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Thread: Portrait of my Wife

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    TheArcane's Avatar
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    Portrait of my Wife

    During out last hiking trip, I decided to shoot a couple portraits of my wife. I am just starting to get into portrait photography, so your input is very welcome.

    Portrait of my Wife

    Canon Rebel EOS 450D
    Canon Ultrasonic 28-105 at 83mm
    ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/50

  2. #2

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    A good composition, Joshua.

    Did you use a tripod? I would consider 1/50 to be a bit borderline for handheld and would have gone up to Iso 200 in that case.

    Whatever you did with this scene, was going to create lighting problems. Unless you took some substantial lighting equipment with you.

    Particularly problematic as you were shooting into a bright background. I think I would try very slightly increasing the brightness, particularly the highlights, and let the background do what it does. Or, better still, work with an adjustment layer and mask to exclude any over bright background areas.

    Then a tiny bit of selective sharpening on her face.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    A good composition, Joshua.

    Did you use a tripod? I would consider 1/50 to be a bit borderline for handheld and would have gone up to Iso 200 in that case.

    Whatever you did with this scene, was going to create lighting problems. Unless you took some substantial lighting equipment with you.

    Particularly problematic as you were shooting into a bright background. I think I would try very slightly increasing the brightness, particularly the highlights, and let the background do what it does. Or, better still, work with an adjustment layer and mask to exclude any over bright background areas.

    Then a tiny bit of selective sharpening on her face.
    I appreciate the advice, as well as the compliments. The location we're in would have been...interesting to bring lighting equipment to, though I wondered if a reflector would have been helpful to throw a little more light onto her face. One of the main problems I was having was that there was a lot of dappled light in most of the positions I was trying.

    I will see what I can do about toning down the background more than I already have. It isn't exactly blown out, but it does have some hotter spots to it that draw the eye. As far as selective sharpening goes, where would you suggest I apply it? I did some selective blurring to reduce acne spots, but tried to keep her eyes, eyebrows, hair, lips, and nostrils sharp.

    Also, I did hand hold this, even though I know I shouldn't have. My tripod doesn't go quite low enough, so I risked it by shooting several exposures and hoping one would be clear. I was laying on my side with my arm braced on the rocks however which helped me to steady myself.

    Again thank you for the suggestions.
    Last edited by TheArcane; 20th August 2012 at 08:13 PM.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Hi Joshua,
    I think it a very nice picture, well done.

    I agree with some of the comments above, but overall I think it's a good start.

    Hope you don't mind but I tried a few tweaks, to see how it would look if I had PP it. I've given a slight surface blur to her face and sharpened it a bit; particularly around her eyes.
    I've added the boarder just because it's something that I feel just finishes a portrait.

    If I have over-stepped the mark and you want me to remove it, I will of course take it down.

    Portrait of my Wife

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    You're fortunate to have such a beautiful model, hiking partner and wife, but you already know that.

    I'm not a portrait specialist but I do like the direction of the suggestions already made. However, for me, the biggest flaw (and perhaps easiest to fix) is the green tint in the white part of her eyes. I actually wonder if it's a post-processing mistake.

    Change that to white, add a little contrast to her eyes, and sharpen them using a rather high intensity, small radius and very small threshold. Be sure to review the eyes at 100% to make sure the sharpening doesn't create any artifacts. You can find lots of stuff on the Internet, perhaps among the CiC tutorials, about using standard settings for treating eyes. I would give you my settings but the sharpening parameters in my post-processing software are not the norm.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by TheArcane View Post
    I appreciate the advice, as well as the compliments. The location we're in would have been...interesting to bring lighting equipment to, though I wondered if a reflector would have been helpful to throw a little more light onto her face. One of the main problems I was having was that there was a lot of dappled light in most of the positions I was trying.

    I will see what I can do about toning down the background more than I already have. It isn't exactly blown out, but it does have some hotter spots to it that draw the eye. As far as selective sharpening goes, where would you suggest I apply it? I did some selective blurring to reduce acne spots, but tried to keep her eyes, eyebrows, hair, lips, and nostrils sharp.

    Also, I did hand hold this, even though I know I shouldn't have. My tripod doesn't go quite low enough, so I risked it by shooting several exposures and hoping one would be clear. I was laying on my side with my arm braced on the rocks however which helped me to steady myself.

    Again thank you for the suggestions.
    Hi Joshua,

    Just reading through the conversation so far.

    I appreciate that shots like this are "unplanned" in that the primary purpose of the exercise was probably the outing, not a photoshoot -- so often folks don't take an arsenal of equipment. Having said that, an on-camera flash that you can swivel/bounce into a reflector would make a world of difference.

    For dappled lighting, consider taking a small circular diffuser - I think I covered them in my school of portraiture series (have you read that?).

    If you're forced to shoot at low shutterspeeds - and you don't have flash - then put the camera in multiple shot drive mode and fire a burst of 3 to 5 shots - some will be considerable sharper than others. Make sure you shoot RAW, and don't blow the highlights -- there's more than enough dynamic range captured to reveal any dark shadow detail in post-processing.

    I like your composition - lighting was actually pretty good - what it needs most is levels adjustment and sharpening - happy to give you a demo if you'd like to flick me the full-resolution original.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I like your composition - lighting was actually pretty good - what it needs most is levels adjustment and sharpening - happy to give you a demo if you'd like to flick me the full-resolution original.
    Joshua,

    You need to be "Take his hand off" quick with an offer like that

    I'm biassed, I just want to see your wife again she's a great model

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    TheArcane's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Here is my second attempt at processing the image. I took several of your suggestions, though I'm limited on how much I can tone down the background without it starting to look muddy.

    Portrait of my Wife

    I'd be happy to send you the original Colin. Thank you for taking the time to offer me assistance.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    happy to give you a demo if you'd like to flick me the full-resolution original.
    I'm more than a little bit miffed that you have never made that offer to me.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    I'm more than a little bit miffed that you have never made that offer to me.
    He just wants an excuse to work on the picture of my wife .

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Joshua, I really like that you brought out her eyes in the re-edit. Her lips also seem to have more color which I like too!

    Do all photographers have wives with beautiful eyes?

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Your wife is a lovely portrait subject and this is a lovely portrait of a lovely woman.

    However, I am not keen on the expanse of bare arm visible and very demanding of my attention.

    As I was scrolling down the image, I noticed that I liked the image a bit better with a crop just below the bottom of the neckline or if she were wearing a dress/blouse with sleeves.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    I agree with all other on you having a beautiful wife/model to practice your portraits skills on.
    John's processing does show a significant improvement in the shot. You gotta take Colin's offer

    Again, using an external flash is being stressed at here. I so wanna buy it. But being recently married, I am postponing my expenses on gadgets.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Sahil View Post
    But being recently married, I am postponing my expenses on gadgets.
    Congratulations on your recent marriage! Once you do get around to acquiring those gadgets, don't tell your spouse how much you paid for them if you want to stay married.

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    TheArcane's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Your wife is a lovely portrait subject and this is a lovely portrait of a lovely woman.

    However, I am not keen on the expanse of bare arm visible and very demanding of my attention.

    As I was scrolling down the image, I noticed that I liked the image a bit better with a crop just below the bottom of the neckline or if she were wearing a dress/blouse with sleeves.
    How do you feel about this?

    Portrait of my Wife

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Each version is better than the previous one. Keep up the great work!

    If you feel the crop is a little tall and narrow, it won't hurt to crop a little off the top to remedy that situation.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    I agree with mike, each version is better than the last, what i love is how her eyes "pop", lovely model you have. I believe soon, if not now, you got a good print for your home.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Joshua,

    Every time you revise an image, be sure to check the histogram. If you do that now, you'll notice that there is no data on the right side. I think you'll like the image quite a bit more if you move the far right slider in the Levels tool to the left so data is displayed across the entire horizontal axis.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Joshua,

    Every time you revise an image, be sure to check the histogram. If you do that now, you'll notice that there is no data on the right side. I think you'll like the image quite a bit more if you move the far right slider in the Levels tool to the left so data is displayed across the entire horizontal axis.
    Hi Mike,

    I can see what you're trying to say - and I agree with it (largely) in this case - but I think it's also important to point out that having a histogram "touch at the right" isn't always correct; it really depends on what the tones of the image are. If the histogram touches the right hand side then that portion would represent a highlight (and be white) ... however in the above image (as a "reasonable" example) there really aren't any great areas of highlight.

    As I say, not a shining example of what I'm meaning - but - one may well have images that are correctly tone mapped and levels adjusted that don't have the histogram touching because there aren't any max-out highlights that should be in the image.

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    Re: Portrait of my Wife

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    it's also important to point out that having a histogram "touch at the right" isn't always correct; it really depends on what the tones of the image are.
    Completely agree. Great clarification!

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