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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 04 Jun 2011 (Saturday) 14:20
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Portrait of a little girl

 
BioSci
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Jun 04, 2011 14:20 |  #1

I was asked to do some family portraits recently for some friends. Here is one that I liked the best. I used a softbox umbrella for fill, then processed using DPP and CS5. C&C welcomed.

IMAGE: http://mat99.ath.cx/POTN/9704.jpg

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steve6690
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Jun 04, 2011 15:58 |  #2

I like it, but it looks a little soft on my monitor.


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DinosaurioAllie
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Jun 04, 2011 17:37 |  #3

Personally, if I took a shot like this, I'd scrap it. It's not sharp, she's centered right in the middle of the frame, it's slightly underexposed, and there's just so much more you could have done. It looks like you just slapped her in front of a cheap backdrop.

Personally, I prefer portraits where the person is either placed to the left or the right of the frame. Not directly in the center. Sure, there are instances where it works, but in my opinion it doesn't here. Second, I would have backed up and gotten more of her body in the shot. It's just a really crowded shot, and there's nothing really interesting, she's just standing there with her arms down.
Try experimenting with different arm poses to make it a little more interesting. Sometimes it's hard to find that right balance of not looking boring but not looking cheesy, but I'm sure you'll get it.

Next would be the sharpness issue. I'm not sure if it's just what kind of post processing you used(sometimes that can be it), or if it's an error during the shoot, but either way, it looks quite soft.

The exposure is probably one of the biggest issues in my opinion. It just looks too dark and flat. Try brightening it up in Photoshop and adding a little more contrast. Next time, try turning up the power on the flash if possible.

Hope you find this helpful.


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navydoc
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Jun 04, 2011 22:18 as a reply to  @ DinosaurioAllie's post |  #4

I hope you don't mind but here are a couple of things you could do with this photo using CS5. First, open in ACR and do a white balance correction and increase the exposure. Once you've done that, open the image in photoshop. Create a duplicate layer and then apply heavy sharpening on the top layer. On the top layer, create a 'hide all' mask (alt+ the mask layer icon at the bottom of the layers window). This hides the sharpened layer. Now using white and a small brush, paint over her eyes, hair and teeth revealing the sharpened layer where you want. Give the image a small amount of contrast so the image isn't too flat. Finally, give the image a crop to move her off center a bit.

Here's what I came up with doing the above.


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BioSci
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Jun 04, 2011 22:36 as a reply to  @ navydoc's post |  #5

Hey, guys - thanks for the suggestions. I'll play around with these and see how I can improve the photo.


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corkneyfonz
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Jun 05, 2011 11:48 |  #6

Great edit navydoc.


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jwhittaker
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Jun 05, 2011 12:34 |  #7

I find the backdrop a bit busy and distracting.


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BioSci
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Jun 05, 2011 22:37 |  #8

jwhittaker wrote in post #12540094 (external link)
I find the backdrop a bit busy and distracting.

Actually, it wasn't a backdrop - it was the family back yard. They are moving away soon, and wanted the family portrait session set there.

I agree that the composition of this portrait is wanting, but the family made clear what they wanted, so that's why I set up this one. Other portraits from the series which have the whole family are much better composed. IMHO.

So, based on the good recommendations here, I redid the portraits, brightening the images and sharpening the eyes and mouths. I felt that navydoc's image was overly bright, but I agree that I needed to make some significant movement in that direction. Here's the latest version.

IMAGE: http://mat99.ath.cx/potn/9704-1.jpg

EOS R | 7D | 24-70 f/2.8L II | 70-200 f/2.8L II | 100-400 f/4.5-5.6L | 17-55 f/2.8 | 11-16 f/2.8

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GtrPlyr
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Jun 06, 2011 00:19 |  #9
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Not bad...not bad at all. Very serviceable.

I did a quicky


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bboehm
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Jun 06, 2011 00:28 |  #10

Yeah... background on the original was just WAY too busy. I would have really liked to see a lot shallower depth of field to really blur out those trees.


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SamiMphotography
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Jun 06, 2011 00:45 |  #11

I don't like how flat the image looks here. She is such a pretty girl, I just feel like she has no depth to her. Work on the lighting and depth of field. Maybe brighten it up so it doesn't look so rainy.




  
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Jun 06, 2011 01:39 as a reply to  @ SamiMphotography's post |  #12

You could use the background from the underexposed image and then mask in the girl from the image with the exposure corrected.

That's what I did with this edit. I took my edit above and masked her into the original, darker image. I also darkened the background even more and applied a lens blur. I didn't recrop on this edit.


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GtrPlyr
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Jun 06, 2011 01:54 |  #13
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Hey navydoc.... by chance you've done any tours on a nuclear sub? How close were the bunks to the reactor room? ;)


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Portrait of a little girl
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