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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 21 Oct 2015 (Wednesday) 10:15
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Help me get that 'Wow' factor...if its possible.

 
KurtB
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Oct 21, 2015 10:15 |  #1

I don't normally do portraits, and Lightroom/Photoshop are not my strong suit.

My son is a high school senior, so my wife talked me into going out and taking some "senior" type portraits of our son.

My wife and both grandparents really like this photo because he was actually smiling in it (he hates to smile for pictures unless he is with his girlfriend, and she was working or I would have brought her along).

What can I do to give this photo more "pop" or maybe it would be better with some sort of processing that I have not considered?

I'm really at a loss with what to do with this picture. I like it, but there isn't really anything in it that makes me go "wow".

The original was underexposed because of the sunlight and my flash not filling in enough, so basically all I have done so far was pull up the overall exposure and crop the photo.


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BlakeC
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Oct 21, 2015 10:18 |  #2

Is a re-shoot an option? We could give you advice on that.

As for editing. Is the RAW file available? If so, would you be ok posting a link to drop box or something similar so we could download and edit the RAW?


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Oct 21, 2015 10:22 |  #3

I'd mask out the background and pull up the exposure on him, and would try to mute the bright background down more. Your eye tends to go to the bright areas and unfortunately he is the darkest thing in the image.


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KurtB
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Oct 21, 2015 10:41 as a reply to  @ BlakeC's post |  #4

Here is a link to the raw file (Canon 7DmkII).

https://www.dropbox.co​m …k23evfi/9K6A696​0.CR2?dl=0 (external link)

Looking at the Exif, the flash did not fire on this picture for some reason. The one right after it the flash did fire and it is better exposed as a result, but his expression isn't as good.

Of course, the grandparents care more about the expression than they do the technical qualities of the photo, but I wish I could give them both.

A reshoot probably isn't possible just because of all of our weekend schedules are crazy busy and it is getting too dark during the week before I get home from work.


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KurtB
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Post edited over 4 years ago by KurtB. (2 edits in all)
     
Oct 21, 2015 10:51 |  #5

EnglishBob wrote in post #17754502 (external link)
I'd mask out the background and pull up the exposure on him, and would try to mute the bright background down more. Your eye tends to go to the bright areas and unfortunately he is the darkest thing in the image.

Something like this?

(just a quick mask of the background, so I know that some things like his right arm need to be fixed).

Also, how does the white balance look? I just calibrated my monitor for the very first time the other day, so nothing looks right to me until I get used to the new settings. (Before calibration everything on this monitor had a very strong blue/green cast)


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BlakeC
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Oct 21, 2015 11:25 |  #6

KurtB wrote in post #17754536 (external link)
Something like this?

(just a quick mask of the background, so I know that some things like his right arm need to be fixed).

Also, how does the white balance look? I just calibrated my monitor for the very first time the other day, so nothing looks right to me until I get used to the new settings. (Before calibration everything on this monitor had a very strong blue/green cast)
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forum: Critique Corner

That does look better. Here are 2 of my edits...just took a couple minutes
I used ACR to edit these.

#1 - edited in ACR.
exp +.55
contrast 0
highlights -28
shadows +18
whites -28
blacks- 16
Noise Reduction 28
Red Saturation +16
Enabled lens correction
Vignetting -16 Color Priority

#2
I just took #1 into PS and cropped it, blurred the background some, and boosted the levels

#1


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#2


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Oct 21, 2015 12:29 as a reply to  @ BlakeC's post |  #7

Thanks for those edits Blake. I like the way the extra blur in the background seems to help.


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BlakeC
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Oct 21, 2015 12:34 |  #8

KurtB wrote in post #17754637 (external link)
Thanks for those edits Blake. I like the way the extra blur in the background seems to help.

No problem! In the future, position the subject with more distance between them and the background. That will help to blur it out and separate them from the background. A longer lens, or in your case with the 70-200, zoom in more and stand further away to get the same amount of subject in frame. Also, a wider aperture works great too. I would shoot him at around f4 or so with that lens.


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Oct 21, 2015 12:54 |  #9

BlakeC wrote in post #17754639 (external link)
No problem! In the future, position the subject with more distance between them and the background. That will help to blur it out and separate them from the background. A longer lens, or in your case with the 70-200, zoom in more and stand further away to get the same amount of subject in frame. Also, a wider aperture works great too. I would shoot him at around f4 or so with that lens.

Doesn't standing farther back but zooming in more give you the same DOF as standing closer and shooting a bit wider? Basically if you frame the subject the same way using different combinations of distance vs focal length, the DOF remains pretty static?

I agree that you want to shoot this with a wider aperture, and definitely get a bit more distance between the subject and the background. That is why the blurred background rendition has a bit more pop. Play with sharpening, contrast and saturation to finish up the image. :)

I like that last edit of yours the best out of all of them, I would just run that through a nice 3rd party suite like Nik to do a skin softener or glamour edit.


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BlakeC
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Oct 21, 2015 13:04 |  #10

TeamSpeed wrote in post #17754673 (external link)
Doesn't standing farther back but zooming in more give you the same DOF as standing closer and shooting a bit wider? Basically if you frame the subject the same way using different combinations of distance vs focal length, the DOF remains pretty static?

I wasnt saying anything about zooming and DoF. I was saying to do it to separate them from the background more and compress it better. I was just giving general advice. He can google why later or try it himself. lol


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Oct 21, 2015 13:10 |  #11

I missed the compression factor in that reply, sorry about that. We are indeed talking about DOF though, because that is what gives that pop.

Here is my edit, revised a bit...


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Oct 21, 2015 13:15 as a reply to  @ BlakeC's post |  #12

Yep. The frustrating thing in hindsight about this particular shot was that I had the 70-200 already mounted. We were simply walking over to a different location when my wife said to my son, "Hey, why don't you go and stand over there."

A little more thought, planning, and mental focus on my part would have made me do exactly what you suggested. Instead, it was "OK, snap, snap, snap, let's move on..."


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Oct 21, 2015 13:19 |  #13

KurtB wrote in post #17754696 (external link)
Yep. The frustrating thing in hindsight about this particular shot was that I had the 70-200 already mounted. We were simply walking over to a different location when my wife said to my son, "Hey, why don't you go and stand over there."

A little more thought, planning, and mental focus on my part would have made me do exactly what you suggested. Instead, it was "OK, snap, snap, snap, let's move on..."

It is an art form. My first set of senior shots was with my daughter, and I cringe now when I go back to look at them.

I have done several with others since, and each time, things get better. I create a little checklist of things to consider and refer to it from time to time to make sure I am on target.

The best sets are those where both the subject and the shooter are having fun with each other. :)


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Oct 21, 2015 13:24 |  #14

BlakeC wrote in post #17754497 (external link)
Is a re-shoot an option?

That will provide you the most opportunity to create more "wow". Either a different time of day without having to compete with the bright sun, or utilizing your flash more. The edits do help...but only so much can be done before it starts to look over processed.

It's not a bad shot at all, midday sun is hard to overcome though...




  
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Oct 21, 2015 13:36 |  #15

@KurtB

Here is my attempt. This is about 30 min. using LR CC brushes and some dehaze (no Photoshop). I use the brushes to bring up exposure etc on him and brushes to drop the exposure and warm up the background.

When using brushes, leave auto mask off, except for when filling in the edges as auto mask will leave him (his right arm in your edit) looking splotchy.

If you want this image in it's full rez as i have edited, just send me a message with email and i will send it to you. His skin tone may be a touch off, but without walking away from the computer for a bit, i can't put my finger on how the color is off.


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