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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605

    C&C Requested: Natural Light Portraits

    Took some pictures of my sister, trying to use what I've learned about light. Please hand over the C&C re: settings, posing, processing, white balance, cropping, lighting, anything at all. I probably will have a chance to re-shoot, not to mention re-process. All shots taken at about 4:00 p.m. with my 50mm 1.8 at ISO 200, shutter priority. The sky was quite overcast, which was a big plus for my lighting I had a little trouble with blown highlights until I dialed in -.7 EC. Next time I might try the Sigma for a variety in FLs, but I was pretty pleased with the 50mm. Most processing done in NX with a little skin smoothing in PSPX.

    #1. She had wet her hair just prior to taking the shots I'm sure the damp weather wasn't helping either. I didn't have much luck getting rid of the frizzies without looking fake. 1/80, f/3.5
    Name:  Josie leaves turn_5552 resized.jpg
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    #2. It was raining lightly. If you look closely you can see the streaks of the raindrops. These shots are not in the shade, just the overcast sky. Facing west. 1/80, f/3.2
    Name:  Josie leaves_5556 resized.jpg
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    #3. The background is an old clubhouse, next to a wire fence. She's facing west and shaded by trees to camera right. (Please ignore the two blue fingernails ) 1/100, f/2 (adjusted SS was a mistake, I tried to stay at 1/80 for the FLxcrop factor)
    Name:  Josie crop_5601 resized.jpg
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    #4. She was standing in the doorway of an unlit shed, facing east. Next time I'll ask her not to wear black (so as to avoid the "floating head" appearance) but on the other hand, it may have made it easier to PP any lighter areas in the background. 1/100, f/4
    Name:  Josie Shed_5577 resized.jpg
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    #5. Here she was in the doorway of our house, facing west onto a porch with an overhanging roof. 1/80, f/2.5
    Name:  Josie door_5572 resized.jpg
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    #6. Here she was crouched in front of the clubhouse facing west, light coming in from rear left creating the backlighting. 1/100, f/1.8
    Name:  Josie clubhouse_5588 resized.jpg
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    Thanks for your input, if anyone would like the original RAWs, just PM me.
    Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, Tokina 12-24
    Flickr

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
    Posts
    3,591
    I not a fan of the way these turned out. Sometimes I get results similar to this on overcast days. I think it has to do with how you orient the subject to the light source, but I'm not sure. I don't think your sisters fair skin tone helped either. I prefer to shoot in late afternoon shade. Can you send me a RAW file to play with? Maybe #3. I can't promise any results though.
    Lukas

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand

    Flickr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
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    2,605
    Thanks for your reply, Lukas. I'll send you a pm re: the RAW file. Can you tell me more about your opinion on the pics? What don't you like, is there not enough contrast in the face or not enough shadow?
    Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, Tokina 12-24
    Flickr

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
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    3,877

    Smile

    I'm only an amateur but I like them Tori, she looks a lot like you too.

    Re 1 & 2 I like the natural green backdrop but I'd try and get it darker relative to your subject. Perhaps a different time of day or some fill flash.

    I reckon Wengler's right intimating 3's a good pose.

    4 you've not quite hit focus on the right eye so it's probably out imho and 6 I'm guessing you've lightened her jumper because it's gone to grey a bit on my monitor like what happens when I play with curves a bit much.

    5's a bit too much like the standard school photographer against a backdrop rather than a family photo so I don't like it as much. Odly if it came from a professional I'd think they'd done a great job

    Oh and I'd prefer dry hair for the reshoot.
    Last edited by Dread Pirate Roberts; 10-10-2008 at 10:17 PM.
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
    Posts
    3,591
    The light and color tone is what bothering me. The white spots in the hair and on the forehead don't look good. They also look a little cool too me. For me the best lighting is in the ones with the black backdrop. They seem soft though, probably due to opening up the lens.
    Lukas

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand

    Flickr

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605
    Thanks for your comments, DPR. We do look alike in some ways, once I turned from a mirror and saw her and thought I was seeing another mirror, lol.

    Here's the original of #6, as you can see her sweater is about the same considering the overall raise in exposure, but since it's backlit it looks different against the dark background (especially when I further darkened the background.)

    Name:  Josie clubhouse_5588 original.jpg
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Size:  242.5 KB

    One of the reasons I tried to achieve that dark background was because my self-conscious 17-year-old brother wanted a "studio" type look, so your comment for #5 sounds like I might have taken a step in that direction. I haven't shown these photos to my family yet. (And I'm definitely with you on the dry hair, lol.)

    edit: Lukas, ok thanks for the clarification, perhaps I raised the exposure too much as you can see from the original above? I was kind of going for a pale skin tone, maybe I went too far there. BTW there was no "backdrop," as you can see from the photo I just tried to keep the background as dark as possible and then further darkened it in PP.
    Last edited by toriaj; 10-10-2008 at 10:42 PM.
    Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, Tokina 12-24
    Flickr

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Brisbane, CA
    Posts
    3,591
    I like 5 better w/o the processing. When you paint over the background in black it looks like you used the flash and got motion blur.
    Lukas

    Camera: Anonymous
    I could tell you but I wouldn't want you to get all pissy if it's the wrong brand

    Flickr

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Windy Wyoming, USA
    Posts
    2,605
    Oh, I see what you mean about the darkened background making it look like flash with motion blur.

    You mentioned the original for #5, did you want to see it? The original I posted above is for #6. (Also I edited my post #6 after I saw your post #5 above.)
    Nikon D50, Nikkor 18-55mm, Nikkor 50mm 1.8, Sigma 70-300mm APO DG Macro, Tokina 12-24
    Flickr

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
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    3,877
    I think 6 is underexposed.

    I'd throw in some flash to get the subject brighter which should also make the background relatively darker, helping all round.

    Lightening it in curves just washed out the contrast.
    D800, D300, D90, 24-70 f2.8, 70-200VR f2.8, 300 F4, 105 micro, 16-85VR, 50mm 1.8, Tammy 90 macro, 70-300VR, SB900, 2xSB600, MB-D10, 055XPROB 322RC2. New computers to run photoshop faster. C&C always appreciated. PhotoGallery
    Pressing the shutter is the start of the process - Joe McNally ... Buying the body is the start of the process - Dread Pirate

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,929
    If I may, Tori. To me, the skin tones are way off... too yellow to me. I agree with Wengler. I think a little tweakin in an editor could provide much better results... you are also welcome to send me a RAW/NEF file and Ill see what I can come up with, thats up to you though. Just my 2 cents :-)
    Jason

    "A coward dies a thousand deaths, a soldier dies but once."-2Pac


    A bunch of Nikon stuff!

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