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Thread: More Monika

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    purplehaze's Avatar
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    More Monika

    This is a radical crop of one of the photos Monika and I had rejected but I keep coming back to. I thought it lent itself to b&w. Other than slightly boosting the contrast and dodging the left (Monika's right) eye, I have done nothing to it. I am curious to know what people think.

    More Monika

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    Re: More Monika

    Again, not much my forte, but I took it into Photoshop to check out a few possibilities and came to the conclusion there is too much light emphasis on her hand, but more so because of the cast shadow which I think overly accentuates the lightness of her cheek and the right (picture right) side of her nose. (I did a layer gradient mask on a diagonal from upper right to about mid-chin.)

    I would also find a chair which is less busy in the background as you have many conflicting elements in place that draw away from the focus being on her face, which of course is where it belongs.

    I would lose the outside ring (forefinger) or make it smaller, and crop right to the edge of that finger rather than leaving specualtive dead space.

    Overall, I think your lighting is considerably better and you've really got a great model who can convey a wonderfully serene emotion.

    Oooh-ooh, needs some sharpening, especially around her eyes...such beautifully expressive eyes need to shine,

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    Re: More Monika

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    Again, not much my forte, but I took it into Photoshop to check out a few possibilities and came to the conclusion there is too much light emphasis on her hand, but more so because of the cast shadow which I think overly accentuates the lightness of her cheek and the right (picture right) side of her nose. (I did a layer gradient mask on a diagonal from upper right to about mid-chin.)
    Thanks for the feedback, Chris. Are you saying it is redeemable, then? Can you explain to me what a gradient mask does? I take it that it is more complicated than a burn.

    I would also find a chair which is less busy in the background as you have many conflicting elements in place that draw away from the focus being on her face, which of course is where it belongs.
    Lose the chair, check.

    I would lose the outside ring (forefinger) or make it smaller, and crop right to the edge of that finger rather than leaving specualtive dead space.

    Overall, I think your lighting is considerably better and you've really got a great model who can convey a wonderfully serene emotion.
    She has accomplished what I what I thought was impossible and that is make me enthusiastic about portrait photography. (Sorry, Colin. I was a heretic, but am now a believer.)

    Oooh-ooh, needs some sharpening, especially around her eyes...such beautifully expressive eyes need to shine,
    You sharpen around the eyes? I thought you just sharpened the eyes themselves. While I am at it, do you have a standard formula for eye-sharpening? and if so, what is it?

    Again, Chris, thanks for the feedback. Your opinion is at least as valuable as anyone else's and I am as much interested in people's reactions to the crop as I am in the tonal quality. I showed it to a friend at work and she thought it was too bizarre, not being able to see whose body the hand was connected to. On the other hand, the subject herself seems to like it.

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    Re: More Monika

    Quote Originally Posted by purplehaze View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, Chris. Are you saying it is redeemable, then? Can you explain to me what a gradient mask does? I take it that it is more complicated than a burn.

    Set a clear layer mask on top of your original layer, and using the gradient tool set on the second gradient mask, foreground black, I think think I used about a 28% opacity and set my eraser on a soft brush at 25-30% and slowly erased away some of the black (now more gray) until I got the value I wanted.


    Lose the chair, check.



    She has accomplished what I what I thought was impossible and that is make me enthusiastic about portrait photography. (Sorry, Colin. I was a heretic, but am now a believer.)



    You sharpen around the eyes? I thought you just sharpened the eyes themselves. While I am at it, do you have a standard formula for eye-sharpening? and if so, what is it?
    I meant the eyes, but not just the pupil.
    Again, Chris, thanks for the feedback. Your opinion is at least as valuable as anyone else's and I am as much interested in people's reactions to the crop as I am in the tonal quality. I showed it to a friend at work and she thought it was too bizarre, not being able to see whose body the hand was connected to. On the other hand, the subject herself seems to like it.
    I liked the crop, except for leaving that tiny sliver of nothing to the right. I felt the two large rings drew my eye away from her eyes, and so one had to go or get smaller...detached hand is perfectly okay. I see a vast improvement.

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    Re: More Monika

    Hi Chris,

    I am guessing that Aperture's Highlights and Shadows adjustment brick achieves something comparable to your gradient tool. My question for you is whether the effect of the gradient tool both brought down the highlights and brightened the shadow cast on her face by her hand, or did it affect the highlights alone?

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    Re: More Monika

    both to some degree, but mostly just the highlights. It is, after all, a diminuitive layer of black which has some erased from it..I am by no means an expert on this technique, but in cases like this, I've had pretty good success.

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    Re: More Monika

    Sorry, Chris, but I have zero experience with PhotoShop, so I can only guess at what you are talking about it. Nevertheless, I just read blog comments by several people who have a gradient tool as one of the items on their wish list for the next iteration of Aperture, so I guess there is no easy way for me to impement your suggestion. I will keep experimenting with the tools I have, regardless. Thanks for your help!

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