Home › Forums › Am I a Fauxtog? › Wife and I Photography Business Just Starting Out › Reply To: Wife and I Photography Business Just Starting Out
A few thoughts:
Looking at the photos last night, I thought some looked pretty soft. Looking today, I still think that. In the photo of two girls in white dresses running away, I am still not sure anything is in focus. That leads to the question for that photo, is the depth of field extremely shallow, or did the girls run out of the in-focus area? In what Canon calls Single Shot auto-focus mode, even relatively slow moving subjects can move from sharp focus if you hold focus too long while recomposing. Servo mode can deal with that, but recomposing is harder because your subject has to be on a focus point.
Some words about sharpening. There are a few cameras like the Leica M and Nikon D800e that do not have a low pass filter. Low pass filters are usually employed in cameras with a Bayer filter to reduce moire (the pattern you sometimes see on television when the host’s tie jumps around while the host is almost perfectly still, or a bunch of strange banding over a fence, for instances). The low pass filter reduces sharpness, which is just contrast at the edges. Resizing an image also affects sharpness, so sharpening should be the last post process performed, except for converting to 8 bits and creating a JPEG for output to a monitor. Sharpening for printing and web display will be different amounts, and printing requires a different work flow with different steps and even a different colour space, depending on where printing is done, the ink, and the paper. Anyway, some of your photos might look much better with proper sharpening.
A little more attention to detail might help too. Have a look at your photo here:
Click the image, it will open in one of my Flickr accounts. Let me know you have seen it, and the next time I am by I will delete it. Editing information is in the description at upper right on Flickr. There is no EXIF data because FB strips it. Scroll to other photos and you will be able to see how Flickr displays EXIF data. Flickr has started advertising, and they do it by dropping the ad photos into your photostream, which confuses the viewer the first time it happens because the photo does not match the rest in quality or content. None the less, if you put a good image on Flickr, it will display well.
Based on editing one photo, it may be you are displaying photos too bright. In addition to what I said about sharpening being different for printing, brightness should also be different. Monitors are back lit and paper is reflective. You will never get print and monitor to be identical. You can get reasonable results from both, but you have to process the image differently to achieve best results with both mediums. One of the managers at Epson was talking to us the other day. He said monitors have contrast ratios of 10,000:1 or greater (my monitor says 50,000:1), most prints have a ratio around 1,000:1. He spoke for 45 minutes, showing various settings for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, while discussing the ins and outs of colour space, and software drivers. I digress. The point is, processing needs to be done for the desired output medium, and what you do, and by how much, varies dramatically.
Looking at your photos, I think you are using square/rectangular softboxes driven by strobes, at least for key and fill. With 4 lights, you can use one or two to light your subject from the front, and one to light your subject from the rear, leaving two or one for the background. There are lots of light placement options as well as varying power settings. If you have studio strobes, they probably have modelling lamps so you can see where the shadows fall. Better studio strobes have a modelling lamp setting that gives relative light so you can see how much each lamp is contributing. If you are using small flash as your lights, you are better off taking test shots and building lighting one light at a time. Sometimes a flash light meter can be a blessing, and sometimes a curse. If you have one, use it. If not, you can take test shots and examine them by looking at the histogram. There are lots of lighting videos on YouTube. I can provide some links if you want, but Google is your friend, as is the search box in YouTube.
One last thing for now. When I saw your image appear in the thread, it looked like the background is pink! Checking in Photoshop, the upper left corner is neutral, but the right side and lower left tend to be slightly red. She may be too close to your background and her shirt is affecting the background. Distance from background is important. If you want to burn out a white background, light it about a stop above your subject.