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Thread: B&W Portrait

  1. #1
    WJT's Avatar
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    Wayne Turner

    B&W Portrait

    I took this at night without having a good view of the subject and still using my old flash about a year ago. I'm still debating with myself if I have captured him or not. I feel that without catching the eye's it leaves the picture wanting. Kevin is an elder of Arnhem Land. Regardless I will have another go when I see him again in the daylight but would appreciate some feedback on this effort to learn from I hope. Anyway of improving my portraiture would be helpful.
    B&W Portrait

  2. #2
    Soozie B's Avatar
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    Re: B&W Portrait

    Hi Wayne.

    What a fabulous face this elder has. So full of character and wisdom. Not capturing his eye leaves me wondering what he is thinking.

    The only minor comment i have is that the skin looks slightly metalic though, this may be due to the flash and the natural oils on his skin. But I can't be sure how to fix that as my knowledge is still limited.

    I really like it though.

  3. #3
    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: B&W Portrait

    Hi Wayne. Personally I'm not feeling a connection with Kevin here.

    You shot the image at f4 and 75mm on a crop sensor body, and the autofocus has missed the intended target. Kevin's shirt is sharp but is face is in from of the focal plane. Now you were in darkness here and on an older camera body, combined with on camera flash. That's not conducive to great portraiture and judging by your signature you're much better equipped nowadays.

    Just because Kevin's looking away doesn't mean that I'm not feeling the connection. Portraits don't have to have eye contact. However they definitely, with a few deliberate exceptions, need to have eyes as the focal point of the image.

    If you're going to photograph Kevin again when you see him, try to find some sympathetic light. In the shade, with ambient light bounced and softened before it reaches his face. Or alternatively if you want a grittier image then to for harsh light. But try different lighting situations to get different end results. If you're in bright sunlight and the sun is high then there will be harsh shadows - see if you can use a white card or reflector (either on the floor or held by Kevin) to bounce some of that light to fill the shadows. If you're getting in close remember that whatever light modifiers you've used may end up as catchlights in the eyes, so be warned against using anything too irregular (I'm thinking of car sunscreens with advertising on, here!)

  4. #4
    WJT's Avatar
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    Re: B&W Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Hi Wayne. Personally I'm not feeling a connection with Kevin here.

    You shot the image at f4 and 75mm on a crop sensor body, and the autofocus has missed the intended target. Kevin's shirt is sharp but is face is in from of the focal plane. Now you were in darkness here and on an older camera body, combined with on camera flash. That's not conducive to great portraiture and judging by your signature you're much better equipped nowadays.

    Just because Kevin's looking away doesn't mean that I'm not feeling the connection. Portraits don't have to have eye contact. However they definitely, with a few deliberate exceptions, need to have eyes as the focal point of the image.

    If you're going to photograph Kevin again when you see him, try to find some sympathetic light. In the shade, with ambient light bounced and softened before it reaches his face. Or alternatively if you want a grittier image then to for harsh light. But try different lighting situations to get different end results. If you're in bright sunlight and the sun is high then there will be harsh shadows - see if you can use a white card or reflector (either on the floor or held by Kevin) to bounce some of that light to fill the shadows. If you're getting in close remember that whatever light modifiers you've used may end up as catchlights in the eyes, so be warned against using anything too irregular (I'm thinking of car sunscreens with advertising on, here!)
    Thanks Phil, some good advice. I will certainly focus on the eyes next time and did try to for his one. The flash is a bit strong too so won't have that issue again. This was the work camera but as you say, I have the goods now myself. I do like to use early or late light particularly with aboriginals as their eyes are deep set and tend to be hard to capture. I should get another chance to shoot Kevin soon and will post the result. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. #5
    WJT's Avatar
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    Re: B&W Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by Soozie B View Post
    Hi Wayne.

    What a fabulous face this elder has. So full of character and wisdom. Not capturing his eye leaves me wondering what he is thinking.

    The only minor comment i have is that the skin looks slightly metalic though, this may be due to the flash and the natural oils on his skin. But I can't be sure how to fix that as my knowledge is still limited.

    I really like it though.
    hanks Soozie, Kevin is a leader of his people and the many surrounding clan groups. He has a lifetime of character in his face which I will make sure I do justice next time around. We work together a lot in Arnhem Land and have become good friends so we will catch up again shortly.

  6. #6
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: B&W Portrait

    Hi Wayne,
    I like this picture of Kevin. I agree the lighting needs some adjustment; I made some adjustments in PP and can certainly see the potential when you re-shot.
    I look forward to seeing the next set of pictures.
    Well done.
    Kind regards
    John

  7. #7
    WJT's Avatar
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    Re: B&W Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by JPS View Post
    Hi Wayne,
    I like this picture of Kevin. I agree the lighting needs some adjustment; I made some adjustments in PP and can certainly see the potential when you re-shot.
    I look forward to seeing the next set of pictures.
    Well done.
    Kind regards
    John
    Thanks John

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