Back Modifications (10)
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By saltireblue    
A venture into new territory for me...

I was asked to do a photoshoot for a rock-group who are touring the USA next year. The remit was to provide 50's inspired images to use for publicity, cd covers, gig posters etc., etc.

They wanted images of the whole group as well as individual shots and other images that would give a 50's look.
This one is the lead singer and keyboard player (who are also engaged). The car was provided by a local am-car club.

The image has been slightly desaturated and an intrusive object right behind the female's head removed.

I have a few images to be critiqued, and am looking for general comments covering all aspects of the images taking into account the 50's remit.

As this is my first venture into the realms of paid photoshoots, any constructive criticism is highly welcomed.


Tags: Photoshoot Portraits and people

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mikejmb 11 4 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2015 8:00PM
I would crop out left hand door panel, otherwise great.

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cats_123 Plus
15 4.9k 28 Northern Ireland
19 Jul 2015 8:01PM
Not sure about the earings in that era? 😊
Alda 6 70 30 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2015 8:06PM
I uploaded some mods - the first one I cropped a bit, adjusted levels and sharpened (left hand looks wrong chopped off at the wrist). The other two are just for fun WinkGrin
rontear Plus
16 19 8 England
19 Jul 2015 8:18PM
A good starting point, Malcolm. Tall order in this day and age ( find a 50's style diner, shoot at dusk using natural and fluorescent light, use fill in flash, keep everything in that you want) Like the tattoo's attitude less than convincing.
woolybill1 Plus
13 29 75 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2015 8:20PM
I seldom tackle Mods or critique but had an idea that I've worked on for all of 90 seconds. Nik Analog Efex Pro has several old film presets; I've chosen one with a vignette that I've fiddled with and applied Cool film treatment, which seemed appropriate to the subject matter.
My only query (and my only point of reference lies in a couple of viewings of a clip from A Streetcar Named Desire) is to the expanse of tattoos on display. And in mentioning this I'm not criticising the person involved, merely musing about authenticity. I know very little about the Fifties; although I lived through them I didn't notice at the time Blush
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
19 Jul 2015 8:35PM
It's a fabulous opportunity - vehicular as well as human subjects... To be honest this looks to me more like 2015 people enjoying playing with a retro car, and it's not just the tattoos. Her hair and make-up, his vest... (It needs to be plain knit jersey not rib, with higher neck and short sleeves.) Those are styling details probably outside your remit. The result is terrific fun though. I would agree with Alda - the cut-off hand looks awkward. I think the image could take a tighter crop, though you need to keep the coupe devils logo.
saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
19 Jul 2015 9:16PM
All of you have highlighted the main problem, which is 2015 people in a supposedly 50's scenario.

The remit was not to make it 100% authentic (they didn't have that sort of budget) but to use present day people - i.e. the band in question - in a 50's look shoot.
Obviously we couldn't do a lot with the tattoos and the ear jewellery, but we were not attempting to make people think this was a genuine 50's I making any sense? The idea was to match in some way the images to the type of music they play and the forthcoming tour of the good old US of A. Something the 'yankees' can relate to.

I think Moira's mod is the best of a very good bunch - as has been pointed out, the cut-off hand is unfortunate, but this is a detail I can work on and something I didn't see at the time.

Many thanks indeed for your input - it has given me a lot to think about.
Jestertheclown 11 8.0k 252 England
19 Jul 2015 9:52PM
Presumably, you took this standing up? You'd have got a better viewpoint if you'd shot level with her eyes.
I'd crop this to 8x10, losing the distractions in the garden to the right, amputating some more of his arm, which was probably better chopped off at the wrist but the crop required it.
The crop also gets rid of the rear end of the car
That cloning behind her head needs some attention. In my mod., I've just filled it with some neutral grey but there's sufficient grass in the background you could use instead.
It would just take more time.
I've increased the exposure and added some contrast; finally some sharpening.


Edit: I've just noticed that I've cropped the edge of of the "Coupé Devils" sticker. I should have avoided that.
dudler Plus
16 945 1520 England
19 Jul 2015 10:25PM
It's the styling thing, as everyone's said.

Meticulous detail, or a general impression? And also, what looks right to European eyes may be jsut plain wrong to American peepers: so views from across the pond woudl be helpful.

Things like the style of house: seems OK to me, but may be a howler for someone who lives in the USA - so soft focus is your friend for backgrounds, as it blunts the impact.

On the personal styling thing, the tattoos are contemporary, as well as the earrings: time for a Fonz-style leather jacket?

How do the clients view this - that matters, a lot!
banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4036 Canada
19 Jul 2015 10:57PM
The fifties style is 80% props and style and 20% procession effects; so these guys are going to have to make a better effort.

Remove the earrings. Get some typical clothing; remove the rental logo from the car; the guy in the fifties would more likely be leaning back against the car with the woman trying to get his attention, This is way too modern.

A yellowish tone workls, and the mod Ive done usus the filmstock filter in CS6, then detaturated, and then a yellow applied. The contrast made lighter.

I have no idea if its worse of better than the others, but wiht all of the above you have some ideas. There are loads of PS tips and tutorials on the effects, but I think props for the people are critical.
pablophotographer 8 1.2k 352
20 Jul 2015 12:08AM
I agree with banehawi, yet my main issue is an object outside of your frame.

You can argue it is a conceptual issue... rolls along the attitude of the era, the war was won, there are still lots of jobs, people are happy, vibrant, glowing from a zest for enjoying life. Life, as a gift born from the centre of our Solar system, the Sun itself.

Yeah I think what would uplift the mood would be some damn' good Southern sunshine....

This looks toooooooooooooo cloudy, toooooooooooo dull, toooooooooo flat. It lacks shadows, and passion.
And by the way, attitude here seems reversed, back then men were the ones making the advances, women were more reserved.

Good luck with it Malcolm....
PranavMishra 7 52 17 India
20 Jul 2015 3:07AM
I think this is good, Malc.. and any kind of suggestion on this would be subjective.. because the main interest is concentrated on the man and woman to be.. their chemistry and intensity, which is good and the viewer is dragged into it.. I like the way the woman has grabbed the boy with authority.. the man feels love through her eyes.. frankly, I would have loved to see this kind of situation in my real life.. Grin
Nothing at all looks odd to my humble eyes..
there's a phrase I once used on this site - the flux of love.. Grin
mrswoolybill Plus
12 1.6k 2080 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 7:32AM
One other thought has been going through my mind overnight. Her mouth is closed, she's just looking. Have her speaking, mouth open, and we could hear 'Come here, you brute...'

Hope that makes sense...
saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 7:57AM
Thank you all very much for your valuable input and some very salient points.
It will all be carried forward as part of a hard but enjoyable learning curve.

Details such as the hair, earrings, tattoos, and not least the inter-action between a male and female of that era are all things that need to have more focus - (all of you seem to have picked up on that point) - as opposed to the background which as John rightly points out, could be all wrong 'over there' and needs more blurring.

Constructive and positive - once again thanks all.

paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 8:19AM
A lot of points. To me, the effect is not of a rock band or rock culture, it's a girl posed to remonstrate with a man. It looks posed and it doesn't look 'rocky'.

I realise how daft this sounds, but there is no strength and impact there. In my opinion, a rethink on the basic pose is needed and a bit of acting from those in frame.

I would be doing some research into other rock images for inspiration.

Kurt42 16 2.9k 1 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 9:13AM
Im with the majority here. The problem to a retro look are the people, If the guy wore a long sleeve shirt with upturned collar it would be better, with a little gel he could slick his hair back, too.

One other very important thing that jars with me is that the girl appears to be looking at his chin rather than into his eyes. The pose needs her to be looking directly into his eyes, they need to have that eye contact.

Hope this is of some help,

saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 9:58AM
Many thanks for the additional input - again, all good points to take forward.

To be fair, this is only one of over a hundred images the band chose for possible use, and you need to see them all to see the thread running through the series. Difficult to get across form just one photo.

However, all have made important points regarding detail, detail, detail.

In the band's defence, they had no budget to hire a decent location, extra props, etc. This was shot at a farm owned by a friend of the lead singer and a local am-car club lent a couple of cars for the price of a couple of cans of beer.Smile

This has been extremely helpful, and is exactly the type of help I was hoping for by posting in the CG.

TrevBatWCC Plus
11 13 12 England
20 Jul 2015 10:22AM
Well, I think it works well, Malc, the desaturation fits the period. I do agree about the left hand and the cropping down does work better Smile
Trev Smile
TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 1:51PM
Malc, re the budgetary thing ... it might be worth putting out a casting call on something like PurplePort or the like, as there are often make-up artists who are learning their craft and who would do a 50s-inspired styling thing in exchange (perhaps) for a couple of shots to put on their portfolio? Is that something worth considering on the 'looks' side of things? (Okay, I realise that the shoot is probably done and dusted anyway, so that may not be an option at this stage ...?)

saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 1:55PM

Quote:Malc, re the budgetary thing ... it might be worth putting out a casting call on something like PurplePort or the like, as there are often make-up artists who are learning their craft and who would do a 50s-inspired styling thing in exchange (perhaps) for a couple of shots to put on their portfolio? Is that something worth considering on the 'looks' side of things? (Okay, I realise that the shoot is probably done and dusted anyway, so that may not be an option at this stage ...?)


Done and dusted, Tanya, but an excellent suggestion if there is another opportunity...thanks for thatSmile

20 Jul 2015 3:09PM
Get rid of the Sticker on the Car Malc (Coupe Devils) but most of all get the Guy to react better to the Woman's aggressive look wether it's sexual or anger and over emphasise the emotion for such a picture and its use, otherwise it's a wet Blanket and no one will be happy with it. They both need to push it that bit further, especially the Guy. That way it wont look so posed for either.
And when people look at a CD cover, they're not looking for technical brilliants, but expressions and emotions plus Body language that says something to them.

TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 3:39PM
Oh what the heck ... I've done you a mod as well, just because I felt like it! Grin

So I've converted to mono and used the following values - Reds 153, Yellows -5; Greens -65; Cyans -166; Blues 7 and Magentas -131. I've also added a creamy yellow tint (RGB values are R=246, G=242 and B=232). Then put a Levels adjustment layer on top, pulling midtones up to 0.38, and bring the whites down in the Output levels bar to 191. Then used a big, soft black brush on the Levels layer's mask to put light back where I wanted it, namely on their faces. (That also saves me doing some blurring and/or cloning of the undesirable bits round the edges of the frame!).

I doubt very much whether it's 1950s in style, but I do quite like it as an image alternative? Grin

saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 3:58PM
...and I like it very much, too, Tanya.
I must admit I haven't got a clue about all those numbers you're quoting to me, but why do I find it sexy?Wink
A bit like Cameron Diaz on Top Gear talking about side six motors and double deuce thingies! Or something...Blush

I think yours is my fav mod out of an excellent bunch...Moira would certainly approve the squareness of it.Smile
TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 4:07PM
Wow, and there was me thinking it was completely inappropriate for a 1950s theme! Thanks for liking it, though Smile

Quote:I must admit I haven't got a clue about all those numbers you're quoting to me, but why do I find it sexy?Wink

Umm ... 'cos you're slightly odd ?! Grin Grin Tongue
saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 4:08PM

Quote:'cos you're slightly odd ?!

What do you mean...slightly?Wink
20 Jul 2015 4:52PM
Tanya and W have the right idea, it has to be a square'ish format for a CD cover. Smile
If pushed I'd say that Tanya has made the original image as good as it possibly can be Malc.
I just love that quirky Girl GrinWink

saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 4:54PM
Am inclined to agree with you, John...on all pointsWink

TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
20 Jul 2015 4:55PM
To be fair, I dunno about that ... I actually love Willie's !!

[Edit: Dammit, I meant Willie's mod ... Blush]
saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
20 Jul 2015 5:03PM

Quote:I actually love Willie's !!

Quote of the year!!!
dark_lord Plus
15 2.3k 591 England
20 Jul 2015 7:12PM
I'm glad you said it was for a rock band. I dunno, something on first seeing this made me think of Lady Gaga Grin

I've read all the other posts and to be fair you did say in your description 1950s inspired, which clearly got overlooked initially. Being inspired by doesn't mean 100% historically accurate, though the points made are valid. It depends on how 'accurate' the band want to be.

All that aside, there isn't that much engagement between those two (especially seeing as they are engaged, there's an awful pun there). Rock needs to be RAW.

TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
21 Jul 2015 9:47AM

Quote:Rock needs to be RAW.

Well, it wasn't a JPEG so I suppose that's half the battle ... Wink
saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
21 Jul 2015 9:50AM
@ Keith - spot on, it was meant to be 50s inspired as you say, not authentic. A very important point.Smile
danbrann 15 640 17
21 Jul 2015 5:57PM
Your first mistake......Asking for advice. Look at the difference in peoples opinions.
21 Jul 2015 8:30PM
A 50's look is a very different request to an authentic 50's image so for me this isn't the issue.
I find the background distracting and the pose a little awkward. The woman would have more power if she was standing over the man grabbing his vest (how romantic, shame it's not a string one!!) Could they have posed standing next to the car?
Great commission though, congratulations.
Fefe Plus
7 33 31 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2015 5:19PM
Phew....what a lot of commentsGrinGrinGrin
Done you a couple of mods Malc......I like to faff.....might not be what you are looking for but I did enjoy doing themGrin
In the colour one I messed with the colours, added colour to highlights and shadows, removed a LOT of luminece noise (not saying it was noisy you understand, its not, but I liked the effect) and reduced the clarity.
In the mono I increased the clarity, leaving the noise removed and slightly changed the toning to the highlights/shadows.
Makes a change from Ker Plunk MalcGrinGrinGrin...Congrats to you! Rock on!Grin
saltireblue Plus
9 9.7k 36 Norway
22 Jul 2015 5:39PM
Ah, Diane...I love the b&w one rocks! The whole experience was fantastic fun, the band were gobsmacked (well nearly) with the results - they applauded after I had shown them the finished results - so all in all an experience to learn from and build on.

TanyaH Plus
16 1.3k 395 United Kingdom
23 Jul 2015 10:57AM
Wow, I love the tones on Diane's mono mod! It's got a beautiful, velvety depth and now for some reason I'm thinking of Galaxy chocolate !!! Smile
2 Aug 2015 1:42AM
It works for me.
Good luck

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