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Maddie Plus
12 2.7k 2 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2009 11:58AM
Hi John,

Couple of things strike me, first is your exposure because you chose AV Mode and F11, you ended up with a very slow shutter speed which is bound to effect sharpness and then your lighting is very flat. There is nothing wrong with the histogram on your photo it's just that your lighting set up is all encompassing and as such you end up with a tonally flat image. I would also forget F11 and go for the classic f5.6 and nail the focus on the eyes.
I would suggest getting a little more creative with your lighting. Try using one light and experimenting with light and shadow - it's not necessary for us to see the subject in full, try angling the light to give tonal changes across the face.

Another point is your colour correction. I'm guessing the background was white or close to white, yours is blue, in fact the whole image has a slight blue tone to it. By opening a levels layer mask in PS and taking the white dropper and clicking on the background, you immediately end up with a better photo in terms of colour correction and it even lifts the punch.

Hope this is more helpful and I'll also post this into your gallery image.

Maddie Smile

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NEWMANP 9 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
20 Feb 2009 12:51PM
i read your forum post too,
firstly i think the key problem here is the point of focus, the expression and face is fine but the focus and principle sharp area is the hair centred behind the eyes. a portrait in many peoples opinion should be sharp in the eyes to the exclusion of all else.

the lighting is pretty flat although credit to getting catchlights in the eyes, the flat light is not particularly bothering me, but i think it has a blue caste which is not helping the skin tones. this can be corrected in PS or any software package either by using the eye dropper or colour balance tools

with digital it is often necessary to make post camera adjustments and to be honest this took me a long time to accept having many years using transparancy film where i expected immediate results. you need to adjust colour balance, increase saturation a little and have an attempy at sharpening. the best way would be high pass erasing all but the sharpening to the eyes. tricky to pick up though.

it may be, im not a Canon user, but many things can be adjusted on the settings of your camera. ie extra sharpness, extra saturation etc and it may pay you to investigate this if you want results straight from the camera.

i notice you shoot Jpegs, please learn to use raw. its the first lesson in pulling in changes after taking and will give you a lot more options without losing quality of the file.

the eye contact and expression are rather nice and its altogether quite a nice portrait with a few minor niggles.

hope this helps,
JohnDakin 8 33
20 Feb 2009 5:42PM
Thanks to you all for your constructive coments, ill give them a try
strokebloke 8 493 17 England
20 Feb 2009 7:20PM
Hi John.
You sounded a bit despondent in your post. Whilst I understand how frustrating it can be when you have a mental concept of the finished image & it doesn't seem to quite 'get there', but be positive. There's a lot of great people on this site who will willingly help, with advice, and positive constructive critique. Seriously consider the Mods comment & Andy's too. You're right. It's a good photo, with lots going for it. But you want it to be a great photo. Well that's half the battle. If you want great photo's & you're willing to put the time & effort into learning how to turn your good photo's into great ones, you'll do well on this site & folks will respect you for it.
All the best mate
It's good to have you around

JohnDakin 8 33
20 Feb 2009 8:02PM
Thanks very much Jack , you are right, i will never give up until i get it right, ive never read so many books on a subject before, and i like the feeling of this forum, the people are so helpful and willing to share there knowledge, i only took up photography about 6 months ago, and have a long way to go to reach my goal in this fantastic hobby.

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