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Thread: First Portraits for C&C

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    purplehaze's Avatar
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    First Portraits for C&C

    Was down with a nasty flu bug and missed my photography class this week, the topic of which was portraiture. So even though I crammed on Colin's tutorial yesterday afternoon, I was pretty much winging it today when my friend Monika came over to help me do part 1 of my assignment, which was to shoot a subject in diffuse window light. Three of the shots below were taken with my zoom lens, and the others with my 50 mm. I used on-camera fill flash on each, which I bounced off the ceiling or the closed blinds opposite the light source.

    C&C on both shooting technique and processing welcome.

    #1
    First Portraits for C&C

    #2
    First Portraits for C&C

    #3
    First Portraits for C&C

    #4
    First Portraits for C&C

    #5
    First Portraits for C&C

    #6
    First Portraits for C&C

    #7
    First Portraits for C&C

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    As to the success or failure of the lighting, I am the last person you should get advice from...it's simply not my forte and an area I generally shy well away from. However, as for your posing, #7 holds my attention throughtout the whole frame. I do wish her eyes were a bit brighter so guess would suggest either a little stronger mid-light or perhaps a small reflector card to fill in some brightness.

    In the first pose, Monika's eyes seem overly strained to get back into the general framing, and in the second, there is too much dead space to the right of the frame. The third, fourth and fifth images are okay, but tend to have too much dead space as well. In six, I've never liked looking up into someone's nostrils...she's much too pretty to do that to her....so, there you have my humble opinion...though, will let those sho make a habit of shooting people, have ago at that aspect of the protraits...overall,I'd say you should at least get a B, and a high one at that.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    I do wish her eyes were a bit brighter so guess would suggest either a little stronger mid-light or perhaps a small reflector card to fill in some brightness
    Yes, this is one where she was turned away from and blocking the main light with her arms. I suppose this is a case where I should have spot metered and forced the flash into standard mode. The thing I don't like about it is that the main light is falling on her hand and contrasting with her face.

    In the first pose, Monika's eyes seem overly strained to get back into the general framing, and in the second, there is too much dead space to the right of the frame. The third, fourth and fifth images are okay, but tend to have too much dead space as well.
    All good points.

    In six, I've never liked looking up into someone's nostrils...she's much too pretty to do that to her....so, there you have my humble opinion...
    I was pretty sure I had broken some of the cardinal rules and I suppose that's one of them, but oddly enough, that is one of the two my model and I both liked the most!

    overall,I'd say you should at least get a B, and a high one at that.
    Thanks, teach. For Monika's sake, I'd love to get to A.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by purplehaze View Post
    Yes, this is one where she was turned away from and blocking the main light with her arms. I suppose this is a case where I should have spot metered and forced the flash into standard mode. The thing I don't like about it is that the main light is falling on her hand and contrasting with her face.



    All good points.



    I was pretty sure I had broken some of the cardinal rules and I suppose that's one of them, but oddly enough, that is one of the two my model and I both liked the most!


    Thanks, teach. For Monika's sake, I'd love to get to A.


    Maybe your teacher is more gentle with grading than me...and I agree with your assessment of where the light falls, though that could easily be modified with a good burn layer.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post

    Maybe your teacher is more gentle with grading than me...
    I mean I want to get good, silly, not good marks (though good marks are nice). Monika is an exceedingly generous subject and I would love to give her the portrait she deserves.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by purplehaze View Post
    I mean I want to get good, silly, not good marks (though good marks are nice). Monika is an exceedingly generous subject and I would love to give her the portrait she deserves.
    Oops...well, getting good, I think is something I think you are definitely on the road toward...I cannot imagine you would think you aren't getting good...

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Hi Janis,

    Just quickly, 'cause I have to go to work soon ...

    Image 1: This kind of composition doesn't work -- would possibly work if done like #3 where the eyes are looking off towards the light source. Also, with regards to head angles, avoid turning the head so far that the nose gets close to breaking the cheek line or the nose starts obscuring the eye like this. Good lighting though.

    Image 2: Also good lighting, but everything is too centred.

    Image 3: Personally I would have rotated the shoulders slightly, and cropped it a bit tighter - portraiture is about faces, not chairs Again, good lighting.

    Image 4: Good. Nice lighting, and the off-centre composition works as it should. Needs more post-processing, but the capture is great.

    Image 5: It's "OK" - personally I'd probably rotate the image slightly (counter-clockwise) and crop it a bit tighter.

    Image 6: Nice try Next time try getting her to move her hands back towards her a bit more, and try a shot holding them slightly away from her face -- it's draw the eye to the face like crazy

    Image 7: Good

    Sorry if this sounds a bit negative overall - I know it's not easy and I think it's a good effort all round - I'm just a bit pressed for time right now so I've really only touched on the "bad" things. I'll retouch a couple of them tonight for you if you'd like?

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Sorry if this sounds a bit negative overall
    No worries; I can read the theory all day long, but nothing seems to stick until I have the visual evidence of my own mistakes.

    I'll retouch a couple of them tonight for you if you'd like?
    When you have the time, that would be awesome.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by purplehaze View Post
    When you have the time, that would be awesome.
    How's this?

    First Portraits for C&C

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    How's this?

    First Portraits for C&C
    Just lovely! If you would tell me what you did, I will try to reproduce your results in Aperture. Thank you, master!

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Colin, looking at the two versions side-by-side, I can see that you have increased the contrast. Was that a global or selective increase? I see you darkened the background and it appears more uniform. Did you have to adjust the colour of the background at all? Her shirt looks darker; I'm guessing you burned the part that was catching the light. I am of course, most interested in what you did to her face and hair. I had already sharpened her eyes, but it looks like you have sharpened them further. I can't imagine what else you have done to make her pop so wonderfully from the frame, so please, when you have a chance, do tell.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Hi Janis,

    Sorry for the delay ... busy day again!

    I made only minor adjustments, but quite a few of them. Primarily, the original image was a bit flat - so I increased the black clipping point to force the dark grays to true black which increases the overall contrast AND SATURATION of the image. The blinds were too bright so I've toned them down with a levels layer and local selection. I also desaturated and darkened the cane sofa as well the purple shoulder pads so that they didn't draw the eye away from the face as much. A few spot fixes on the face - saturated the lips slightly more, and duplicated the camera-left eye over the (hair-covered) right eye (after transforming the layer horizontally) (along with a bit more cloning to remove more hair). A bit of spot dodging and burning - quick sharpen and "job done"

    Well, you DID ask!

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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    A different twist on image #4.

    First Portraits for C&C

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Janis, Sorry for the delay...
    Don't apologize!

    I increased the black clipping point to force the dark grays to true black which increases the overall contrast AND SATURATION of the image.
    I appreciate the emphasis, as I had never grasped that point before.

    ...duplicated the camera-left eye over the (hair-covered) right eye (after transforming the layer horizontally) (along with a bit more cloning to remove more hair).
    I can't see for looking! I completely overlooked the hair removal. Hmmm, eye transplant, eh? Will the wonders of PhotoShop never cease?! Earlier tonight, I saw an illustration of how it is done on that PioneerWoman website Mary linked to. Creepy cool.

    bit of spot dodging and burning - quick sharpen and "job done"
    (Sigh) You make it sound so easy.

    Well, you DID ask!
    No regrets. Thank you, friend! You have given me much matter for rumination.

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    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    A different twist on image #4.

    First Portraits for C&C
    That is lovely as well, Jiro. It is interesting to see different interpretations, to know that there are multiple options available. I keep thinking about your lesson on vision, by the way. In fact, I had it in mind when I did my own b&w treatment of the photo in the More Monika thread. I went to a bookstore tonight to see if they had the duChemin book in stock and they did, but the price was over $20 more than they are asking for it online, so I put it back on the shelf. It would have been nice to have it to read this Easter weekend, but twenty bucks is twenty bucks.

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    Willie or Jiro is fine by me.

    Re: First Portraits for C&C

    Quote Originally Posted by purplehaze View Post
    That is lovely as well, Jiro. It is interesting to see different interpretations, to know that there are multiple options available.
    You are certainly right on that. We all have a unique way of interpreting everything that surrounds us, even pictures.

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