Need portrait help

Discussion in 'People' started by Terri French, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho
    I still feel so unsure about so many aspects of portrait photography. This thread will address a couple of my latest questions.

    I was taking shots of multiple people. I wanted the background as blurred as possible with all the people in focus. I am not sure what f stop would be best. Also, it seems that when I use a focus point to focus, half press, then recompose, many of my shots are out of focus. What am I doing wrong?

    The other problem I am having is in adjusting white balance in my raw conversion in ACR. The shots were taken around noon in the shade with the flash. It seems that if I adjust to the shade white balance setting the photos are way too yellow but the flash setting seems to blue. When I manually adjust the temperature, I just can't find a setting where everyone's skin looks right. Here are a couple of examples of photos that I have edited. Any advice and help on f stops, focusing, and white balance would be most appreciated.

    52790618.

    52778872.

    52778871.
     
  2. Hi Terri,

    You shoot with Flash right (sb800 i think). So you will have 1/60" as speed. I think F4 would be enough to get them all in focus. Or even little more wide open. How more you open up (lower the F aperture) the more background blur you will get. Also how more open the aperture how lesser the in focus part will be.

    About the skin colour it sometimes can look bit messy with D70 i don't know why this is. I just needs some more post processing to get it right in some cases.

    I see you shot the photo's at F/5 so in these shots i would say try to shoot on F/4 and look if that gives you more satisfing results. The fun thing is that your daughter haves a more white complex then her husband. Her husband haves a more brownish tint (yellow). And your daughter more pinkish tint (red). And there child haves best of them both. So in the first photo i would say the child haves the most natural skin tones.

    The other strange thing in the photo's is that there are grey parts in hands or faces. The muddy feeling i also have sometimes in my photos. And i can fix them by post process the photo's but it is taking some more work.

    I like your work alot allways. I hope somebody can give a better advice or comment then me about the photo's.

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Hi, Terri. First, I really enjoyed your images.
    Here is my take:
    The best thing to do to achieve greater background blur is to move the subjects far away from the background and stop down to ensure proper depth of field (or make them line their heads up so that their eyes are all the same distance to the focal plane). I use the focus and recompose technique which works fine as long as I have enough depth of field to work with. If the subjects are too close or I am shooting with a narrow depth of field, I invariably choose the focus point over the subject I wish to have in focus and recompose only slightly.
    WB is more tricky. I cheat. I select the background not affected by the flash and desaturate the yellow channel and then select the foreground and desaturate the blue/cyan in the affected areas. The better solution would be to either use a color gel over the speedlight (I can never remember to do this) or use the rawmagick's WB zone system to adjust each zone's WB individually). If rawmagick ever gets out of beta, this will be my preferred method. Here are a couple of snaps (in each the eyes, hair and teeth had a distinct blue cast relative to the proper background WB - I left my daughter's hair with a little blue on the second shot):
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Hi Terry,

    First, I think you have a really wonderful series of images. These images are destined to become family treasures.

    I do see how the skin tones vary from image to image. It sometimes happens with my shots and is a real pain to correct. I just fiddle around with things in Photoshop trying to match the skin tone I like best. If fixing one person's skin tone adversely affects the skin tone of another person in the same image, you won't be able to make global changes. Instead, you'll have to make a selection of the face/skin and then work on each person's skin tone individually. If there's an easier way, I hope someone can tell us.

    One thing I noticed was that the colors in your images appear differently when opened in Photoshop. Your images are in RGB format and when viewed in the Cafe forum the colors are less vibrant than when viewed in Photoshop. If you convert the images to sRGB in Photoshop after your PP adjustments are made, the colors you see in Photoshop will appear when those images are posted on the web.

    For example, here is your first image in its original RGB format and then in sRGB format.
    RGB:
    [​IMG]
    sRGB:
    [​IMG]

    Congratulations again on some really fine captures.

    Glenn
     
  5. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho
    Glenn,
    You have hit on something here that I have been struggling to figure out for a long time. It is the sRGB thing. I take my images in RAW and convert them using ACR. In ACR I convert in ProPhoto RGB and leave them as 16 bit. I then make my corrections in Photoshop CS2 and before saving I convert the profile to sRGB IEC61966 2.1 and change them to 8 bit. Then I save as a jpeg file with a check in the ICC profile where sRGB shows up. I will then resize and resharpen the jpeg and save for web viewing. What am I doing wrong? I have noticed the color shift on the web and haven't been able to figure it out. If you can correct my workflow, I would be so grateful. Why are they RGB when I have converted to sRGB?

     
  6. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho
    Thanks for the good suggestions. Where can I find more info about rawmagick's WB zone system? I think we probably were too close to the background. We found a shady place, in the middle of the day and I had them get as far away as I could. I will remember to stop down more. Some are at f4 and I just didn't get enough DOF. So many things to remember.

    One area of weakness I have is making selections in Photoshop. What technique do you use to select your backgrounds. For me, making a good selection is so tedious and time consuming. Do you have an effecient way to do it?
     
  7. Terri,

    I'm a Capture user for initial corrections, but that shouldn't make a difference. I can't detect any flaw in your current workflow with respect to sRGB. Somehow, some way, your conversion to sRGB isn't sticking. After you do your sRGB conversion, I would again click Edit > Convert to Profile to double-check that your Source Space is in fact now sRGB. If it is sRGB, I would check after every subsequent action you take in Photoshop to try and figure out where the image drops sRGB and reverts back to RGB.

    I hope you can find the source of the problem or some learned color management person can help.

    Glenn
     
  8. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho
    Now I am so confused because when I open my jpgs up in Photoshop where the color is set to ProPhoto, it says that the photo is sRGB and asks if I want to use that or the working space. So it appears that it is getting saved with the photo. I really need help on this one, since I have been struggling with it for months. Thanks for trying to help me. One thing, when I go to the file menu image/mode RGB is checked there. I don't have any options for sRGB there. Should there be something different in that menu item.

    I just saved Chad's first photo and looked at it in Photoshop. It looks much more colorful in Photoshop than it does on my computer. I have used eye one display to calibrate my monitor.
     
  9. Terri,

    The Image > Mode > RGB Color or CMYK Color is not related to your sRGB and RGB color profile problem.

    Do all of your images in this post show up as sRGB when examined by you in Photoshop? They show up as RGB when I examine them in Photoshop. If they are sRGB in your PC, then somehow they must be getting converted to RGB when uploaded to your imaging hosting site or by the site itself when you link an image for posting. Does your upload program have options for default settings that possibly could include a choice of color profile? And does the hosting site have color profile options for displaying images? I use Smugmug, but don't recall any such options for upload or display.

    Feel free to email me with one of your images that shows up as sRGB in your Photoshop but displays as RGB. I'll check it in my Photoshop and confirm that I see sRGB, too.

    I find that colors almost always have more pop when images are viewed in Photoshop rather than a forum post. I find that true with Chad's images as well as the sRGB version of your image in this post. I also calibrate with GM Eye1. I assume it has something to do with the greater color management capabilities of Photoshop.

    Glenn
     
  10. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho
    Hi Vince

    Vince,

    Thank you for your observations. They do all have different skin tones right now. My son in law has been working outdoors and has a tan, even though his natural skin tone is quite light. I think part of the problem was that it was very cold outside and everyone's hands turned quite blue. So, I've got tan skin, non-tanned skin, a baby's skin, and cold blue skin all in one picture. No wonder I can't get it right!!!

    Thanks again.
     
  11. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho

    I sent you an e-mail.
     
  12. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Terri you're doing everythign right as far as color profiles. Indeed, the "original" images from your PBase gallery do have the sRGB profile embedded. What Glenn was seeing is that the "small/medium/large" jpg's generated on the fly by PBase have the color profile stripped away. That doesn't mean they're not still sRGB, they just don't have the profile embedded anymore. When opening such a file in Photoshop the correct action would be to "Assign" sRGB, whereas I think what Glenn did was "Assign" Adobe RGB and then "Convert" to sRGB, which gave an artificial boost to the colors that wasn't originally there.

    I think the WB looks fine in the images you posted, after all flash and daylight shouldn't be too far off from each other. The situation gets even more complicated if the background ambient light is from heavy overcast skies or tungsten lighting.

    I've encountered this as well, I think it's less of a WB problem than just a difference in skintones that seems to be more apparent in photos than in person. I've taken pictures where one person's skin looked very reddish while the person next to them was extremely pale-looking; the difference is much more noticeable in the picture for some reason. I've not found a simple quickfix for this problem, I've just had to do selective post-processing for each skintone.
     
  13. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    RE: White Balance I intially look primarily at the first shot. Looking at the others I do see a lack of consistency from one shot to the next. The first one looks best to me, the other two look a bit yellowish. Since you're shooting RAW you should be able to batch apply the same WB to a whole group of shots, I've found this to work pretty well as long as the lighting didn't change too much from one shot to the next. That way the skintones (which are more important than the background here) would be consistent.
     
  14. Hi Terry,

    Sounds like you've got a classic mixed lighting situation: daytime shade lighting which is extremely cool (blue) and foreground flash lighting which is warm (yellow). Under these situations it's very difficult to make WB adjustments to the whole picture without having one area look off. The solution is to balance your lighting sources. I'd try a blue gel on the flash to make it match the WB of the ambient light and shoot using the shade WB setting on the camera. This will give you BALANCED lighting overall, then you can adjust the WB overall in Photoshop and the different areas will respond equally. You'll probably have to warm the image up a tiny bit in post-processing to make the flesh tones look just right. Hope that helps (assuming you have an SB800, those little gels really work!).

    paul
     
  15. Terri & Jeff,

    It sounds like Jeff has a good understanding of how color profiles work. All I know is that my CS2 Color Settings are for an RGB working space and to Preserve Embedded Profiles. To check on an image's color profile, I click Edit> Convert to Profile to see what profile is listed under Source Space. Images that I've converted to sRGB will show sRGB as the Source Space. When I checked Terri's images, each showed RGB in the Source Space and that was my basis for believing they were in RGB. I didn't actively assign RGB to Terri's images unless my CS2 is somehow set up to do so automatically. I did convert Terri's images to sRGB and that probably boosted the colors as Jeff suggested.

    Does anyone have an answer to the question of why images look better when opened in Photoshop than when viewed in a forum?


    Glenn
     
  16. JeffKohn

    JeffKohn

    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Don't confuse RGB color mode with sRGB or Adobe RGB color spaces, as they're not the same thing. So I'm not exactly sure what you mean when you say your working space is RGB. The PBase-generated files Terri posted do not have any color profile at all embedded (although they are in RGB color mode). The "original" files that Terri uploaded to PBase do have an sRGB profile embedded.

    It sounds like you may have Photoshop configured to assign your working space to files that don't contain an embedded profile. Ideally you want to have Photoshop prompt you what to do in this case. In the Color settings dialog, make sure you have the "Ask when opening/pasting" checkboxes checked and then in the future when you open such a file it will ask you what to do. In the case of a web JPG you'll probably want to assign sRGB rather than your working space.

    Well if Photoshop is assigning your working space when you open web JPG's with no embedded profile that could certainly explain what you're seeing. Another possiblity is that you have a monitor profile, which Photoshop is using and Interet Explorer (and most other browsers) is ignoring.
     
  17. Hi Jeff,

    I'm not confusing RGB color mode with RGB or sRGB color space. When I said my working space is RGB, I meant that in Photoshop's Color Settings I've chosen to use Adobe RGB color space when I'm working in RGB color mode working space. I don't work in CMYK color mode.

    When I said my CS2 Color Settings are to preserve embedded profiles, I meant that in the Color Management Policies section of Color Settings I chose the option for an embedded color profile of a newly opened image to remain operational even when it is in conflict with my working space selection. Thus, if Terri's posted image had been embedded with an sRGB profile, my CS2 should have left it in the sRGB color space.

    Because Terri's posted images had no embedded profile, it appears that my CS2 treated the image as being in the RGB color space. I don't know that I made an conscious choice for this to happen, other than by my failing to check the box for "Missing Profiles: Ask When Opening." I've now checked that box and when opening Terri's posted images I get the dialog box letting me assign color profiles or not to color manage.

    I think this solves the problem at my end. Thanks for your help.

    Glenn
     
  18. Terri French

    Terri French

    May 5, 2005
    Idaho
    Thanks everyone

    I guess we got the sRGB dilemma figured out. I think we all learned a lot. Now if I could just the the color of my photos the way I want them........

    Oh well, I'll keep trying. Thanks again, all.

    Terri
     
  19. Here is the link. Just click on "White Balance," and you will be prompted to download the video tutorial on the subject. http://www.rawmagick.us/index-2.html
     
  20. cwilt

    cwilt

    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    Terri,

    Do you have a grey card? Take 2 shots, with one of them including a grey target. Set WB from it then use that for the real image.
     
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