Back Modifications (8)
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By kamil018
So my sigma 30 mm f/1.4 arrived and there is portrait of my wife at maximum aperature, light suorce is balcony, soon will proceed to lighting 101 guide from site and will do exercises with different light (still waiting for my flash remote to arrive), what's best background that i can find in my home? Unfortunantly i have only dark walls in our flat.

Tags: Woman portrait Portraits and people

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


mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.3k 1954 United Kingdom
12 Oct 2017 5:14PM
What a lovely, natural, loving, knowing smile. And what beautiful eyes. Well done to both of you.

I've uploaded a modification which is just a set of suggestion, because a few things jar. I cropped using the same aspect ratio, for three purposes:

I wanted to place the eyes on the upper third, because that's the viewer's eye-level, it makes for a more direct sense of communication;

I wanted to reduce the space behind the head, because it's wasted space and pulls the viewer's gaze away from the direction of the subject's gaze (that's exacerbated by vague shapes in the background). Portraits will generally give a more intimate feel if cropped that bit tighter, and it reduces the risk of background distractions. Don't worry about tops of heads, it's eyes and lower face that matter.

And I wanted to get rid of the cut-off bits of dress strap.

It's beautifully sharp on the eyes, but it's a wee bit overexposed to my eye, there's a slight loss of detail, so I reduced brightness slightly and made a Levels adjustment to boost darker and mid tones.

This was taken after your previous upload but you've moved from aperture priority to program . I would urge you to stick with taking that bit more control.

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banehawi Plus
14 1.9k 3926 Canada
12 Oct 2017 6:09PM
This is a good start.

Dark backgrounds are perfect so you should be able to get good results.

Be careful with shutter speed if you are hand holding the camera when you are quite close; this is shot at 1/50th, and the very minimum you need is 1/60th; but since you are close, then I would suggest a little faster. Minimum hand held shutter speed = 1/(focal length of lens at 35mm) so your lens is effectively a 60mm lens on a 35mm full frame camera.

Shooting at maximum aperture is something you should keep for low light conditions. Though it looks bright, its not actually underexposed, but the wide aperture cam give an image wit lower contrast. So try this at 2.8 or f/4.

The main tweak for me is to make blacks = black which increases contrast. Exposure I reduced by -0.25.

I loaded two mods, one is as shot, the second is cropped similar to Moiras.

Good work.


12 Oct 2017 7:49PM
dudler Plus
15 732 1386 England
12 Oct 2017 8:52PM
It's a lovely and loving portrait.

I used the Spot Healing Tool, and also used Adobe Camera Raw to darken a little. This is always a delicate balance - removing temporary skin blemishes is always fine, I think, but one needs to take care to avoid an unnatural look.

My second mod tried (not very well) to remove the shadow on the wall on the left with a bit of cloning. More time and care would make the job more successful...
dark_lord Plus
14 2.2k 547 England
12 Oct 2017 9:04PM
This is a very pleasing portrait.
Moira ad Willie have really covered it.

When you are working at the limits, then steadying yourself to take the image is a good idea. Brace yourself against the doorway to the balcony, for example, if you haven't got a tripod.
The balcony and window light are very good light sources for portraits so you're not missing out not having your flash available. Indeed, when yu get your flash trigger don't forget to use window light now and then.

As willie says, dark walls can make for great backgrounds.
If you want somehting different, and don;t want to spend a lot of money, do you have a local fabric shop or market where you can buy a 3 or 4 metre lenght of plain fabric (white is good as it's very versatile, as is grey). Suspend it from a curtain rail (so no need to buy supports) if necessary. It may not look great in your room but the bit you see through the lens will be fine and you wouldn't tell it apart from a purpose made studio backgound.
paulbroad 11 123 1256 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2017 8:36AM
It is a nice image and a real keeper. Mostly covered above. It is slightly soft and the edge is off the eyes. A combination of low shutter speed and wide aperture. Lenses do not work at there best at extremes unless specifically designed to.

You are a touch over exposed.

A 30mm lens is not a good focal length for correct perspective in close portraiture. Even on a 4/3 camera you are at 60mm where 80 to 100 is the effective optimum for correct perspective.

miptog 12 3.6k 62 United Kingdom
13 Oct 2017 5:35PM
Mod uploaded: Cropped to 10x8, tried to reduce distractions behind models head, warmed and softened skin tone.

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