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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 21 Oct 2009 (Wednesday) 04:21
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My friends love these ... but

 
TheMaggedy
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Oct 21, 2009 04:21 |  #1

they are not professionals. I see problems with focus, DOF, and maybe too heavy a hand in post processing. What else did I do right/wrong? These were snapped quickly while my 9 year old niece was still for a rare moment. I still see the loss of their mother in her eyes (4 months now), even while she is having a good time. Amazing what the camera captures.

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MelissaMA
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Oct 21, 2009 09:24 |  #2

Her eyes do look sad. Sweet, but sad.

In the first, it would have been nicer if the focus had been on her closer eye, but it appears to have fallen on the further eye.

I also think the conversion is a bit muddy. Totally my personal taste, but I think with a lighter, brighter conversion it would pop a bit more.
:)


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Binning
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Oct 21, 2009 09:34 |  #3

I like the second shot. The eye closest to the camera is in focus (unlike the first shot) so it feels more natural. There is also a hint of a smile, but muted. It could use a tiny bit of sharpening and a touch up of the shiny parts on the skin. I like the color treatment.




  
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Robert_Lay
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Oct 21, 2009 10:09 |  #4

I like the second shot best.
In both shots and in all such shots one must be careful to avoid the distortion of shorter focal lengths.
The 35 mm equivalent focal length should be at least 85 mm for portrait work.
The formula is 35 mm equiv focal length = crop factor x actual focal length.

Another difference between these two shots is that the first shot is overexposed in the face, whereas the second shot has a better play of shadows in the fact to bring out the facial contours and enhance the 3-dimensionality.


Bob
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gking
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Oct 21, 2009 18:23 |  #5

The second shot is my favorite. I like her Monalisa smile.


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aroundlsu
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Oct 21, 2009 20:01 |  #6

It looks like you are struggling to make something out of nothing. You crushed the blacks, desaturated the image, then added a little tint to it. All probably to try and hide other technical problems.

Don't get me wrong, it's a cute girl and cute expressions. But from a purely technical and artistic perspective there is a lot to be desired. I would keep shooting then come back with something better. Buy a longer lens (at least 85mm, but even much longer would be great) and shoot some natural light stuff of her playing. Shoot A LOT. 300 images is a good starting point for an hour of play. Then pick one or two and show them to us. Without all this post processing cover up work.


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TheMaggedy
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Oct 22, 2009 05:27 as a reply to  @ aroundlsu's post |  #7

Points taken. That's exactly why I wanted you guys to look at these, because even though my friends were raving about them I knew they had a lot of technical problems.

Personally, the photos are special as I'm the only one in the family captuing the children's journey through the grief of losing their mom. It never fails to amaze me what the camera captures in their eyes, no matter how happy they may seem at play.

Another example, taken while we were having a blast at a dog show, but the camera catches the frozen sadness.


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Robert_Lay
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Oct 22, 2009 11:55 |  #8

That's a keeper.

The lighting on her face is a little confusing - like there must be two light sources.
Good exposure and color balance.

The look on her face is definitely "withdrawn".


Bob
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perfeng702
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Oct 22, 2009 12:01 |  #9

second shot is definitely good.


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TheMaggedy
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Oct 22, 2009 12:12 |  #10

Robert_Lay wrote in post #8873052 (external link)
That's a keeper.

The lighting on her face is a little confusing - like there must be two light sources.
Good exposure and color balance.

The look on her face is definitely "withdrawn".

I probably should have used a flash, huh? We were under multiple flourescent lights inside an arena. Is there anything I can do pp to improve the picture?


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jetcode
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Oct 22, 2009 12:52 |  #11

please consider all of this with a big grain of salt ...

I think it is important to realize the audience you are presenting your image to. IMO it is wise to honor the POV of the audience of non-professionals. IMO they are the real consumers of our work. If you are trying to please professionals you will find a steep curve and a small audience. That's not to say opening your vision to self improvement is a waste it's a different aspect and outcome. This is about you perfecting your vision.

end grain of salt ...

In the second image her arm detracts from her face (it's an odd graphic shape) but the portrait itself is quite nice in my opinion. I like the first one too though the clothing highlights could be reduced a bit so I can see her face better. The eye gravitates towards the brightest objects first and often these objects will compete with the real subject. The eye will try to focus on the subject while being drawn towards the brightest object. It actually creates a cognitive dissonance of some magnitude.

For the last one I am not fond of background elements being brighter than the subject. In my world I try to make sure the subject is the most prominent element in an image. If this were handed to me I would print down the background and brighten the subject. That of course is a subjective choice.




  
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Robert_Lay
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Oct 22, 2009 14:36 |  #12

TheMaggedy wrote in post #8873148 (external link)
I probably should have used a flash, huh? We were under multiple flourescent lights inside an arena. Is there anything I can do pp to improve the picture?

I am better at knowing what can be done in Photoshop than I am at actually doing it (except for the simplest tools).
If you are good enough at PP to darken that band of bright white background, so that it isn't the brightest thing in the scene, that would be all I think is needed. You will also find that it makes a good B & W.

Shooting under banks of Fluorescent would account for what looks like multiple sources of light. You're lucky that the color balance came out as good as it did.

Congratulations!


Bob
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TheMaggedy
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Oct 22, 2009 14:49 as a reply to  @ Robert_Lay's post |  #13

You guys are truly the greatest. Patient with the newbies and willing to share your expertise so we don't feel dumb. It is *really* appreciated!


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gonzogolf
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Oct 22, 2009 14:50 |  #14

Let me take a run at this from a different angle. Your first two images have problems, namely a lack of depth of field. You've done some stuff to them in post that crunches the blacks but its not an entirely off putting treatment. However there is something about the expressiveness of the first two that make them stronger than the third for me despite their flaws. You will get a lot of textbook advice, and you should listen to it and consider it, make it second nature to you. But that being said, sometimes you can make a better photo by using an alternate method. For instance, Bob is right that a longer lens makes for a better portrait, but you can often create more intimacy by working close with a wider lens. Sure the wide lens is less flattering, but unless I get your intent wrong this isnt just about the most flattering photo of this little girl.




  
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binaryimages
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Oct 22, 2009 23:17 |  #15

definitely the second shot...the contrast really gives it a great depth and 3 dimensionality (is that a word)...


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