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Thread: Portrait trial

  1. #1

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    Portrait trial

    As I said on an other thread, Portraits is not in my usual field of photographic activity, but I had recently the opportunity to do some tests and I would like to have your opinions and suggestions about this one.

    Thanks in advance.

    Thierry

    Portrait trial

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by tb72 View Post
    Portraits is not in my usual field of photographic activity,
    Thierry

    Like you, I am not a portrait photographer. I'm sure those who are will wish to make more constructive comments that I am able to do.

    However, my first reaction was to think that this was an excellent portrait of the man, but was not as good as it could be becuase of the background. The picture frames are, I think, distracting, particularly those on both sides of his head.

    But the quality of your capture and processing is, as always of the highest standard. The texture of his skin and the lines on it, are beautifully presented.

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Thanks for your comment Donald

    When I watch portraits, I prefer "live ones" than portraits when the model expect the shot. I think that in this type of portrait the management of back ground is not obvious at all.

    As you said comments of portraits experts will be of interest.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait trial

    Thierry

    What lighting did you have for this; i.e. were there any dedicated photographic lights or was it all done with room lighting?

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Hi Again Donald,

    I used a 430 from canon shooting in the roof of the room.

    I do not rememmebr exifs but i think that I am significantly high 1600iso

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    Re: Portrait trial

    OK, here goes my first comment. Best to just jump in, right?

    Please understand I am a newbie compared to all of you as far as technical photographic skill, but that said my comment is about composition. Interestingly enough it's about those frames in the background that you mentioned, Donald. They are distracting because of the position. If you had changed your angle very slightly so that the black frame was actually directly behind his profile, with out that bit of white between his face and the frame, it would have created a lovely "outline", if you will, of his features. This is actually a technique often used by artists in drawings and paintings to create a greater area of contrast around the focal point (point of interest in this case, not camera). It would have lessened the impact of the shape of the frame as well, as it would have become a smaller presence on the image. I don't mind the other frames because you otherwise have a huge white area that I think would compete more with the portrait than the frames do. So I don't mind them at all.

    Your probably more concerned with the technical advise, (I know) but that's my first impression as a painter. Purely compositional.

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne View Post
    OK, here goes my first comment. Best to just jump in, right?

    Please understand I am a newbie compared to all of you as far as technical photographic skill, but that said my comment is about composition. Interestingly enough it's about those frames in the background that you mentioned, Donald. They are distracting because of the position. If you had changed your angle very slightly so that the black frame was actually directly behind his profile, with out that bit of white between his face and the frame, it would have created a lovely "outline", if you will, of his features. This is actually a technique often used by artists in drawings and paintings to create a greater area of contrast around the focal point (point of interest in this case, not camera). It would have lessened the impact of the shape of the frame as well, as it would have become a smaller presence on the image. I don't mind the other frames because you otherwise have a huge white area that I think would compete more with the portrait than the frames do. So I don't mind them at all.

    Your probably more concerned with the technical advise, (I know) but that's my first impression as a painter. Purely compositional.
    Hi Suzanne sorry but my englis is a little bit rough and I have few difficulties to understand your comment which is very interesting. CIC is also a way for me to improve my english

    1) Please could you explain me the expression "jump in"

    2) concerning composition if I well understand you suggest me to have white part behind the face of the model in order to increase contrast and avoid to have black parts ?

    Thanks in advance if you can answer me

  8. #8
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    Re: Portrait trial

    No problem Thierry. Im sorry if I talked too much. "jump in" is an expression used that means starting up without hesitation. Or in other words not being shy.

    Compositionally, I would have suggested having the black of the frame directly behind the edge of his face, with no white between. This would have created a greater contrast in between his skin and the frame. Since the area of interest is his face, this would have been good. If you take a bit of black paper or even use just your finger and place it over the bit of white, that is the inside of the frame next to his face, you might get an idea of what Im trying to explain.

    I hope that helps.

  9. #9
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    Re: Portrait trial

    OK, again I know this is a photography site, but this might help you understand what I'm trying to explain, Thierry. This is a basic principle of art so it can apply to photography just as well as other styles of artistic expression. Using contrast to bring interest to the important areas of your composition.

    Portrait trial

    This is a sketch by John Singer Sargent. It shows how he is using the black against the face of the figure to bring interest to it. He could have positioned the figure farther along the stairs, which would have made a white background against his figure. There would have been much less importance to the figure against white.

    I hope that helps explain.

    I should say other than that, small change about the background, I really LIKE your portrait. That man has such wonderful character in his face. He's a great subject.

    I would love to hear what others have to say about the technical aspect of your photo.
    Last edited by Suzanne; 6th December 2010 at 05:05 PM.

  10. #10

    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by tb72 View Post
    I would like to have your opinions and suggestions about this one.

    Hi Thierry

    Good portrait of the man, but the background, as others have said, is distracting. Your EXIF was...

    Portrait trial

    You used 75mm, which on a APSC sensor camera is quite high for a portrait if you want to blur the background. I would think a 50mm setting at most would let you get closer to the model, and would change the spatial relationship between camera, model, and wall. It would have been more blurred, I think.

    There were some distracting dust spots on his sweater, which are easily removed in editing.

    How high was the ceiling? His forehead looks almost blown. I did an edit to reduce the bright areas, and I thought a bit more sharpening helped it. The problem with bouncing off a ceiling is that the eyes can be shadowed. You can get around that by taping a piece of white card above the flash, which throws forward some of the flash light.

    Very good portrait though.

    Portrait trial
    Last edited by carregwen; 6th December 2010 at 05:43 PM.

  11. #11

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne View Post
    No problem Thierry. Im sorry if I talked too much. "jump in" is an expression used that means starting up without hesitation. Or in other words not being shy.

    Compositionally, I would have suggested having the black of the frame directly behind the edge of his face, with no white between. This would have created a greater contrast in between his skin and the frame. Since the area of interest is his face, this would have been good. If you take a bit of black paper or even use just your finger and place it over the bit of white, that is the inside of the frame next to his face, you might get an idea of what Im trying to explain.

    I hope that helps.
    Thanks Suzanne, no problem you teached me a nex american expression. In terms of composition, I understand perfectly you suggestion and the drawing that you posted illustrated it perfectly. Such advice is of great interest for me.

  12. #12

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Hi Thierry

    Good portrait of the man, but the background, as others have said, is distracting. Your EXIF was...

    Portrait trial


    You used 75mm, which on a APSC sensor camera is quite high for a portrait if you want to blur the background. I would think a 50mm setting at most would let you get closer to the model, and would change the spatial relationship between camera, model, and wall. It would have been more blurred, I think.

    There were some distracting dust spots on his sweater, which are easily removed in editing.

    How high was the ceiling? His forehead looks almost blown. I did an edit to reduce the bright areas, and I thought a bit more sharpening helped it. The problem with bouncing off a ceiling is that the eyes can be shadowed. You can get around that by taping a piece of white card above the flash, which throws forward some of the flash light.

    Very good portrait though.

    Portrait trial
    Thanks for your message Rob. When I took this picture we were around a table and I was n the other side w/o too much possibilities to move. Your suggestion of the use of a 500mm lens to blur mmore the background is of significant interest. I have the 50mm 1.4 that I use for my regular equestrian photographies in conjunction with the 85mm 1.8.

    For this picture, as I said I flashed in the ceiling (sorry for my mistake confusing between roof and ceiling). For indoor photography like portraits I have a "big question". My canon 7D provides interesting possibilities of high iso shots but with a significant noise. For equestrian photographies, flash is and should be forbidden for safety of riders and photographers but in such case what is your suggestion high iso shots or flash shots ?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Thierry

  13. #13

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Rob the height of the ceiling was around 2.5 m approx.

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Hi Thierry
    I won't try and repeat or expand on what has already been said, but you and I seem to have similar interests and exactly the same equipment.
    I have the 50 1.4 and the 85 1.8 for my indoor sports shots on the 7D....so my answer from using that equipment would be indoors high ISO over flash any day...
    this however could be because I am so comfortable using that combination and the flash is a new thing on the learning curve.
    But I cannot see any noise problems on these examples so unless you're printing huge, or standing very very close, I would not worry about the ISO...
    Rob and Colin and others will of course know more and more correct exact answer, but I thought I would just share what I would do.
    Well done for stepping into a new area, a terrific start

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by wilgk View Post
    Hi Thierry
    I won't try and repeat or expand on what has already been said, but you and I seem to have similar interests and exactly the same equipment.
    I have the 50 1.4 and the 85 1.8 for my indoor sports shots on the 7D....so my answer from using that equipment would be indoors high ISO over flash any day...
    this however could be because I am so comfortable using that combination and the flash is a new thing on the learning curve.
    But I cannot see any noise problems on these examples so unless you're printing huge, or standing very very close, I would not worry about the ISO...
    Rob and Colin and others will of course know more and more correct exact answer, but I thought I would just share what I would do.
    Well done for stepping into a new area, a terrific start
    Hi Kay,

    For indoor sport, I share fully your point of view. I shot up to 4000 iso but there is a significant amount of noise that I remove with a noise remover software called noiseware pro. I was using previously Neat image but the effect was to strong and not preserving shapes. I have the feeling that for portrait it is important to preserve textures of the skin that's the reason why I was asking this question

    If the topic of noise removal for very high iso values, feel free to ask me to open a thread. I have a significant amount of indoor equestrian shots

  16. #16
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Portrait trial

    Hi Suzanne, Thierry,

    I get what you mean and couldn't resist having a go;

    Portrait trial

    I'm not suggesting doing this in post production, just demonstrating Suzanne's point.

    I did also give it a go with Neat Image.

    Cheers,

  17. #17

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Thanks Dave. I have a little bit difficulties to see what you did :

    - did you blured the back ground with Neat ?
    - Did you decrease the luminosity of the background to increase the darkness of the background ?

  18. #18
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    Re: Portrait trial

    Thanks Dave, for doing that. It's neat to see it actually changed. Sometimes these things work in theory, but you never really know until you try. In post production the problem becomes the frame "cutting into" his cheek. I'm assuming this is a candid moment, but if it could be recreated to turn the angle of the camera just a skooch so that you see a tiny bit less of it. I think it would actually work OK. Still love this guys face. Great Character!

    On a personal note, having a creative discussion like this is almost as good as eating chocolate to me. Too much information?

  19. #19

    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by tb72 View Post
    For equestrian photographies, flash is and should be forbidden for safety of riders and photographers but in such case what is your suggestion high iso shots or flash shots ?

    Thanks in advance for your help

    Thierry
    If you mean horse riding events then there is always a lot of background detail that you want to be subdued. If you shoot the horse/rider on , say, f/5.6 you will get a faster speed, even if you can not use flash.

  20. #20

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    Re: Portrait trial

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    If you mean horse riding events then there is always a lot of background detail that you want to be subdued. If you shoot the horse/rider on , say, f/5.6 you will get a faster speed, even if you can not use flash.
    Sorry Rob, but I have the feeling that my rough english created troubles in the understanding of my question. For a good quality portrait, what do you recommend :

    1) 1600 iso w/o flashing
    2) 800 iso with flashing

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