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Boxing Day Presents

By strokebloke  
I take on board the summary that Paul provided.

The deleted upload was a presentation for the family.
There was a specific purpose in it being presented in the manner that it was.
When I uploaded yesterday, I assumed that critique would be provided upon the two images.
I never considered for one moment that all of the critique would concentrate around the presentation.

So, sympathetic to Pauls observation:-
V1 is Kyle aged 6
V2 is Keira aged 1
Both shots were taken on Boxing Day when the family, having had Christmas Day together, came to us for the day, and to open their presents.

Tags: Family Portraits and people Flash and lighting

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
7 Jan 2012 9:06AM
These are technically both fine shots. I prefer v1 just because the expression is rather better and linked to what he is doing. V2 looks a bit forced. Nice clean well executed family work.

What follows is a more general comment.....

Presentation matters. I had years of circuit judging for the PAGB and you simply have to judge what is put up in front of you. (I realise we are commenting here rather than judging but the basic principles are the same.)

If several images are put up together, then they are a panel and are dealt with as such in my opinion. Similarly, you cant consider degree of difficulty. Not the point here I know, but I was once chastised by an author for binning an out of focus shot of a Heron on the nest in a tree. He said the scaffolding he was using was swaying, hence blurred images. Nothing to do with me - I can only judge the image as presented.


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strokebloke 9 493 17 England
7 Jan 2012 1:15PM
Thank you Paul. For both the comment and the explanation.
I will bear it in mind, in future.

Keira, V2, is still a little circumspect with her grandfather, simply because she doesn't see me as often as sh does my wife.
When confronted with me + a camera, she freezes - hence the 'forced' expression Smile

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
7 Jan 2012 1:19PM

Quote:When confronted with me + a camera, she freezes

You have that effect on me.
strokebloke 9 493 17 England
7 Jan 2012 1:25PM

Quote:You have that effect on me

Yes, but there's a very good reason for that. Grin
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3892 Canada
7 Jan 2012 4:24PM
Hi Jack (I like the sound of that!)

Both typical family shots, and both can be improved with the magic of the digital dark room.

In V1, it appears that you have filled in around Kyle with black, or removed him and placed him on a black background. There are areas where some additional feathering would help, as he look too perfectly cut out, the side of his head, the arm of his shirt, etc. I feathered these areas with a black beush at low opacity in the mod. The composition looks better with more space on the right. To me, the flash reflection in his eyes would look better smaller. The flash has also made hid face appear a little flat, so a mid-tone contrast adjustment helps, and does a reduction in exposure on one side, giving the appearance of differential lighting.

I wonder in both cases if you used bounce flash, and if not, perhaps the result may have been better?

In the case of Keira, you cant do a lot about the expression, but there are still improvements to be made, most based on the above approach. What I also did with this was crop a lot closer, and tilt her head a little, - it improves the overall image. To tilt her head is quite easy, - you draw a selection around it with the lasso tool; copy and paste; then control T to select the tramsform tool, use the corners to tilt, then enter, and flatten the image. Any evidence of the original head can be cloned over.

Hope this is helpful,


strokebloke 9 493 17 England
7 Jan 2012 8:55PM
Hello Willie.
Firstly, thanks for the time you've obviously put into this. Much appreciated.

For Kyle I selected him with the lasso, then from Selection > Inverse >Delete. I was left with Kyle with a black BG. No cut & paste.
I did attempt to feather the edge, his right shoulder and over the crown of his head with the Eraser, set at about 35% Opacity and about 10% Flow. I will have to experiment with the black brush. That is a new one for me. Smile
So far as I remember I did use bounce flash, but at what angles I can't remember, so it may be that, as you say I could have been more adept with the bounce to produce a better result.

The Keira tilt is something I have never come across before, so this will bear some experimentation in the days to come. Smile

Quote:Hope this is helpful

Thank, you once more.


PS: Hi Jack has followed me (and possibly every other Jack) around since childhood GrinGrinWink
banehawi Plus
14 1.8k 3892 Canada
7 Jan 2012 10:40PM
When you do the original selection, go to Select>Modify>Feather, so that you apply the feathering at the time of selection. You can also expand or contract the selection to fine tune it.

strokebloke 9 493 17 England
8 Jan 2012 1:54PM

Quote:... go to Select>Modify>Feather

Thank you Willie.

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