July 10, 2014 at 12:40 am #20231
Thank you Trainwreck! There’s no such thing as too many Q’s or C’s!
First, let me address the mono. I did hit the “black and white” button on LR. BUT, I did bump up the whites and bring down the blacks, toggled the color sliders to get the grass to be a little brighter. tree trunks darker, and then changed the linear tone curve to more of an “s” shape to increase the contrast. I like the light and airy feel, but I know many who do prefer the darker toned, more traditional black and white portraiture.
I didn’t have a flash, or reflector, or even my iPhone to create catch lights. It was a pretty spur of the moment thing and I was ill prepared, which I’m kicking myself for. I’m sure you can tell we were shooting with her facing away from the sun, mainly because even though it was around 5:45 PM, the shadows the sun created were so harsh they didn’t look good with what we had in mind for the shoot and I really liked the rim lighting it provided. She’s so young and fresh faced that intense shadows wouldn’t have done her any favors.
I can see what you mean about the posing issues. It’s not so flattering to see an eye bulging out of your socket. Luckily, I can re-shoot this and I can get it right (not an excuse for it not being right the first time, however.)
I actually took one of the photos and flipped it horizontally. Is this any better for the natural movement of the eye? My first thought was that it felt refreshing, but then again, I did post this stuff for critique so maybe it’s not that much better. Here’s the altered version: https://www.flickr.com/photos/123112662@N02/14614272431/
As for focus, I believe there may be a back focusing issue with the lens, but it could most definitely me be as well. I didn’t focus-recompose with these, I had the shutter set high enough to prevent shake since I don’t have the 70-200 with IS, and then I posted myself up against a tree to make myself steadier. I was shooting at f/4 which should have kept all of her features in tight focus because I was mainly using the longest end of the lens. I honestly don’t know what happened with the focus.July 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm #20279TrainwreckParticipant
You’re welcome ink!
Sounds to me from your response you have a pretty good idea of what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve. Excellent. It is a pleasure reading and participating in your thread.
I am one of those who kind of dig the more traditionally toned mono conversions usually. In this case probably meaning a bit more contrast. But depending on the shot and what the shooter is trying to convey. My first impressions with your mono was that with a bit more contrasting background your subject would pop more. As it stands she is very close to the same tonal value as the foliage. Another thought is to watch your backgrounds. The dark trees behind her head I find distracting. They are dark enough tonally compared to the rest of the scene to catch the eye. The eye should always be drawn to the subject and hopefully stay there.
Something else I’ll put out here for your consideration? Do you think you are leaving a little too much “head room” in a lot of your frames? In other words too much room over the head? This is very common (with beginners) and quite frankly adds nothing to a portrait. I suspect you are a ways beyond “beginner”.
If you are really interested in doing a lot of mono work here is a couple of resources you might be interested in. “The Complete Guide to Black and White Photography” by Michael Freeman. I know a few folks who produce mono almost exclusively and consider this a bible. Another is “From Oz to Kansas” by Vincent Versace. I’ve always said that the best investment you can make is not in the gear but in yourself and these are some very cool investments for the mono shooter.
While we are on the subject of retouching, I like a little cleaner approach for my subjects. In the mono shot, notice the flyaway hairs that are catching the light? They are against some of the darkest part of the background (trees) and really stand out. Did you mean to leave these for some reason? And if you are going to shoot mono, two of the best tools you can use are the dodge and burn tools. Judicious use of these will make a mono sing. And they are just as useful in color as well.
Just between us (and I’ll deny this to the very grave) catchlights can be fudged in a pinch!
If you think you are having back focus issues with a piece of glass you could easily set up an experimental shoot to see if that were the case.July 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm #20282cameraclickerParticipantJuly 10, 2014 at 8:20 pm #20286cameraclickerParticipant
By the way, http://www.bitsofflairphotography.com is reporting the domain has expired!July 10, 2014 at 11:06 pm #20295
TW: Thank you for the book recommendations. I will definitely be on the lookout for them. I love to read and this seems right up my alley.
I tried to get rid of the flyways in LR via the clone/heal tool. I got a lot of them, believe me, there were many more than what are in the final images, but the ones that were left I could not make disappear. I couldn’t get it to blend in properly. I’m going to have to pull them up in Photoshop to see what I can do there with the burn tool.
And you’re right, I’m not utilizing my space efficiently.
I sometimes try to fudge the catch lights, but it never looks good even if the opacity’s really low and I’ve dodged the irises to complement them. I’ll have to figure out a way to do that perfectly, but in the mean-time, I’d rather not post those experiments, lol.July 10, 2014 at 11:07 pm #20296
CC: Thanks for those resources! I will check them out! I re-upped my domain subscription today, and it should be back online in a few moments. I had forgotten to set up the auto-payment when I first got the notice a few weeks ago and the grace period ended today.August 17, 2014 at 10:18 am #21371PhotogSlayerParticipant
I’m almost a year late.. but I thought I would give some feedback since you posted some stuff for this year. I’ll start from the bottom; I like Jacob’s session, although the 3rd and 4th shot need fill light, his face is underexposed and the eyes need that clear look with catch lights. Maybe take the redundant b&w out or pick one, less is more.
Up to Bekkah and Jake- I like the tub shot.. I might add getting the subjects in the background doing something, and soften the light hitting the group, even a bed sheet can bring it down 2/3 stop of light. Backing up, your opening shot with the setup, I’m not sure how to say there is too much there with clutter, that just demands a recompose or if you have something different to offer. The wide shot over the chairs as the bride and groom are in front of the audience there is too much info there, maybe a crop or pull the shot in tighter next time ( the chairs in the foreground are not flattering to the shot) and it doesn’t bring my eyes to the bride and groom or even the wedding party, because I almost can’t see them unless I concentrate.
The serious shot or if that’s what you were going for with the bride and groom; she doesn’t look like she wants to be there and looks extremely posed, next time have them stand there, then tell him to pull her in to him while having their own moment(it’s okay to have him say something like how good she looks or tell a joke to her, share something giving you the smiles and happy reactions the wedding day deserves), and nail it! Over all, your wedding went well, mostly better than the togs I see in the area here charging similar money. I haven’t covered it all, and don’t want you to think I’m crushing your work etc.. Keep shooting. One more thing, change your elevations if you can often, the perspective of seeing something “straight on” can become uninteresting; be free with your camera, and trust your instinct more.
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