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Portrait of a lady

By Karuma1970

This is the only portrait (in the sense of posing the model and trying to control the lighting) that I have ever done or perhaps am ever likely to do, so Iím not even a beginner.

I would however be interested in the thoughts of those on the critique panel who so clearly do know what they are doing as well as some of the other members of the site known to me. Thank you if you do attempt to find something to say. I would find it interesting.

It was taken a good forty years ago on slide film so I don't have the camera settings. (Canon SLR) The printed version I have in my house was printed by me on Cibachrome. (At first I got some really good results with Cibachrome but suddenly seemed to lose my touch and couldnít get the colours right despite adjusting the filters.) This version was converted from slide to digital in an amateur scanner.

The light is natural light from a window though I think (40 years ago) I tried to reflect some back from a white card off shot. I wanted a subtle effect so chose a sheet as background which was fairly close to the modelís skin colour.

Very, almost babyish, simple stuff Iím sure but Iíd be interested in any thoughts.

Thanks, Mike

Tags: Portrait Female model Portraits and people

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Comments


dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1974 England
5 Nov 2021 10:44AM
Hi, Michael, and thank you for an interesting write-up, which gives me a really good idea of what you're looking for.

I note that you shot this on film and so don't have the usual EXIF stuff, and that's fine.

So far, there's no version, by the way, half an hour after the original upload.

The obvious things are that the crop's very tight, and there may be scope for playing with the colour balance, which is rather red. Stuff happens in scanning, and it's always worth checking and correcting so that the image matches your memory of how the subject was.

Now, I'll play with PS...
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1974 England
5 Nov 2021 10:55AM
Right - here's what I did...

First, I did a freehand extension on the left, to give the model space to look into. I cropped fractionally tighter on the right, to eliminate a line at the edge.

I used the Spot Healing Brush Tool to fill in on the left, then cloned to round off the shoulder I'd 'created'.

The Healing Brush Tool and cloning reduced the blown highlights on the model's cheek.

Using Adobe Camera Raw and Adobe's auto white balance often works, It didn't, here, and so I played with the colour grading facility in ACR (something about which I know nothing!) and reduced the redness in the shadows. It sort-of worked.

Finally, I used Levels to darken the midtones. And that makes it look more the way I think it might have looked on the day you took the picture.

I hope that helps, maybe encourages you to take more portraits. And thank you for a picture that motivated me to try out something I've seen but not used in Photoshop!
Karuma1970 10 1 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2021 12:19PM
Thank you so much for that. Yes, I seem to have nonplussed most people because two and a half hours on yours is the only comment so thank you.
I see what you mean about the red cast and perhaps this explains why once I lost my touch with printing Cibachrome I couldn't get it back. The other modifications you made make a lot of sense to me too.
As for trying to take more portraits it seems to me that there is so much to learn. I might suggest it to the model when she returns from Tesco and see what she says!
In the meantime thanks for taking the time and I find what you've said very interesting.
Mike
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4337 Canada
5 Nov 2021 12:26PM
Only getting up over here in Canada!

Its a wild ask, but would you know if the light beads on her hair were white? I havent had coffee yet, be kind, Ill be back.

Its in the critique gallery also, - so comments may well be slower than the member gallery.


Willie
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1974 England
5 Nov 2021 12:43PM
It can take a while for everyone on the Critique Team to check in - we're all volunteers, and one or two of us still have jobs. So we all hit the Internet at different times over 24 hours.

The best way to learn is by shooting, finding individual things to improve one at a time...
banehawi Plus
18 2.9k 4337 Canada
5 Nov 2021 1:06PM
She is really beautiful!

As John mentioned that journey over 40 years from one medium to another can result in an image thats changed quite a bit.
If I assumed the beads were white, then the image becomes way more red, so I have to guess they are a lighter blue.


I do think red is very dominant, and tried looking at some colour palettes, inspired by my coffee that might work. I didnt rely on my eye or monitor, I measured the saturation of colours. If, though she has used any ochre like paint or make up, then were all wrong!

Reduced noise a bit.


See what you think.


Regards


Willie
pablophotographer 11 2.1k 432
5 Nov 2021 1:47PM
H; you know the model best so you can tell if the representation on the original or modification 2 is closer to her true skin colour. I would not expect a slide film to behave as colour negative films when dealing with colour... Could it be that the curtains that covered the window effected the colour recorded?
A portrait to treasure.
pablophotographer
Karuma1970 10 1 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2021 2:22PM
Thanks everyone. I imagine that the lighter beads were white only because the ones on the right seem to be so. That is far more likely what she would have worn anyway. I can ask her but for now I'm saying white.

I love what you've all done with some of the versions. Reversing it as in V4 makes me look at it afresh. What it is to have an artistic eye.

Thank you for the comment on her look Willie. Of course she's 71 now but still a good looking woman.

Mike
IamDora 2 6 Canada
5 Nov 2021 2:57PM
I was wondering if a different coloured background might have been a better choice for this model. I do like Willy's mods - both colour and mono.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 669 England
5 Nov 2021 3:05PM
A very beautiful Lady.
Despite your effort, the colour seems to have defied you. However mod 4 from Willie suit your model and I do like the flip, she is then looking into the future, not into the past.

I know little or nothing about darkroom stuff, the only time I have spent in one was when I was working in an x-ray department, even now, all that has gone digital.
What software are you using ?
I will attempt a mod................
chase Plus
17 2.5k 669 England
5 Nov 2021 3:27PM
Mod 5 uploaded. I used mod 4 as a base.
Converted to B&W using Nik Silver.
Applied a very, very slight touch of softening to her skin.
Extended the bg on the right, as she does look a touch cramped in the frame.
Darkened the bg with a vignette on a separate layer, using a mask I removed it where there was no need for it to be there.
Reduced the highlight on her cheek a little with a levels layer, inverted the layer mask and put the effect only on the highlights.
Added a simple frame just to contain the image.
Karuma1970 10 1 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2021 4:01PM
I'm so pleased I decided to put this up for the panel because there are some great modifications that have been made.

I must have taken a few of course (even though it cost film!) and chosen this one. Possibly more by luck than judgement, although it is a profile, the white of the further eye is just showing nicely and the upward gaze also looks good. Both points are brought out nicely by the modifications you have made. Thank you.

If I get back to Costa Rica M, I will of course have Jackie with me and you can choose your own background!

Mike
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 836 England
5 Nov 2021 10:02PM
A lovely portrait.

The immediate thing I noticed was the strong red cast.
It would be good to know what scanner you used, the software used for scanning and what software you used for post production and what processing you did. That last bit is the mos important, as I'll describe.

Scanner software can vary a lot, and if there's an Advanced or Professional interface available there'll be more options o make adjustments. You can ge independent scanner software which, while intended o enable older scanners to work with the latest Operating Systms, offer good solutions. I use Vuescan.

You need to decide if you want the scan to replicate the original as it currently is far as possible or how it was/you remember it was. By that I mean make adjusmenmts for fading and colour shifts over time. At least with a transparency you have a reference point, with neaives there's much more of a judgement call.
That said I have numerous transparencies going back just over 40 years and nealy all look as good as new. True, some may have a colour cast becuse they were shot in overcast conditions without a warming filter so, because I'm so used to processing RAW files I can't avoid making ome tweaks.

Now, post processing.
Films have differing characteristics in terms of colour response, and processed iumages can ary over time, for examle some dyes are less stable iver time and lead to colour shifts.
So, in my mod, the biggest thing I did was to remoce the excess red in the midtones. I added some yellow to the highligts. I adjusted the shadow areas too. All this was done in the Colour Balance dialog. It's because of colour varying differently from shadows trough to highlights that you need to be prepared to make adjustments in each.
I lifted the level of the shadows using the Shadow/Highlight tool and tweaked brightness using a Curves adjustment. The beads still had a colour tinge so I selected their olouir rnge and reduced saturation to make them white. Of course, if they weren't white you could adjust them to a different colour.

The mos I uploaded appeared to have a slight green cast so my seond mod adds a little magenta to remove this.

It actually took a lot longer to type this than do it, and it's not as involved as it sounds.
af1 Plus
10 1 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2021 10:45PM
A nice set of studies note Johns comments l prefer No.5 mono but as for the techno l think l will bow out of this one...
Karuma1970 10 1 United Kingdom
5 Nov 2021 11:55PM

Quote:A lovely portrait.

The immediate thing I noticed was the strong red cast.
It would be good to know what scanner you used, the software used for scanning and what software you used for post production and what processing you did. That last bit is the mos important, as I'll describe.

Scanner software can vary a lot, and if there's an Advanced or Professional interface available there'll be more options o make adjustments. You can ge independent scanner software which, while intended o enable older scanners to work with the latest Operating Systms, offer good solutions. I use Vuescan.

You need to decide if you want the scan to replicate the original as it currently is far as possible or how it was/you remember it was. By that I mean make adjusmenmts for fading and colour shifts over time. At least with a transparency you have a reference point, with neaives there's much more of a judgement call.
That said I have numerous transparencies going back just over 40 years and nealy all look as good as new. True, some may have a colour cast becuse they were shot in overcast conditions without a warming filter so, because I'm so used to processing RAW files I can't avoid making ome tweaks.

Now, post processing.
Films have differing characteristics in terms of colour response, and processed iumages can ary over time, for examle some dyes are less stable iver time and lead to colour shifts.
So, in my mod, the biggest thing I did was to remoce the excess red in the midtones. I added some yellow to the highligts. I adjusted the shadow areas too. All this was done in the Colour Balance dialog. It's because of colour varying differently from shadows trough to highlights that you need to be prepared to make adjustments in each.
I lifted the level of the shadows using the Shadow/Highlight tool and tweaked brightness using a Curves adjustment. The beads still had a colour tinge so I selected their olouir rnge and reduced saturation to make them white. Of course, if they weren't white you could adjust them to a different colour.

The mos I uploaded appeared to have a slight green cast so my seond mod adds a little magenta to remove this.

It actually took a lot longer to type this than do it, and it's not as involved as it sounds.



Your modifications look great. I think, as my experience with Cibachrome taught me, that though I can see that the colour isnít right I canít tell why. I would add magenta or whatever only to find that wasnít the problem. Luckily the print I made of this was before I started having my problems with Cibachrome (did they change it somehow?) but I can now see that even with that print there was a bit too much red though not as bad as the digital version had. I think the slide scanner has probably long gone to the dump though I might have a rummage around for it.
Most of my slides from the early seventies taken in the Uganda of Idi Amin (about ten years before this one) and probably of real interest have deteriorated to the point where you can hardly make out the images. Many of them are on Agfa and I had to send them off to a lab in Nairobi. Great pity really.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.6k 2575 United Kingdom
6 Nov 2021 1:31PM
Hello, I'm a bit late here. As mentioned already, we are volunteers and we turn up here at different times of the day...

What strike me is that this cannot be judged simply in digital terms; its a different medium, from a time when expectations were different - more concerned with warmth and atmosphere, less obsessed with pin-sharpness. We view images on a screen differently to the way that we viewed prints in an album, but as demonstrated this can accommodate screen viewing. Janet's Mod 5 works best for me in that respect.

I suspect that the transparency will have deteriorated, my observation is that after several decades they are most likely to take on a reddish cast, which reduces detail.

The horizontal flip adds so much, something to bear in mind for the future. The left-right thing doesn't just apply to portraits, it applies to landscape, sport, abstracts...
Moira

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