darker which would highlight her face and hair. I took the liberty of retouching the photo to put a visual on my observations and I must state they are only my suggestions. Your daughter presents herself in a very classy way. Well done

Joe
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Last edited by valleylad; 06-14-2009 at 06:37 AM.
06-13-2009, 07:52 AM   #3
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Hi Dave, instead of lighting up the face, I would recommend to give the whole picture a somewhat lighter impression. It's somewhat darkish, imo. But I like the overall balance, nice shot!

BTW: I am happy you did not cut her face !
06-13-2009, 08:07 AM   #4
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Thanks Joe - I like what you have done with the backgorund but I think he face now has too many shiny spots - this can fixed withh pp just gotta learn.

Thanks Rense - I will also play with lighting it up a bit.I agree her face belongs on digital / film, me not so much

06-13-2009, 08:25 AM   #5
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Here is edited version based on your feedback what do you think ? I like it. Thanks Joe for suggesting softening it up a bit and Rense for lightening it up.

Click on image for full view


Last edited by daacon; 06-13-2009 at 08:31 AM.
06-13-2009, 08:43 AM   #6
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It looks great!
06-13-2009, 08:44 AM   #7
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Dave,
I like your second version a little better than the first. The skin is maybe a little much with the PP for my taste, I noticed it more in the full size version along her jawline shadow, I'm seeing something odd there. Where was the flash located? From the shadow of her nose I'm guessing it was on the camera? I think I like the off camera flash a little better, the light on this seems a little flat to me. I like the pose and compostion and a good natural expression on your daughter.

I'm just getting into portraits myself so don't take me as any kind of expert!
hope this helps you out!
06-13-2009, 08:49 AM   #8
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Thank Joe

Thanks Tim - yes it is tricky this PP thing , between just enough and too much and each person has their own taste and tollerance. The flash was on the camera . I am just starting out as you are so I have lots to learn.

The photographer I am taking lessons from has the $5k lighting in his studio - however he also showed me how to simulate the portable lighting set up with a $100 old flash , a $10 remote trigger of Ebay , a $30 umbrella and $50.00 stand.

I think I will try and put a package like this and yes you are correct I should also take the flash off the camera.

Thansk for the feedback all it really helps.

06-13-2009, 01:35 PM   #9
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Tim's comment is right to the point--or so is my impression (and I'm just a recent convert to dslr).
06-13-2009, 01:43 PM   #10
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The edit is horrible.


I don't think the light was diffused enough for the shot, I think it may have been better to use natural light and a reflector. White balance seems off, maybe warm it up a bit in levels.

Actually, I really like Joe's edit. The image just needed darken down abit. And thw white balance seems much better.

I also think a very light vig would really help this image.

I would also have liked to see something shot wider, maybe knees up, shot landscape and with a wideangle to capture some of the surroundings, as it looks nice.
06-13-2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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Thansk Stefan and Cosmo - I like some of things Joe did however the are too many shinny sopts on the face for me. I brought a reflector however this shot was taken at about 08:35 pm on a very overcast day. Up here in the great white north where I live we had a least another hour of sunlight however the cloud and tree cover did really leave enough natural light to do anything.

Interetesting about the white balance. The K20D is set (it is changeable) to use AWB when the flash is attached, I did not adjust that. Do you always use Custom white balance or do the grey card thing ? I just purchased an 18% grey card and did take some shots with it.

Cosmo it was a nice area I have several shots , some wider , some full body this was just more of a portrait - maybe the compostion should have been tighter in this case however I liked the background so much wanted to include it.

I realize what 4 people like 4 other people will hate but I appreaciate the feedback. I think I could have dialed done the flash and taken it off camera that would have helped.

THanks again for the above and any other comments anyone has.
06-13-2009, 03:01 PM   #12
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These are all Lightroom edits

Underexposed 1 stop
Warmed up WB
Took out FIll light
Backed off Calrity

After looking at this I would have to agree my fist edit is way too bright - I think this may too dark however I am getting there.



Expose left at 0
Warmed up WB
Took out Fill Light
CLarity @ -55

So far this is my favorite


Last edited by daacon; 06-13-2009 at 03:17 PM.
06-13-2009, 03:20 PM   #13
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Some shots for you, Dave...
I have to mostly agree with Cosmo. Your edit doesn't help at all. And I too think the WB is off. Darkening the background helps and I think a vignette would help as well. Picking a tree with less lichen (busy pattern) to lean on might also have improved the capture some. And get the flash off the camera or tone it down if you can. You ended up with some very harsh highlights. The pose works well. Your daughter looks relaxed and I like her smile. Finally, I think your focus might have been slightly off (best focus not quite on the eyes).

I couldn't resist tinkering so here is what I tried in PS_CS2:
To warm up the portrait, I added a color balance layer with Y/B slider towards Y (-26) and M/G slider towards M (-10) on the midtones with 'preserve luminosity' check.

Next I used a hue / sat adjustment layer set to a custom color range (start with forest yellows/greens - subtract eye green and scarf yellows) to desaturate and darken the forest background. It was a lovely color, but competes too much with the main subject.

Next I used a few new layers to dim the harsh highlights in the lady's face and clean up the jpg artifacts there. I also enhance a few highlights in her hair, lightened her eyes, and dimmed the strong highlight in the background upper left. I painted B&W with soft, low opacity brushes on a soft light layer for the dodging & burning, and used a healing brush on a new, low opacity layer to repair the jpg artifacts.

Final steps: Levels to brighten the overall image (moving the W slider to left), flatten image, resize, duplicate (the now single) layer. I applied mild smart sharpen to the duplicate layer, added a black layer mask, and painted white on that layer mask to reveal the sharpening only in the eyes, lips, and some of the hair. You could go further with the retouching details, but this addresses the main items.

I hope these "shots" have you thinking. PP is all about Personal Preference, after all.

P.S. I just saw your most recent LR edits. I agree the 1st is too dark. The 2nd has the nicest colors, but has lost all the detail and looks very artificial in my mind. I'm not sure LR can give smooth but still realistic skin if that is what you were going for.


Last edited by SWEngineer; 06-13-2009 at 03:51 PM. Reason: more feedback & revise image
06-13-2009, 03:31 PM   #14
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Thx SWEngineer - I also have CS4 however pretty much a novice - I have a book and over time will get the hang of it.

I like what you have done. Yes my daughter likes the clean skin look ,and you are soo right it is all about presonal perference. I really liked the original atctually but wanted to play around.

Thanks for the detailed instructions. I was also playing with select focus and I think I missed the eyes. She is really into photography as well so the good news is I can get her out - hopefully she will bring another model friend cause pitty her if I have to be her model
06-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
... Yes my daughter likes the clean skin look ...
I revised my retouch to honor your daughter's preference. Gotta keep the models happy.
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