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By Shutterbybaby
Yesterday my littlest one comes downstairs from getting white! so the first thing i did was throw up a white sheet and grabbed a couple of quick photos before she was white no more lol,so didnt have time to whip the tripod out hence the lack of sharpness she also looked as if she had been tangoed!
Photoshop= brightened the bg,tried to make her look less orangey.Seem to have been left with some noise, i tried to reduce it in photoshop but it looked the same.I love this photo so ill have to try to recreate this with tripod taking more time.
V2 Also love this photo same problems as v1.
Thanks for looking,any tips that i could use on the next attempt are appreciated

Tags: Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Grimm 10 587 6
19 May 2008 12:15PM
First the noise. I think it came up when you brighten the background. In so doing the face also brighten up and exposed the noise. it also over exposed the highlights. There are ways to avoid this in PS but I think it is better to show you how to avoid the problem during shooting.

To brighten a white background, you will need another light source on it. I personally use another softbox as background.

I can see that the main light source is on her back. i personally like this set-up. But It is best to put fill light from the front to brighten the face. OR you can also use a reflector to bounce some light to her face.

I suspect the sharpness or the lack of it is because of the noise reduction that you did on it. Try and sharpen after you are done with all the PS work. Also try to have a smaller aperture when taking the photo. This will give you more detail.

You dont really need a tripod if you have enough lighting. If I were you I'd master lighting more than anything else. It will solve most problems in photography. If you do this you will have less work on editing.

Version 2

Same problems. Try using a higher ISO setting. Use a reflector to brighten her face. A white cardboard will do. Up the contrast a bit to get some more details when post editing.

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19 May 2008 12:30PM
Thank you Grimm, your feedback is appreciated.
I have a mini studio light but the light it throws off is quite small so i try to use natural daylight where possible,but you are right i have a lack of knowledge where light is concerned something i intend to remedy.
I also liked the light on her back,shes naturally pale and having it on her face seemed to wash her out completely,i didnt use a reflector but i will use something to reflect the light when i redo it,i keep forgetting asbout reflecting light back so thanks for reminding me lol, and will also try turning her to various angles in the light also.
Noise - I see that now thanks,it hadnt occured to me that tweaking the bg would add noise to the face doh.
Thank you for your great points/tips and i will now concentrate on learning more about light,i was so focused on getting to grips with my camera that i didnt see anything else!
culturedcanvas 11 4.7k 59 United Kingdom
19 May 2008 1:21PM
Difficult to add much as Grim has done a good job here picking out the main points.

What I will add is that post processing makes a huge difference to portrait work full stop. learning to work with layers and adjust sections of an image will help you avoid some of the problems youve experienced here including the noise issue.

The orange colour of her skin will have been caused by incorrect white balance settings/the type of light source you were using. If you shoot in raw this isnt an issue as you can correct this in photoshop ... you may want to buy a w/b card to use in this type of shot to ensure you get this right everytime too.

Sharpness is down to a couple of things ... and for most portrait work you really dont need a tripod .. if anything it can be very restrictive. Of course you need to keep a check on your shutter speed esp indoors and boost the iso if needed .. also work with apertures that give you the minimum depth of field required too.

As grim mentions reflectors are very usable and dont forget that there are gold, silver, white and black amongst others that can all be used to edge light in different ways and with different tones. A simple home made tri-flector is a good bet for this type of image .. if you gogle tri-flector you will see the basic idea and can either buy one or make your own.

19 May 2008 2:18PM
Sadly i dont have the RAW option.I try to use a tripod as often as possible even though they are a pain in the bum as my hands are a bit shakey still.I havent tried variables on ISO will definetly try that.I bet my hubby could make a reflector stand for me if i get some reflectors soonish.Also Grimm mentioned a softbox which i just assumed were very expensive but i just checked EPZ store and arent too bad for a basic one so maybe if i flatter my hubby for a few weeks he will get me one Wink
I would really like to be good at taking my kids photos as i never like the school ones so i really appreciate the advice!
Can anyone recommend a good lighting book? i know i can look things up online but would like a book i can refer to whenever i like and read where ever i like.
Thanks again both Smile
19 May 2008 2:42PM
Nevermind on the book front, i searched the forums and got a couple of book names,will go to waterstones tomorrow see if they have one Smile
Grimm 10 587 6
19 May 2008 3:14PM
I'm at work right now Michelle but i will look at my books when I get home tonight. I have a couple of lighting books that I can recommend but cant remember the titles. PM you later.
Pete Plus
15 18.8k 97 England
19 May 2008 7:54PM
Mark Cleghorn's Secrets to posing and lighting is excellent
19 May 2008 8:08PM
Thanks Grim and Pete Smile
20 May 2008 1:46PM
Just wanted to say thanks again for the lovely advice and recommendations for books and that it hasnt gone unheard.I went to Waterstones thinking theyd have a great choice of books but in reality they had very few but i did spot and buy Photographing People Portraits Fashion Glamor by Rotovsision which i had written down as i saw someone in the forums here recommend it.I think next time i get another photography book im best getting it online.But at least i have something to go on now while i save for a softbox/reflectors or until hubby caves in and gets them me whichever come first hehe Smile
ZakBlack 9 105 14 England
20 May 2008 8:46PM
I think you have mastered the poses no problem at all so you already have a good eye for the composition. When shooting portraits don't be afraid to up the ISO, the increase in noise is preferable to a soft image.I try to keep above 200th second shutter speed to keep them sharp, which often means increasing the ISO and a cheap collapsable reflector can be indespensable.
I'd keep doing what you are doing before buying any books and if you want to take greater pics of the kids then aim for a SLR, second hand ones are great value and a great 50mm lens is less than 70 new.
21 May 2008 9:22AM
Thank you for the good eye comment /blush.And thanks for the advice im going to order reflectors this week been thinking about it for a week or two now.
I did also wonder about saving for lighting equipment v dslr as although my camera is nice im not finding it as versatile as my old film slr and i do miss the option of changing lenses etc.I think im going to continue as i am for now playing about with this camera and a table studio light i have as well as the reflectors while i save up for a dslr as i think id feel alot more comfortable/confident with one.
Thanks for taking the time to look and comment,feedback good or bad is always great to have Smile
Mavis Plus
15 143 2 England
30 May 2008 9:19PM
I prefer version 1 as I find the jeans jump out too much . You have done well for a grab shot . You now no what to do next time . Lovely child and good expression . xx

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