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Age of experience

By IanSR    
Budai Fish Market, Taiwan. 16th November 2014
Outside and the old lady was talking to my family. I thought what an amazing face. Lines of experience.

It was a cloudy day and she was under a large umbrella.

I wanted to get the expression and lines of her face.

On the image I have bleached out the hat and shoulder covering and brought out a little highlights on her face as that to me is the focal point of the picture. I've added noise 320% per pixel.
I really like this image and I think I'll get a print.
I love her expression as she is looking to one side. She's seen something. She's thinking. I don't know.
I was tempted to turn this in to B&W as that is a style I'm really into at the moment. I think the colour does justice to her skin, lines and aged look that could be missed in B&W

Any comments very welcome.

Canon 7D
1/200 sec
ISO 400
No flash.

Tags: Portrait Old Canon 7d Old lady Fish market Taiwan Portraits and people



Andysnapper 14 109 25 England
17 Nov 2014 6:37AM
I really like this, an interesting portrait of an interesting face. I'm a big fan of mono but on this occasion I think you are right about colour being best. Not sure why you have added any noise to the image? But may I suggest just a little bit more contrast before printing just to bring out the detail a little more.

Actually, this is an image I would have been proud to take, all of the above is just nit-picking, its a winner and deserves to be printed and framed.

paulbroad 15 131 1294 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 8:27AM
There is a superb image in here, but the image lacks punch and could be quite incipid as a print unless printed with some skill. The face is a reasonable density but the rest of the image looks a little over exposed, almost like a vignette.

Not sure what you gained by adding noise. That could add to the overall lightness? I would increase density a touch, possibly contast too, and if the density is not there then in the clothes, I would be doing a bit of work with the burning in tool.

Care though. You are pretty close to a very fine image here and my feelings may not be that of others. Mino would also be good here.

mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2591 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 11:51AM
I reckon that you took an extremely strong portrait here, but I suspect that your processing does not show it to full advantage.

Looking at the structure of the image - what strikes me is the angle of the eyes and equally of the mouth. Wry, sad, knowing. She's watching her family and maybe she thinks it safer to keep some of her thoughts to herself... She's a gem of a subject.

Caps, hats with brims, umbrellas - they can all be a boon and a curse to photography. I like the diagonal of the brim, it combines with the upturned collar to frame the face and also it allows the lady her privacy.

I don't think the bleaching has worked. The light patch on the crown of the hat is a distraction, and the effect on the skin is to give a strangely cold magenta cast.

Could you upload the original please? As a version or a modification. It always helps to see the original of an image that has received radical processing.

As this stands, my instinct would be to crop a slice off the top, convert to straight mono and add a bit of dark vignetting.
IanSR 9 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 3:34PM
Andysnapper The noise was added as the original was very clean so adding a little noise I felt added a little interest and feeling, making it gritty. Just a personal taste.
Thanks for the contrast advice. I will try that. I really need to get my monitors calibrated properly.
Thanks for your kind words. It's one of those moments that she was 'just there'

Paulbroad I'm glad you like it. I'll try the burn tool. I just thought by taking out some colour from her cloths that would leave the focus on the face.

Mrswoolybill I had to bend down really low as she was sitting down. She has something. She was looking away but also opening up oyster shells.
I have a few more where the eyes are covered by the brim of her hat. Gives her a totally different perspective from this image.
You mention a magenta cast. I don't see that on my monitors, but maybe they need calibrating. Your B&W is wonderful. I will upload the original.
Thanks for your advice.
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4345 Canada
17 Nov 2014 4:14PM
Thanks for the original Ian.

Its a good study of the womans face. The original shows the shot is underexposed. You added the -1/3 because of the bright hat, background, but the camera had already got this covered; so to exposure the face, you needed a +1/3 or so.

Its easily sorted in post processing.

The original did have a cast, both from auto white balance having to struggle a bit, but also due to the colour of the light filtered by the hat. Its not terribly bad though.

I loaded a selection box of mods, starting with the original colour.


IanSR 9 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 4:54PM
Banehawi - Thanks for the many different looks. Blows me away. I love the cropped square image. Has given many ideas for processing the next time I have time.
Thank you so much for the inspiration.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.8k 2591 United Kingdom
17 Nov 2014 5:04PM
I've been away for a few hours - my, things have been busy! It's generally the sign of a good upload when it attracts this many modifications.

Thanks for uploading the original, Willie's first mod from it works best for me as a colour image. He has managed to brighten the eyes very subtly, I struggled there because of the added noise in the upload.

I think b&w is the way to go though. Somehow it always seems more respectful to aged faces, because it shows structure in the face. That conveys character rather than the ravages of time...

dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1998 England
17 Nov 2014 8:59PM
The starting point is a lovely character study. Good work.

And thank you for the original - far easier to work from than a version that has been significantly processed.

I've done a mod that uses two simple tools on the face, plus a general tweaking of highlights and shadows in Levels (well worth just playing with the sliders there. See what happens!)

I've used the burn tool on shadows in the lower half of her face, and the dodge tool on highlights everywhere on her face. This effectively increases the contrast locally, to bring out character even further. I also burned in the top left corner.

I might try a mono conversion, and maybe a grainy version - though when I add noise, it's a bit like being next to the speaker stack at a rock concert...
IanSR 9 United Kingdom
19 Nov 2014 4:48PM
Mrswoolybill - The B&W now the more I look at it really is standing out. Lovely look. The subtle changes have made a real difference to the image.

Dudler - Love your mod. Looking at all of them, there haven't been too much modifications, but what have been done have created so many different variations of the same image and I really appreciate all the advise given in this post.

The real prize was to find this lady who just seems to naturally have a face that tells a story. Faces have really caught my interest and I have never appreciated the face or portraiture work until I really started to focus on this line of interest this year. I'm a new boy on the block but I'm learning fast and it's great for all the feedback.

Kind regards to everyone.

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