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Thread: Presidential Portrait

  1. #1
    Alis's Avatar
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    Presidential Portrait

    This is Obama's official portrait taken by the WH offical photographer.

    Presidential Portrait


    Please take a close look. I think the right eye is out of focus. Just curious to see what you guys think. If this is true, then I can feel much better about portraits I take

    Thanks.

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    I see what you mean, but I'm not sure if it's out of focus so much as it might just require a touch more sharpening around that area (even the skin around the eye looks a touch less sharp than that to camera left).

    In my opinion still perfectly acceptable though. Perhaps the poor chap is a bit bleary eyed from lack of sleep and they've done a bit of a touch up?

    Cheers,

    Colin

  3. #3
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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    I agree it may not be out of focus, the EXIF says the f was appropriately set at 10 which makes a shallow DOF off the list.

    The other thing I noticed was a peice of fiber and some other peices of dust on his coat which tells me the picture was not really touched up in PP.

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    "the EXIF says the f was appropriately set at 10 which makes a shallow DOF off the list."

    I'm not sure what you're meaning by that, but will give quite a comfortable DOF with that lens, at that distance.

    "The other thing I noticed was a peice of fiber and some other peices of dust on his coat which tells me the picture was not really touched up in PP. "

    Either that, or they missed that bit when they touched up the rest Seriously, all images more or less need to be manipulated to some degree (well if they're to be optimal) - even if it's just a global tweak to sharpening / saturation / levels or dust bunnies etc.

    Cheers,

    Colin

  5. #5
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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    I meant that considering the f number adn the fact that the other eye is in focus makes a shallow DOF unlikely to be the cause of this and is more likely as you said uneven/insufficient sharpening or something else...

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    This is not a good portrait because:

    IMO, this is a pretty middling portrait and certainly not up to several images of Obama which I have previously viewed.

    1. The gray is a terrible color for his complexion and drains him of life giving him a sickly look.

    2. There is just far too much of the dull blue color in the background.

    3. The flag is not prominent enough.

    4. He has a very appealing smile which we don't see in this image. His expression is deadpan.

    5. His tie is not tied neatly nor correctly tightened to his collar.

    6. Lighting looks like an experiment by a photographer trying studio lighting for the first time.

    7. etc., etc., etc......

  7. #7

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    I gotta say that on my screen it looks pretty good, and for that kind of portrait I suspect that smiling is not deemed appropriate.

    Just my 10c worth :)

    Cheers,

    Colin

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    I look on it not so much as a formal portrait as a grab shot. If this was meant to be a formal shot, then certainly the things such as the tie would be right. Granted the guy has the right to look weary (although he has a lot more of that coming with the job) if this was just after the inauguration.

    I seem to recall reading somewhere that the official photographer is a bit of a veteran photographer who has worked as official photographer to a previous president (can't recall the details now). This seems quite surprising given the shot produced.

    Also having two catchlights in his left hand side eye doesn't help. I can just see two big white umbrellas in his eyes, plus the other light in the left eye.

    Maybe it was the photographer who was weary, but given the importance of the shot, I think I would have done quite a bit more pp to lift it.

    Or is this the new honesty?

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    It would be interesting to compare it to other official portraits of US presidents (which I haven't done) (does anybody have a link handy?)

    I have to say that the tie doesn't really bother me these days - I always like to tie a tie with the "shaft" below the knot being "tubular", but the way shown here seems to now be acceptable - I've seen it done like that in many "high-level" environments (not to say that I necessarily prefer it mind you!)

    Possibly part of what complicates the image are they high gray values in the shirt and walls.

    Cheers,

    Colin

  10. #10
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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    The Photographer is Pete Souza, and he has been official photographer at least for Reagan, judging from his website:

    http://www.petesouza.com/

    This is supposed to be the official portrait that they hand in Federal offices around the country, along with the portrait of the VP.


    Since this is the first digital picture, I am not sure if any comparison with past portraits are going to be valid...

  11. #11

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    Thanks for that. I just had a quick look through some of his Obama shots - I think he does some very nice work.

    Cheers,

    Colin

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by sedali View Post
    The Photographer is Pete Souza, and he has been official photographer at least for Reagan, judging from his website:
    http://www.petesouza.com/
    This is supposed to be the official portrait that they hand in Federal offices around the country, along with the portrait of the VP.
    Since this is the first digital picture, I am not sure if any comparison with past portraits are going to be valid...
    Thats the one, thanks Sidali.

    I like the slide show on his site, some excellent, off the cuff/behind the scenes moments, but then again if you get to be official photographer to the US President(s), then you must be good. (Or know the right folk!)

    Note how many P&S are being used by others in the shots!

  13. #13
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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by sedali View Post
    I agree it may not be out of focus, the EXIF says the f was appropriately set at 10 which makes a shallow DOF off the list.

    The other thing I noticed was a peice of fiber and some other peices of dust on his coat which tells me the picture was not really touched up in PP.
    Hi Sedali, how were you able to read the EXIF data? I'm curious to know.

  14. #14

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    Re: Presidential Portrait

    Quote Originally Posted by dasle View Post
    How were you able to read the EXIF data?
    It's easy when you know how Just save a copy of the image to your PC - open it up in photoshop (or what ever image processing program you use) - and bring up the properties sheet on it from within the program (File, File Info from within Photoshop).

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