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Thread: First Portrait attempts

  1. #1

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    First Portrait attempts

    I took my 9 year old daughter out this evening and took some practice portrait shots. All shots were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel XS using a 17-85mm lens. I know this is not an ideal portrait lens and I'm looking into adding a 50mm f1.4 to my lens line up in the very near future. What can I say? I was bored and wanted to go out and experiment. Comments, suggestions, helpful hints, and tips are all appreciated. I shot all of these in RAW and will post the untouched image followed by the touch ups that I did.

    Thanks for the comments in advance.

    Untouched #1
    First Portrait attempts
    009 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    Touched Up;
    First Portrait attempts
    MACI 009 retouch by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

  2. #2

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Next photos;
    First Portrait attempts
    010 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    Black and White retouch;
    First Portrait attempts
    Maci10 Black and White by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

  3. #3

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Untouched #3
    First Portrait attempts
    016 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    Retouched;
    First Portrait attempts
    Maci16 retouch by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    Black and White retouch;
    First Portrait attempts
    Maci16 black and white by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

  4. #4

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Last Couple.
    Untouched;
    First Portrait attempts
    028 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    Touched Up;
    First Portrait attempts
    Maci38 retouch by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

  5. #5
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Hi Kris,

    The "BW retouched" of second shot is, for me, the best by far. It minimises the distracting colours on the wall, her eyes are sharp and the B&W contrast ratio is good, compared to some of the others.

    First Portrait attempts
    That said, you still have your daughter far too close to the background in all cases.

    I always recommend having more distance behind the subject (to the background) than there is between camera and subject. Not that I do portraiture often, but that theory works for bird tables in front of hedges - not that I'm saying ... oh, you know what I mean (I hope)

    Have you had a read through Colin's excellent series on the topic?

    BTW, this was a very good way to show us what you had shot and how you'd improved it, full marks for that.

    Hope that helps,

  6. #6

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Kris,

    The "BW retouched" of second shot is, for me, the best by far. It minimises the distracting colours on the wall, her eyes are sharp and the B&W contrast ratio is good, compared to some of the others.


    That said, you still have your daughter far too close to the background in all cases.

    I always recommend having more distance behind the subject (to the background) than there is between camera and subject. Not that I do portraiture often, but that theory works for bird tables in front of hedges - not that I'm saying ... oh, you know what I mean (I hope)

    Have you had a read through Colin's excellent series on the topic?

    BTW, this was a very good way to show us what you had shot and how you'd improved it, full marks for that.

    Hope that helps,
    Thank you for the input. I had just started reading Colin's series when I was pulled away from the computer. It is a series I fully intend to get back into. I'm glad you pointed out the fact that I had her too close to the back drop. I picked that particular wall because it is one of the local "land marks" and a friend of mine that does photography uses that particular wall when he is hired to do Senior pictures and such.

    I do appreciate the comment. I know my post processing lacks a lot to be desired and is something I'm still learning.

    KHarmon

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by KHarmon View Post
    I do appreciate the comment. I know my post processing lacks a lot to be desired and is something I'm still learning.
    No worries Kris.

    The problem with "local landmarks" is just that, we don't know them
    and again, with a bit more distance, you could include a bit more wall for better context, rather than just a couple of patches of it, and that may allow us to appreciate the artwork.

    We're all still learning (especially PP)

    Cheers,

  8. #8

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    I am not a portrait expert however the #2 and 9th are good compositions. Concerning b&w conversions, I have the feeling that you should control levels. Your pictures seem to have a gray tendancy on my screen

  9. #9

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    To illustrate my previous comment I tried a review. If you don't like it, feel free to tell me and I will remove it

    First Portrait attempts

  10. #10

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    The advice to put some distance between subject and background is spot on. Then use as small an aperture as you can and blur the background, if it is at all distracting. Also avoid doing portraits in natural settings where there are any verticals that can appear out of the top of your subjects head if you position them or your camera angle wrong. Sometimes framing you subject can work such as in an arch or doorway, but initially until you feel confident, use the blur the background approach to concentrate on your subject. Pay all you attention then to posing your subject and getting their detail right. Stray hair can look odd, too fussy clothes can be a distraction, awkward hands etc can spoil the shot. Concentrate on getting these sort of details sorted consistently before you go on to try more challenging or elaborate shots. Paid my way through Uni doing weddings and portaits years ago, but still remember the doos and don'ts
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  11. #11

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by Malcgeorge View Post
    Then use as small an aperture as you can and blur the background
    * Biggest aperture, but smallest number

    ** But just be careful that one stoll has sufficient depth of field to cover the subject. F4 for a shot from a distance with a long lens might be fine, but at other times, even F11 can be insufficient if shooting up close. In reality it's more about the distance from camera to subject -v- distance from subject to background.

  12. #12

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Hi Kris,

    I'm in a hurry right now, but 2 things came to mind ...

    1. Good Job

    2. Eyes are too dark - I can't see any detail in them. Do you need a hand to lighten them up?

  13. #13
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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Really nice photo's; I like the honest smile. Bit close to the wall though and it is better if possible to think background and how is it going to add to the image.

    It is not too easy to do and I don't follow my own advice, I think all but the one with the car are wonderful.

  14. #14

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Hi Kris,

    Special Offer -- if you'd like to flick me one of the original RAW files (or at least a full-resolution JPG if you don't have a RAW file), I'll give you a full retouch (for free ) to show you how it could look.

  15. #15

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Kris,

    Special Offer -- if you'd like to flick me one of the original RAW files (or at least a full-resolution JPG if you don't have a RAW file), I'll give you a full retouch (for free ) to show you how it could look.

    Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments and advice. I greatly appreciate it, and when time permits, I'm going to put the suggestions here into practice and do another set.

    Colin, I appreciate the offer and will send a RAW file if I can get one to attach, if not, I will send a full resolution JPG to you in a few moments. I'm going to take some time and cut and paste the suggestions given here to put in my camera bag for the set I'm going to take. If I get off work early enough tomorrow I will try and do the set then.

    Once again, I greatly appreciate the help as I am greatly behind the learning curve and just starting this process. My goal, one day, is to get good enough to make some side money doing this as a hobby.

    Thanks again!!!

    KHarmon

  16. #16
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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    I like the 009 pic retouch but agree the eyes need to be brightened a bit with a little blur or depth from the background. Perhaps this can be achieved in post processing. No doubt an photogenic young lady worthy of plenty of new shots. Love the freckles!

  17. #17

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by epmi314 View Post
    I like the 009 pic retouch but agree the eyes need to be brightened a bit with a little blur or depth from the background. Perhaps this can be achieved in post processing. No doubt an photogenic young lady worthy of plenty of new shots. Love the freckles!
    If you love the freckles you should see her fraternal twin sister!!! I would love to have taken some pictures of her the other day but she is currently in Select Softball and was practicing for a tournament this coming weekend. Just when I thought she was done with softball for the year, she went from All-Stars to a select squad which is a year around league. I appreciate the fact she made a select team, but my poor vehicle would appreciate a break in going back and forth to tournaments.

    KHarmon

  18. #18

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by tb72 View Post
    To illustrate my previous comment I tried a review. If you don't like it, feel free to tell me and I will remove it

    First Portrait attempts
    I love this retouch. It gives me a better idea of what I need to look for when I do my own post processing. Thank you for the assist.

    KHarmon

  19. #19
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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    Regardless of the retouch they are solid pics and keepers. My personal opinion it there is not enough contast in the pics to convert to B&W but that is a small knitpick. Very small that is.. I would focus on blurring the background and brightening the eyes a bit.

  20. #20

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    Re: First Portrait attempts

    I agree with your comment scott. on my retouch I added vignetting and reduce luminosity of the background. With low resolution picture result is relatively poor but I think that with the raw it could be much better

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