Back Modifications (2)
Views: 87 (42 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Simple as Black and White

By amylouise98  
I took this photograph with my new camera! Canon EOS 700D, which I've been practicing with and loving it! I hope everyone like this image, I edited it on Lightroom 5, but only used a black and white preset after playing around with it for a while, thought this had the best result.

Tags: Black and white Close-up and macro 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.


Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2014 12:47PM
Hi Amy

You must be very excited with you new camera. A great step up from your Fuji.

I'll come to the image in a moment but wanted to suggest something in processing here. The black and white pre-sets are a good place to start and as you have here it has a good job of converting to mono with a good spared through the tonal range. The best way to control the conversion to black and white I find is to use the channel mixer option. I don't use LR but do use PS CS5 and believe LR has the same option within the black and white option. If so it will give you the choice to select a standard conversion or in the drop down box any one of a number of pre-determined effects. These are set to imitate the use of coloured filters which back in the days of black and white film photography were used to control the different light rays hitting the film and in turn effect the tonal range produced onto the film. You would put a green filter on perhaps if you wanted to lighten the green tonal range. If you have this option in LR have a play around to see what they do.

More importantly here though you can select each colour channel individually and using the slider either decrease or increase its effect. This is what gives you the finer control over your image when converting to mono. I hope all that made sense but there are tutorials on You Tube that take you through it. Such as this

This is an article on mono conversion and if you scroll down it takes you through the example I gave above

The image here is quite nice. Good sharpness on the pupil and upper eyelashes. You also shot at your widest aperture that gives you the least depth of field (area in front of and behind the point of focus that stays sharp at a given aperture). For me I would have liked the lower eyelash to be sharp too as this is the lead are of the eye. You could have increased the aperture to around f11 and focused on the lower eyelash. This should have given sufficient depth of field to keep the whole eye sharp.

The only othe point I would make is to clone out the stray hair leading from the side of the eye. The highlight on it does distract a little.

Nicely done though as an interesting close up.

Keep practising with your new toy.


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Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2014 1:02PM
Don't know where "spared" came from. It should have said spread. That'll teach me to proof read more diligently before pressing the add button Grin
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2014 1:06PM
Congratulations on the new camera! I like what you have done here, the angle on the face creates a strong rising diagonal which gives a dynamic, positive feel.

I'm assuming that this was taken indoors, in natural light, which was not brilliant. ISO 1600 does result in reduced image quality, if you could find a position with better natural light that would enable you to reduce the ISO it would be worth trying again.

I'd also like to see a little more space at the top and less at the bottom, the cut-off eyebrow looks a bit awkward while the expanse of empty, soft cheek, leading to soft lower lashes, acts as a barrier to my eye. I might try a tighter crop at the bottom. Cropping a strip from the right would also place the main eye less centrally in the frame. Then I'd like a bit more contrast, and a tiny bit of burn tool on the iris and lower lashes.

Another time, get you model to brush stray wisps of hair back. Photographing this close, try without mascara, it will give the eyelashes a finer, more precise look. Mascara, unless it is very carefully brushed through, looks sticky and smudged up close.

As Paul says, experiment with the colour channels. I don't use LR either - but in any software I regard the presets as a starting place, a source of ideas as to possible styles and effects; but not as a finished product. It's what you can do with them.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2014 1:17PM
Mod uploaded, very much the same principles as Paul's but with a tighter crop - we have been commenting and modifying in tandem!
dudler Plus
14 706 1354 England
22 Mar 2014 1:34PM
This is a really striking shot - unusual composition really grabs the viewer's eye.

New cameras are always exciting: and if it's your first SLR it's even more magical because of all the extra things you can do with it! (Mine was an Exa 500, just a fraction over 44 years ago, and I remember enjoying everything, from the box to the stop-down mechanism on the lens. Magical...)

And you've got right into some of the things that an SLR (whether that's got a "D" in front of it or not) will do: close up, and heavy differential focus.

I can't add anything to what Paul and Moira have said above: other than keep on taking the pictures! And enjoy every single one. You have a great benefit, 44 years on - you can review every shot, in detail, at once. Some of the time, do that, and learn. Other times, just concentrate on the pictures, and don't get lost in review and histograms.

Have fun: lots of it!
mistere Plus
4 4 3 England
22 Mar 2014 1:51PM
What would appear to be a simple B&W image but in reality one that is not easy at all.
As a beginner myself i would not presume to add anything to the comments above but judging
from the adjustments made in the mods i would say you did a pretty good job with your new camera.
Onwards and upwards as they say. Looking forward to seeing more.
Nice work.

banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3893 Canada
22 Mar 2014 3:04PM
Congratulations! You are now on a whole new learning curve.

One thing I would like to point out, as you get used to the Canon.

The default way it focuses is using multiple focus points; so when you half press the shutter while viewing the scene, you will see a couple of focus points flash green to confirm focus. This is the first thing you need to learn how to change!

The reason for that is you are advanced enough to want to control where exactly the camera focuses yourself, as it will provide superior results. So Canon have made it very easy (all the manufacturers do) to select any one of the nine points individually. So for this shot, you would select one point, then half press and place that point on the iris of the eyeball to get the maximum sharpness there. As it is, with a very shallow depth of field, its just missed that point, being closer to the corner of her eye.

Look at Page 100 of the owners manual for the details.

Look forward to seeing great shots.


paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
22 Mar 2014 5:33PM
My first quality camera was a Practica 4, 1962. The memories. You are away on the true learning curve now.

Conversion covered above. You should never use presets. They are rarely the best route. Practice with a channel mixer giving access to red, green and blue channels at least.

Try and avoid such high ISO settings. They are for when you have no choice and even with modern gear, reduce quality. Get some better lighting.

This could be quite strong but the eye is not quite sharp enough due to limited depth of field, but your focal point is also too far back. The bridge of the nose is sharp. You need to focus on the mid point of the eye, then a range of about 1/3 in front and 2/3 behind will be adequately sharp. The actual distances will be related to the focus distance and aperture.

The smaller the aperture, the greater the depth.

24 Mar 2014 9:21PM
Thank you for all the comments, I didn't notice until it was a bigger picture and looking at it now I see it could have been sharper where the under eye area is concerned. I actually took the photo because I had a new mascara haha Smile but again thank you all for the in depth comments and mods. Smile

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