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Thread: Some decent (I think) children portraits

  1. #1
    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Some decent (I think) children portraits

    This is a "School of Portraiture" (by Colin Southern) applied session. I tried my best to incorporate all of Colinís advice since I have no experience on this kind of photography.

    I finally got some decent portraits (I think) I want to share. I recently bought a small cheap 23in soft box from ebay (from China) to experiment with light modifiers and I am very pleased with the results taking into account that it cost about 40$. I don't have a lightstand so I used my camera tripod as one while handholding the camera. The build in flash of my Canon 60D was used to remotely trigger my speedlight and fortunately that worked flawlessly.

    What I now need is some critique to identify my faults.

    My portrait models are almost exclusively either my niece and nephew or my... cats. In this case those are some summer shots of my sister's children.

    Her name is Cookie and of course that's a nickname. When photographing her I always aim for her marvelous green eyes. I wanted however to use another trick that unfortunately make her keep her eyes a bit close. I used a blower my sister has to inflate a small swimming pool we have to make everything a bit windy. Here is the result:

    1.
    Some decent (I think) children portraits
    Canon 60D, 24mm @f/4, 1/200s, speedlight 430EX II

    This was shot in August so her skin is a bit sun burned. I chose an f/4 aperture to isolate her from the background and used the flash as fill in. It was hard to keep the camera with one hand (with the 24-105 f/4L lens) while the blower with the other so I had many bad shots. In PP what I did was some minor dodge and burns and some tiny saturation increase in her eyes.

    Here is another shot of her where her eyes are wide open:

    2.
    Some decent (I think) children portraits
    Canon 60D, 50mm @f/2.5, 1/250s, speedlight 430EX II

    In this case I used a lens I am in love with, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 which I bought second hand. It is amazing sharp, must sharper than my (much more expensive) EF 24-105 f/4L although it's an L vs non-L lens but also a zoom-vs-prime comparison.

    Do you think I should crop from the top of the image? I can't decide on that.

    And last but not least Aggelos (Angel in Greek, the one who brings the message):

    3.
    Some decent (I think) children portraits
    Canon 60D, 50mm @f/1.6, 1/250s, speedlight 430EX II

    This one was shot at the exact same place as the first one few minutes later but in
    reverse direction without the softbox. Whatís behind him is a sun light sea landscape. The exposure was measured on his while the flash provided the fill in. All I had to do in PP was to increase the highlights in Lightroom to make the background disappear in white so that's a cheap white seamless background.

    I know I made a huge mistake in the last one. I didnít shoot it from his eye level so his head which is closer to the camera looks much bigger giving a cartoon-like feeling to the image. I will certainly try again this technique.

    Thank you all for viewing my images, I hope to get some rigorous and constructive critique of these.
    Miltos
    Last edited by MilT0s; 7th October 2012 at 06:43 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Some decent (I think) children portraits

    My first thoughts on these shots, Miltos.

    The first has good focus, exposure and an interesting pose but I'm not really keen on the size ratio. It seems a bit 'squashed'. I would have preferred a 5 x 4 ratio, approx, which showed a little bit more at the top.

    The second is excellent all round.

    The third feels just a little too 'square' and full frontal. His eyes don't seem quite as sharp as his nose. Maybe it is just the camera angle or perhaps the depth of focus is a fraction shallow. It's almost there but somehow lacks the 'sparkle' of the previous two.

  3. #3
    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: Some decent (I think) children portraits

    Geoff thanks your comment.

    First of all you are absolute right, the third one has a even bigger problem, the eyes not being sharp since the focus is on the noise.

    Arggg, shallow DoF is very difficult to master especially with children who never stop moving...

    I will play a bit with different cropping for the first one.

    Thanks again.

  4. #4

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    Re: Some decent (I think) children portraits

    Miltos, I can't comment on the technicalities, since I know nothing about portraiture, but I will say I like the photos. The expressions on the faces of the children are great. Nice job capturing these.

    Serge

  5. #5
    MilT0s's Avatar
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    Re: Some decent (I think) children portraits

    Thank you for your comment Serge.

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