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First Portraite

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This is my first attempt at photographing people. partly due to lack of willing participants, but mostly lack of confidence.
This is my Daughter and she has a birthmark that covers a lot of her face and neck, she does a good job at covering it with makeup and I tried to get her better side in the shot.
Can you tell me the best way to photograph in this situation? would it be lighting or is the only way to hide this the use of heavy paste make up? she would so love some really good pictures.

Camera:Nikon D200 Check out Nikon Nation!
Lens:70-300mm VR
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Title:First Portraite
Username:Wild Wild
Uploaded:12 Dec 2010 - 10:20 AM
Tags:Portraits / people
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Comments

This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
paulbroad
paulbroad  781 forum posts United Kingdom845 Constructive Critique Points
12 Dec 2010 - 11:17 AMConstructive Critique!This comment was flagged as constructive critique! 

There is an over riding problem her which you need to deal with before lighting etc. (Correct lighting and make up will help deal with skin problems.) This is very un-sharp. I can understand why you might go for the soft approach, but this doesn't look soft/diffused, it looks un-sharp.

You nee to get the base image sharp, or use a diffusion filter on the camera if you want the soft look initially. Treat a sharp image to a slight Gaussian blur to soften things if you wish.

Here, you have focused on the far side of her head - the hair there is sharp. You must focus on eyes in portraiture.
Paul

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t_downes
t_downes e2 Member 6260 forum postst_downes vcard United Kingdom
12 Dec 2010 - 11:31 AM

Hi Margaret.. She is very pretty i cant understand why you would need to cover anything up, but there is software out the to try.Portrait Professional 9 is a good bit of kit and a piece of cake to use.Link at bottom of page. Did you take this hand held as the subject is out of focus. The use of a tripod will help a lot. lighting always a bunus and reflectors. Try placing the subjects by windows with plenty of light. Always check the background making sure no objects are seen in the shot i.e chairs/ornaments/doorways/ pictures etc. Hope this helps.

http://www.portraitprofessional.com/?gclid=CNHl1sLO5qUCFcoifAodZkMlSg

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Wild
Wild  4 United Kingdom
12 Dec 2010 - 12:31 PM


Quote: Hi Margaret.. She is very pretty i cant understand why you would need to cover anything up, but there is software out the to try.Portrait Professional 9 is a good bit of kit and a piece of cake to use.Link at bottom of page. Did you take this hand held as the subject is out of focus. The use of a tripod will help a lot. lighting always a bunus and reflectors. Try placing the subjects by windows with plenty of light. Always check the background making sure no objects are seen in the shot i.e chairs/ornaments/doorways/ pictures etc. Hope this helps.

http://www.portraitprofessional.com/?gclid=CNHl1sLO5qUCFcoifAodZkMlSg

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Wild
Wild  4 United Kingdom
12 Dec 2010 - 12:42 PM

Thank you for your kind comment. I also think she is very pretty, I am biosed lol. The photo was taken free hand, and I will deffinatly get the tripod out next time. I did try a few with the monopod as space was a bit tight at the time, saddly that did not work at all as even though it has support legs, it was just constantly rocking causing more focus issues than free hand. The software sounds great I will take a look and maybe treat myself after christmas.
Did I make the correct choice of lens? I used my 70-300vr lens, I also have an 18-105vr. would this have been a better choice in tight space? I have so much to learn but am loving trying.

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miptog
miptog  83532 forum posts United Kingdom61 Constructive Critique Points
12 Dec 2010 - 1:30 PM


Quote: This is my Daughter and she has a birthmark that covers a lot of her face and neck, she does a good job at covering it with makeup....
Can you tell me the best way to photograph in this situation? would it be lighting or is the only way to hide this the use of heavy paste make up?

Use lighting to put the side of the face that you want to partially hide in shadow. You will need to experiment to get the balance of shadow and light that you want. That is the shadow can be very dark, or just a slight shadow.

Position your daughter in a 3/4 view where shoulders are angled at about 45 degrees to the camera, and then get her to turn her head back to face the camera.

3/4 view example here

You have a naturally beautiful daughter, and although fixes can be done in photoshop, I would try and use lighting first to get the effect that you want, and then it would only require small tweaks in photoshop.

I like the position that you have places your daughter in and the off-axis view. The main fault is that the shot is out-of-focus. The eyes need to be sharp in head and shoulder portraits.

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10819 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2820 Constructive Critique Points
12 Dec 2010 - 1:36 PM

Hi Margaret. You havent mentioned what you have done to soften her features, - if anything, so please let us know.

Then, could you upload your original shot so we can demonstrate what is possible, and provide information along the way.

You can upload the untouched shot by clicking on the Upload a Modification link under the shot.

If you do this, I will check back and do some work.

Please also provide your shot details, - what focal length, shutter speed, and aperture. All this information should be readily available in the EXIF data of the shot.


Regards


Willie

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Wild
Wild  4 United Kingdom
12 Dec 2010 - 3:14 PM


Quote: Hi Margaret. You havent mentioned what you have done to soften her features, - if anything, so please let us know.

Then, could you upload your original shot so we can demonstrate what is possible, and provide information along the way.

You can upload the untouched shot by clicking on the Upload a Modification link under the shot.

If you do this, I will check back and do some work.

Please also provide your shot details, - what focal length, shutter speed, and aperture. All this information should be readily available in the EXIF data of the shot.


Regards


Willie

Hi Willie
This shot is the orriginal strait from the camera.
the exif details
f.stop f/4.5
exposure 1/60sec
ISO ISO-250
focal length 80mm
max apeture 4.4
flash mode Flash/no strobe return

I have tried a little tweeking in photoshop elements but I am very new to all of this so not very sucessfull :-( I will attempt to upload my mod so you can see and advise

Thank you for your comments
Regards
Mags

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paulbroad
paulbroad  781 forum posts United Kingdom845 Constructive Critique Points
12 Dec 2010 - 3:31 PM

You should be using the 18-105 for conventional head and shoulder portraits for comfort reasons and a better chance of sharpness. The 'correct' focal length for portraits on 35 mm was about 80mm. That gave the correct facial perspective.

This equates to about 50 mm on 1.6 and 1.5 sensors. So, the 18-105 is best. For formal portraiture, where you have time, you must use a tripod, probably also focus manually, do not rely on autofocus - it will let you down.

Paul

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miptog
miptog  83532 forum posts United Kingdom61 Constructive Critique Points
12 Dec 2010 - 3:46 PM

It is a shame, but the shot is out of focus. Uploaded is a B&W conversion which seems to be more forgiving of the lack of focus. Hopefully you will get another opportunity with your daughter.

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banehawi
banehawi Critique Team 10819 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada2820 Constructive Critique Points
12 Dec 2010 - 4:38 PM

Margaret, unfortunatekly the original is not sharp. It looks like the focal point that the camera used was he hair closest to the camera, so her face is blurred. When shooting next time, make sure you use a single focal point, and place that point on the eye closest to the camera.

Also, - your shutter speed needs to be about 1.5 times the focal length, so at 80 mm, you would need at least 1/125 if hand holding the camera. So in this shot it would be better to use say ISO 400 and get closer to the preferred shutter speed while focused on her eye.



regards


Willie

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