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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos RAW, Post Processing & Printing 
Thread started 31 Mar 2010 (Wednesday) 21:50
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something needs fixed...but what?

 
Joect541
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Mar 31, 2010 21:50 |  #1

Ok. I dont have much knowledge in the field of portraits. Now this may sound at first like it is a portrait question, but it is actually a levels adjustment/ pp question.

I took this photo of my son while we were playing on the playground at his school over the weekend. Nothing was planned. It was a completely cloudy day. Looked like it could rain any second. Dull and gray sky. That was the lighting. The photo was taken on a 30D with a Canon 50mm 1.8 @ f1.8, iso 100, 1/1600. Camera's exposure comp set at +1/3 and shot in RAW. I have not done anything to the photo except bump up the exposure of the raw file +.2 using Canon's Zoom Browser EX raw software. Then I converted it to tiff, opened in photoshop, scaled to fit here, and that is all

I know I will do some clean up on the skin and clothing (it was not a planned shot and he just finished a powdered dounut) but I am lost as to what needs to been corrected/adjusted after that. It just looks so dull. I played with color adjustments a little on another copy and it makes his skin look to red or messes up the back ground color. I just think it is lacking something to give it that "pop." I think it could be a decent portrait with the right adjustments. What do you think?


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Happy shooting! Joe

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krb
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Mar 31, 2010 21:54 |  #2

What stands out to me is that I can't see his eyes. Sometimes a flash at very low power can really make a difference.

Since you didn't use a flash when it was taken, do you think you could use a layer mask to bring up the exposure on the eyes to give them some color?

You might want to play with making the white balance just a little warmer just to see how the skin looks.


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Keith ­ R
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Apr 01, 2010 02:14 |  #3

Not a very appealing background - that alone spoils it for me.




  
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dche5390
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Apr 01, 2010 02:27 |  #4

Contrast between the subject and the background is minimal. Hence the subject doesn't pop out.

The quality looks soft, so perhaps the shutter speed was too slow for the task.

A tighter crop should fix things. A much tighter crop. Boost some contrast and vibrance and put some life into the exposure!


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PixelMagic
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Apr 01, 2010 06:31 |  #5

As already pointed out the photo lacks contrast but its still good for a grab shot and is quite salvageable.

One of the problems is that the brick background is very close to his skin tones. If you have a pixel editor like Photoshop you can use the Quick Selection Tool to select the subject, then invert the selection and darken the background....that alone will make him "pop." Then you can do color correction, cloning, etc. on the subject.


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tzalman
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Apr 01, 2010 07:22 |  #6

First, you have made the most commonly committed compositional mistake - the subjects eyes are dead center and above him there is wasted empty space. We all do it, especially when hurrying to grab a chance shot, because instinctively when seeing another person we look into their eyes. An experienced photographer will have trained himself to override this instinct and compose better. Now you need to crop to bring the eyes up to around 1/3 from the top. It means throwing away precious pixels and will limit your ability to get a high quality large print, but it's the price you'll have to pay.

Second, I'd suggest you redo your RAW conversion. As it is now the red channel on both the boy's face and his shirt collar is clipped. +2 Exposure is way too much.
If instead of using Zoombrowser, you install the copy of DPP you received with your 30D and then update it at the Canon site to the current version (3.8.0.0). You will have tools to control highlight and shadow rendering and, even more important, a curve editor with which, if you add less Exposure, you can bring up the dark tones on the sweater while anchoring the facial tones. And as krb said, your WB needs to be better; it needs to be warmer and less Exposure will allow you to warm it up without burning out the red channel.


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Joect541
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Apr 01, 2010 12:18 |  #7

All- Great advise. I couldnt put my finger on it, but now that you have pointed it out I see how close the brick is to the skin tones. That (and the other sugestions) would explain the dull look accross the whole picture.
I'm gonna try everything suggested here and see what I can come up with. I will post an update. I thank you all for your help and sharing your knowledge, as well as being patient with people like myself! I do have one that is sharper, I just didnt like the facial expresion as well. I will try and edit off that one and see what I can come up with using the advise given.


Happy shooting! Joe

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queenbee288
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Apr 01, 2010 12:24 |  #8

The dull cloudy light you had that day was working against you for sure.




  
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Apr 01, 2010 13:34 as a reply to  @ queenbee288's post |  #9

I did a super quick retouch. Is this maybe kinda what you were thinking about? I didn't attack the donut fallout cuz I love donuts too much. :D




  
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lecherro
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Apr 01, 2010 15:51 |  #10

Heres my go I seemed to agree with R12 about the crop, did it without looking sorry R12. I darkened the wall in the back to change its tone a little bit. Also defocused it a bit more than it was. I use a screen layer to lighten the eyes a little but I also adjusted levels, dodged a little and then reduced overall xparency cause the eyes looked a little creepy after I finished. Cleaned up donut powder, ohhhh Donuts, Didn't touch skin or anything else. By the way, Good looking young man. My wife and I are expecting our first this summer I am sure i will be erasing tons of donut dust from his pics.

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pip ­ boogaloo
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Apr 01, 2010 16:01 |  #11
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tonally flat with no specular highlights, and the bokeh is distracting/not nice (original shot)


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Joect541
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Apr 01, 2010 16:49 |  #12

Oh wow. I went WAY drastic! This is what I came up with. I am real new to photoshop so this is FAR from perfect. Am I on the right track? @ leechero, I like the crop you did much better than mine. Def an improvement on what I had going on. Thanks and congrats to you and your wife. It adds a whole new meaning to life, let me tell ya!
@R1200GS, I like the way you added more pop to it. I am not real sure how to get rid of the halo effect around him. I used the burn tool and it took a lot of it away.


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Happy shooting! Joe

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something needs fixed...but what?
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