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Critique Please - Portrait Work

Discussion in 'People' started by Terry M., Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Hello All,

    I'm practicing on some shots I took this summer of my nephew, trying to apply lessons I'm learning from Odell's book. I'm posting the original, straight out of the camera shot and then the edited version. In the edits, I adjusted levels, sharpened and brightened the eyes, and ran a gaussian blur to soften the skin.

    Comments please! Too much? Not enough? Skin tone? Let me hear it!!!


    After edits
  2. Terry, I'm not a big fan of portraits with really shallow depth of field, so take my comments with a grain of salt.

    Great job with the eyes! Thanks for not overdoing the sharpening. :biggrin:

    I love the skin tone in the original. When you adjusted levels, I think you removed the special quality of the fair skin and its typically pink tones that so many children have. You could adjust the curve to brighten the skin a bit so it more closely resembles the original. It would be even easier to use a Color Control Point to do that.

    I haven't mastered the softening of skin yet, but considering that you're also new at it, I wonder if you wouldn't be better off trying this technique on an image that has greater depth of field. The portions of the face that are in focus are so limited that I wonder if you're having a tough time distinguishing between the GBlur and the areas that are out of focus.

    Regardless, I think you'll like the effects of the GBlur a lot more if you use the Auto Retouch Brush to remove the dry skin around the eyebrows and the reddish blemishes on his cheeks and chin. If you agree, do it before you apply the GBlur.
  3. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    Cute Baby. I like skin to be a little brighter. Under light adjustments try put a slight S shape in the adjustment.

    If you don't like what I have done I will remove it.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  4. Great job, Gary! That's the skin tone I was hoping to see. It's even better than the original.
  5. D3George

    D3George Guest

    I prefer more light on the photo and also the eyes to be in perfect focus and sharp.

    Try aperture on this lens at list f/4 and apply any blur after.
    f/2.2 is not that sharp on this lens and also you need a lot of practice if you never had any experience .

    If you don't mind

    Did you try the portrait picture style on your camera ?
  6. Thanks for all the great feedback. You're really helping me "see" my mistakes. How's this?

  7. D3George

    D3George Guest

    Almost Perfect :smile:
  8. I cheated a bit on the last edit. Was having trouble recapturing the pinkish tone so I dropped a color control point on his face and bumped the red up just a smidge. Also ran a little more sharpening on the entire image.

    Amazing to me that I thought the first one was "correct" and now I look back and see how dark it really is. I guess I'm still calibrating my eyeballs. :eek: 
  9. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    I have another question. from the exif data you were using a very high shutter speed 1/2000? on a D300. It didn't show the ISO. What ISO are you using? Just wondering.

    Also when looking at the histogram most of the data is all in the middle. I know there is a way to stretch that out some to increase the dynamic range.

    What software are you using to manipulate your images.
  10. What's this? My Picture Controls are Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome. Is there a new Picture Control?
  11. This was D300 with a 50/1.4. Shot in Aperture Priority at 1/1250, f2.2, ISO 200. I was shooting open to isolate him from the background. Perhaps too open? I'm using Capture NX2 for edits.
  12. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    I just wondered why the shutter speed was so fast. I understood the aperature. I was imagining that it was darker in the room with a baby and trying to get a feel for the iso and the d300. I would like a d300 but no $$ for now.

  13. This was taken outside on a bright sunny day. He was in the shade but there was still a ton of light - explains the fast shutter speed.
  14. D3George

    D3George Guest

  15. D3George

    D3George Guest

  16. Round #2 - Let's see if I learned anything

    Thanks for the patient teaching. Here's another that I have just finished editing using many of the tips you all have passed on. Keep the tips coming!

    Original (D300, 18-200, f5.6, 1/250, ISO 1000, VR On)

    Edited in Capture NX2: Eye sharpening and lightening, GBlur to skin, a little level adjustment, some healing brush work, and a crop for Mike B. :biggrin:
  17. Terry, you are really GETTING this stuff. The difference between your first and second pic demonstrates an amazing advance on the learning curve.

    A couple comments...

    I actually like the composition of the first one better than the second one. That's because the background brings out the color of his eyes; lacking the backround in the second one, I don't like the second composition quite as much.

    But that's a quibble. More important...

    In the first image, the subject is clearly the bubbles in his mouth because that's the only part that is in focus. In the second one, I don't know what the subject is. I might not feel that way if I hadn't seen the first one, but given my general lack of appreciation for really shallow depth of field and having the hindsight of knowing what the original looks like, I don't know what the subject is in the second one.
  18. D3George

    D3George Guest

  19. D3George

    D3George Guest

    With the correct almost white balance like this one try to add saturation , contrast , etc after .

    First the white balance it has to be very good.

    Your adjustment of your photo is too red .

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 28, 2008
  20. George - Great catch. I agree that the WB is off. Only problem I'm having is that I shot the original as a JPEG and it's not easy to change the WB in Capture if it's not a NEF. I'll try PSE and see if I can do it easily there.

    Thanks a ton for the continued schooling - I'm learning a bunch!
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