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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk 
Thread started 29 Jan 2013 (Tuesday) 09:55
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Bright, crisp, headshots. How?

 
CalmAsToast
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Mar 13, 2013 03:23 as a reply to  @ post 15706336 |  #46

I may be way off base here but this is my interpretation of what I think you are saying. First off I have to say that I love the image you posted for the same reasons that others have already described.

OK, here's what I see. When comparing your image to the example photographers you have mentioned I see the following differences. (Please accept that I am generalizing and each of the points I'm making may not necessarily apply to each and every one of their images, but they do apply to most and to their body of work as a whole.) You used the word "pow", I will use the word "pop" in my descriptions.

1. Most of their images, especially the headshots have very clean and non-distracting backgrounds. This is expressed in a few different ways, blur, solid color, difference in luminance, difference in color, etc. Whichever method is used, the subject definitely "pops" in the picture and is obviously the subject.

2. Closely related to this is the visual separation between the subject and the background that is evident in most of their images. Even the few images where the background is in focus, the subject is definitely the subject and draws your eye and again "pops" out of the photo.

3. Another thing I see is the vibrance of the images. This also helps to separate the elements of the photos. As the colors are made more vibrant they tend to separate themselves from each other which again adds the "pop".

4. The level of contrast used is also a huge factor in my opinion. Most of their images have a higher contrast tone curve applied. Even the black and white images and those with desaturation applied have a higher level of contrast. This again separates the elements of the image and causes the subject to "pop".

5. The eyes are the window to the soul and are probably the most attractive and engaging feature of each person. In most of their photos, there is a great emphasis on the eyes and connecting the viewer with the subjects eyes.

Numbers one and two are done in camera with the choices you make with regard to composition, background and framing and with the exception of cropping, are set once the button is pushed. Three and four can be enhanced in post to add the flavor you want. Five is a combination, with proper lighting being one part and post processing being the other.

Taken together, these things can make an image have that "pow" you described. As an exercise, I would love to see you re-edit the photo you posted here with these things in mind and see if you can achieve the look you are seeking.

I hope this helps. If I'm way off base it might have something to do with the time. It's way past my bedtime.

CalmAsToast


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gazmorton2000
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Mar 15, 2013 07:22 |  #47

NickPerkins wrote in post #15706336 (external link)
Honestly I love the original better.

Thank you.

CalmAsToast wrote in post #15709622 (external link)
I may be way off base here but this is my interpretation of what I think you are saying. First off I have to say that I love the image you posted for the same reasons that others have already described.

OK, here's what I see. When comparing your image to the example photographers you have mentioned I see the following differences. (Please accept that I am generalizing and each of the points I'm making may not necessarily apply to each and every one of their images, but they do apply to most and to their body of work as a whole.) You used the word "pow", I will use the word "pop" in my descriptions.

1. Most of their images, especially the headshots have very clean and non-distracting backgrounds. This is expressed in a few different ways, blur, solid color, difference in luminance, difference in color, etc. Whichever method is used, the subject definitely "pops" in the picture and is obviously the subject.

2. Closely related to this is the visual separation between the subject and the background that is evident in most of their images. Even the few images where the background is in focus, the subject is definitely the subject and draws your eye and again "pops" out of the photo.

3. Another thing I see is the vibrance of the images. This also helps to separate the elements of the photos. As the colors are made more vibrant they tend to separate themselves from each other which again adds the "pop".

4. The level of contrast used is also a huge factor in my opinion. Most of their images have a higher contrast tone curve applied. Even the black and white images and those with desaturation applied have a higher level of contrast. This again separates the elements of the image and causes the subject to "pop".

5. The eyes are the window to the soul and are probably the most attractive and engaging feature of each person. In most of their photos, there is a great emphasis on the eyes and connecting the viewer with the subjects eyes.

Numbers one and two are done in camera with the choices you make with regard to composition, background and framing and with the exception of cropping, are set once the button is pushed. Three and four can be enhanced in post to add the flavor you want. Five is a combination, with proper lighting being one part and post processing being the other.

Taken together, these things can make an image have that "pow" you described. As an exercise, I would love to see you re-edit the photo you posted here with these things in mind and see if you can achieve the look you are seeking.

I hope this helps. If I'm way off base it might have something to do with the time. It's way past my bedtime.

CalmAsToast

Thanks for taking the time. All really good points, particularly number 5. One of the big things I think I am missing is possibly the subject interaction. I will try and work on this the next time I shoot. I haven't shot for a while now due to being a little disheartened but am trying to arrange something at the moment. I will try and consider a lot of the points people have mentioned in this thread, and I am very grateful for all the replies. I continue to learn different ways to edit/process and will hopefully settle on a look I like. At the moment, I don't seem to have a lot of confidence in mear equipment either. It may seem wrong to blame the equipment but, I see photos from a lot of folk on here shooting wide open with the 50L and 85L and they are superbly sharp. Mine seem hit and miss. Perhaps others are hit and miss and, of cours, they only show the sharp one (quite rightly). In that respect I miss the D700 and 85mm F1.4 as I didn't need to constantly check. I knew the image would be sharp. But this is a side point, going away from the original intent of the thread. :)


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Safetybob
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May 04, 2013 09:53 |  #48

Gaz, glad you are not the only one having these problems. I worked hard on the interaction thing this past weekend and although I have a long way to go, it did improve things....everyone was good to go. I was upbeat and friendly, which made everyone else upbeat and friendly. I forced the positive attitude all evening long....yes, I was thinking about it all the time, purposely.

Equipment: I have the same problem as you. Most everything is sharp but sometimes, focus just isn't what I expected. I am just about ready to turn off the autofocus on the posed stuff.....I think that might take away the "unfocused" problem that my camera may introduce occassionaly. The hit-n-miss has disappointed me on numerous times but mostly, the client is OK with it when they see the results.

I would like to say I think the picture as shot is great, fantastic actually. I think I like it darkened slightly (but if the cuff was selectively darkened, I would be cool with everything else unchanged). I was wondering if you, or anyone else would have said the chin resting on the hand would have been just as good (as shot) because that cuff would have been down lower and perhaps not so "pow", in your face.

Thanks for posting and the ensuing discussion has caused me great reflection as to my own work, results and perceptions.

Bob E.




  
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Gators1
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May 11, 2013 14:22 |  #49

Personally I think the photo is very good as is. CalmasToast pretty much covered everything to add pop. Contrast is really the key to adding dimension to your photos and making them stand out IMO. This can be selective contrast using curves or even better using dodge and burn to emphasize the highlights and shadows a bit more. But that depends on your own taste and what you have already is pretty good IMO.

Aside from "pop", I would fix the skin tone as it's overall a little red and the hand is redder than the face. And you may want to smooth a little under her left eye (right one from our perspective) to even it out with the other side.




  
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Voxcap
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May 20, 2013 23:21 |  #50

gazmorton2000 wrote in post #15717446 (external link)
One of the big things I think I am missing is possibly the subject interaction. I will try and work on this the next time I shoot.

I think this is exactly the "pow" you're looking for. And while I'd consider your original more of a portrait than a true "headshot", I think the same things apply. It's that connection that's missing. It's a nice portrait of a beautiful girl smiling, but it isn't really saying much. Her eyes, eyebrows, and mouth just aren't really communicating to the camera. It's just nice. That's not to take anything away from the photograph.

I would suggest Peter Hurley's DVD on headshots. He is pretty much the headshot photographer right now and in the DVD he focuses primarily on how to get those expressions that speak to the camera. It's great watching him work.




  
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gazmorton2000
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May 26, 2013 16:09 as a reply to  @ Voxcap's post |  #51

Thanks for the additional comments here. :)

Glad this thread has helped other people too.

I have seen Peter Hurleys work and clips from his DVD, but not the full thing. It is far too expensive for me at the moment. His work IS excellent though, and his interaction with his subjects is what makes it so. I'll keep shooting though and see if I can try some of the suggestions from here and see where I go with it.


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scroller52
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Jun 19, 2013 15:21 |  #52

somewhat of an old thread, but has neone mentioned that the model isnt showing teeth? i know peter hurley mentioned it in his videos. its simply 'un-natural'/fake when people smile and their lips are still touching.

he even mentions to have the model consciously breathe to maintain space between their lips.


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Davenn
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Jun 29, 2013 08:05 |  #53

Hi Gaz and Co

Gosh, photography and art in general is so subjective in how its viewed by different people, huh ?!! :)
I also prefer the edited version with the better tonal/contrast qualities it has it just makes the pic stand out much better. Me personally, I dislike images that are to me overly bright as in the original.
( and your one isnt really too bad, compared to many I have seen around the place)
so much of the skin and other detail is lost being partly or totally washed out in many pics I see.

If that's your thing ... go for it !!! :) its just not my thing LOL. I prefer to see contrast and the detail that pops out with that contrast.

I'm a stormchaser/photograph​er, and getting that good contrast and detail that comes with a good non-washed out exposure can do wonders for setting the mood and tone of the pic.
Its the difference between a blah sky and the menancing sky that I saw before me

Gaz, its your work, do what you like and enjoy, variety is the spice of life.
If ALL the artists and musicians of the past painted like Picasso or composed music like Mozart
it would be a boring world ;)

Regards
Dave


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jimiam
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Jul 15, 2013 08:44 |  #54

How dare I? You guys are funny and I'm a clown. Why cloud the water with technicality? This is a lovely young lady. Place the attention where it belongs.

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jwheadshots
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Jun 01, 2016 22:53 |  #55

It's really all in the lighting. I like to use open shade whenever available. There's a great tunnel in my area that I frequently use when photographing actors and it creates the most amazing lighting. It also provides a bit of cover from the bright over head sun. I'd also advise keep a simple white/silver reflector with you if working outdoors, it can be great to add a bit of pop in an image.

You can see some samples of my work at http://www.jwheadshots​.com (external link) if you want to see some of the looks I've achieved lighting wise.

Hope this helps!


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Bright, crisp, headshots. How?
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