Back Modifications (4)
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Sweeney Todd 2

By HelenaJ
Messing about with an image taken on a photoshoot in autumn. If anyone want to give it a different twist, I'd be happy to see your mods. For some reason the image seems to have got a bit grainy, but that might be due to my treatment. All interpretations welcome . Comments on its impact and competition potential (risky question) also would be appreciated. Thank you.

Tags: Character Portraits and people


mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.8k 2149 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2019 5:41PM
Hi Helena. He certainly looks the part! And the direct eye contact at that angle is wicked looking. He's on the stage, we are sitting in the gallery, part of the audience but we are definitely being lined up as the next victims.

My quibble overall isn't so much with the treatment as with the arrangement of items in the frame. The box partly hidden by his right foot is a bit messy, and I had to look carefully to identify the items in his left hand as a razor because it is the same colour as his waistcoat. So I wonder if you have any more from this shoot for comparison?

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HelenaJ 8 3
25 Feb 2019 6:11PM
Thanks Moira, yes I was troubled about the razor not looking like a razor so I might be able to clone from another image that looks more reflective and convincing. Regarding the box, unbelievably, I didn't spot it until you just pointed it out! I think I need to just clone that out as I agree it is a distraction. Thanks for the critique. Helena
mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.8k 2149 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2019 6:21PM
The box was almost the first thing that I saw, because of the colour difference. It's the only magenta-ish element in the frame. Cloning it out should be no problem, just watch the shadows, and it will be easier working on the full frame. I was hoping that you might have other pictures with the elements differently arranged.

I'm not sure that a reflection on the blade would add that much, the outline needs to be clearly defined against the background for such a crucial item. If he had been casually dangling it below the arm of the chair...
pamelajean Plus
14 1.3k 2106 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2019 8:14PM
His look is very much in character, and he's certainly sinister, all the more because of the eye contact.
I like the redness in his eyes, which matches the chair.
The angle has impact, too.
But I am uncertain about all of that space around him serving any purpose.

Important points have already been made.
Firstly, the razor isn't obviously a razor.
And, secondly, whatever is in his other hand isn't obvious, either.

So, I went into your pf to have a look at Sweeney Todd No. 1, and now see that he is holding the same type of razor in each hand, both of which are at such an angle that they are obvious. So I zoomed in to this one, Sweeney Todd 2, and now see that it is indeed the same razor in the other hand, but at such an angle that it looks nothing like one at all.
Mystery solved.

I did a modification before my search of your pf, so will upload it. I just wanted to see if a closer crop would help tell the viewer more about him, supposing there were no title or narrative to give any clues. As it happens, I quite like the close crop because it cuts out some unnecessary bits (though also perhaps some of the atmosphere of the scene), and concentrates on the "telling" bits of the story.

banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4084 Canada
25 Feb 2019 10:04PM
You need light on the razor, - its dull ( but probably sharp!) and needs to sparkle.

Ive added a mod that concentrates on this one razor, noise reduction, contrast and white balance. Also a small crop.


HelenaJ 8 3
25 Feb 2019 10:29PM
Thank you very much for the mods. It is always interesting to see the imoact of an image with fresh eyes. For me I prefer the bigger picture showing the whole context and like what Willie has done with it. But Pam's mod is another interpretation which I hadn't thought of. Thanks again. Helena
Robert51 11 7 93 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2019 8:30AM
I really like this. Everything you want to say about the subject is all there. Everyone looking at the image knows who it it is, so job done.

The mod I have tried to make the image richer and reduce the grain, hope you like it...
paulbroad 12 131 1288 United Kingdom
26 Feb 2019 8:42AM
The quality is good as it stands, but I had no idea what was being portrayed until I read the title. I would be coming in tighter and making the implements more obvious by being larger. A cut throat razor is better part open and angled to the camera.

More dramatic lighting would also increase the effect> I don't se a threatening murderous individual as portrayed.

dudler Plus
16 1.0k 1576 England
26 Feb 2019 8:16PM
Not a great deal to add... Character makes this shot, and upping the drama in processing is a good idea.

Stronger composition, maybe? He's rather central, with dead space around him. Cropping, or shooting tighter: certainly, I'd try as many different viewpoints and crops as I could when shooting.

I actually have a razor as a prop (18 from a secondhand shop in Buxton), and for the best effect, you need light glinting from the blade. That takes a bit of angling by the model, but it's really effective! A similar sort of angle works with weathered metal, especially if there's engraving or other detail to be seen.

It's usually hard work on a group shoot - you get wonderful settings and makeup, characterful models - but you're constrained on time to shoot, and you may be crowded out by others with very definite ideas unless hte organisers are careful to give everyone equal time.

I'm going to try Nik Efex detail extreactor - without much else, apart from a crop.
dark_lord Plus
15 2.4k 621 England
26 Feb 2019 8:30PM
There's not much else to say.

I don't mind the space around the subject, the dark vignette certainly gives it a sinister edge. That said I'm not against a closer crop.

The razor has been mentioned and that was the part of the image I struggled with.
It does blend in, and in addition to the very good suggestions above, having the subject hold it lower so it's over the top of his chest and not his face ould make it clearer.

It's a good shot and I would have voted for it if posted in the main gallery.
HelenaJ 8 3
26 Feb 2019 9:15PM
Thanks again for these comments and suggestions. I will work up this image based on a few of these ideas. As Mr Cutler says, group shoots such as this are very challenging and require both cooperation and assertiveness to get what you want. As always ephotozine has helped me out. Great website which I recommend to all my Camera Club buddies.

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