Critique needed - again (a candid this time)

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No need to be nice - just tell me what can be improved. Thanks.
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PhotoOp71

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I agree with Phil. Bring down the background a touch but other than that I love this picture. Nice work.
 
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PhilY said:
Reduce the intensity of the background a bit, I think -- darken it a little. It detracts from the impact of the image to my eye. Other than that little niggle, it's a cool shot. I love the expression.

Phil
Thanks for the comment. What is the most effective way to tone down the background dodge & burn, levels or something else?
 
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Chad Gladstone said:
PhilY said:
Reduce the intensity of the background a bit, I think -- darken it a little. It detracts from the impact of the image to my eye. Other than that little niggle, it's a cool shot. I love the expression.

Phil
Thanks for the comment. What is the most effective way to tone down the background dodge & burn, levels or something else?
Find a background in shade next time. That way you'll also avoid the harsh bokeh.

Best way to process the background you have is to mask out your subjects, use levels to darken and curve to desaturate, then apply gaussian blur to smooth it out some.
 
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Chad Gladstone said:
No need to be nice - just tell me what can be improved. Thanks.
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Dude that is a great shot and I really like the contrast you made for the image. The background really does not bother mee too much since the first thing I noticed was the couple, the stood out first for me. Cool shot.

Todd
 
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If you have PSCS1 or 2 (maybe 7 but not sure), you can select the background then apply lens blur. The background looks like Christmas lights out of focus and that is what I think might be slightly distracting. although you can not change this image, I would probably try to include the top of the males head next time. I am being picky here because it is a very nice image technically and it has the added value in that it tells a story. I like it.
 
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Thanks for the comment. What is the most effective way to tone down the background dodge & burn, levels or something else?
Rather than using the burn tool, I like to create a dodge/burn "layer". Bring up the New Layer Dialog (Ctrl+Shift+N, it's also probably buried in the menus somewhere). Set the mode to Soft Light (or Overlay for more intense effect) and check the box about filling the layer with the neutral color. Now you have a layer where painting with a black brush will "burn" and painting with a white brush will "dodge". (Painting with gray will restore to original). The nice thing about this approach is by varying the opacity and softness of the brush you have a lot of flexibility and since you're working on a layer it's completely non-destructive to the original data. Also, this approach doesn't seem to screw up the saturation the way PS's dodge/burn tools do.

I might also try to soften the bokeh a bit by duplicating the background layer, applying a gaussian blur, and then masking out the subjects.

While the image is nice as-is, with a little PS work I think it could be great.
 
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Great shot! I think a vignette around the edges would help quell the background's intensity a bit. The tones in the image, otherwise, are wonderful. Beautiful comp also. She looks lovely, but honestly, his expression (eyes) look very out of place. If he were looking less wide-eyed, or perhaps glancing in her direction with a smile, you would have a 5 star image here. Being a great photographer is only half the battle when you are photographing people!
 
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peterdove

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Chad Gladstone said:
No need to be nice - just tell me what can be improved. Thanks.
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Four things..

a) The picture is great

b) Crop it to a 10x8 to get rid of the space to the left and right to focus in more on couple.

c) Picture is great

d) *Possibly* dampen down the highlights in the background.

Great picture :)

Peter
 
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Joe Photo said:
She looks lovely, but honestly, his expression (eyes) look very out of place. If he were looking less wide-eyed, or perhaps glancing in her direction with a smile, you would have a 5 star image here. Being a great photographer is only half the battle when you are photographing people!
That's not how I see it Joe. The juxtaposition of his indifference to her physical affection tells a story. This picture works as is for me, bright speckly background and all. I would crop it, but at the left, to move the guy nearer to the edge of the photo - clip off a bit of his sholder too - in order to emphasize his looking away from her.

Chad, this isn't supposed to be a flattering portrait is it? It looks like it's about power in a relationship.
 
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My take on this one:

I cropped it, as suggested to an 8x10, then used the liquify tool to turn his expressionless mouth into a slight smile. That's it!
Yours:
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Tweaked:
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Chris101 said:
Joe Photo said:
She looks lovely, but honestly, his expression (eyes) look very out of place. If he were looking less wide-eyed, or perhaps glancing in her direction with a smile, you would have a 5 star image here. Being a great photographer is only half the battle when you are photographing people!
That's not how I see it Joe. The juxtaposition of his indifference to her physical affection tells a story. This picture works as is for me, bright speckly background and all. I would crop it, but at the left, to move the guy nearer to the edge of the photo - clip off a bit of his sholder too - in order to emphasize his looking away from her.

Chad, this isn't supposed to be a flattering portrait is it? It looks like it's about power in a relationship.
Actually Chris, you hit the nail on the head. His was playing a little hard to get and was legitimately surprized when she planted a a wet one on him. I think the moment was well captured - if only I could have not blown the highlights in the background (which were ugly anyway and what I really needed help in toning down). Here is a color shot from the same series:
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So, you don't care for what I did with it Chad?

btw, now that I see this pic, I see they're both very cute kids!
 
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Chad Gladstone said:
Chris101 said:
Joe Photo said:
She looks lovely, but honestly, his expression (eyes) look very out of place. If he were looking less wide-eyed, or perhaps glancing in her direction with a smile, you would have a 5 star image here. Being a great photographer is only half the battle when you are photographing people!
That's not how I see it Joe. The juxtaposition of his indifference to her physical affection tells a story. This picture works as is for me, bright speckly background and all. I would crop it, but at the left, to move the guy nearer to the edge of the photo - clip off a bit of his sholder too - in order to emphasize his looking away from her.

Chad, this isn't supposed to be a flattering portrait is it? It looks like it's about power in a relationship.
Actually Chris, you hit the nail on the head. His was playing a little hard to get and was legitimately surprized when she planted a a wet one on him. I think the moment was well captured - if only I could have not blown the highlights in the background (which were ugly anyway and what I really needed help in toning down).
Yes, I think it works that way for me also. I too would go for a crop along the lines that Chris suggested. However, I would actually go for a wider frame for a more cinematic view and perhaps matte it (all around) to 4x6 ratio for presentation (w/ more matting above and below of course). Since his head already got cut down a bit (which is fine w/ me), I would actually go for a tad more cropping off the top in addition to left and bottom (and maybe a tad off the right side).

Well, since Chad doesn't seem to mind it, I went ahead and applied a quick touch-up-and-crop to show what I meant -- I also brightened-and-warmed up the midtones a bit while I was at it. :D Hope you don't mind, Chad. Let me know and I'll take it down from my pbase account.

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_Man_
 
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Man-Fai Wong said:
Chad Gladstone said:
Chris101 said:
Joe Photo said:
She looks lovely, but honestly, his expression (eyes) look very out of place. If he were looking less wide-eyed, or perhaps glancing in her direction with a smile, you would have a 5 star image here. Being a great photographer is only half the battle when you are photographing people!
That's not how I see it Joe. The juxtaposition of his indifference to her physical affection tells a story. This picture works as is for me, bright speckly background and all. I would crop it, but at the left, to move the guy nearer to the edge of the photo - clip off a bit of his sholder too - in order to emphasize his looking away from her.

Chad, this isn't supposed to be a flattering portrait is it? It looks like it's about power in a relationship.
Actually Chris, you hit the nail on the head. His was playing a little hard to get and was legitimately surprized when she planted a a wet one on him. I think the moment was well captured - if only I could have not blown the highlights in the background (which were ugly anyway and what I really needed help in toning down).
Yes, I think it works that way for me also. I too would go for a crop along the lines that Chris suggested. However, I would actually go for a wider frame for a more cinematic view and perhaps matte it (all around) to 4x6 ratio for presentation (w/ more matting above and below of course). Since his head already got cut down a bit (which is fine w/ me), I would actually go for a tad more cropping off the top in addition to left and bottom (and maybe a tad off the right side).

Well, since Chad doesn't seem to mind it, I went ahead and applied a quick touch-up-and-crop to show what I meant -- I also brightened-and-warmed up the midtones a bit while I was at it. :D Hope you don't mind, Chad. Let me know and I'll take it down from my pbase account.

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_Man_
Love the crop and the effect, thanks for the ideas Man.
 
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I like this crop, it's very cinematic and adds a sense of drama.

Chris, I'm going to agree to disagree with you. I can see what you are saying, but I try and put myself in my clients shoes when I'm taking photos. If I were him, personally (me,) I would not like my expression. Did he see a ghost? I didn't quite see it as a juxtaposition or an indifferent expression (mainly because of his brow,) but again, I can see where you are coming from.

They are a very good looking couple. I like the second pose posted above. I'd love to see more.
 

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