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Thread: Self improved (ha.ha.)

  1. #1

    Self improved (ha.ha.)

    I got a little, simple remote, a couple of months ago, and am, finally, getting around to figuring it out. (Not that hard, I guess.) So, today, I decided that I would just try some "throw away" self portrait shots - just to see how it worked - and, lo and behold, my self portrait abilities have improved considerably (compared to how absolutely wretched they were before.) Here they are with lots of room for improvement.

    The very biggest question I have is if my skin color/tone in the B&W looks strange because of the white shirt. I couldn't seem to figure out how to make that better. Fresh eyes, please?

    Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Self improved (ha.ha.)

  2. #2
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Take a sample shot with a gray card, Katy. That would solve your WB issue. Doing a self-portrait is really hard because you can't seem to remember your exact position after you modified the camera and flash location (if you have one). The reflections on your left shoulder looks a bit hot for me. You can recover some of them in lightroom if you want. For me, I'd probably ask you to chin up a little bit so there's not much white area on the bottom of the eyes that are being shown. Lastly, be generous with that nice smile next time. Just kidding. Flash photography will help you control that background more, Katy. I'd say "Nice job!" but with a lot of space for improvement, definitely.

  3. #3

    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Thanks, Willie! You caught some of the things that I thought were mistakes, too. When I tried to take the bright spot off of my shoulder, it changed the highlights on my face unnaturally and I was too lazy to go into photoshop where I could just burn or dodge (can never keep them straight) the brightness down???

    Alright (sigh), I've had a gray card in my Amazon shopping cart for over six months, now. The VERY first thing I will do, this month, is buy it! (I really need it to take a pic of my red rose - the color is amazing and I jsut can't get it without the gray card!!!)

    We just discussed the whites of the eyes in the non-square cropped portrait thread. It was hard for me to realize that there was so much showing, of course, like you said, right at the first ....and, I don't know, I have ones with the chin up but liked this better.

    Also, you'd think that without a photographer behind the camera, I wouldn't be shy but it was still hard to get a true smile (even being the happy girl that I am.) I liked the very last two that I took because I had started 'laughing' at myself because the situation struck me as very silly.

    Thank you very, very much, Willie! Your input helps me to check if I'm on track or lost in the wilderness, somewhere.

    P.S. Yup, I just checked - I have some with my chin up but there were other things that I didn't like as well.

  4. #4
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    You don't have to buy a gray card if you're just after some near ball park adjustments. My gray card guide is just made out of hard cardboard painted with a $1.00 gray (matte type) spray paint from Walmart.

  5. #5

    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    You don't have to buy a gray card if you're just after some near ball park adjustments. My gray card guide is just made out of hard cardboard painted with a $1.00 gray (matte type) spray paint from Walmart.
    I was, also, wondering if anyone could confirm or contradict the rumour that the inside of the top of the pringles can works well. (My kids would think that they'd died and gone to heaven if I brought home Pringles!)

  6. #6
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    I don't know much about the pringles but if you want another cheap and easy gray colored guide you can use the cover of a Philadelphia Kraft regular cheese spread. Just make sure that you draw a cross line (using any black permanent marker) so your camera can easily focus on the area. it's brighter than a true gray card by about 0.5 EV so adjust accordingly. better yet, use that cover and spray paint it! Hehehe. I'm really cheap!

  7. #7

    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    ....you can use the cover of a Philadelphia Kraft regular cheese spread..... better yet, use that cover and spray paint it! Hehehe. I'm really cheap!
    ...you, also, sound really hungry.... I know...,now, I am.

  8. #8
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    ...you, also, sound really hungry.... I know...,now, I am.

  9. #9
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    If you have photoshop or elements you can work on one section of the photo without affecting the facial tones. Very nice effort.

  10. #10
    Davidd's Avatar
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    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post

    The very biggest question I have is if my skin color/tone in the B&W looks strange because of the white shirt. I couldn't seem to figure out how to make that better. Fresh eyes, please?

    [/IMG]
    Skin tone looks fine to my eyes Katy. Re the shirt, my point would be the same as I made on another thread - with portraits try and avoid having anything in the photo which is brighter than the face. It'll diminish the effect you want by taking the eye away from the face. If I block out the lower part of your photo, from the edge of your white shirt, and look again, the pic is immediately better. Your eyes become the focal point, as they should be. Composition's better too - in fact, I like it! But then of course, that's just me.... What do you think?

    By the way, I've only ever managed to take one self-portrait which I liked and which others think looks like me - the one I use as my avatar in my posts. If I have to update it sometime, I'm in trouble!

    ~ David
    Last edited by Davidd; 31st August 2011 at 03:15 PM.

  11. #11

    Re: Self improved (ha.ha.)

    Thank you, John and David! SPs are just a little 'funny'/awkward, aren't they. but, then, if I ever whack up the courage to be an 'actress' - there's potential for some fun.

    Thanks much for the feedback on the skin tone!

    Yes, the eye is drawn to the brightest part and that should be the most important part of the photo. Like I said, I hope that, when I go into PS, I can just tone it down. I was lazy, that's all. Then, I thought I'd just leave it for you guys to pick up on - silly, but there it is.

    I did try cropping up but, then, came back out to the original, again. I only ever expected this to be a 'throw away' but, in the process, with no pressure to produce a super end product, I learned a bit - I was so pleased - and, bonus, have a pleasant pic of me. (Which is helpful because, for reasons that would take too long to explain, partly involving everyone afraid to touch the camera, no one ever takes any pics of me!)

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