a question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Al Blanco, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. Al Blanco

    Al Blanco TPF Noob!

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    hi everybody!

    I am trying to shoot portraits (something like this)

    [​IMG]

    but I don't know how to improve them in the Photoshop. Could anybody give me some advice?
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly, is that one of your shots? If not, please change it to be just a link. Forum rules say that we can only display images that are ours.

    So what about this image do you like? What do you want to do in Photoshop? To me, it looks like this one has very little processing done to it.
     
  3. Al Blanco

    Al Blanco TPF Noob!

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    Yes, sure. Why not? It is my picture and I have made it a week ago in Moscow. The name of the girl is Rita :)


    Well, firstly I prefer black and white photography – at least I think that a portrait should be black and white.
    And you said that ‘this one has very little processing done’. So it needs some processing :). What can be done from your point of view?

    Actually, I would love to make photos like this
    http://club.foto.ru/gallery/photos/...rds&next_photo_id=416580&prev_photo_id=239225

    How it can be made? I came here because it senseless to ask another Russians about anything :) We are not able to explain things. :)
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Firstly the photo is high-key. Meaning the majority of the frame is white. The difference is simple. You were shooting down on Rita. Looks like the camera level is about tip of the head-high. In the linked photo the camera appears to be chest / shoulder high shooting up. That changes the perspective a bit (more flattering in my opinion).

    There is very flat lighting on the photo you linked, whereas the photo you took has a defined light source (flash or reflector?) at the bottom right. A bigger reflector will give you the softer look.

    Ok now as for the post processing here's an attempt. You didn't specify if your pictures are ok to edit so just pm me and I'll remove this:

    [​IMG]

    The image on the left is a simple desaturation, not good IMO.
    The image on the right was converted to black and white using the channel mixer with 100% red, 0% green and 0% blue. This gives the skin a flatter colour, removes blemishes, and brightens the skin while darkening the hair. Then the curves tool was used to remove mid-tone contrast, and darken the shadows. The lips were burnt slightly since they nearly disappeared when I did this. The background was dodged to remove the distraction. Finally a layer with a very deep dark green was applied as a Colour Dodge layer with an opacity of 38%.

    That's my take on copying the post production anyway. I couldn't do any more since the shoulder would disappear. The lighting you used kind of blew her shoulder out a bit.

    Now share the lighting you used, Flash or reflector? ;)
     
  5. Al Blanco

    Al Blanco TPF Noob!

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    Garbz,

    thanks a lot for your detailed answer.

    But it is not connected with the fact that the linked photo is high-key? Actually, I like high-key photos and would love to know how to make them.

    I had been trying to add the inscription ‘my pictures are OK to edit’ for a good half of hour but failed. :)


    Are there any rules in what proportions one needs to use red, green and blue? Say, it is a portrait. It is always more red or are there exceptions?

    Have I understood it right that first two steps are
    1. Converting into black and white with the channel mixer.
    2. Using the curves tool for improving contrast ?

    what if I try to do it with some other photo of mine and then ask you to comment the results?

    I used a portable reflector (and yes, a small one – 60 cm.) and another girl was holding it :)
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Al! If you click the spot in the upper left hand corner called User Cp and then click Edit Profile you will find at the bottom of that page the place to enable the 'it's ok to edit'.

    I have used here a plug-in for photoshop by Alien Skin called Exposures. The film I mimicked is Ilford 200SFX.

    [​IMG]

    There are a number of others to choose from.

    Hope you like it.

    mike
     
  7. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    High-key means the majority of the frame is bright with some defining features darker and standing out, like in my edit the hair, eyes and dress. The opposite effect is low-key and an example low-key shot would be this self portrait http://farm1.static.flickr.com/208/492348759_17864e4dc8_o.jpg. You photo is already high-key to a degree with the main subject standing out from a light background, just that I personally find the background wasn't light enough. It wasn't a distraction though so it didn't matter too much. If you would have shot from a slightly higher angle the entire background would be sand, or from a lower angle the entire background would be sky which would be blown to white or close to it.

    There's no rules for using the channel mixer as such it depends on each photo. If the subject has some dark skin and you are trying to bring out the defined nuances like wrinkles it may help to give a lot of weight to the blue channel. If you a photographing a red-head it may also help to bring the blue and green up a bit to prevent the hair going bright white when making a black and white picture. Red and green also darkens blue skies, but if you want to lighten the sky it would help if you use a bit of blue. It really depends on the picture.

    The steps are not as important as the experimentation. I chose to convert to black and white first because I knew the contrast would change when I picked the red channel to work with. Mind you the process of adding the green colour dodge also changed things quite a bit so I may have left the contrast to the last step too. There's many paths to the same result when post processing.

    Sure go for your life. I'd be happy to comment. Post them here or PM/email me or both. It would help for you to get other opinions too since photography is a very personal thing and what my look good to me may not be the same to you.

    Also the reflector is good, but the small size has created a very defined shadow of her nose on the left which is possibly distracting, but inevitable given the equipment. I use a similar sized home made one and often make similar shadows :(. Also there is a second catchlight in her right eye which could be photoshopped out.

    Mike that's a great filmgrain effect there. I'll have to check it out, cheers.
     
  8. hyakuhei

    hyakuhei TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    Here's my attempt to make it look similar to the effect you like.

    Simply boosted the red channel and chopped out the green, switched to gray scale, adjusted the levels and there you go. I like this more than some other B&W examples because she still has that amazing depth in the eyes. Just my $0.02 :-D
     
  9. Al Blanco

    Al Blanco TPF Noob!

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    Thanks a lot, Mike – every time I just hadn’t gone so far to the bottom :)



    Yes, it really looks like a film picture. A very interesting effect.


    **********



    Aha, I see.



    So there is a considerable link between a key of a photo and a level and if the camera level was lower I would have a more high key of the picture…


    I see. I am to going to experiment. Indeed, it would be strange to have some strict rules. My grandmother was a very light blond and at all pictures she turned out a very dark brunette :).


    Great – I’ll try to do it right away, in my next post. I am going to try two methods – with curves and levels as Hyakuhei suggested.



    It seems that I have to buy a bigger one…


    Yes, now I see it too.


    ******


    Hyakuhei, I like your version very much too. It is really closed to what I want to get.

    You said that you ‘adjusted the levels’. It gives the same effects as using of curves, or there is some difference?
     
  10. Al Blanco

    Al Blanco TPF Noob!

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    And now here are my first pitiful attempts in photoshopping :)


    I took this picture.
    [​IMG]

    I think that the light is bad (I didn’t use any flash or reflector) but it is interesting if it is possible to do something with it anyway.


    Firstly I had set the red channel at +105 and the green one at -5.

    [​IMG]


    Then I tried two alternatives.
    At the first one I used ‘levels’.
    [​IMG]


    And here I used ‘curves’

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And why it is so bad? :) . The skin is so grey and rough. I have already made mistakes at first steps or it can be improved a bit later?
     
  11. Al Blanco

    Al Blanco TPF Noob!

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    Then I’ll try another one.
    It seems that it is a bit better.
    [​IMG]

    something is wrong with my first photo?
     
  12. GwagDesigns

    GwagDesigns TPF Noob!

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    I think the first and third phots are good, but the second one, i think the background is a bit distracting, your other ones have a good DOF, and make the image more focused on the model.
     

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