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Old Sep 28, 2009, 12:00 AM   #1
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Default Formal Portrait

My friend a wedding and funeral celebrant wanted a formal portrait for a magazine she is advertising in.
I tried my Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 and Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di , but the Pentax-M Macro 100mm f/4 seemed to work best under the conditions.

She gave her permission for this shot to be posted here.

This shot has been post processed, what girl doesn't want to lose a few lines not to mention a few pounds.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 8:51 PM   #2
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Hi Rodney,
No one has replied so I am going to take a stab at it. Please understand first that I have zero experience with doing portraits of anyone outside my own family and secondly that any criticism, of whatever value, is meant constructively.

The first thing that strikes me in this shot is her hair. Maybe it is just me, but it appears to have been gone over with a blur brush and does not look natural in this shot. I would also suggest working with the white balance, there seems to be a yellow cast to the shot, at least on my monitor.

On the upside, you did a nice job controlling shadows behind your subject and I think the pose works well for the purpose of the portrait.

Again, my CC is from the perspective of a novice, not someone who could do better in the same circumstances.

Tim
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 9:56 PM   #3
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As long as we are providing constructive criticism, the one thing I find disturbing is unevenness of the lighting - the color of (or shadow on) the arm which is darker than both the fingers and the chest and face - it looks unnatural. The arm (or the whole lower left corner) needs to be lightened, or the picture cropped just above the elbow. Otherwise it is a very nice portrait - she has a nice, pleasant expression.
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Old Sep 28, 2009, 10:25 PM   #4
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Thank You for your constructive criticisms, I agree the arm is too dark and the hair too smooth.

I needed better lighting, I only had ordinary room lights and a window, I used a mirror to get some light on the shadows on the neck and I totally missed the arm.
The hair was a trade off in post processing for smoother skin and as it is only to be 1/4 A4 page advertisement I thought could get away with it.
This was my first shot of this kind, so it's good to get these kind criticisms to help me learn .

Rodney
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Last edited by Rodney9; Sep 28, 2009 at 11:48 PM.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 7:54 AM   #5
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Rodney,

For all the reasons you and other posters stated, I believe this is a great case of why an external flash is such an important part of portrait photography. In the grand scheme of things they're not that pricy and can really make a huge difference.
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 9:39 AM   #6
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 10:46 AM   #7
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Rodney,

I have little experience with portrait photography so I am unable to give a critique. If I had taken the picture it wouldn't be half as good.

I think your friend will be quite pleased with the photo. For what she intended it for it will do nicely.

You handled the lighting well with the equipment at hand. I think the book she is holding is of obvious significance and she may not wish to have it cropped out.

The compromise of the wrinkles and the hair, only you would know her wishes.

I agree with everyone that an external flash and diffuser would have been a better choice to even out the lighting.

Lou
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Old Sep 29, 2009, 2:55 PM   #8
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Thank You John and Lou and yes she was very pleased.

Rodney
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