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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 25 Feb 2018 (Sunday) 23:00
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Thrown in to portrait shots

 
Shaun ­ Liddy
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Feb 25, 2018 23:00 |  #1

Was at a bday party for my 7 yr old niece. My sister was taking some pictures of one of my other nieces 23yrs old with a 18month old. She had a kit lens and no flash.

I told her to come grab a lens from me, was gonna hand her my Canon 70-200 2.8 vii.

Next thing I know my sister pushes me in to taking some photos.

So I grabbed my 5d3 mounted the 70-200, put on a speed light with fabric softener box and gave it a try.

Portraits are not my thing. When shooting people, I normally am shooting candid or action shots.

So with that, please let me know your thoughts. Goal is to know what I could do better. What did I overlook?


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Shaun ­ Liddy
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Feb 25, 2018 23:10 |  #2

I do know Toby is soft in the first pic, I definitely should have shot with a smaller aperture.




  
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rosh4u
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Feb 25, 2018 23:29 |  #3

Well, this is shots are Pretty!
Smaller aperture is what you need to look which you interpreted correctly.


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PhotosGuy
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Feb 25, 2018 23:37 |  #4

Shaun Liddy wrote in post #18572333 (external link)
I do know Toby is soft in the first pic, I definitely should have shot with a smaller aperture.

Focusing on the eyes would have helped, too.


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Shaun ­ Liddy
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Feb 26, 2018 08:35 |  #5

Photoguy,

You are going to have to excuse me if I am coming off sounding rude, im not intending too. Nor am I challenging your knowledge. With that said.

In the second shot focus was set on Toby's eyes. With a DOF of approx 18-20" (190mm - 2.8 - 35' away) I believe this one is fairly well with both Kelli and Toby sharp throughout, their eyes are very close the the same plain.

Now the first image I had focus on Kelli's eyes. But Toby's eyes being roughly 12" in front of hers, he is definitely soft due to DOF being roughly 18-20" again (102mm - 2.8 - 20' away). I probably should have shot that at F5-5.6 to get DOF in the 3' - 3.25' range. Now in this one, please correct me if I am wrong, focus should probably have been placed on the little bit of Kelli's white shirt above Toby's head, basically mid point to both their eyes. I say this as focus on either of their eyes with a thin DOF of roughly 3' (had I shot at the F5 I mention earlier which has 46% front DOF) would have likely caused some softness either on the front side or back side.

Does this seem accurate?




  
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Feb 26, 2018 09:21 |  #6

Shaun Liddy wrote in post #18572523 (external link)
In the second shot focus was set on Toby's eyes. With a DOF of approx 18-20" (190mm - 2.8 - 35' away) I believe this one is fairly well with both Kelli and Toby sharp throughout, their eyes are very close the the same plain.

Thing is, in both images everything looks a bit soft, which is what prompted my comment. So maybe you did focus on the eyes, but softened the whole image in processing (PP)? If so, there are ways to PP different parts of an image at different levels so that the eyes aren't as soft as the rest of the image.

And just to "pick a nit", "very close the the same plain." should read: "very close the the same plane." ; )


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Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Feb 26, 2018 11:33 |  #7

Since you asked for CC, I'll do my best to give that. I'll be the first to say that being thrown into portraits when you aren't expect it / don't want to do it really sucks. I've had it happen to me multiple times, and my best advice for this (and pretty much anything in life) is, "if you feel uncomfortable and / or don't want to do something, then don't." But now specifically to the images:

Im going to have to agree with PhotosGuy that the images do not look sharp. The first one looks especially soft, with the sharpest part appearing to be the front leg of the mom's jeans right below the knee. The second one looks in much better focus but I would not say it's "tack sharp". Based on your exif the combo you were using is definitely capable of producing stellar sharpness.

On the first image. The Pros: The composition is good. It appears you shot at about the mom's shoulder level and didn't cut off any body parts. The fence creates leading lines to the subject of the image. The Cons: The horizon on the image is slanted. If you had room you would have been better off scooting back to 200mm to add more compression and blow out the trash cans in the back. Is your niece pregnant? The way she is bent at the waste makes her stomach poke out in a slightly unflattering way if not pregnant. The baby appears to be falling backwards on the fence and I always try to avoid showing diapers on babies if possible. (Same as not showing underwear in a shoot unless that's what the shoot is about.) I think the contrast could use a significant bump and saturation could be increased a bit as well.

On the second image. The Pros: Again, pretty good composition. You got down to the proper level to shoot, and didn't cut off any body parts. The compression at 190mm is better in this one, and the fence behind is blown out very well. The horizon appears to be more straight and there is some pleasing bokeh balls in the background. The cons: The sun is in their eyes, causing mixed shadowy lighting on the faces and causing the mom to squint. There is a very easily cloned out spot on the mom's shirt. Again, I think the contrast could use a significant boost as well as the saturation could use a boost.

Unfortunately with children, you usually have to shoot A LOT to get good expressions from them. That's why I try to avoid doing family photos unless it's for people that I know.


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Shaun ­ Liddy
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Feb 26, 2018 12:48 |  #8

Thank you both for the honest feedback, things I will consider in the future.


Regarding PP and sharpness after. This is a constant issue when I export from LR. Viewing in LR they are SHARP, but some reason exporting always softens them on me. Any advise you can share on JPG exports settings for LR? Perhaps I can re-exports and try again.




  
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Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Feb 26, 2018 13:25 |  #9

Shaun Liddy wrote in post #18572734 (external link)
Thank you both for the honest feedback, things I will consider in the future.


Regarding PP and sharpness after. This is a constant issue when I export from LR. Viewing in LR they are SHARP, but some reason exporting always softens them on me. Any advise you can share on JPG exports settings for LR? Perhaps I can re-exports and try again.

It changes based on available light, how much you increased or decreased exposure, etc. But I usually do anywhere from 50-75 sharpness for color images, and 75-100 for black and white. Then on export I have it set to "sharpen for screen: normal". But I truly do believe that the first image is out of focus instead just not sharpened correctly. You can clearly see the fence and part of her jeans is sharper than either of their faces.

Here are two images with approximately those settings applied. Same camera and lens that you were using for the portraits above. I add more sharpening to the B&W images because I like a more grainy look in a B&W image.


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Shaun ­ Liddy
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Feb 26, 2018 17:30 |  #10

I am out of town so can't pull up the raw file.

When viewing this image on my phone, I believe the inside of Kelli's left leg to be center of the focal plane which would line up with her left eye. Can also see the shadow on the fence is in front of her inner left eg and it is OOF.

I will try to adjust export to see if they make a difference.

Curious, for the max allowable resolution here, what do you use for dpi in the exported file?




  
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Feb 27, 2018 16:46 |  #11

Okay, I too am a pixel peeper who expects everything that should be in focus be dead on.

That said, I think you did excellent work combining portrait with the casual feel of candids, especially in the first example. You should get thrown in more often!


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Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Feb 28, 2018 00:54 |  #12

Shaun Liddy wrote in post #18572997 (external link)
I am out of town so can't pull up the raw file.

When viewing this image on my phone, I believe the inside of Kelli's left leg to be center of the focal plane which would line up with her left eye. Can also see the shadow on the fence is in front of her inner left eg and it is OOF.

I will try to adjust export to see if they make a difference.

Curious, for the max allowable resolution here, what do you use for dpi in the exported file?

I don't export or post process with this forum in mind. But I export at 300dpi. No specific reason but that's how I've always done it.


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Shaun ­ Liddy
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Post edited 1 month ago by Shaun Liddy. (2 edits in all)
     
Mar 01, 2018 20:26 |  #13

Here are the only changes:

Sharpening from the standard 25 preset to 60 on both images
Export set to "sharpen for screen" and normal

First shot I leveled


From the beginning I have said the fence shot certainly suffers DOF issues due to the F2.8 and distance/zoom ratio.


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Jarvis ­ Creative ­ Studios
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Mar 05, 2018 08:55 |  #14

I think they definitely look sharper. I think had these been the original settings, I would not have immediately noticed the first image (second image in your latest post) had the face out of focus. The jeans still appear sharper to me, but the update to the sharpness certainly helps.


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Thrown in to portrait shots
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