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Thread: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

  1. #1
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Nigel Holmes

    New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Hi all, I've never done this before but there is a first time for everything so here goes. I've attached a picture from a few weeks ago from my first outing with my new 5D MKII and EF 24-105 F4 L IS USM - The 5D MKII is totally different to my old 40D and EFS 17-85 F4-5.6 IS USM when it comes to post processing so now I need some guidance. This picture was taken at a 1960s theme weekend and the girl dressed as a hippy was unaware of having her picture taken. I sharpened the picture and pulled in the levels a little in Canons digital photo pro before exporting to CS5 at 300 dpi . I then added a slight S shape using curves, then about +10 contrast, +20 Vibrance, flattened the layers, cropped a little from the top of the picture and then reduced the dpi to 96 (untick resample), resize to 700pxl on longest side, assign sRGB colour profile, unsharp mask, and save as JPG with image quality set at 10 and baseline standard.

    What am I doing wrong, am I doing anything right? I am never quite happy with my finished pictures as they seem to lack real punch and zing like some of the pictures you guys and girls produce (eg Rob Marshall - stunning!).

    Comments, criticism, help and advice very much appreciated. Rope ready, loft hatch open! :D

    Cheers
    Nigel.

    Before
    hippychick01.jpg


    After
    hippychick02.jpg
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    Last edited by Squidgy; 16th July 2011 at 01:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    It doesn't look like you did anything wrong with this type of photo. This is a candid shot and you cannot expect the end result to be razor sharp unless you can control the subjects movement, use the approrpiate shutter speed and aperture, and control your own body movemets as this was obviously done handheld. The colors in the photo are primarily muted colors so you won't get too much help with that element of the photograph. Your only option available is to try and add a little color to the woman's skin and do something with the patterned dress behind her face. It is too distracting and clashes with her scarf. Otherwise a very nice photo. How close to her were you? Did you crop this photo?

  3. #3

    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Nigel

    I do not think there is quite enough separation between subject and background (DoF is not shallow enough to give the background sufficient blur). In any case I think your sharpening needed to be selective leaving the background unsharpened. With female subjects it is invariably more flattering if you leave the skin unsharpened and selectively sharpen the eyes ans to a certain extent the lips. As a people shot this image has enough contrast to make a good b/w conversion. I also feel it would suit the subject.

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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    +1 on everything that Steve, said. I played with the image a while ago and came up with this suggested PP:

    New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Hope I did not offend you, Nigel. Cheers.

    Here's the colored version of the edit:

    New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

  5. #5

    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Jiro

    Nice work with the conversion.

  6. #6
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Thanks, Steve. I was hoping that Nigel did not shoot this one with the nose crossing the cheek line. It created the dreaded "pinocchio effect" on the nose making it look a bit longer. Just a side comment although the pic was really nice.

  7. #7
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    It doesn't look like you did anything wrong with this type of photo. This is a candid shot and you cannot expect the end result to be razor sharp unless you can control the subjects movement, use the approrpiate shutter speed and aperture, and control your own body movemets as this was obviously done handheld. The colors in the photo are primarily muted colors so you won't get too much help with that element of the photograph. Your only option available is to try and add a little color to the woman's skin and do something with the patterned dress behind her face. It is too distracting and clashes with her scarf. Otherwise a very nice photo. How close to her were you? Did you crop this photo?
    WOW! Thanks for the great advice. I'll try and answer each one of you who had questions as we go along.

    Hi John, and thanks for your help. I am trying to get a general feel for overall processing without things getting too complicated for me at the moment but I will try your sugestion of working on the eyes and lips. Yes it was hand held at about 3 meters from the subject and I also did crop a little from the top and the left hand side so that there was some space in front of the girl. I'll post the original tomorrow when I get back to my main PC so you can see. As for the DOF, I agree that the dress in the background is distracing but the camera lens combo is totaly new to me and I have yet to find my feet in this area. With regard to the overall colour do you think I need to add some saturation or do I need to just add colour to the skin?

    Cheers
    Nigel.

  8. #8
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Nigel

    I do not think there is quite enough separation between subject and background (DoF is not shallow enough to give the background sufficient blur). In any case I think your sharpening needed to be selective leaving the background unsharpened. With female subjects it is invariably more flattering if you leave the skin unsharpened and selectively sharpen the eyes ans to a certain extent the lips. As a people shot this image has enough contrast to make a good b/w conversion. I also feel it would suit the subject.
    Hi Steve and thanks. I've enough wrinkles to confuse any sharpening algorithm and my wife says I make here look like a corpse in any picture I take so I'm going to have a go at what you suggest tomorrow and post the image again. I might try the B&W once I get a bit more experience though.

    Cheers
    Nigel.

  9. #9
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    +1 on everything that Steve, said. I played with the image a while ago and came up with this suggested PP:

    New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Hope I did not offend you, Nigel. Cheers.

    Here's the colored version of the edit:

    New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.
    WOWSER!!! Jiro, that is awesome!!! I love the B&W (how you do that!) but now I can now see just how distracting the patterned dress in the background is. Thank you so much for a lesson well taught by all of you. Gratefully received.

    Cheers
    Nigel.

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidgy View Post
    WOW! Thanks for the great advice. I'll try and answer each one of you who had questions as we go along.

    Hi John, and thanks for your help. I am trying to get a general feel for overall processing without things getting too complicated for me at the moment but I will try your sugestion of working on the eyes and lips. Yes it was hand held at about 3 meters from the subject and I also did crop a little from the top and the left hand side so that there was some space in front of the girl. I'll post the original tomorrow when I get back to my main PC so you can see. As for the DOF, I agree that the dress in the background is distracing but the camera lens combo is totaly new to me and I have yet to find my feet in this area. With regard to the overall colour do you think I need to add some saturation or do I need to just add colour to the skin?

    Cheers
    Nigel.
    Nigel,

    I would add a bit of warmth to the face only.

  11. #11
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Nigel,

    I would add a bit of warmth to the face only.
    I'll give that a go John thanks.

    This is the original unedited, un-cropped version so you can see just how much I took off the picture.
    hcoriginal.jpg
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  12. #12
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidgy View Post
    I'll give that a go John thanks.

    This is the original unedited, un-cropped version so you can see just how much I took off the picture.
    hcoriginal.jpg
    Nigel,

    You composed the figure very nicely in what I assume was a just a few seconds. Although it only adds more distractions in the back ground I would keep both of her arms in the frame. Just a suggestion.

  13. #13
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Nigel,

    You composed the figure very nicely in what I assume was a just a few seconds. Although it only adds more distractions in the back ground I would keep both of her arms in the frame. Just a suggestion.
    Suggestion noted John thanks, I haven't really taken too much notice of background distractions until I posted this picture but I now have a good idea of what I'm looking for when lining up for a shot. I can see I have lots and lots to learn. At least I feel I'm on the right track with technique and thank you all for the encouragement.

    Cheers
    Nigel.

  14. #14
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidgy View Post
    Suggestion noted John thanks, I haven't really taken too much notice of background distractions until I posted this picture but I now have a good idea of what I'm looking for when lining up for a shot. I can see I have lots and lots to learn. At least I feel I'm on the right track with technique and thank you all for the encouragement.

    Cheers
    Nigel.
    It gets easier. To this day I consider myself somewhat of an intuitive photographer, meaning I see an interesting subject, frame it, and worry more about sharpness and exposure. I have to force myself to actualy compose an image, rule of thirds, filling the frame, noticing competing backgrounds.

  15. #15
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Re: New camera and post processing - I need comments and advice please.

    I'm sure it will get easier John, especialy when members of this forum freely offer great advice unlike some forums I have visited. I like to do what I think is called street photography? I go to themed events or re-enactments and love candid shots. You have to be quick off the ball to get a shot before the subject has moved on and it's not so easy to think about backgrounds etc. I shoot using AP and try to get a good exposure at a reasonable shutter speed so things are fairly sharp and so far I've had a few half decent pictures. However, practice and experience make perfect, or should I say acceptable in my case.

    Cheers
    Nigel.

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