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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:15 am 
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Location: Kanduhar, Afghanistan
So I still need to learn a lot on portrait touch-ups and I generally avoid making more then minor over-all photo corrections but I just couldn't help playing with this one a bit, very pretty lady with a great future as a Medic.

This is all Lightroom 3. The iso was high because of the room we were in was dark with florescent lights. I started with checking the white balance with the color picker by hitting the wall plate behind her right shoulder because it was a sliver/gray. That took a little too much color out so I left the Tint where Lightroom picked it and took the Temp back to 0. I then went and did noise reduction with a little color-noise reduction, then took down the clarity to smooth out her features. So here is where I went more then I normally would. I went to the Adjustment Brush and re-added clarity and re-sharpened her eyes since I killed the over-all clarity of the photo and brightened them a bit then de-saturated the whites. Then went to her lips and just added 5 in saturation. I went back and sharped the whole picture with a heavy mask to just bring out the edges. I went around her face with spot removal and took care of a few spots. I left the scar on her right cheep (photo left) since that is a part of her life. Lastly I went and added some contrast into it. So what do you think?
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Trammell Original by sherpa1d, on Flickr

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130228-A-RB400-3 by sherpa1d, on Flickr

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:17 am 
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I think looking at it the exposure needs to go down just a touch, her forehead is very bright

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:29 am 
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I'm a purist, so I would take the first picture any day. The two images, presented together like this, remind me of the retouching software ads I see online sometimes, with before and afters (the afters being much more heavily processed than yours, though). Given my processing preferences, I should not be the one to judge, but let me just say I think she looks prettier in the first picture. More natural, which fits the uniform.

- Bjorn

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:52 pm 
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Thanks Bjorn! That is something that I do need to remember. Sometimes I get caught up in the "I'm still learning this or that" and sometimes just leaving it be may be a better option. I guess it started with trying to clean the noise up and went down from there :lol: Thanks!

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Hey mike

Whilst I agree with bjorn to a degree I have to say that if you showed only the touched up version I would have quite happily accepted it as the original.

I think your refinements are not overly applied and compliment her.

I would guess that she would be quite happy with the result and if she was looking to send this back to family/partner I think it would be a good shot.

You maybe need to consider some fill flash or altering the exposure on the right hand side maybe?

But as I am not a portrait guy I can't add much more. I think overall you have done a good job on this one.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:09 am 
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Here you can get 100 different opinions, for me I prefer the original, Bjorn and Rob have valid points. Although not a portrait shooter I take an interest in accessing shots in mags and newspapers and shadows across the face seem to be popular here at the moment.

i think using the sliders in PS for lighting/contrast is difficult due to the minute changes and it needs quite a bit of experience. For the few shots I PS I use quick fix where I can detect change between two points and I can select a point in between of what I think is close to my eye.

As for before and after shots in adverts, I think they photo shop the before shot for portraits and the after shot is a natural reproduction of the subject.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:01 am 
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Hi Mike, I like that you post this and have a go pp`ing, we all learn from it.

I got no idea about portrait stuff either, but will try. :oops:
the background is annoying and the colour doesn`t work with the skin tone, I know that cannot be helped sometimes, but moving the subject forward may help. You may get better subject isolation from the background, even at f5.6.
Pop up flash, with the flash exposure turned down a bit may help.
Experiment with upping exposure 2/3 and dropping the flash exposure ( fel ) to -2/3 to soften the effect, often works inside.

Use a flashlight and bounce the light.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:26 pm 
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I find the background a little distracting. Since you were carefully considering a portrait, I think it's important to think about what will be behind your subject. The blank wooden wall without all the extra bit hanging around would provide some natural context for your subject.

Regarding the PP. I appears you applied make-up in post production which I actually think has been quite considerately done. Some prefer the original, but I think I would prefer something between the two images. Reducing each slider a little in LR I think would reduce the focus a little on the processing which is a little heavy-handed.

I used to prefer the purist look as Bjorn mentioned, but whether you accept your camer's jpeg engine (or LR's default raw processing), every image you take is processed to some degree.

As it stands with your second image, I recommend reducing vibrance in LR by 5-10 notches. I also think the loss in rough detail in the fabric of her uniform is unfortunate.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:18 pm 
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Thank you very much for everyone's comments, I do respect everyone of them. I wish there was something else I could have done about the background but as much as this looks like a real setup portrait, it really was a quick shot. Unfortunately, unpainted plywood is the norm for 90% of the buildings here.

Portraits really are not my thing either but I do want to learn more to maybe earn a few bucks. Landscape is my passion but there is no real money unless you make a name for yourself and all though I don't plan to make a career out of photography, the wife says for me to buy any new toys I have to earn it first :lol: I would much prefer to be doing landscape here but there is only so much you can get from behind a wall.

I think I am actually ready for flash work and will be ordering some stands and I am planning a lot of good shots for the future. I kinda have a captive audience of subjects :lol:

One from this morning, some great morning light (linked to Facebook)
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