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Family Portrait [Edits added from member suggestions]

Discussion in 'Formal Portraits and Weddings' started by Terri French, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. I have received quite a few compliments on the posing. My daughter, Amber, did all the posing and I think she had a great idea. She's very good at it, and I stink!!

    OK, it was taken in the woods while we were all camping, but forethought went into their clothing choices and the shooting location. So, I guess it could be a formal portrait.

    My sister and her family wanted a family portrait taken while we were at the lake. They needed it done on a certain day while everyone was there. The light was so harsh that evening. I went on a bicycle ride to try to find a spot in the shade. I found a spot, but when we got there it was just too dark of a shade to get a decent shutter speed with my D200 and no studio lights.

    We found this spot and waited until some clouds moved in front of the sun. (Luckily a few clouds started building in the west). I don't like the blown sky, but my relatives love the photo. We used a gold reflector and fill flash. I really don't know how to do this kind of outdoor photography. It was the best I could do. Maybe the flowers and sagebrush in front of the family detract from the photo--I don't know.

    From those of you more experienced, I would like to know how you would tackle a situation such as this.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Edit 1 Using Gretchen's suggestions

    View attachment 238484

    Edit 2 Using Lew's suggestions
    View attachment 238485

    I just got a wonderful edit from Uncle Frank. I don't have time to work on it right now, but will try to get to it later. I hope he posts his version to the thread, as well as Gretchen. I don't mind if people work on my photos. It helps me learn and hopefully will help someone else learn too. This is the reason I love the cafe so much.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 11, 2008
  2. Terri,

    Sounds ( and looks) like you handled it as well as possible. I would use levels to bring up the dark colors just a hair, and then a very minor S curves adjustment to add some pop. I always do these as seperate layers and adjust opacity as needed. Finally, I'd add a new layer (Ctl J) and burn in the edges a bit. Med-lge brush, hardness 0%, shadows, probably at 10%. If the sky is still too distracting, then go to highlights. I always do this in another layer (my burning), and usually drop back to 85-90% opacity when done. :smile:
  3. You did excellent! I agree with Gretchen, that with a little extra pp, this shot would be fantastic!
  4. I think this shot looks great Terri. All subjects are exposed properly and it appears that you handled the situation well.

    As I found out last week, to avoid the blown sky, you must use flash/strobes - then expose for the sky and light your subject with the flash/strobe. I would have used a white reflector instead of gold - gold works best with direct sun, white would probably be a bit better with clouds overhead. (I think)
  5. Actually Keith, adding warmth by using a gold reflector is a great way to get accurate skin tones on a cloudy day. Clouds add a bluish/grayish tint to the light, so adding warmth corrects that. (the reason setting WB to cloudy in camera results in a warmer image)
  6. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    IMO, this is terrific composition and, as Gretchen said, any color shortcomings due to light are easily correctable in pp.

    I will send you an edit which you can post if you care to.
  7. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    I really like how the subjects were positioned as well
  8. I am at work and can't respond to each personally right now, but Lew, you edit looks terrific. Why don't you post it for all to see. I will work on all the suggestions this afternoon after I get off work!!

    Thanks all--got to plug away at the office so I can buy all those new lenses I am lusting after!!
  9. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    Thanks, Terri, for the permission to post this here.

    This is the PM and edit I sent.

    Great composition. The only minor nit is the bush on the Right side in front.
    (This would all work better, I think, on a full-res copy where one could pay some attention to parts selectively if needed)

    Done with adj layers

    30% #85 warming filter
    increase general saturation 30%
    slight curves adj
    USM 12, 12,0
    USM 70, .4, 0

    combine all and set layer to 80% (because it looked too overworked at 100%)

    minor vignetting with PTLENS

    This looks good on my monitor and, imo, would probably look wonderful large on canvas.

    Reiterate that this is a very, very nice arrangement of people.


    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    By llorton
  10. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    It might be interesting and useful if people could point out what about the composition is good; why the arrangement works.

    This would help non-people shooters (like me, for instance) to create pleasing compositions.

  11. For me it works because...

    1. They are not all standing in a row like a police line-up
    2. Each couple is sitting/standing in a way where one does not tower over the other.
    3. She used the surroundings well, and nothing is overpowering the subjects and no one has a background object spearing them through the head.
    4. Each group is at a unique level on the horizon as well, making it interesting, but at the same time you can tell they are a family.
  12. terri,
    i'll chime in, as well
    excellent result
    you did a great job
    we'd all like a nicer sky... but, such is life
    thanks for sharing with us
  13. Terri;

    You did a great job with this. The posing is wonderful and the setting is great too. I'm sure they will love this.
  14. Posing groups is difficult and you have done well with it. Getting heads at different levels makes the image more interesting. I might have tightened up the group a little bit especially the in the area of the woman with the white top. She is a little heavier than the other ladies and by positioning her slightly behind one of the others would have enhanced the photo and made it more pleasing for her as well. I agree that a bit of processing to bring out the colors a bit more would also make this better. Thanks for sharing this family group shot Terri.
  15. What I like about the positioning is the harmony:

    Couples are together, and obvious as "who" they are. The two on the left side of the shot are angled in to the center, and the two men on the R side of the frame are angled in to the center also. For me, this keeps the eye focused on the family, and also presents a loving atmosphere, via body language and positioning. :smile:
  16. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Consider using a little curve in lab mode on the a & b channels to increase color seperation and saturation.

    Perhaps some dodge and burn to add contrast to give more depth.

    I'm at work so I can't play with the image to suggest numbers.
  17. One element that hasn't been mentioned... beautiful subjects!
  18. Thanks for the detailed instructions, Gretchen. I just worked on it and will post my edit.
  19. To all who have an interest in this thread. I edited the photo according to some member's suggestions. The edits are in the original post. I hope Uncle Frank posts his edit. It is very good and I haven't had time to try his suggestions, yet.

    Hope you all enjoy learning from this......
  20. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    In addition to the other comments, one thing that struck me as I looked at it was the harmonious placement of the limbs by the couple. Each couple seemed well at ease and in synch with his/her partner.
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