Glamour Photography

Joined
Jan 29, 2005
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Location
St. George, Utah
I tried somethin new with this picture of my daughter Kathy. First of all she is in her mid forties with four children, one of which is married. She did no special preparation for this photo and in fact just stopped by for a short visit. The image was taken with window light only and almost no manipulation in PS. I covered my 17-55mm lens with a thin black nylon scarf and shot with the lens wide open. It is not a studio shot but rather was done in my living room with Kathy looking over the back of the couch and into a large window. I was positioned no more than three feet from the her.

I would be interested in your comments and/or suggestions.

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Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
1,133
Location
North Carolina, USA
Re: Kathy

Gordon,

Not sure what's in the water in St. George, but if you bottle it and sell it you could make enough to buy D2X's for the rest of us... :D If Kathy and Diana are representative of your entire family then you should have started your own modeling agency a long time ago. From the looks of things you would still be busy with it!

I've read and heard advice from glamour photographers about the scarf/nylons trick, but never actually tried it. Looks like it did add some softness to the pic from what I can see.

Love the light. Even with the best studio lighting, it's difficult to get a more pleasing appearance than with open windows. Bokeh is excellent as well. The background is nicely blurred to the point of focusing your attention on Kathy, not the background.

Suggestion: try to get a bit further away and use a longer lens. A subtle perspective change occurs when you're that close to the subject, and the result is a slight distortion of facial features that are closer to the lens (ie. nose, chin, hair that stands out, etc.). There are times when you may want that for effect, but usually not with a portrait.

I'm certainly no expert in this area (Yves, Steve Shive, Jarrel, and others are much better at this than me), so please take my comments with the block of salt that accompanies them...

Also, I once ran across a PS action (can't remember where I got it) that provides a "soft focus" look. I've traced through it trying to understand how it works, but I'm afraid it goes beyond my PS abilities to figure it out in detail. The gist of it is that it finds the harder edges in an image, then softens everything else. Has a nice smoothing effect for skin when used with portraits, which may have been the type of effect you were looking for. It's by no means perfect, but it does help to visualize what the image might look like with some selective application of Gaussian Blur. Hope you don't mind, but I took the image of Kathy and used the action on it to see how it would turn out:

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Let me know if you're interested in the action.
 
Joined
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Messages
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St. George, Utah
Thanks for you kind and meaningful response David, I really appreiciate it. I would be very interested in the PS action that you describe. Perhaps I could relegate the nylon scarf to the trash dump of history.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
1,133
Location
North Carolina, USA
Soft Focus PS Action

I found the link to the author's site:

http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/coolato/digitaltechniques.html

The action can be downloaded by clicking on the "Action for giving images a "soft focus" or "dreamy" type of look " link.

By the way, I took a look at your site and my earlier suspicions were correct -- you are not only a gifted photographer but also fortunate to have an absolutely beautiful family!

I noticed you had some shots with the 70-200... I've seen some great portraits taken with that lens. Might want to try that lens next time.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
33,092
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St. George, Utah
Thanks David I will download that action, it looks good. Also, I appreciate your taking a look at my website and also the comments about my family. I do use my 70-200mm lens for many of my portrait shots but this particular one was shot in my living room next to the window and three feet of room was all I had.

Thanks again,
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
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Location
St. George, Utah
Doug Barber said:
Greetings Gordon....
all I get is a red "x" for a photo can you post a link so I can see this image....
Hi Doug, thanks for asking. Pbase has been out of control of late. Lets try this:

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A

Anonymous

Guest
I like this image nad I like the light....
I know I don't have to tell you that you have a very attractive daughter....
As for the image itself, It is a good start but I feel PS could take this image to the next level if one was so inclined.
If you don't have any objections I could take a crack at your image to show you what i mean... but I will wate till I hear back from you that you don't have any objection to it.
 
Joined
Jan 25, 2005
Messages
1,133
Location
North Carolina, USA
Gordon -

Looks like you've either used the softfocus action or done some gaussian blur on the updated pic... I'd be interested to hear your opinions of the advantages/disadvantages of the scarf vs. the action once you've had an opportunity to work with it some.

One thing that I've noticed about the action is that the overall character of what it does varies quite a bit depending on the resolution of the photo. To see what I mean, take the original and downsample to a lower resolution and run the action on it -- the character of the softfocus will change considerably compared to the higher res photo. I played with the action some in an attempt to control this facet a bit better, but was never really successful. Let me know what your experience is!
 
Joined
Jan 31, 2005
Messages
1,661
Location
Central and Northern Canada
Anonymous said:
I like this image nad I like the light....
I know I don't have to tell you that you have a very attractive daughter....
As for the image itself, It is a good start but I feel PS could take this image to the next level if one was so inclined.
If you don't have any objections I could take a crack at your image to show you what i mean... but I will wate till I hear back from you that you don't have any objection to it.
Sorry Gordon....
I keep forgetting to log in so my post came through as a "guest"... But yes it's me :)
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
33,092
Location
St. George, Utah
Doug Barber said:
Anonymous said:
I like this image nad I like the light....
I know I don't have to tell you that you have a very attractive daughter....
As for the image itself, It is a good start but I feel PS could take this image to the next level if one was so inclined.
If you don't have any objections I could take a crack at your image to show you what i mean... but I will wate till I hear back from you that you don't have any objection to it.

I would be honored if you would play with it. Let me know if you would like me to Email you the original.

Gordon
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2005
Messages
33,092
Location
St. George, Utah
DavidM said:
Gordon -

Looks like you've either used the softfocus action or done some gaussian blur on the updated pic... I'd be interested to hear your opinions of the advantages/disadvantages of the scarf vs. the action once you've had an opportunity to work with it some.

Hi David,

I have downloaded the action but have not used it yet. I did do some gaussian blur on the image but am excited to try out the action you suggested.

Gordon
 
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