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Thread: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

  1. #1
    Toothtek's Avatar
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    First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Hi Mitch,
    You sure you have never done it before? Well done!

  3. #3
    Toothtek's Avatar
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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    I normaly shoot studio portraits, I just upgraded from a Canon xs to a t3i with a 430 ex flash, I am learning hown to do high speed sync.
    Thank you very much

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Hi Mitch

    You have a lovely looking model and you have positioned her against an excellent choice of background.

    To improve the portrait your presentation of the model requires a few slight adjustments; (It is only my opinion....ignore it if you want......but please don't take offence.)

    1) the model's face has a few blemishes that girls don't usually want to see. If you have the software, remove the evidence of the "scourge of youth" ........acne.
    2) you have positioned the model to one side to allow us to see an empty space, a space that is not contributing anything to the main subject of the picture ..... the model. Try cropping so her eyes are roughly on the "third". To do this, use an A4 format, you will automatically get rid of the "non-contributing" space.
    3) lastly just a little thing...... the loose strands of hair that leave her head at right angles. Once you notice them they become a distraction. Again if have the software...remove them.

    If you try any of the above please do it on a copy.

    To sum up. You have made a good job of the exposure, the dynamic angle of the model's eyes and the choice of background. Just a small adjustment to the presentation, will turn a "so-so" portrait into one to be proud of... well done!

    With your permission I could show you an example.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    I did a quicky with Portrait Professional. I didn't spend any time on it and just did this with the defaults of the program..

    First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    I have found that the females of our species generally like what portrait pro does. However, I usually tone down the results a bit...

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    Toothtek's Avatar
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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Frank, I would love to see your rendition of edit, I look forward to it.

    Richard, I do have PP Studio 9, it's been so long since I even opened the program, I must revisit it.

    Thank you both for your suggestions.

    Thank you Andre

    Mitch

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Critique?? I can't do that. I like.

    Cheers

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Hi Mitch,

    Richard has produced a quick result that nearly fits all of my critique. I think it looks a lot different ...so I produced a high key mono to emphasise the models eyes....... to be different again.
    Last edited by Orsett; 17th November 2012 at 04:19 AM. Reason: No photo

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Hi Mitch,

    I am trying to improve my PP lately and I was looking for a nice portrait shot to exercise the frequency separation technique. I really liked your image so I used it.

    Here is the result, of course I will remove it immediately if there is a problem:

    First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    I am not a fan of the porcelain like look so I try to avoid it.
    I am new to PP so I am sure there a ton of problems with my edit.

    Hope you like it.
    Last edited by MilT0s; 17th November 2012 at 02:32 PM.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Sorry folks, I do not agree with doing an edit on a portrait posted by another member without his or he consent.

    I do not know if this young lady is Mitch’s daughter. I f Mitch posted her portrait like it is, leave it like that. She is a young lady accepting who she is and what she looks like. Having a few blemishes in her face does not change her personality or take away any of her beauty. I think she is a young lady with a lot of self esteem. Maybe she does not want to be Photoshopped.

    Doing an edit on her portrait would imply you do not accept her for what she looks like and she might be insulted by such action .

    Sorry for that philosophical life lesson. I would not like to see hurt in those beautiful eyes.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    +1
    I have made my opinions known on excessive PP on other threads.
    I just may yet post a couple of threads on photographic philosophy... just to get some adrenaline flowing.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Andre OK I understand all you say

    but...

    here it's not facebook, it's a forum about photography as art and technique including the post-processing techniques so that's what we mainly discuss.

    Of course there are still people who are being photographed so if Mitch (or the young lady) says there is a problem I will remove it immediately. I was mainly motivated by Mitch's encouragement to Frank to post a PP version of the image. I do think however you are a bit exaggerative about the "not wanting to see hurt in those beautiful eyes" comment.

    And a comment about blemishes:
    I don't know if it's me but I think with today high resolution photographic equipment blemishes are often exaggerated in the photos, particularly when harsh light (on camera flash) is used. It could be because of the sharpening methods is done in camera. I often see intense blemishes on faces I couldn't notice with my eyes. Another explanation is that when you see an image you spend more time and pay more attention on other peoples' faces.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Hi Miltos,

    I do agree that constructive C&C is the object of this forum, if requested. Learning is what it is all about.

    My post is a caution to be careful doing an edit on any portrait. Comment and critique should be in general about lighting, composition, quality, etc. never on the appearance of the individual/s in the image. Our actions may sometimes imply what we do not really mean. Doing an edit on a portrait may imply that you are of the opinion that the person in the portrait is in need of reconstructive surgery.

    Maybe Mitch will appreciate an edit, purely as part of a learning curve. The question is: will the young lady appreciate it? If she was my daughter and you did an edit on her appearance, she would never again model for any shot to be posted in a forum.

    Another lesson: In my lifetime I have learned that whenever any explanation or excuse is preceived by a BUT, whatever follows will be a weak defence. (I should have used the correct wording here; however, it would not be polite.) Never use the word BUT before an excuse or explanation.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Hi Miltos,

    Another lesson: ....
    Thanks for the advice. English is not my native language so I often have difficulties choosing the correct words.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    If this was my daughter I would have said so, I do appreciate everyones concern for the model, as I would not share this with her because my intention is to learn and grow as a photographer not create drama, The massive experence on this site has helped me quite a bit to notice blemishes and flaws that we all have, As I continue with my photos I also work with the clients and I understand the self conciousness of them, I would never show her this site or any one else other than photographers, I appreciate those of you who do not tiptoe in the garden of critique, when you do I see nothing, then I no longer get the benifit of your experence.
    If you ask to edit to show me I am fully aware that I have the right to say no and my wishes will be respected..
    Mitch

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Sorry folks, I do not agree with doing an edit on a portrait posted by another member without his or he consent.

    I do not know if this young lady is Mitch’s daughter. I f Mitch posted her portrait like it is, leave it like that. She is a young lady accepting who she is and what she looks like. Having a few blemishes in her face does not change her personality or take away any of her beauty. I think she is a young lady with a lot of self esteem. Maybe she does not want to be Photoshopped.

    Doing an edit on her portrait would imply you do not accept her for what she looks like and she might be insulted by such action .

    Sorry for that philosophical life lesson. I would not like to see hurt in those beautiful eyes.
    I witnessed a similar incident where the photographer removed a birth mark and the mother appeared upset but the daughter loved the change. You have to be very discrete when making portrait adjustments and perhaps ask before hand if they want that type of editing. The question is... if you were editing your own portrait would you do it? My answer would be yes to a degree. I would remove an unslightly pimple but not a birthmark.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Toothtek View Post
    If this was my daughter I would have said so, I do appreciate everyones concern for the model, as I would not share this with her because my intention is to learn and grow as a photographer not create drama, The massive experence on this site has helped me quite a bit to notice blemishes and flaws that we all have, As I continue with my photos I also work with the clients and I understand the self conciousness of them, I would never show her this site or any one else other than photographers, I appreciate those of you who do not tiptoe in the garden of critique, when you do I see nothing, then I no longer get the benifit of your experence.
    If you ask to edit to show me I am fully aware that I have the right to say no and my wishes will be respected..
    Mitch
    Well said, Mitch.

    You have a real-life grip on the realities.

    Your photo is, to me, beautiful. You have asked for and been offered opinions for you to consider. I think they all have merit and if I were to offer to you any suggestions, they would have been those that have been mentioned. I would have even brightened the teeth a tad and still lost the stray hairs on top of what has been offered. I would have expected the same from you if you would have been so kind as to offer to me any suggestions on what I post.

    You obviously respect the “client’s” wishes and expectations of what you can offer them when you give them a portrait you shot. I am constantly amazed at what people ask me to do with their shots. I am only too happy to oblige if I have the ability to do so. I have never had a portrait subject unhappy with their post- produced shot to date. If they were I would be certain to make it right for them no matter what. Which is why I, like you, ask for comments. To see if there may be something more I can do to make the portrait subjects happy. In the end, if they are not happy with what I have done for them, I have wasted everyone’s time.

    I am sorry that your thread has become a forum for some (now, myself included) to discuss their beliefs on how much processing should or should not be done to a portrait. I think that is unfair to you and your beautiful portrait and how you have asked the good folks here to participate with your shot. You didn’t ask for a dissertation.

    I admire your grace and this photograph, Mitch.

  18. #18
    Toothtek's Avatar
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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Thank you Terry fou your understanding.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Hi Mitch,

    I've been watching this thread with interest to see what folks came back with.

    Professionally (as one who does a fair amount of this kind of thing), I've like to pass on some thoughts for you to consider ...

    1. Often with natural light only portraits it's common to have (not much more than) "black holes" where eyes should be. In this case you've avoided that trap nicely by using fill flash - so well done there. However - another common mistake is to have flat lighting - and unfortunately that is a problem here. I'd suggest moving the light further around to the right and raising it up so that it casts a light shadow across the face (loop lighting would be a good choice here) - typically at around a 3:1 lighting ratio.

    2. Generally, space above a head doesn't contribute anything towards an image. A general rule it to have an eye intersecting a rule of thirds line - or at least get the eyes in the top 1/3 of the frame - even if it means cropping off a bit of the top of the head (even if it changes the aspect ratio).

    3. You're colour management looks a little off - the young lady's skin looks a touch on the pink side to me.

    4. You want your lighting to look targeted - you can easily achieve that by applying a vignette to the image.

    5. Not sure how you've processed the skin in post-production, but something doesn't look quite right - it almost looks over-smoothed (which is a very common post-processing mistake). I see that Richard has also run the image through portrait professional - personally - I think that program does more damage than good. It's fast for sure, but without exception, I think it produces an artificial-looking result (as is the case here) (sorry Richard!).

    With regards to retouching of images here - as has been mentioned - this is a learning site - and retouching is just another part of the real-world portrait process. In my experience, people want to look their best - and I've not had any complaints that I remember. I will ask if parties would like more major things like missing teeth replaced or scars removed though ... some do, some don't - it's never a problem if you ask first though. At the end of the day "making them look nice" is usually a higher priority for them than "looking natural" - there's nothing "natural" about the setup we put them into for a professional quality shoot, and I think people understand that.

    The vast majority of teens I shoot LOVE the retouching because it makes them look beautiful -- most are asking for more of it, not less. Is it distorting reality? For sure, but it is what it is - I DO however like to point out that when I've finished shooting and retouching them they will look as good as the models on the covers - not because they're ugly and I've just done a good job of the photography & retouching - but because EVERY cover they see has been well shot & processed - and in reality the stars on the cover are really just ordinary looking people (Google "stars without makeup" to see what I mean).

    I'd be happy to process a RAW full res shot for you if you'd like a comparison.

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    Re: First shoot in Natural Light w/ flash, any critiques welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by AB26 View Post
    Hi Miltos,

    I do agree that constructive C&C is the object of this forum, if requested. Learning is what it is all about.

    My post is a caution to be careful doing an edit on any portrait. Comment and critique should be in general about lighting, composition, quality, etc. never on the appearance of the individual/s in the image. Our actions may sometimes imply what we do not really mean. Doing an edit on a portrait may imply that you are of the opinion that the person in the portrait is in need of reconstructive surgery.

    Maybe Mitch will appreciate an edit, purely as part of a learning curve. The question is: will the young lady appreciate it? If she was my daughter and you did an edit on her appearance, she would never again model for any shot to be posted in a forum.
    (...)
    Other side of the medal: especially with young ladies/girls in their teens (and above) a number of blemishes are temporary, do you (and she!) really want those to stay in the portrait? And some lighting can accentuate pores, wrinkles etc., should we leave that alone? Not to mention that any blemish can be a lot more noticeable in a photo than in real life.

    As for not sharing the edits with the model, why not? Why not let her decide what look she prefers? Saying she shouldn't see the edits could be considered as insulting as doing an edit (as you decide what she prefers...). If you already know her preferences, then it's easy, but how many models know what can be done?

    Wrt the photographer, it's often easier to show what you mean by posting an edit than trying to describe what you want to suggest.

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