How could I make this better?

Joined
Oct 24, 2006
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JAX
Here are two pictures. The first is straight out of the camera the second is after my attempts at PP. Would you please comment on the good and bad. Take the photo and show me what you would do. I am in your hands. I have learned alot from this forum and I am taking the next step. Also, please feel free to comment on my attempt at high key. This was my second try.

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View attachment 96127

PS. I tried to put this in the Cirtique section and was not allowed?
 
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Aug 14, 2006
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Smyrna, Georgia
Its out of focus as far as I can tell. basically remove the glare on his head with heal or clone and add some contrast to fake sharpness. your DOF might be too shallow cause some areas look in focus
 
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Gulu, Uganda
Colour looks a bit out here which I would say is because the image looks a bit under exposed on the people. The couple also look a bit dark.
Did you shoot raw or jpeg? I downloaded your image and the white balance looks out, if you have a raw file you could send it to me to look at but with jpeg it's not so good.
service@villageimage.co.nz
 
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Colors don't look horrible to me.

Here is my touch up

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First of all, the shot is pretty underexposed which will prevent you from pulling any of the darker details out.

It appears you have way to much light on you BG which can do funky things to the hair and your subjects outline and also cause flare problems. I don't know how your BG light was set up, but I always position my BG lights at such an angle that I won't be getting a direct reflection of the light from the BG.

For shots like this you may want to try a light nearer to the camera to light up those areas such as the right side of her face that get lost in shadows cast by the other subject. A light toward the front would also light the dark void that is her hair falling in between your two subject.

The pose is not too bad, although I would prefer a better posture from him. It looks like you and your subjects are interacting well, which is always a plus.

I hope I don't come across too harsh, I certainly don't mean too. For your second attempt I thing you've done a really good job here. Just keep shooting as much as you can and share your results with us.

Kind regards,
 
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JAX
Here are the details to my set up. Two lights on BG. One of them is in a large soft box. The other is just using a reflector. The subjects are about 8-10 feet in front of the BG. My key light is in a medium softbox and 45 degrees to the right and up from the subjects. My camera settings were: WB-Flash, ISO-200, SS-250 or 500 at F11-16 can't remember.
I don't think I have a DOF issue with such a small aperature. I always focus on the eyes (at least I try to).
So my thoughts are this shot would be better if the BG lights were turned down a little or maybe the subjects further away from the BG. I set them up to be 2 stops hotter than my main light. Is this too much? I am trying to burn out the BG but seem to be getting some reflection. Then expose better for the subjects. Maybe my main light was too far off to the side from them. Maybe it should be closer to the camera.
AS far as PP goes. How did I do on her eyes? Does the color look good? I am doing this on a laptop, but have picked up an old monitor and will be looking to by a calibration tool. I like the idea of less forehead glare.
 
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Jan 29, 2005
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St. George, Utah
You have been given some good advise here and I won't try to piggy back on what they have had to say. I thought it might be helpful to point out that taking a picture with a white background does not make it a Hi Key image. This link may give you an idea as to one form of a Hi Key image. Generally the model is dressed in white and may have some white accessories as well.

I spent a few minutes tweaking your image. I did this with levels, shadow/highlight, brightness/contrast, and then removed the dark circles from under the eyes of the lady using the clone tool in lighten at 10%. Lastly I sharpened it a little. By the way, the dark circles are more of a lighting problem than anything. Based on the shadows in the image the key light was fairly high up which also caused the nose shadow to reach down and touch the lip of the gentleman. Generally we don't want to do that.

Tweaked version:

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Your original for contrast:

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Bilbao, Euskadi, Spain
Though I follow the forum as much as I can, I barely post any messages at all, but this time I've seen in the original image a lot of recoverable information, and not a bad portrait at all.

Here's my proposed postprocessing, basically I've corrected levels, decreased bright, increased contrast and saturation, and being a simple image regarding colors, used selective correction to give more live to cyans, lowering the reds so skin tones look more real and also corrected the black level in blaks and neutrals. Finally I've cloned the skin of the forehead to make the glare disappear, slight crop of the image and applied a bit of unsharp mask to increase the sharpness, so it seems more in focus.

Hope you like this tweaked version:

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Joined
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Based on the small aperture I'm thinking you metered the shot off of the brightly lit BG. You need to meter the shot so that the exposure is correct for the subjects and then dial the BG light down until you stop losing detail in the edges of the subjects as you have in the girls fingers, hair etc......

First I cropped some of the dead space

Next I performed Basic Levels Adjustments I overdid it on the levels as indicated by the loss of detail in the shirt.....oops!!

Then I saved the file and reopened in CS3's Camera Raw to do a WB adjustment. It may be too cool, but it's hard to say without knowing the subject's skin tones.

I used the heal and clone tools to clean up the skin, Remove the hot spot on the male subjects forehead, dark circles under eyes and some age lines and then used a Blur layer to smooth the skin a touch.

This is Woody's Beautiful Skin technique.

Next I increased contrast and then applied a defogging sharpness via Smart Sharpen.

It's tough working on such small files, but maybe this helps.

Honestly......I'd reshoot this if possible. The exposure is way off for this kind of shot. If you don't have that option then I think you should be able to combine the info given here and make the most of it.

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I personally find this edit to be the best of all the above, Except for 2 minor things, Too much loss of detail in her hair, and too much white on the back of his shirt.

My 2 cents
 
Joined
May 13, 2006
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NE GA, USA
My retouch of your photo (cute couple!)

The first thought was to try and work with the existing focus, rather than upping the contrast to compensate.
Thinking a "soft" portrait look might work.

A closer crop to remove as much of the harsh background as possible and to balance out the negative/positive space.

I added a touch of gray to the background to even out the contrast.
A little bit of burn tool to their hair around the edges, with a light touch of the blur tool so that the outline of hair was not so sharp and "cut out" looking.

I retouched skin, removed imperfections, brightened eyes and smiles.

The rest was MINOR shadow/hi-light adjustments, moved the sliders up by one digit for exposure and gamma.

Added a bit more saturation to the cyan/blue clothing.


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It's not a perfect retouch, I may have been able to do more with a RAW file, but overall, the skins tones are even (not optimally lit, but) the harsh contrasts have been toned down with no further compromise to the composition, color or subjects.
Thanks
 
Joined
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Smyrna, Georgia
this one is for fun
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