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Thread: Am I getting there?

  1. #1
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Nigel Holmes

    Am I getting there?

    A big thank you to Colin Southern for his guidance in the post originally started by Frank Miller: Sharpening and Noise Reduction Sequence

    I am well pleased with the results I got with this very recent picture of my little girl while on holiday in the Lake District (UK). However, I still feel there is room for improvement and would like your constructive views on where I could improve even further. I'm not so bothered about the composition itself even though I have removed some distraction but it is mainly the post processing. Is the picture sharp enough or over sharp, are the colour and contrast ok etc.

    Before:
    lh-before.jpg

    After:
    lh-after.jpg
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    Last edited by Squidgy; 20th August 2011 at 07:12 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Am I getting there?

    Quote Originally Posted by Squidgy View Post
    A big thank you to Colin Southern for his guidance in the post originally started by Frank Miller: Sharpening and Noise Reduction Sequence
    You're very welcome Nigel!

    I am well pleased with the results I got with this very recent picture of my little girl while on holiday in the Lake District (UK). However, I still feel there is room for improvement and would like your constructive views on where I could improve even further. I'm not so bothered about the composition itself even though I have removed some distraction but it is mainly the post processing. Is the picture sharp enough or over sharp, are the colour and contrast ok etc.
    The sharpening looked just fine, but I think there are a number of "problem areas" ...

    1. The lighting is wrong - it's coming in from the top giving a very hot forehead (especially considering your daughter's blond hair and light skin-tone). Unfortunately, this has also given some very dark areas where the hair meets the skin in areas like in front of the ears. I've applied a graduated filter to attenuate the brightness most at the top, and least at the bottom, and then agressively applied exposure + brightness + fill light controls to the image to try to pull the tones into place (with limited success). A reflector would have done wonders for this shot (or some diffuse fill flash).

    2. The colours were wrong - to be honest, I struggled a lot with these - I just couldn't seem to get the skintones right. I suspect that your daughter's skin is in fact very pale -- so it presents a challenge to me in that I'm more used to more pinky skintones ... problem is though, the more I adjusted them up, the more it over-emphasised the colourful background and colourful clothing. You might find a benefit in choosing clothing that skintones don't have to compete with if you're shooting more "formal" portraiture. A grey card reference shot would have been very helpful too.

    Am I getting there?

  3. #3
    Squidgy's Avatar
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    Nigel Holmes

    Re: Am I getting there?

    Thanks for the further advice Colin, what you have pointed out were strangely unnoticeable to me... until now. My daughter does have very pale skin and the light was from a gap in the trees directly above. The light looked very diffused and soft at the time but now I'm thinking I was fooled. The light spot on the head I can kind of live with but wow! those dark areas under the hair in front of the ears really jump out at me now they have been pointed out. I cant believe I had a large fold down reflector and my flash and diffuser in the kit bag that was sat on my back when I took the picture You learn something new every day and I'll be watching out for these points in future. I like what you have done to the Picture Colin and I will give that a try myself as I think the B&W and your processing make the image look much more controlled if that's the right expression.

    Is it just me or do other people find that with photography you think you have just nailed one thing when several others pop up that you never even realised existed. Ah well, at least I'm getting somewhere with sharpening. Thanks again for the help and advice Colin it is very much appreciated.

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    Re: Am I getting there?

    No worries Nigel,

    All I can really say is "the more one works with images, the more one picks up on more and more things". These days I shoot very very few images without light modifiers like fill flash and/or reflectors.

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