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Old Mar 2, 2005, 7:34 PM   #1
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Hi! These were taken with a Kodak DX6490 at the Jacksonville Zoo. I wasn't planning to take any photos like this at the zoo, otherwise I would have dressed him nicer, but I think they came out OK all the same. I like the second one most. Any suggestions or feedback are welcome!




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Old Mar 3, 2005, 3:25 PM   #2
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Great shots, he's obviously really enjoying himself.

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Old Mar 3, 2005, 4:00 PM   #3
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Thanks! I found that the only way to get him to smile without it looking fake is to make him laugh and take the shot. This ends up being as easy as telling him not to laugh...hehe...
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Old Mar 3, 2005, 4:40 PM   #4
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Both pictures of your son are great. The only technical flaw is that your son isn't isolated. The background elements are as sharp and exposed as he. The images will have greater impact if you'll selectively desharpen or blur the elements behind and in front of your son.

Thanks for sharing.

Rodney
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Old Mar 3, 2005, 9:23 PM   #5
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Nice photos, I agree with Rodney that if the background had a bit of blur it would really enhance the photos. Nothing wrong with what he is wearing for this kind of shot. When i take candid photos of children I try to go for the natural look, if they have dirty faces or messy clothes or whatever, I think it adds to the whole charm of the photo. For studio I think the dressed up look is the way to go.
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Old Mar 3, 2005, 10:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the feedback! Since they're already taken, is this something that can be done in Photoshop or some other program?
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Old Mar 4, 2005, 9:18 AM   #7
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ccfoo wrote:
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Thanks for the feedback! Since they're already taken, is this something that can be done in Photoshop or some other program?
Yes, you can blur the background in Photoshop. You can selectively desharpen or create a new layer and and run Gaussian Blur then use the background eraser to bring out your son.

I don't usually run into this problem because of the type of shooting I do so hopefully, someone with more experience will share their secrets.

Rodney
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Old Mar 4, 2005, 10:29 AM   #8
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Right - here's a quick-and-dirty to demonstrate the kind of effect you can get.

It's much easier with the first photo because there is some depth in the scene - even though it's flattened in the photo.

So what I've done is use the polygonal lasso to select those objects that are roughly the same distance from the camera - the boy + wall. Then invert the selection and apply a gaussian blur. This has a similar effect to what you might have got with a larger aperture/sensor combo. It's actually artificially pushed the tree back, but you can get away with it because once it's blurred you can't tell that the tree wasn't further away.

With the second shot you could try the same thing, but the problem is that everything is more or less the same distance from the camera - even with a SLR and wide aperture you would still get most of the scene in focus, but that's fine because the second shot doesn't look like a P&S particularly, whereas the large DOF in the first one does make it look "amateur". As an exercise try to do the same thing just selecting your son with the lasso - you'll find he ends up floating in the middle of the picture and it looks weird.

To get it really professional looking you can do multiple masks at different depths with different amounts of blur, and although it's fun at first it's much easier to do it in camera in the first place. (Assuming you have the right kind of camera of course.)

Notice the edge artifacts - these are the downside but can be minimised with careful selection and feathering. It does change the edit from a 5 minute to a 60 minute job though. :-(

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Old Mar 4, 2005, 11:12 AM   #9
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Here is my go at an edit. I desharpened the background elements, a slight levels adjustment to put more light on the boy and less on the background, then I increased the red and yellow channels to give it a warmer feeling...much like afternoon sun. Hope you do not mind the edit. Whatcha think?

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Old Mar 4, 2005, 11:18 AM   #10
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Oops...I forgot to mention to play with cropping or framing when you take a picture too. Is there really a need to have the boy in the middle of the frame?

You are quite competent with your camera. These images are prety good as you can see by the few edited versions of your work here.

Rodney

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