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View Full Version : Finally got a Good Christmas Portrait of my Daughters



theantiquetiger
12-23-2011, 05:17 PM
I do know I cut her foot off, but I can live with it.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7019/6561202615_dfb819419f_b.jpg

Iguanasan
12-23-2011, 07:52 PM
A lovely shot, Mr. Tiger. :) Merry Christmas and happy holidays. I noticed you noticed the foot. That's half the battle of becoming a better photographer. Would you have noticed the foot six months ago?

susan
12-23-2011, 10:11 PM
Tiger - The shot is beautiful. Lopping off appendages is totally acceptable, unless in your mind you did not want to, then, well, lopping wasn't good. I would love to have permission to grab it and do a little post on it if is ok with you. :-) Nope - i won't give your little miss her foot back. ;-D

theantiquetiger
12-23-2011, 11:24 PM
Tiger - The shot is beautiful. Lopping off appendages is totally acceptable, unless in your mind you did not want to, then, well, lopping wasn't good. I would love to have permission to grab it and do a little post on it if is ok with you. :-) Nope - i won't give your little miss her foot back. ;-D

Susan, don't grab the one I used in the original post, use this, untouched, just converted from raw

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7171/6562522633_9447ed9ca4_b.jpg

susan
12-24-2011, 11:48 AM
First off, your little miss' are quite adorable!

Here you go, Tiger. If I had taken a little more time, I would have preserved the detail in the whites of the stockings and rocker, toned down the brightness on the faces a little bit. Le Sigh... Mostly - I balanced the whites... I also took out the shadows on the mantle piece and brought up the detail in the blacks on your daughter in the rocker. I cloned the granite to get rid of the hot spots near the far right stocking. Middle image is pre-sharpen, last one is with sharpening to bring out more detail... viewers discretion of which one one may prefer... (I like the softer one as they are little girls.) Thanks for letting me play!

Marko
12-24-2011, 12:50 PM
Looks like the board compressed these susan - were they >275 k?

Even with the compression though we can see the differences in tonality between original and fixed. The original is underexposed by quite a bit. When we shoot portraits conventionally, one of the goals is to get the face full of light, but especially the eyes. You should be able to see the colour of the eyes, catchlights in the eyes. This is not the case here i'm afraid.

mbrager
12-24-2011, 12:56 PM
I was up late last night and saw your post. I like the composition you came up with. I also took a stab at editing your wonderful portrait. I blurred the background and with a levels layer dodged the girls to brighten them. Also sharpened their eyes. I couldn't bring back the blacks in the dresses, but you might be able to do that with the RAW image. Merry Christmas.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7170/6562899203_281b0de77f_b.jpg

theantiquetiger
12-24-2011, 01:41 PM
Looks like the board compressed these susan - were they >275 k?

Even with the compression though we can see the differences in tonality between original and fixed. The original is underexposed by quite a bit. When we shoot portraits conventionally, one of the goals is to get the face full of light, but especially the eyes. You should be able to see the colour of the eyes, catchlights in the eyes. This is not the case here i'm afraid.

Underexposed? I thought it was exposed perfectly. It is the exact light I was using. I guess I need to start shooting to where I think it is overexposed.

I told my wife I want an umbrella light!!!! (eBay, here I come)

kat
12-24-2011, 02:36 PM
My first indicator my image is underexposed is color noise. (Usually with the low exposure/high ISO). Did you use flash? If you have a window near there, you could use a reflector too (I don't have one but I make one from tin foil around a big chunk of cardboard).

Girls are sweet!

theantiquetiger
12-24-2011, 06:20 PM
I went and had it printed today, it is a lot darker than it shows on computer

Marko
12-25-2011, 10:02 AM
Hey AT...not sure I've asked this before but are you working with a calibrated monitor?
Uncalibrated monitors are almost always way too bright which is why the image didn't look dark on your computer...the print shows u the reality.
On my computer it's seriously dark - with almost zero detail in the blacks.
Also - do you know how to use the histogram function?

susan
12-25-2011, 10:14 AM
Looks like the board compressed these susan - were they >275 k?. Marko - 1.18 MB --- I minimized it pretty good to make it fit - since it was three frames across, I did'nt want to go hog wild. :-) Here is one more approach - simple LR3 adjustments..
----White Bal: -56
----Tone Curve:

Highlites: +52

Lights +44

Darks +18

Shadow +47
----NR -Lumi: 78; Detail: 69

The tri-pic was done in photoshop using photoshop layers
BTW- my monitor is calibrated :-)

susan
12-25-2011, 10:59 AM
Tiger - If you don't already have it, and want to get a wonderful post processing tool to start with --- I highly recommend Adobe's Lightroom 3. You can post and entire wedding in there without ever slipping over to Photoshop. For the Tri-pic - It was done entirely in PS5 -- I used the clone tool to lose the shadows on the mantle place. Also, if I miss highlights when I take the photo, I will mock them in PS5. Any version of PS is fabulous, but if your budget is not yet ready for it, LR3 is an amazing tool.

Using studio lights and a soft box would help too. Using studio lights helps with white balance a ton.

Some people prefer the tones that ambient light gives - the more golden tones. To me, that is fine in select circumstances, but in others, like your beautiful keep sake portrait, it is a huge distraction. LR3 also has a really good digital noise reduction feature! I used it on the pp in the above submission.

I know that your goal is to take beautiful portraits and photo journalistic photos of your growing girls. One other tip I will offer, you said that you loved Vyeko's little boy photo... one word. F-Stop. Buy a lens that offers an F-stop of 1.2 to 2.8 --- those are the lenses that give you the "bokeh" (http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/bokeh.htm) in the background. They do offer other challenges, but bokeh is what makes many a photo special. Going outside during the "golden hour" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_hour_%28photography%29) is how you grab that light in the hair. Adding a reflector to the face can fill in soft light back into the face and add beautiful catch lights in their eyes as well. Focus on their eyes, and if the girls are together, and you are using that shallow depth of field, having them on the same "plane" is a must to keep them both in focus. F1.2 - there is no room for error as the depth of field is about an inch or less. Hope this helps. :-) Your little ones are adorable and I can't wait to see how you grow with your girls. :)

theantiquetiger
12-25-2011, 03:42 PM
Hey AT...not sure I've asked this before but are you working with a calibrated monitor?
Uncalibrated monitors are almost always way too bright which is why the image didn't look dark on your computer...the print shows u the reality.


I just recently purchased a 23" 1080p HD All in One Computer

I do need to touch up on my histogram function

Marko
12-25-2011, 06:09 PM
The histogram reveals A LOT. it will pretty much tell you when the exposure is good and when it's off. Did a podcast on it if you want to take a listen. Histograms in digital photography – Photography podcast #41 | Photography.ca (http://www.photography.ca/blog/2008/03/19/histograms-in-digital-photography-photography-podcast-41/)
The new computer doesn't answer the calibration question at all though, I will assume the answer is no.
Brand new monitors are still generally, very lousy for photography when they are uncalibrated. They are almost always too bright - which makes them fab for gaming and lousy for photography.
If you can afford it (less than 200.) quite a few members on this board use it.
Hope that may help.

theantiquetiger
12-26-2011, 10:19 AM
Susan,

Thanks for the edit, it looks great. I guess what I look at is her red sweater. Of their clothing, it's the only thing with texture. The dresses are black velvet, so not much going to show up. I now realize the rocking chair is yellow in my original and white in the edit. The only two things that are white in the entire pic are the chair and tops of the stockings.

theantiquetiger
12-26-2011, 12:49 PM
I want to thank Vyeko for this post edit, it came out amazing!!!

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7018/6575987395_22086e6c19_b.jpg

Mad Aussie
12-30-2011, 04:37 PM
I want to thank Vyeko for this post edit, it came out amazing!!!
I think you can see now how bad the original actually was. It is far from a good shot. The composition setup is nice though and the girls poses are great, good smiles etc.
Exposure wise though I've seen much better from you.

I think you should stop spending money on things like umbrella's and get a decent monitor and calibrator. Using more equipment badly isn't going to help you. Getting the basics right first is the key.