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By Philo  
Many thanks for all the help with yesterday's upload. I have tried to take on board all the comments and persuaded my daughter to pose for me. I know her clothing and the background are not ideal but I would appreciate feedback on other aspects: the composition, crop, skin tone and sharpness of eyes.
I have tried to get the angle of her head right and the eyes in the correct part of the frame. I have also spent some time removing blemishes (she has quite a few freckles).
Shot at f/4.6, 1/160s, ISO 400, focal length 70mm, spot metering, auto WB, processed using PS Elements 7
As usual all comments and mods welcome.

Tags: 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.


VIKI 11 18 1 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2010 4:10PM
Pretty girl!!!!

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DRicherby 9 269 725 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2010 7:08AM
I'm not an expert on portraits but this looks excellent to me. Perhaps a little more light on the face would be good. In particular, that would make the sharpness of the eyes more apparent.
AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
25 Jun 2010 8:20AM
I also find the portrait itself to be very good. Maybe the light on the left side of her face is a bit bright, stop down or try exposure compensation 1/3 EV at a time until the exposure is right.
The part that distracts me though, is the green area upper RH corner. It's not a big deal, but you could go in closer and get the face full frame wo background, or include a bit more on both sides. Dof is excellent, eye contact very good,, and you have nice catchlights in the eyes (reflector?) and a lovely expression also. There is also good structuring, ie the features are all visible and there is good separation between the nose and cheek without distracting shadows.
CathR 11 151 564 United Kingdom
25 Jun 2010 10:06AM
I have never done any portrait work either but I find the whole business of lighting faces fascinating. I think this is an excellent effort. The pose is great - it must have been difficult for your daughter to hold what it quite an unnatural pose, yet she looks entirely relaxed. The smile is lovely and the direction of the eyes is also great. What comes across is your daughter on the brink of womanhood and yet in some ways still a child.

I agree though with Anne about the highlights on the left side of her face being just a tad too bright. The other point I would mention is that your daughter has quite dark eyes. Her right one, which is in shadow, lacks just a little sparkle which would bring it more to life. I don't know what your lighting set up is and whether it would be possible to reflect a bit more light into the eye on the right.

But these are minor points. It is a really lovely portrait.

Best wishes

Philo 8 99 83 England
25 Jun 2010 5:43PM
Thank you all very much for the comments and critique. I need to learn to provide more info up front then you are not second guessing (or is that part of the fun?).
I don't possess any lighting so I have to rely on natural light. For this shot I sat her down on the front lawn, in the shade and in front of the window just as the sun was dipping behing the roof line. The catchlights in her eyes are from light reflected from the window (if you zoom in you can make out the window frame).
Not sure why her left side is so bright: maybe caused by a reflection from the car window.
I think I may try this again with an artificial background behind her. I will also look at the possibility of a reflector (probably home made).

Thanks again everyone,
AnneWorner 10 620 43 United States
26 Jun 2010 12:51PM
A large piece of white posterboard works a treat as fill in reflected light. And it's cheap! You could make another and cover it with aluminium foil.
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3881 Canada
27 Jun 2010 4:16AM
Hi Phil,

This is a nice close up overall, with a good pose, light and exposure.

The tone to me is overly red, and in general I would suggest to shoot in RAW and adjust colour temp/white balance in post processing rather than rely on Auto White Balance. I generally find the E-510 tends to be generous with Red.

I have adjusted colour using a threshold and curves adjustment in my mod, so if you do a side by side comparison the red becomes quite obvious. If you want more details on doing this in Photoshop, send me a PM.

The side of her face is right on the border of being over exposed, but just makes it.

I would suggest you turn her next time so theres more of her face being lit, rather than just the side of her cheek. Natural light by the way is the best you can get, - the issue is finding it and controlling the direction and intensity, so diffuse light through a window, or from a bright cloudy sky is excellent.

Using a reflector as Wefi suggests is a good idea, - a piece of white foam board from an artists supply shop is cheap and effective.

My mod is cropped a tad tighter, and Ive added catch lights in her eyes using a 2 pixel soft brush on a layer faded to 50%.

The crop is intended to place an eye on a third, and remove the bottom left area where her shoulder is showing.

Re V2, - I wouldnt apply this much of a glamour look to a child, - its a little too overdone and the original is better I believe. A lighter tough could work, and Ive loaded a suggested approach in Mod2.

Hope this helps,


15 Jul 2010 3:30PM
Hello!! This is really a nice portrait. A pretty looking girl.


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