Back Modifications (2)
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Deep in Thought

By gjfereday
I took this close up of the jockey just leaving the parade ring, I wanted a shallow depth of field so the jockey stood out against the background
but the sky was so drab and grey that I decided to change it.

I'm happy with the sharpness of the jockey and I've increased the saturation to bring out the colours more but obviously he looks like he's been stuck onto a fake background because I can't get rid of the outline of the changed sky. I've tried several smooth and feathering levels but it makes no difference. Any tips or ideas how to remove this or isn't it possible because of the depth of field used?

Tags: Sports and action


pablophotographer 8 1.2k 351
8 Apr 2014 11:11AM
two things caught my eye from the photo gallery - not the critique one - on your picture.
The first was the colour and the second was the framing in that order.
I am mentioning the second issue first because it is more of a decision to make at the time of shooting , which may save you some time from post handing. He seems to be too high on the frame (you might need to do a crop just above his boot to compensate and make the frame smaller a bit. The rider's hat appears too close to the top end of the frame, but that now can be fixed with the inclusion of a blue sky background.
Mentioning background, I am not sure if the one chosen is appropriate, it does not look immediately like a place you'd find a jockey. It might had helped if you had shot a picture of spectators on their seats and you'd combine it.
Colourwise, although the colours seem complimenting and contrasting I am a bit dubious about the harmony of lighting sources to the jockey's shoulders and the building itself, they don't seem to appear they come from the same and exact direction. Would the colour on his glasses need to change a bit to resemble more the reflection of the sky? It's for you to judge this detail, I don't think you have considered it on your manipulation. Talking about colour I notice the thin white line where you seem to have done your blending of the images, quite vivid on the back of his helmet/hat and on the roof of the building, while not on his arm away from the viewer; which leads me to believe the building might had been in your frame originally and that you have just added the sky; but the colour of the roof, being shot with a shallow depth of field or post handling looks manipulated unrealistically.
I manage to understand his thoughtfulness though and his effort to gather his thoughts and prepare for the race.


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Sooty_1 9 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
8 Apr 2014 11:56AM
Not sure why you felt the need to change the sky at all? The image is all about the jockey in his silks, and the sky would be immaterial. You could adjust it to make it less drab, but the vibrancy of the silk will overpower it anyway.

The other thing that occurs to me is that his face is not sharply focused, whereas other parts of him are...look at the folds of material on his left arm for instance. I would suggest the camera has focused just in front of him, and the shallow DoF at this aperture has not been enough.

As with your other posts though, you are shooting at a reasonably long length at a relatively slow shutter speed. You could still have gone to 400 or even 800 ISO to put your shutter speed up to 1/400 or 1/800. Even without the blip of flash, that would have been better for handholding and sharpness. The flash has had minimal effect anyway, but the -ve exposure compensation has probably contributed to the sky's darkness.

An available light shot, at ISO 800, 1/500 sec and f/5.6 should have given you everything you needed, but a slightly slower one with a bit of flash should also have worked well, provided you focused in the right place.

banehawi Plus
15 2.1k 4020 Canada
8 Apr 2014 6:26PM
First, the question about why he looks stuck onto the background.

Its nothing to do with your technique. The edges are way too sharp, and though you mention feathering, its actually a feathered (soft) edge thats the solution, so Im not really sure just how you did this. I had no difficulty doing it for the mod, using the original shot.

Second, the jockeys face is not at all sharp; the lower part of the subject is crisp and sharp, but not the all-important face. Best that face is sharp, and the rest soft. I have to guess that the point of focus was below the face, and that you may have used multiple focus points, rather than a single focus point, placed on his eye?

Even though you have an IS lens, that speed is quite slow for shooting a subject that can move, - like his face and head. Always err on the faster side if you can. Though aperture is the creative part of the shooting experience, the single most critical element that will ruin an opportunity every time, other than focusing on the wrong spot, is shutter speed. When you use Av, and half-press the shutter, always take a look at the speed the camera has chosen. Its it marginal, like here, where its heavily dependent on IS working overtime, increase your ISO to move the speed higher. In this shot, ISO 400 would gibe you a fast 1/400th, a better chance at sharpness (when focused on his eye), and very little lost in terms of quality.

I dont know how you did the extraction, - there are many ways, heres a link to one method:

Lets know what technique you used, - maybe we can help more.

Its all technique for this image.



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