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Thread: Advice needed on a portrait

  1. #1

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    Advice needed on a portrait

    Friends,
    Here is a picture, which I am seriously considering as a gift to the people in the picture (in form of a print 8x10).
    I took it yesterday, and it must be sent to print today, so tomorrow I can give it to them. So, I have a little schedule pressure here.
    Maybe you can help me with the problems I have with it.
    One problem - it's a little out of focus, I think. Man's face, mostly. Can that be helped at all? I keep hearing about sharpening, but I am not sure if that's applicable here, and what exactly could/should be done there? The problem was not the shallow DOF (f7.1). I think my camera/lens and I just messed up on the focusing.
    Another problem - I worked on her face to remove/reduce the wrinkles, but not on his. And I think it shows. As in - you can tell that one face is more "processed" then the other. Can you? If so - anything I can do about that?
    Several specks, hairs in the background - those I know how to fix. (I didn't see those on a monitor where I did the PS. Hate that! Went and ordered the monitor calibrator right now because of those )
    Anything else you can see, that I can't?
    If you think - it's so out of focus, it belongs in a garbage can - please tell me so.
    Thanks for your help in advance!

    Advice needed on a portrait

  2. #2
    TonyCooper's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    Both eyes of the man have weird whitish lines emanating out
    and upwards...two on the left (as we view) and three on the
    right. The woman has similar lines, but black.

    If you want to be kind to him, smooth out his chin directly
    below the lower lip.

    The problem with "improvements" is whether or not the couple
    wants a natural look or an improved look. Do what you know
    they'd like.

    Also, clone out the grey thread xot on his shirt. It's the back
    of where a button is, but it looks like a grease spot.

  3. #3
    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    I think your analysis is pretty much spot on...

    The first thing I noticed was the lack of focus on his face. You didn't post all the camera settings but they look to be at a similar distance from you and at f7.1 it would seem like both faces should be in similar focus. Nonetheless, I agree the focus wasn't nailed here for whatever reason.

    The processing of her skin/wrinkles looks well done to me. I find it to be natural. Frankly, I don't think this is as big an issue as the focus. She certainly won't complain. You should process his skin a bit to match it up though as the light is a tick more harsh on his forehead especially and it would even it out a bit.

    The little specks and hairs can easily be corrected.

    My thought would be to go the other way. Rather than trying to correct the focus on the Gent by sharpening etc. which I don't feel will "fix" what you see as being wrong, I would take it in another direction. Why don't you attempt to soften the image throughout in an effort to hide the focus issue. Just a thought...

  4. #4

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    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    It's very nice overall. Maybe a little selective sharpening just on his eyes to make them pop a bit "might" add a bit to the illusion of being more in focus. I can see why you'd like to present it as a gift. I think they'd love it.

  5. #5
    epmi314's Avatar
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    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    I forgot to mention and agree with Myra. It is certainly worthly of a thoughtful gift.

  6. #6
    jiro's Avatar
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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by vladimir View Post
    Friends, Maybe you can help me with the problems I have with it.
    One problem - it's a little out of focus, I think. Man's face, mostly. Can that be helped at all? I keep hearing about sharpening, but I am not sure if that's applicable here, and what exactly could/should be done there? The problem was not the shallow DOF (f7.1). I think my camera/lens and I just messed up on the focusing.
    You can apply separate level of sharpening values for the man and for the lady. Apply a stronger sharpening for the man and keep the sharpening value at a minimum for the lady. Sharpening for web posting is totally different compared to sharpening for printing applications. For web applications, you need to apply a high value for sharpness amount but use a low radius value. It would be the opposite if you want to sharpen for print. As for the camera/lens question, if both subjects' face are not parallel relative to the sensor plane it would really cause some issue with the sharpness of the image. I am not so sure if you used strobe light on your lighting setup. But if you do, it would help much since you can increase your shutter speed up to the maximum sync speed that your camera can provide. That would address any motion issue that affects sharpness. If you use continuous light, you have to play around with your light intensity, light to subject distance ratio to come up with an acceptable shutter speed value.


    Quote Originally Posted by vladimir View Post
    Another problem - I worked on her face to remove/reduce the wrinkles, but not on his. And I think it shows. As in - you can tell that one face is more "processed" then the other. Can you? If so - anything I can do about that?
    Several specks, hairs in the background - those I know how to fix. (I didn't see those on a monitor where I did the PS. Hate that! Went and ordered the monitor calibrator right now because of those )
    Anything else you can see, that I can't?
    If you think - it's so out of focus, it belongs in a garbage can - please tell me so.
    Thanks for your help in advance!
    For some who are only starting to work with photoshop or retouching images then yes, your retouching work is good. However, to those who know how to work with face retouching it looks noticeable. It's not that bad to reduce the wrinkles on faces. What you want to achieve is just to take away some years from their looks but not too much. That is the typical practical guidelines used by portrait retouchers. You can lighten up the dark skin folds (wrinkles), and you can also liquify some sagging skins judiciuosly.

    Advice needed on a portrait[/QUOTE]

    Here is one possible retouching edit on your posted image. If you can post the original RAW file I could probably help in some small way. I hope I did not offend you on the edit.

    Advice needed on a portrait

  7. #7

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    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    Thanks for all the help!
    I did make it on time with the printing and the frame etc. My friends were actually very happy with this present. Beyond my expectations, actually. That makes me very happy, of course The sharpness issues/differences were pretty much taken care by the lustre paper it was printed on. I did use a lot of advice given here, and here is a final result. Thanks again!

    The lighting, by the way, was from my "garden umbrella" arrangement I've mentioned in the Small Lighting thread. It has some [pretty dim] continuous light component and two flash guns firing from under the umbrella. I'll post a picture of that thing here, when I have time... And then - I'll patent it!

    Advice needed on a portrait

  8. #8
    speedneeder's Avatar
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    Brian

    Re: Advice needed on a portrait

    Looks pretty good to me Vladimir, I'm glad they liked it as well.
    Good job.

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