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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 14 Aug 2013 (Wednesday) 21:48
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I'm flat and boring. Help me Lightroom. help

 
swoffa
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Aug 14, 2013 21:48 |  #1

Hi all,
I don't own Photoshop, but please don't stop reading! (phew, now that's out of the way)

OCF beginner here (gawd, another statement).

I took a pic of a collegue but didn't have my brolly with me. Not sure if it would have helped but further below is the outcome.
Here's how the setup looked. The walls are all grey, even the ceiling tiles aren't quite white so I may be getting a colour cast perhaps that isn't helping. This was the only spot we had for the image that didn't have a distracting background.
I set my flash on the table in the middle of the room and bounced it off the ceiling and wall corner behind me.

IMAGE: http://imageshack.us/a/img577/7189/l6ej.jpg

And this is how it came out. I tried playing around in LR to get it to pop a bit more, but my pp skills are fair dinkum crap.

IMAGE: http://imageshack.us/a/img28/9505/i8od.jpg

What can I do to this image to give it a little life?
Would shooting with the brolly have made any difference?

Thanks for any and all tips. Very keen to improve my portraits.

edit: If anyone wants the raw to play with let me know and I'll link to it tonight.



  
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drvnbysound
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Aug 14, 2013 22:13 |  #2

Based on your light setup, this is what I would have expected. I'm not sure what else you are really looking for. It's a clean headshot... Its just lacking some dimension because it was lit pretty flat based on the way you bounced the light.

If you would have used the brolly, you could have added some of the dimension by utilizing the light fall off by getting the light close to your subject (inverse square law).

To create interesting light, you have to create interesting shadows. I'm pretty sure Syl Arena said this in the Speedliter's Handbook.


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PixelMagic
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Aug 14, 2013 22:26 |  #3

The position of the catchlights suggest that the light source was at a low angle; ideally you want the catchlights to be at approximately the 10 or 2 o'clock positions (depending on the direction of the light). Almost everything we observe is lit from overhead so any significant deviations from that are generally noticeable.


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tim
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Aug 14, 2013 23:04 |  #4

Bounce the light toward the cork board.


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tonylong
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Aug 14, 2013 23:22 |  #5

I gather from your post that you are looking for input as to processing/editing the existing photo (that re-shooting is not an option)?


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swoffa
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Aug 15, 2013 05:18 |  #6

Hey thanks all. Much appreciate the advice and tips.

Tim, I thought about aiming it that way but thought the cork board might put too much of a colour cast across. I guess that's another thing learned, If I dont try and see I won't know. Guessing whether it works or not is not an answer.

Tony, kind of both actually. Really appreciate the shooting advice, but was also wondering what I might be able to do with LR to enhance this image. I may be able to reshoot in a couple of weeks as I'm now on holidays. Was hoping to give her something by the weekend hence editing this image.

Thanks for any more ideas.




  
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PixelMagic
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Aug 15, 2013 06:04 |  #7

You can lightly "burn" the left side of her face to create more shadow and three-dimensional modeling. Also, the background can be changed if desired.

What's the discoloration on her right sleeve? Is it lens flare of some sort?

An alternate lighting suggestion would be to aim the speedlight at the intersection of the ceiling and two walls where the corkboard and whiteboard are located. That would eliminate any possibility of lens flare; the light will then come from overhead; and, it will be at approximately the 45 degree angle from the tip of her nose (that angle provides the best modelling for facial features).

Take a look at Neil van Niekerk's Tangent website for his OCF tutorials: http://neilvn.com …h-photography-techniques/ (external link)
(Click the hyperlink at the top of each page to navigate through the techniques in order)
Also see Chuck Gardner's lighting tutorials: http://super.nova.org/​DPR/CluelessToCompeten​t/ (external link)


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swoffa
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Aug 15, 2013 07:55 |  #8

Not sure what the colour is on her sleeve. Didn't notice it before you mentioned it. Probably is lens flare, the flash would have been slightly in front when I took this shot.

Image is here (external link) if anyone wants to download it.




  
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Grizz
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Aug 15, 2013 12:52 |  #9

No suggestions on using your flash! But I did some tweaks in LR, skin softening, Iris enhance,Teeth whitening, slight burning on the left side of her face as per PixelMagic's suggestion, Aslo used the radial filter tool to lower the exposure on the outside of her face and torso somewhat. Not sure if its any better but it is a little different.

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PixelMagic
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Aug 15, 2013 13:16 |  #10

Here's an attempt; the lighting does not appear that flat in the original raw file. What immediately stood out to me were the catchlights...they were very large and obscured the subject's irises giving her somewhat of a spooky look. Take a look at this animatedGIF to see what I mean:

IMAGE: http://i.imgur.com/z3FiJBv.gif

I did a number of basic edits and also replaced the original catchlights. I didn't bother to swap the background and just darkened it instead.

IMAGE: http://i.imgur.com/AX2X1RV.jpg

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swoffa
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Aug 15, 2013 16:42 |  #11

Hmm, I leant in the direction of increasing exposure to give her top more texture, both you guys went the other way. I like your versions much better, I'll have a play around again.

The catch lights are so big due to the flash bouncing off the wall. Now that you bring it to attention they look like the whole wall is reflected.

PixelMagic, I assume you used PS for the catch lights. Is there a technique in LR to replace like that. I'll have a go at burning down the irises as I can do that in LR.

Thanks again for the feedback.




  
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PixelMagic
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Aug 15, 2013 17:19 |  #12

I did increase the exposure by about 1/3 stop when doing the initial raw conversion. I think the darkened background is giving the illusion that her shirt is darkened.

Yes, I used Photoshop to replace the catchlights...that can't be done in Lightroom; you need a pixel-level editor like Photoshop, Elements, Paintshop Pro where you can precisely select pixels and use layers.


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TTuna ­ Eye
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Aug 15, 2013 17:24 |  #13

This tutorial is great in how to do catch lights and most anything in LR.

http://www.slrlounge.c​om …t-system-and-workflow-dvd (external link)

I bought it and recommend it highly.


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swoffa
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Aug 15, 2013 22:56 |  #14

OK here's another attempt. I managed to tweak the irises, pretty happy how I got them with LR. Happier with this revision, but I'll still play around with it a bit I think.

IMAGE: http://imageshack.com/scaled/large/585/1kou.jpg



  
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PixelMagic
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Aug 16, 2013 03:44 |  #15

Good so far but I hope you don't mind me nitpicking some things.

1. This version is a bit too red in the skin tones. It could be because a color profile wasn't embedded in the image but on my monitor she now has a red, slightly sunburned appearance.

2. Portrait retouching is as much about "fine art" as it is about the ability to use the software tools. So if you look at a lot of painted portraits and photos shot by the "masters" you'll learn a lot that you can then apply to your retouching. Key among those things you'll observe is how shadows are used or created. When an subject is lit by an overhead light source, features like the eyelids and upper lip create very soft shadows. Consequently you can't expect the sclera ( the white of the eyes) and/or the teeth to be uniformly white.

So the first thing I'd do is reduce the eye whitening; the upper parts of the sclera are too white considering that the eyelids and eyelashes create shadow. Similarly I would reduce the teeth whitening; you want the viewer's attention to naturally go to the subject's eyes and too white teeth will distract the viewer. Plus the upper portion of the teeth should be very slightly darker than the lower portion because of the shadows created by her upper lip.

Finally, while I'm a huge proponent and user of Lightroom it is no match for Photoshop or any other pixel editor when doing detailed retouching work like this. Photoshop has a Brush Engine and features like Pressure Sensitivity (when using a Wacom tablet) that are simply not available in Lightroom. Plus the ability to precisely select pixels is not available in Lightroom. If you're editing images that don't require major corrections you can use Lightroom alone but images that need some repair/correction are better done in Photoshop.


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