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Thread: 2nd Portrait attempts

  1. #1

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    2nd Portrait attempts

    I went out this evening and practiced more with my daughter. I tried to apply what I learned in the first attempts I made. I used the auto focus as Collin pointed out and made sure that the image stabilization was turned on. For some reason, the focus at 100% crop still doesn't look right to me. I also moved my daughter farther away from the back drop I was using and in some cases, just the skyline as a back drop. Comments, concerns, and suggestions are definitely welcome.
    By the way....her hair is a mess. It was a bit windy out tonight and it was blowing everywhere. Since these are practice, I'm not concerned about a little messy hair.

    KHarmon


    2nd Portrait attempts
    Maci retake 1 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    2nd Portrait attempts
    Maci retake by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    2nd Portrait attempts
    Maci retake 3 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    2nd Portrait attempts
    Maci retake 4 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

    2nd Portrait attempts
    Maci retake 5 by KHarmon1971, on Flickr

  2. #2
    purplehaze's Avatar
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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    She's a sweetie, Kris. I think #4 is a real winner, but the flesh tone looks a little orange to me. Is that how it came out of the camera or have you played with the colour in post-processing? I notice that the flesh tones differ in each of the shots taken against the same background. (Notice, too, how the background itself differs.) My uneducated, amateur response is that you might want to think about using a grey card to set your white balance. See this tutorial if you haven't already.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    This man is learning fast.

    I'm no portraitist, but even I can see the step up in quality from the 1st attempts. Keep at it, Kris.

  4. #4

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by purplehaze View Post
    She's a sweetie, Kris. I think #4 is a real winner, but the flesh tone looks a little orange to me. Is that how it came out of the camera or have you played with the colour in post-processing? I notice that the flesh tones differ in each of the shots taken against the same background. (Notice, too, how the background itself differs.) My uneducated, amateur response is that you might want to think about using a grey card to set your white balance. See this tutorial if you haven't already.

    I'm learning post processing on the fly and have been experimenting with processing while I practice the portraits. The skin tones are different because I'm working to find out what looks best and more natural. I will agree that #4 had somewhat of a Chee-toh appearance to it. I will work and play with it further when I'm off on Sunday. Hopefully, the 50mm F1.8 that my brother in law is sending me will be here by then and I can get out and work on more pictures with that lens. All of the differences you see are coming from me playing around in the post processing.

    KHarmon

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    This man is learning fast.

    I'm no portraitist, but even I can see the step up in quality from the 1st attempts. Keep at it, Kris.
    Donald,

    Thank you for the compliment. I'm working hard at learning the art of portrait photography even though it's not my first interest in photography. I am, and probably will always be partial to landscape and severe weather photography. I'm hoping to hone my skills in portraits enough that I will no longer have to pay to have family portraits done, and maybe even make a little side money doing portrait work for others. I can assure you that I will definitely become more proficient in the skills of posing, lighting, post processing, etc. before I ever consider doing work for anyone else.

    KHarmon

  6. #6
    purplehaze's Avatar
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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by KHarmon View Post
    All of the differences you see are coming from me playing around in the post processing.
    The best way to learn! A couple of things you could try, if you haven't already: 1) use the Vibrancy slider or its equivalent in the software you are using rather than Saturation to boost colour; or 2) if your image is already saturated, selectively de-saturate the flesh tones.

    If that 50 mm that is coming your way is anything like my Nikkor, you are going to love it. Happy shooting!

  7. #7

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by KHarmon View Post
    The skin tones are different because I'm working to find out what looks best and more natural.
    Hi Kris,

    I agree with the others in that these are coming along nicely. The lack of colour accuracy is by far the biggest issue though.

    In terms of "best and more natural" there's really no substitute for starting from a known baseline, and working from there - and that means shooting a gray card as a reference shot first. From there you can instantly white balance an image and then (and ONLY then) start making changes to make things look better (usually all you'll need to do is raise the temperature about 150 Kelvin).

    Other than that, looking good, apart from your creative & output sharpening passes, which appear to be a bit off the mark.

    Would you like me to retouch one of these for you?

  8. #8

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Kris,

    It's a step up from your previous attempt. I like #5 the best where more natural looking and maybe add a little contrast to it. Another think I got to point out though is your shutter speed. Looking at #5 exif data your focal length is 75mm and shutter is at 1/60. The shutter needs to be at least around 150+ to minimize hand shake and makes the images sharp. You know IS can only do so much. Also if you're worried about getting under exposed images with this shutter speeds, don't hesitate to use higher ISO settings. ( around 200 or 400, whatever gives you the best exposure.) Not so sure about your camera on what ISO settings can it handle. But anyway it's an improvement!

    here's a version with a little contrast to it:
    2nd-attempt.jpg
    Hope you don't mind
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Crovean; 12th August 2011 at 06:33 PM. Reason: added image

  9. #9

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    And here's Chriss' version with output sharpening applied, plus a subtle vignette and minor levels tweak (hope you don't mind!).

    2nd Portrait attempts

  10. #10

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    And here's Chriss' version with output sharpening applied, plus a subtle vignette and minor levels tweak (hope you don't mind!).

    2nd Portrait attempts

    I absolutely don't mind!!! I was wondering though, does the auto focus seem to have helped with this set as compared to the manual focus on the last set. As I zoomed in on these they still seemed a little soft. I'm hoping that has more to do with camera shake than it does with the camera itself.

  11. #11

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by KHarmon View Post
    I absolutely don't mind!!! I was wondering though, does the auto focus seem to have helped with this set as compared to the manual focus on the last set. As I zoomed in on these they still seemed a little soft. I'm hoping that has more to do with camera shake than it does with the camera itself.
    Hi Kriss,

    The AF has definately helped a lot. It's not perfect, but there are really too many variables as to why it's not better (AF performance - AF focus point - lens performance - sharpening regime - shutterspeed -v- camera shake etc) (EXIF Data is stripped, which makes it even harder). All in all it looks just fine though - in this case there was probably more to be wrung out of the post-processing than the actual capture, but even as it stands, it would look just fine as a canvas print.

    Or to put that another way, I've seen professional photographers who's work wasn't up to this standard!

  12. #12

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Kriss,

    The AF has definately helped a lot. It's not perfect, but there are really too many variables as to why it's not better (AF performance - AF focus point - lens performance - sharpening regime - shutterspeed -v- camera shake etc) (EXIF Data is stripped, which makes it even harder). All in all it looks just fine though - in this case there was probably more to be wrung out of the post-processing than the actual capture, but even as it stands, it would look just fine as a canvas print.

    Or to put that another way, I've seen professional photographers who's work wasn't up to this standard!
    I will have my 50mm F1.8 on Monday along with a 55mm-210mm. I'm anxious to work with the 50mm and do some more portrait work as well as some other pictures. As you can see, I have a willing victim for a model so that isn't a problem. I build a home made reflector for both sets of portraits that I have taken and compared some of the family snap shots with these photos and the reflector makes a huge difference.

    What filter do you recommend for shooting these kinds of pics using only natural light?

    KHarmon

  13. #13

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    Re: 2nd Portrait attempts

    Quote Originally Posted by KHarmon View Post
    I will have my 50mm F1.8 on Monday along with a 55mm-210mm. I'm anxious to work with the 50mm and do some more portrait work as well as some other pictures. As you can see, I have a willing victim for a model so that isn't a problem. I build a home made reflector for both sets of portraits that I have taken and compared some of the family snap shots with these photos and the reflector makes a huge difference.

    What filter do you recommend for shooting these kinds of pics using only natural light?

    KHarmon
    Hi Kriss,

    To be honest, I wouldn't use a 50mm lens for portraiture - even on a crop the working distance is too small for this kind of work (head and shoulders) - 55 to 210 would be a much better portrait beast.

    In terms of filters, I don't use any, other than a UV for lens front element protection.

    With reflectors, just remember that it's effectively a light source - and you need to treat it as such - so try to position it high so it gives a bit of direction to the light, and introduce it from one side eg ...

    2nd Portrait attempts

    Hope this helps!

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