I think that they look great - only adjustment I'd make would be to add some fill light to bring out some of the detail in (particularly) the ladies hair (which looks clipped) (although you might need to subsequently burn other shadow areas to keep the contrast levels up).
I too am finding that I really enjoy this sort of activity. This sort-of photo journalism 'branch' of photgraphy is something that I never thought I'd pursue when I picked up a camera in earnest again at the end of last year.
I've got this hankering to do a photo essay of life and the people in our village. Must stop thinking about it and get on with it.
I can see what you mean, I think part of the problem is the eye isn't used to that much white and the skin tones look unexpectedly darker - I checked back to the colour shots in Ahhh... and neither the bride nor groom are particularly suntanned. The pictures are certainly not as bad as you seem to think; it just looks like they have already had a sunny honeymoon.I cannot make my mind up if they are too dark
Intrigued (and hoping to learn something myself) I downloaded picture #1 to Elements and found when I checked histogram and levels that I could actually move the white point to 245 and the grey 1.2 or even 1.3 and get a lighter result, probably what you wanted. This brought up a bit more detail in the brides hair (isn't Colin always right), but alas this also makes more obvious that it got clipped earlier on in processing chain.
If you are applying any LCE with USM, as I almost inevitably do to all my pics, I find I have to be really careful on captures that already have a high contrast range with details at either end because it is so easy to clip out detail. I don't know if that might be what happened here or not, but I think another stab at the PP is probably worth a go.
FWIW, here's my experiment saved for posterity;
This added after your reply below.
The menu now looks too bright, so this isn't the answer
Hope that helps you as much as me,
Last edited by Dave Humphries; 13th September 2009 at 05:51 PM. Reason: add picture
Thanks Colin. I am very unsteady on my feet with people pictures generally. I have plenty more to process so I will apply your advice as I go along. The brides hair is very black so I am starting from a tricky point. If I ever do this again (and God forbid) I will beg, steal or borrow some additional lighting. Ideally I think I should have had a couple of brollies/softboxes on stands to either side.I think that they look great - only adjustment I'd make would be to add some fill light to bring out some of the detail in (particularly) the ladies hair (which looks clipped) (although you might need to subsequently burn other shadow areas to keep the contrast levels up)
Donald, thankyou for the comment. I used to live in a village and I am getting to that age where I would do anything to have captured everyday life during my formative years. I suspect that if you do getting around to capturing village life you will be doing future generations a priceless favour.
Dave, as usual you amaze me with your in depth comments. I always tend to push the sharpening with BW images in an attempt to get that grainy feel. I think you are right with these and I have pushed the sharpening to the point that clipping occurs. Your comments will certainly help me with the rather large batch still to go. Many thanks for taking time to explore these issues