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Old Oct 4, 2015, 9:45 PM   #1
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Default My Daughter

I have been practicing ALOT over the past several weeks on portraits, and learning how to edit with Photoshop CS3.
Taken with a 50mm prime F1.8 lens on a Canon Rebel T5 1200D.
I made a few small adjustments in curves, and smoothed her skin in a layer mask.
(I think I'm saying all of this right.)
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Old Oct 5, 2015, 11:15 AM   #2
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I think your off to a good start. It takes a long time and hundreds if not thousands of shots to master portrait photography. I've been at it for the last 10 years and I'm still learning.

With that being said here are some things I'll suggest.

Use that lens at 1.8. If you didn't. Try using the largest aperture available for single person portraits if your not going to use a flash. The 1.8 aperture will blur out the background and lessen the distractions such as the railing on the second shot. I always use the selective focus and choose the point closest to the eye. That way you don't have to move the camera too far to recompose your shot. Focus on the eye closest to you. The eyes are the most important to have in focus.

Composition is good on 1 and 3. Number 2 could be cropped a little tighter. Or better yet composed tighter. Always better to get things right out of the camera. Also the closest you can get to your subject (daughter) while keeping your composition, the better you can blur out the background.

They all 3 could be a little more bright and vibrant.

We'll leave it at that for this series. Your lucky to have a kid to practice on. Use her as often as possible. She's an attractive young lady.

I like the composition in number 1 the best but technically I would say number 3 came out the best.

Mike
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Old Oct 5, 2015, 12:23 PM   #3
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I'd agree with all that.

Also would add that if attempting to create a specialty (or signature) photo that is intended to primarily focus or highlight the (human) subject, then serious consideration/planning should be given to the background that will be employed for the scene.

In the case of the subject photos, the deck/bench lattice-ing (or even the significant number of objects in the background including trees & sidewalks) might be considered a distraction or in competition with the human subject. (Hence, no doubt the genesis of lomitamike's suggestion for blurring the background and/or cropping.)
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Old Oct 5, 2015, 8:45 PM   #4
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Is the brightness/vibrance better here? I'm always afraid that I'll go too far with it, and I end up with photos to come out dark and dull.
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Old Oct 5, 2015, 11:07 PM   #5
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Thank you both so much for the input!
I will be sure to be aware of any distractions in the background on the next series.
Does the new image look flat?
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Old Oct 5, 2015, 11:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stefaniriggs View Post
Thank you both so much for the input!
I will be sure to be aware of any distractions in the background on the next series.
Does the new image look flat?
Your welcome.

Yes, It is brighter but flat and not as vibrant as it could be..

I would suggest trying to process in something other then CS3. Unless your familiar and experienced with it. There are much simpler and easier to use processors like lightroom for example. There are other processors out there that are just as good or better but lightroom is the most commonly used with lots of tutorials on youtube.

One other thing. Are you shooting raw? I notice that when shooting in jpeg it's much easier to end up with flat looking photo's after processing.
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Old Oct 6, 2015, 1:30 PM   #7
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I'm shooting in raw & jpeg both.
These images are edited raw images. After I was finished I saved them as a jpeg.
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Old Oct 6, 2015, 2:31 PM   #8
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This is a bit strange perhaps, but it is an experiment to see what happens " when " :

- The subject is sharpened
- The background is blurred and desaturated
- Try to add some "pop" color (thru increase dress saturation only - daughter is left untouched in this regard)

This is a "see what if" notional & is not to be construed as any final product or effort. The idea is to try to accentuate the subject & de-accentuate the background (ie, increase relative contrast & sharpness there-by seeming to bring the subject forward or out from the background). It is all done just using the hand tools (eg, sponge, sharp/blur, etc.) and is thus technically not that labor intensive, but more like painting a portrait. (Very "artsy" actually - ha.)

As such, the photo is submitted as half size.
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Old Oct 9, 2015, 3:33 PM   #9
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I was given a piece of advice, not by a portrait photography expert, but by someone who understands society and culture.
As a rule of thumb, exposing the soles of shoes is a big no-no (with the exception, in some cases, of specific types of heels, but I've forgotten those details)

Another thing to remember is perspective. Two of these shots (the first and third) have funny perspectives. In particular the first, the subject has feet that appear to be bigger than her head.

All this said, I'm far from a "professional portrait photographer", I'm going based on lessons learned from the shooting I have done. Taking a single frame and editing over and over until you have a routine that works for your shots is one part, but learning to pose a subject in a way that is not only flattering to the model, but compliments the outfit and surrounding is the artistic part that, at least in my experience, takes the most practice.

My suggestion is to spend some time online, hunting existing portraiture, and saving off various shots that really catch your eye (that also match the type of atmosphere you tend to shoot, be it studio, boudoir, outdoors, casual, etc), keep them on your phone, and use them as reference when posing your subjects. This "trick" helped me more than any other piece of advice I've received.

Keep shooting, practice makes perfect!

Edit: I was going to leave this out, but I doubt I'm the only person to have noticed, so I might as well play the "bad guy" (read, "stereotypical guy") and mention the fact that the outfit doesn't work in shot #3. I find that the dress rides up just a bit too high to be a classy family shot. The pose is good, but in my opinion, the angle is not. I think this shot would have worked better if either: 1, You'd taken 3 steps left, 1 step forward and stood on a 12" stool; or 2, You'd taken a about 5 steps to the right and shot slightly more square into her shoulders. Both of these options would solve both the "big feet" problem as well as my opinion about the outfit.

Last edited by conor; Oct 9, 2015 at 3:42 PM.
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Old Oct 11, 2015, 7:53 PM   #10
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I would say that it looks flat because of lack of contrast to me. Upping the contrast a bit might give it more depth. It all looks in the 50% gray area to me. Nothing closer to white or black.
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