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Thread: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

  1. #1

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    First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    I took this image at the Lockhart picnic races last weekend. It is the announcement of the 'Best Hat' winner and the lady on the right is the winner. It was overcast but glary. I used a Canon 50d and a Canon EF f4-5.6 IS USM lens at 160mm. ISO 400, f5. I have cropped it and attempted some post processing in Lightroom ( I am a real beginner here). I liked the humour on the faces and the pleasure of the winner.

    best-hat.jpg
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    Last edited by Colin Southern; 25th October 2011 at 09:00 AM. Reason: Unsuccessful photo attachment

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    Hi Liz,

    1. You don't need to use such a high ISO during the daytime. Try 100 or 200.
    2. What was your shutter speed?
    3. The crop is a bit severe on both sides, don't crop off parts of the subjects body.
    4. If you don't have a tripod, use a faster shutter speed to freeze the moment.
    5. Was this a candid shot, the subjects appear to be moving freely, which created motion blur?

  3. #3

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    2. What was your shutter speed?
    I'll guess about 1/1250th.

  4. #4

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    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    In which case I would have also used less than ISO 400.

    I think you have done about all that you could at the time of shooting, Liz.

    What I would do with this image is to add a little more brightness during editing. However, this runs the risk of creating some hotspots by slightly over exposing some of the highlight areas.

    This can be overcome by editing with an Adjustment Layer, including a mask, and carefully editing the mask to avoid over exposing any potential problem areas.

    But if you aren't familiar with this, or similar techniques, it may seem a bit daunting at first; although not really difficult.

    Alternatively, just a little tweak using Curves to slightly brighten the midtones while avoiding the highlights would make an improvement. But don't overdo it.

    Using Levels would also work, but I find that I can fine tune the adjustments better with Curves.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 25th October 2011 at 07:24 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    Was this a candid shot, the subjects appear to be moving freely, which created motion blur?
    As Colin suggests, I suspect there was a pretty high shutter speed involved. Because of that, I wonder if what we're seeing is not so much any motion blur, as a lack of sharpening?

    Liz - Were you shooting in RAW? You say that you attempted some pp work. Did that include sharpening?

  6. #6

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    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    I'm of the opinion that the ISO was just fine. Perhaps not needed, but no real penalties either. All that using ISO 400 over 100 has done is reduced the dynamic range capability of the sensor by about 2 stops (who cares, still plenty left), and quadrupled the shutterspeed, which (in terms of motion freezing) is better than the slower speed that ISO 100 would have given.

    Personally, I think the shot looks just fine, although, as John suggested, I probably would have kept the arm of the lady to the left in the scene. Overall it lacks a bit of "punch" (easily fixed in PP), and is a little soft (not sure if this is due to poor sharpening or a focusing issue), but all in all, I think it's a nice shot

    Well done Liz

  7. #7

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    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    Thanks everyone. Yes it was a candid shot of quite a long line up,hence the cropping which is too tight I can see. It was shot in raw and I will continue to experiment with the settings n future shots and the pp especially sharpening. I'm finding the tutorials very helpful. It is great to have some where to post and get ideas.

  8. #8
    New Member abic's Avatar
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    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    Personally,

    I would have used a bit of "fill-flash" to avoid the shadows... Specially for the lady with the hat.

  9. #9

    Re: First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    It is a great candid capture, Liz.

    Love those hats!

    I agree that a fill flash would have helped and the cropping is a bit close. OTOH, you could crop even closer and get just the upper parts of the body. I would consider blurring some of the distracting dresses as well. If you play with the RAW, take your time it will come out much better.

    In my experience, people (both women and men) like to have the shadows and harsh lines, that so often happen with a digi-photo, softened.

    So, I took the liberty to quickly adjust a bit. Opened the mid-tones to give definition to the lovely black-lace dress, removed some of the shadows, added a vignette to one photo in an effort to focus on the winner.

    ___________

    Shadow removal in Photoshop:

    Make 2 Duplicates layers

    Turn off original layer

    Change top layer Blend Mode to Screen

    Merge down

    Make 3rd layer

    Quick select shadow area

    Select inverse and hit Delete

    Change Blend Mode to Screen again and things should look much improved.

    Finish up with Healing, Cloning and Smudging. Adjust colours, saturation and sharpen via Unsharp Mask. It should all take just a few minutes since this shadow is not very dark.

    First photo post - how can I improve this image?

    First photo post - how can I improve this image?

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