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Modifications (3)
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Portrait PP practice

By devlin
Have always struggled a bit processing portrait shots, so thought id work with an old shot which didnt quite turn out the way i wanted it too Smile, V1 is the B&W finished version, Ver 2 is the color, and V3 is the as is from Camera.

1) So on the original file, i tried toning down the shine on the nose and around the eyes
2) Did a quick select of the background (part of her T-shirt bottom lower left) and blacked it out.

Any feedback on what else could have been done or done differently etc and any other feedback on the pic as a whole is always welcome as usual

Tags: General Black and white Portraits and people

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pablophotographer 11 2.0k 429
22 Jan 2013 8:15PM
Hi, I am curious to see the results of the manipulations which will be offered here. My computer is officially broken,motherboard is kaput, so I can't play with manipulation software. I think the major issue here would be the lighting. It seems to come from a lamplight (which doesn't emit "natural daylight") so the face looks, in the colour version tooooo yellow. Have you tried to shoot with lower ISO and flash to see what the result would look like? Composition-wise I like the vertical framing, and the gact it is so tight doesn't bother me cause it brings out the eyes and the smile for which I'm happy. On the negative side I think that the make-up she has under the eyes doesn't flatter her. Ah, yes, some may think it's not too sharp either so practice with focusing too.
NEWMANP 14 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2013 8:44PM
well the processing is one thing but the taking and making is another.

must have been pretty dull at 800 iso to be using 1/10 sec. this is too slow for hand holding or for portraiture to be truthful. then with the slow shutter speed you selected f5.6 instead of a faster speed and wider aperature combination.

with the lens you had i think that f2 may have been better with the shutter speed slightly faster to give you a fair chance of avoiding camera shake and acheiving some sharpness in the right places around the eyes. and to be fair you cropped in very very tight at the taking stage probably on the edge of the minimum focusing distance that your lens was cabable of. better to leave a bit of space and crop later

the final crop is really quite uncomfortable and post process smoothing skin at that close range is going to be difficult to blend in without looking as if its just out of focus or locally smeared / blurred. also the eyes just dont look sharp enough. ( although noticably sharper in the original version)

on the processing, the selection and darkening is fine to get rid of the background but needs much more care to get a finer selection, the mono conversion looks fine but for the skin smoothing try using a seperate layer with gaussian blur blended back with the opacity slider through the original to get a nice subtle diffusion of the skin texture and then click on the layer mask in the layers menu and with a black brush paint over the lips and eyes to bring back the detail of the original layer.

banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4314 Canada
22 Jan 2013 9:21PM
The original shot is poor, as Phil says. The shutter speed is way too slow, even on a tripod, so its really a case of putting this in the delete pile and trying another portrait.

the lens can do a really good jog of head and shoulders, but I think you may also be getting too close, or youve cropped this.

lack of sharpness is entirely due to the slow shutter. Try to pose a subject in some window light, coming from one side, and shoot at a minimum of 1/80. adjusting ISO to get there, while using the same aperture, or for a softer look that requires very accurate focusig on one eye, using a single focus point, go wider as Phil suggests.

Ive had an attempt at a mod, - and its not great, as its not possible to sharpen this enough. I did use skin smoothing. The best skin smoothing is a plug-in like Portrait professional, or, rather than using a blur filter in PS, go to Filter>Noise, and Median for a better result. Do not apply to eyes etc.


rhol2 11 369 1 United Kingdom
22 Jan 2013 11:02PM
I agree that the crop is a little tight, and the skin colour looks off in the original, but thought the sharpness OK for a portrait..have uploaded a mod with what I believe are better skintones ,and smoothed the skin a little..I also sharpened the eyes a touch.
devlin 12 653 39 India
23 Jan 2013 7:51AM
Thanks Guys, appreciate the feedback, iam aware it was a poor shot to begin with Smile but thought id use it to play around in PS, but have still got more insights into the shot making process despite that knowledge Smile....thanks much..!!!

paulbroad Plus
15 131 1294 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2013 8:41AM
It is almost impossible to make poor shots good. Try and always make good shots better. I agree almost totally with Willie. The lighting is way to heavy and, although I like to crop tight, you have over done it here. You needed some extra light to get a decent aperture and shutter speed and also improve the modelling.

mex 14 32 3 United Kingdom
23 Jan 2013 10:33AM
Hi devlin, done a quick mod, took the yellow out in hue and sat, sharpend (unsharp mask) and added a surface blur, hope this helps.
cheers phil.

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