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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:51 am 
Hello all,

Here's my first real try at portraits of children. Feel free to be brutal (how else am I going to learn). These were my favorite two, so, here goes.

Image
f4.5
64mm

Image
f4.0
40mm

Edit: Ok, I couldn't help myself, here's one more.

Image
f4.5
64mm

Olympus e-510
40-150mm lens


Last edited by naeno on Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:18 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 12:59 am 
Great job for your first portraits, one thing that pops out at me is that both of your subjects are in the dead center of the frame. Try using the rule of thirds. If you could post exp. f stop and focal length that would be great. Keep up the good work, BTW cute kids are they yours?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:00 am 
just take the pix wrote:
Great job for your first portraits, one thing that pops out at me is that both of your subjects are in the dead center of the frame. Try using the rule of thirds. If you could post exp. f stop and focal length that would be great. Keep up the good work, BTW cute kids are they yours?


Thanks so much! Yes, they're mine. They are the easiest subjects I have to work with! Plus, I think they're cute too.

Ok, so I played around with my daughter's pic and got it to work with the rule of thirds. However, the first pic of my son, I've tried a couple different places, and when he's not dead center it just looks weird to me. For lack of a better way of putting it, it looks off balance. Any suggestions?

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:28 am 
Hope you dont mind but I gave it a shot and I think that this works well let me know what you think. BTW # 3 is great well done

Image


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:04 am 
yep..rule of thirds :D how bout' trying some portraits in B&W..


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:16 am 
Joey wrote:
yep..rule of thirds :D how bout' trying some portraits in B&W..


Like this sepia?

Image


Last edited by naeno on Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:23 am 
just take the pix wrote:
Hope you dont mind but I gave it a shot and I think that this works well let me know what you think. BTW # 3 is great well done

Image


I didn't mind at all. It's nice, but to be honest I still like it better dead center. When he's off to the side, it feels like to me the picture has too much focus on the fountain or his surroundings. I think it's just the way he's positioned in this particular picture. I have moved the cropping around in other pics of him to follow the thirds rule, and they look great. I appreciate you giving it a go, though!


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:38 pm 
They're absolutely adorable, and I think you took some great photos. I'm not loving the photo of your girl. I think it's missing saturation and maybe it's either cropped in too far or not enough.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:03 am
Posts: 1898
Location: Southern California
oh! I can see so much in these photos, I like when you used the rule of thirds, makes the comp. a little more pleasing...but, both of the subjects are so entrancing, I think the planning and work you put into these portraits are phenomenal for first attemps..the best part is you can keep practicing with light, and the pattern of shadow...shadow patterns can really enhance a portrait..like with water colors, the negitive space is equally as important as the color, outstanding work...just think how good the next set is going to be, with this as your basis, and the good critique you can't miss..Photoj is so good at disecting these portraits, I hope he flips down here, and adds a line or two...Whooohooooooo!

you can't beat a redhead... 8)


patti

I like the sepia, but, with his hair...the sepia does not do him justice..a fun diversion, but, capture that baby in bloomin' color..

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canon 7D, Mark iii 5D, ef 70-300 f/4-5.6, ef 28-135mm canon 100-400mm L IS 4.5, and a little 24-70 L f/2.8...
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 5:33 pm 
Thank for the kind words Patti. I have indeed flipped over to this thread and added more than a line or two! You're very right about capturing in colour - the sepia doesn't work as well.

Let me take each component of your portraits individually. First up is the lighting which you've handled well. It appears as though these were taken on a cloudy day or with the aid of trees as cover, particularly in #2.

However the way you've used the tree cover provided a problem - there's a light green cast. This could be remedied with a little post-processing or at the time of taking the photo. One option would be to use a white reflector to push light back on the face of your daughter. Outdoor portraiture seems to be popular around this time of year, and so I've covered this in a recent blog entry.

Lighting aside, the composition's been rightly commented upon and "just take the pix" has given out some good basic pointers regarding this. However the rule of thirds is only a basic construction and doesn't have to be followed religiously. Let me dissect image #1 and the composition.

Here's your original:
Image

It's well exposed and the lighting isn't half bad. The central composition is very elementary, but isn't the largest problem. This is the lack of background interest to the right of the frame in balance to the left. In ideal circumstances, you'd make one step more to the right and take the photo with less of the green leaves in the background and with your son slightly off-centre. However we can't do this perspective change in post-processing, but what we can do is crop. Let's have a look at "just take the pix's" suggestion:

Edit by "just take the pix":
Image

Composition is arguably stronger than your original because of where your son is placed in relation to the frame. There's also the elimination of all that area of disinterest to the right background. Why you don't like this version as much is probably down to this cropping off of the green leaves. Now the background has been made to appear lighter because it's mainly dominated by the left of the frame; this means you've now got much less contrast between your son and the background. What I also don't like is the cropping off of his legs which I thought to be a cute characteristic. Which brings me to this:

My edit:
Image

Let's go through this version. I've cropped off a little from the right but not to the same extent as "just take the pix" but crucially I've kept the legs. The cropping removes some of the disinterest and pushes your son away from frame centre. I then layer masked and used unsharp masks and subtle changes in curves and levels to adjust how the lighting appears. The aim in this manipulation was to pull more contrast out between your son and the background and to make the lighting more soft. Finally I added a little saturation boost and the temperature warmed by 400K to boost skin tones.

There's a side-by-side comparison with your original below. Let me know what you think of this version.


I'm now going to make a full circle and return to what Patti picked up. Let's be kind and just say the sepia version doesn't work in this instance. The reason for this can be similarly explained like before - you've removed practically all the contrast between your son and the background so he barely stands out. Sepia might have worked if you had a vastly shallower DoF. I can't go by without a word on the composition as well - the placement of your son in the frame is good, but there's no interest in the background and so a smaller depth of field could have given more distinction between subject and background. There's also too much space at the bottom of the frame compared to the top.

Hopefully this has been worth my while. Do post questions/feedback to things I may have not made clear or omitted and I'll try to get back to you.

They're alright for a first attempt. Thanks for sharing and I'll leave you with your original and my edit for a side by side comparison.

Image Image

EDIT: corrected typo.


Last edited by Photoj on Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:07 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:20 pm 
Wow! So much to think about. I can't thank you all enough.

Patti - I have to tell you that your kind words set me floating on air today! You really made my day.

Photoj- I'll admit, I was very nervous when I posted this because I knew you would give exceptionally honest feedback, which I appreciate, but I was nervous nonetheless. I've done quite a bit of work on Photoshop and Gimp, so I understood your pp analysis. I do like the pp work. It makes him look like he glows. And, I can entirely see where if I had just taken one step to the right it would have been a better angle. Thank you.

Now, I realize that the sepia is no one's favorite (trust me, I love his red hair as much, ok, probably more than everyone else). However, just playing around, do you think this is better composed?

Image


Last edited by naeno on Sat Sep 06, 2008 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:35 pm 
naeno wrote:
Wow! So much to think about. I can't thank you all enough...

Photoj- I'll admit, I was very nervous when I posted this because I knew you would give exceptionally honest feedback, which I appreciate, but I was nervous nonetheless...

Now, I realize that the sepia is no one's favorite (trust me, I love his red hair as much, ok, probably more than everyone else). However, just playing around, do you think this is better composed?


Sepia works in certain situations. I don't think this is one because of the lack of contrast in tones. The composition here is better (looks quite familiar...where have I seen it before?) You might just want to play with the DoF and create a little artificially by a duplicate layer and with a little gaussian blur (4-5 px) and layering mask your son and the wall.

I've said this before on the forum, but in case you didn't know, I was brought up with fairly critical feedback and understand its power. Prior to that I had friends and family who couldn't say a thing wrong - which makes improving difficult. Despite the criticisms I make, I try to encourage whilst being as constructive as possible. I hope that that's been the case and that you can take something away, put it into your future snaps, and pass it onto another budding photographer.

All the best.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:21 pm 
Quote:
Sepia works in certain situations. I don't think this is one because of the lack of contrast in tones. The composition here is better (looks quite familiar...where have I seen it before?) You might just want to play with the DoF and create a little artificially by a duplicate layer and with a little gaussian blur (4-5 px) and layering mask your son and the wall.

I've said this before on the forum, but in case you didn't know, I was brought up with fairly critical feedback and understand its power. Prior to that I had friends and family who couldn't say a thing wrong - which makes improving difficult. I try to encourage whilst being as constructive as possible. I hope that's been the case and that you can take something away, put it into your future snaps, and pass it onto another budding photographer.

All the best.


Trust me, I certainly didn't want just sugar coating. I truly appreciate the help.

Hmm, I didn't realize until you pointed it out that I had quite literally taken everything you said to heart. I hope that isn't plagiarism. :)

Thanks again for everything.[/quote]


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