Practice

Joined
Jun 26, 2009
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usa
Well, some people at work have found out I have a love for photography and have asked if I would be open to shoot some engagement photos, and potentially at their wedding. Thing is, I rarely shoot people :eek:. I typically stick to landscapes and cars. To practice, I suckered my GF into letting me take some pictures of her while we were in Austin for the weekend. Here are the few that I took to post. Would love some feedback, both good and bad! I think this look really gets achieved in post but I'm trying to get it as "right" as possible in the camera. All my edits are done in the trial version of LR5. I really like the vintage/film look and then the high key shots:

Examples of what I like:

Vintage/film look from our very own Shawn Robertson (nextelbuddy)
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High key look:
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What I came up with:
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Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
You have a good start here. Definitely a better start than when I started shooting.

The editing lacks a little contrast. It's not an easy thing to do - to get both the flared look while retaining detail. That's all in the editing and nailing your exposure.

With that said (you didn't number your pictures):

#1. Great image, but it's a little hot on her left. Repositioning yourself might have helped.
#2. Great image. I'd warm it up a little. Love the flare.
#3. The patchy light here doesn't work for me. The contrast between the light and shadows is too great. These images are very difficult to master, and has a lot to do with seeing the light stop different between the shadows and highlights, but also the editing. Muted tones work great for these images.
#4. Cute. Needs some editing, but would have been great if she was looking to her left (camera right) with a more serious/pensive look.
#5. Great image. Love this one. Good freezing of her movement.
#6. In shots like these, watch for pulling skin, ugly faces, and weird looks. I get them all the time when shooting getting ready shots where it looks like the bride is high/drunk with her eyes rolling back into her head. Those get ditched without a second though.
#7. I'd do this one with a more constrasty B&W. But that's just me.
#8. Nice funny capture. Little movement of her hand is perfect.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
99
Location
usa
You have a good start here. Definitely a better start than when I started shooting.

The editing lacks a little contrast. It's not an easy thing to do - to get both the flared look while retaining detail. That's all in the editing and nailing your exposure.

With that said (you didn't number your pictures):

#1. Great image, but it's a little hot on her left. Repositioning yourself might have helped.
#2. Great image. I'd warm it up a little. Love the flare.
#3. The patchy light here doesn't work for me. The contrast between the light and shadows is too great. These images are very difficult to master, and has a lot to do with seeing the light stop different between the shadows and highlights, but also the editing. Muted tones work great for these images.
#4. Cute. Needs some editing, but would have been great if she was looking to her left (camera right) with a more serious/pensive look.
#5. Great image. Love this one. Good freezing of her movement.
#6. In shots like these, watch for pulling skin, ugly faces, and weird looks. I get them all the time when shooting getting ready shots where it looks like the bride is high/drunk with her eyes rolling back into her head. Those get ditched without a second though.
#7. I'd do this one with a more constrasty B&W. But that's just me.
#8. Nice funny capture. Little movement of her hand is perfect.

Thanks for the above! I definitely agree that it's hard to nail the flare while retaining contrast and detail. It seemed like I was getting a lot of clipped edges and/or not retaining the detail I would like. Is this "easier" to attain in PS vs LR? I'm wondering if not having the ability to use layers/masks will make this type of composure hard since I'm just using LR (which I've only been using for about 20 days now).

I'm also working through/learning what the right place to meter while shooting, especially when there is a lot of light and/or large swings in contrast and brightness (ie: sun and shadows). In these type of shots, do most people meter off the subject (ie face) or meter the highlights and fix shadows in post? The images above are a mix of both because I was trying to see what the end result is when editing a metered face vs metering say the sky or trees.

Thanks again! I appreciate the comments :biggrin: Any help on this post would mean a lot too
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
I don't use PS much, so I"M probably a bad person to ask about that stuff.

I can tell you that I typically spot meter for the face. Unfortunately, I shoot weddings, which means my subjects are always moving, and most venues just simply don't offer perfect lighting, so my exposures regularly get an adjustment of exposure anywhere from 0.1 to 0.3 in LR. Sometimes more, but that's a rarity.

I shoot in spot metering all the time. ALL the time. I meter off their face. If nothing else is exposed, I want their faces exposed for sure.

If I have split lighting (direct sunlight on one side of their face, and shadow on the other side), then I meter for one side of the face, check the meter, then meter for the other side, and check the meter. This helps to under-expose the lit side of the face (which can be brought up in post), and over-expose the dark side of the face (which can be brought down in post).

Hope that helps a little bit!
 
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,490
Location
atlanta
I +1 everything Mike said.

My suggestion would be to nail your exposure in camera first. dont try to under or over expose (at least thats what I try to do, sometimes I do expose a little to the right in my histo for safety) and sometimes i do shoot into the sun and lose contrast for flare but i always add the contrast I want back in using photoshop and masks.

as MIke said for split lighting, I spot meter as well always off the face and then i take the average between the 2 sides knowing i can bring it back down and up in post later.

one thing you can do is retain your contrast with good exposure in camera and then in LR you can go to your curves box and set an anchor point in the middle and in between bottom left and middle point and then drag the very bottom of the straight curve up a tad which will give you the haze effect in LR and you can bring back contrast using the contrast slider alone.

Also watch out for green contaminating your white balance when shooting outside in grassy sunlit areas. that green gets reflected back up and throws the white balance up.

couple last things, dont be afraid to use a little clarity (i personally use around +15 to +20) and clarity. Also sharpness settings, i tend to over sharpen my images to add a little grit to them but not too much. its a look I like so its not for everyone. I sharpen to around +70 in lightroom even if my image is perfectly sharp and sometimes in Photoshop I use a high pass filter of around 2 or 3 just depends on the image.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
5,301
Location
San Jose, CA
I +1 everything Mike said.

My suggestion would be to nail your exposure in camera first. dont try to under or over expose (at least thats what I try to do, sometimes I do expose a little to the right in my histo for safety) and sometimes i do shoot into the sun and lose contrast for flare but i always add the contrast I want back in using photoshop and masks.

as MIke said for split lighting, I spot meter as well always off the face and then i take the average between the 2 sides knowing i can bring it back down and up in post later.

one thing you can do is retain your contrast with good exposure in camera and then in LR you can go to your curves box and set an anchor point in the middle and in between bottom left and middle point and then drag the very bottom of the straight curve up a tad which will give you the haze effect in LR and you can bring back contrast using the contrast slider alone.

Also watch out for green contaminating your white balance when shooting outside in grassy sunlit areas. that green gets reflected back up and throws the white balance up.

couple last things, dont be afraid to use a little clarity (i personally use around +15 to +20) and clarity. Also sharpness settings, i tend to over sharpen my images to add a little grit to them but not too much. its a look I like so its not for everyone. I sharpen to around +70 in lightroom even if my image is perfectly sharp and sometimes in Photoshop I use a high pass filter of around 2 or 3 just depends on the image.

This guy. This frickin' guy. He knows what's up.

I don't sharpen like he does. For Blog/Facebook/Teasers, I sharpen upon export in Lightroom. I don't add any with the sliders.

I also take my clarity up to a +10 for weddings/portraits, and anywhere from 0 to +20 for personal work (automotive, bicycling, etc.). Just my preference.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Messages
99
Location
usa
A few from the weekend. I just DL a trial version of Photoshop so I'm going to try to mess around in there to see if I can create this look in PS vs LR. I can't seem to get the sharpness like Shawn does in the same picture I posted in the original post :(

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