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I wonder what she's thinking?

Discussion in 'Formal Portraits and Weddings' started by Rich Gibson, Aug 16, 2008.

  1. [​IMG]

    I took several hundred shots of my niece Christina's wedding day preparations. As is sometimes the case the one's you don't plan on wind up being the best. I hadn't noticed this shot when I was screening but when I began processing all I did was light her face with a color control point in NX 2 and sharpened it a bit. Increase the gamma, no; crop? no! I kept coming back to the version above. Simpler is better I guess.

    Then I thought about taking out the color.


    Which do you prefer? There's so much going on in this shot; her solitude, her poise, the empty church, the formal photographer going on about his business.
  2. bradNYC


    Mar 28, 2008
    Although I like both, I feel that the color one doesn't have enough "pop". My preference is the b+w.
  3. That's my thought. I think it's important to retain the mood of solitude and popping up the color would serve to contradict that. I wondered about a slightly tighter crop to bring out her expression a bit more but am not sure. The idea is to retain the context of being "alone" in these empty surroundings. Thanks for the comment.
  4. Hi Rich,

    I am drawn the the B+W version of this solitary moment. Well done!!
  5. Thanks! Will we see you at the Md. Renaissance Festival next Saturday?

    How about this crop?

  6. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    I'm actually drawn more to the hunched over man.......rather than wondering what the bride is thinking I'm wondering what the man is doing. He makes my eyes restless as they dart back and forth b/w him and the bride. Have you considered excluding him from the frame?

    The photo appears very muddy to me. You might try sliding the highlights slider left to 1.17 and the mid tones slider left to 236.

    Also, what is Dot Gain 20% and why do you use that color profile?
  7. Thanks, Stuart.

    As for the man, no it's my intention to leave him in. There are enough visual cues, for me, to indicate she is between activities, pausing for a moment and casually holding onto the bouquet, waiting for the next thing to be accomplished; he must be involved in some way, but not in a sense important enough to know exactly what..probably photography. It's a rare departure for my usual shooting because it tells a story about a pivotal moment in one's life. Generally I try to capture interesting scenes.

    The other items are because of my being an amateur at this. I simply converted the image to grey scale in Photoshop. I'll try the suggestions you made; thanks again.

  8. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    Manhattan, NY
    Lewis Lorton
    This doesn't work for me because there are too many elements that are in focus ant their relative importance unknown without your explanation.

    Why is she alone?
    Why is the bouquet being held so disconsolately?
    Why is she staring off in the left?
    Who is the man and why is he bent over?
    unlit candles?

    I can't know what is important if you don't provide a narrative, and if you do, some of these elements are excessive yet still loom prominent in the image.
    This just isn't coherent enough for a good PJ photo.
  9. Thanks Lew. I appreciate your taking the time to look and respond. You raise a good point; I hadn't intended to present the image as a PJ shot. The very questions you pose are the thoughts and memories which I hope to stimulate in the minds of the family and friends who participated in the wedding. The context is known to them; they've attended the ceremony and understand all the cues.

    She's alone, she's probably nervous, tired or both, the crop places her in the left third, facing away..alone despite the ongoing preparations for the wedding. The flag is of no consequence . The unlit candles underscore the hint of what's about to happen.

    In terms of a PJ approach I can see the confusion which the shot alone would cause. The viewers don't know the context for sure; and parts would even muddy the water, so to speak. I'll keep that in mind when I encounter a PJ opportunity and I'll take a bit more time to set the theme for my intended audience.

    Thanks, again.
  10. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    She's thinking "Where the heck is my man!!"
  11. i like the last one, the most
    to continue with Lew's thoughts... i suppose that THIS image would be more appropriate if the wedding never took place... like some hollywood-esque ending
    because, it's hard NOT to think that the bride is SAD, or having second thoughts
    not that EITHER were true... it just "looks" that way

    i like the power of this image, as long as the guy is cloned out
    but... the "message" it portrays is probably NOT something the couple will enjoy seeing later, IMHO.... of course
  12. I think you captured the moment nicely. I remember being there.... so much going on around you, it is nice to have a moment alone to reflect on what is about to happen. It's just a rare photo because mostly when you see pictures of brides, they are always posed, and looking perfectly happy. This captures the true feelings going through the bride on the seriousness of the moment.
  13. Thanks Greg, Seneca, & Jana. We all have our own memories and experiences throughout our lives. Carolyn and I have been married over 44 years now and our children are in their forties. Having attended and been a member of countless weddings I can say that a candid shot like this from our wedding would mean a lot to us now. I can barely remember anything prior to the start of the wedding march! We have the usual posed shots of fitting the veil, etc. etc. but none of Carolyn during a quiet moment amidst the hubbub of wedding preparations. Perhaps Mike and Christina may skip over this one, perhaps not. To me, I felt something special sharing a few moments of solitude with her.
  14. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    :eek:  What?!?! Convert to Gray Scale is no way to do a good B&W. ;-)

    Do you have CS3? If so, the Black & White tool under Adjustments is as good as any plug-in I've used. Just click Auto and then maybe do some minor tweaking from there with the sliders.

    I'd also suggest making a habit of converting all images to sRGB in the Edit menu when saving for web use. I really don't know what that Dot Matrix 20% profile is, but I wonder how it would effect the presentation of a color image. Maybe photoshop converted your file to that profile automatically when you selected gray scale conversion??? I also noticed that the color version is saved in Adobe Color Profile......not good for web use.

    If you don't mind my posting it, I'll link to a quick B&W edit I did from your original color version using the B&W tool in CS3....or I'll gladly PM it to you.
  15. Not at all, please go ahead. As I said I am an amateur color scene shooter. I've sold enough travel shots to buy a nice lens or two but I've avoided portrait work like the plague and haven't ever taken a shot with an idea of processing it in B&W. Looking at this image though, it just called for monochrome. I know just enough to be dangerous. This has been an illuminating thread.

  16. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    B&W conversions used to be somewhat of an art form. While you still need to develop your eye for B&W, doing nice conversions has been drastically simplified by CS3's new B&W tool.

    Of course, there are still almost limitless ways to tone B&W images.....but, I find that more often than not I am very pleased with results of the B&W tool in CS3.

    What I typically do is click the Auto button in the command window that pops up and then tweak the top two sliders....which control reds and yellows. Most often I end up tweaking them to the right which brightens the predominant tones for portraits

    This is a pretty quick edit, but to my eye it has a better tonal range than the conversions you have posted so far:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    And since we're playing with your images.....:smile:.....I think the WB on the color version in too warm as originally posted. I know you prefer this image in B&W and I don't disagree with you about that, but you should watch your WB and try to be as aware as possible of color casts etc....

    Does this look more like the scene you saw when you took the shot or was the church's interior really that dark and yellow?:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    I hope this helps.....
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2008
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