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Jade critique upload

By marcun
first attempt at low key any comments welcome, left it in colour as i prefer it for this image.

Tags: General Low key Portraits and people Flash and lighting


Jestertheclown 11 8.0k 252 England
13 Feb 2013 9:06PM
Hi Martin!

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NEWMANP 11 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 9:13PM
im a bit split on this (no pun intended ), the dark side is dead black and as such creates an unbalance due to the negative space. now i dont mind / even like negative space but here i just feel that id crop off the right side to half the distance beween the centre of the nose and side of frame, and extend the canvas on the left side by the same amount.

then the tough bit, the quality of light on the face is a bit brutal and a long way from being dutch masterful. the harsh light is overexposing the nose and parts of the forehead and at the same time not really illiminating the lower part of the hair, its also showing all the minor blemishes on the poor ladies skin. i also think the skin tones are a little oversaturated.

NEWMANP 11 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 9:22PM
did a quick mod, i didnt take a lot of time , it was just to show what i meant,

crop to right and extend to left, desaturate the colour, smooth face some ( in lou of more careful lighting)

keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
13 Feb 2013 10:06PM
Agree that the light is way too harsh but in fact you have to much light and with it far too many over-exposed areas for the image to be low key.
marcun 15 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 10:19PM
Keith, thanks for taking the time to evaluate my picture, looking at the we exif data I have supplied and bearing in mind the flash was on its lowest setting and zoomed in to its maximum what would you suggest I do with my exposure settings, I have an original raw file too do you have any thoughts on what I could do with that.

Phil, thank you for taking the time to produce a mod for me it was very much appreciated, same questions to you really but also what would you suggest is the best way to smooth the skin in Photoshop.
banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4045 Canada
13 Feb 2013 10:35PM
Hi Martin, via Bren!

Some questions for you first.

Did you intend to produce a very harshly lit image? Harsh meaning extremely light and dark, with every pore and minute detail showing.

The feedback I can give should really depend on your intent. If I say this is a horribly harshly lit image, you may get proper p'ed off at me. ( Im not saying that). I will hazard a guess with your settings, that the effect is intended?

So in the interim whilst I wait, what I see mainly is a very over saturated, overly yellow image. To qualify this, I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, that you have a calibrated monitor that displays colours correctly; and that you did NOT use a yellow reflector; and that you calibrated your lighting for white balance. I see that you have assigned the sRGB colour space to the image for the web which is good.

So Ive uploaded a mod, and then mod2 placing the two images side by side for ease of comparison. The skin tone is the essential change, but its somewhat subjective, as the lighting has made it difficult to perform dependable colour measurements, and Ive no idea what colour make-up shes wearing, where, and how much. There is some skin smoothing. This is the fine print part.

main tip, - calibrate your lighting for white balance.

heres a rather unconventional way to smooth skin in Photoshop, - and Im referring to a version above elements, though I cant swear Elements wouldnt do it.

1. Copy image on a new layer.

2. Filter>other>High Pass. Set value to 6. (Hang on Bren, all will be fine)

3. New colour adjustment layer, set saturation down to minimum

4. New invert layer.

5. Merger duplicate, high pass, colour and inversion layers. You now have 2 layers.

6. Change layer mode to Overlay and jusr admire what you see!

7. Adjust opacity to how you like it; the using a mask, remove softening from hair, eyes and mouth.


keithh 15 25.5k 33 Wallis And Futuna
13 Feb 2013 10:38PM
Your flash needs diffusing, both to soften the light and to lessen it. Your colour temp is a touch warm as well giving your models skin a faint yellow appearance.

If you can, I would make a cheap snoot from some black card to keep your light directional and then put something like a translucent shower curtain between light and model to soften the light. Cheap but worth a bash.
marcun 15 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 10:49PM
Hi Willie,

I did want a light and dark image perhaps not quite as harsh as it is but I did struggle with the flash not being as controllable as a higher end model, have only been using an SLR for a couple of years so i am still very much a novice, no need to worry about p'ing me off wouldn't be asking for critique if I didn't want it mate and your comments are very much appreciated like the mods you have done and the second one with them both together is really helpful. I do not have a calibrated monitor and I had my white balance set to auto.

I am going to look at the web for some skin re-touching tutorials and I will have another go at the raw file, do you have any advice or links to pages that may help.

Thanks againGrin
pablophotographer 8 1.3k 353
13 Feb 2013 11:10PM
Great advice has been given above, so many of the things I wanted to say are already been told. My only suggestion to you would be to attempt to view the picture with just the bright side of the face, get rid of all the dark right side, and see how you like it. I am wondering if banehawi could combine his last upload of it in a way that the black and white right face is inverted and brought next to the colour side on the left to present her full face...

You own a good camera, it's nice you have got your hands on it again and you work with it. A friend of mine, EPZ member himself, Dazzaman, had been taking amazingly detailed pictures with it, check his portfolio if you want.
banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4045 Canada
13 Feb 2013 11:26PM
Just do that process I wrote above, - you will be re touching like an expert in 5 minutes. Seriously, its foolproof. Ive used a very expensive Kodak Airbrush Pro plug in for years, and this method is just as good,

If you search youtube for a video about photoshop, colour by the numbers, you will get some good tips on the colour properties of skin. Its largely something thats important originally for printing, but it works well on the screen too.

Heres one of many:

Jestertheclown 11 8.0k 252 England
13 Feb 2013 11:41PM
Interesting Willie,
I can see how that would work.
Naturally, I shall have to try it now.

marcun 15 United Kingdom
13 Feb 2013 11:54PM
Good shout to put it up for critique thanks bren Smile
Jestertheclown 11 8.0k 252 England
14 Feb 2013 12:07AM
We aim to please Martin!

See Ya!

paulbroad Plus
12 131 1285 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 8:30PM
A lof of comment but basically you have over lit. Areas of skin and hair are burnt out and you must prevent that. Diffusing is OK but you can very quickly completely change the effect by softening the light source. I have shot similar images years ago with tungsten bulbs in snoots. Flash effect us very difficult to estimate and that is why studio units also have tungsten bulbs.

Try powder on the skin and reduce exposure, playing with flash position And checking the LCD each time until you get it right.

marcun 15 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 9:41PM
Thanks for all your comments guys have tried to take them all into account and have uploaded a mod created from the original raw file, I am ashamed and somewhat embarrassed to note that some of the harshness of the original is the result of my appauling first edit, it appears I made my own picture look badSad, please let me know what you think of the mod. Thanks again.
Jestertheclown 11 8.0k 252 England
14 Feb 2013 9:45PM
Much better!

my appauling first edit

We've all been down that road!
marcun 15 United Kingdom
14 Feb 2013 10:28PM
Thanks Bren, putting it out for comment has been really helpfull thank you I have just uploaded another shot taking into account the comments i have recievedGrin

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