My first photo for critique...treat me gently!

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by John Orrell, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    I've shown this before, but not under "critique"

    The baby (who's now 4 years old) is my wife's niece, being carried by her father. It was an opportunist shot, taken at a famous Blackpool funfair in October 2001. I know the background's less than ideal and a little distracting, but I chose a wide aperture to blur it. I could have perhaps gone wider still, but I was still in my DOF learning-phase back then.

    The thing I like about this shot is the juxtaposition of a small, delicate one-year-old child being carried by the ear-ringed father whose face we don't see. In the UK there are some (largely unjustified) unflattering connotations attached to blokes who wear ear-rings: they're either gay or "rough". Just to prove the connotations wrong, the guy in question is neither of these, but non-the-less I do like the juxtaposition.

    [​IMG]

    The photo was taken on an Olympus OM1N + 50mm F/1.8 at 1/125th sec @ either F/2.8 or F/4 (can't remember which). Film-stock was Fuji Sensia 100, which I've slightly desaturated in Photoshop, because I find the reds too intense for portraits (everyone's lips glow red :shock: )
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I like it, too. I have no problem with the composition, and I like the way the baby is looking right into the camera. :D

    There is a pronounced magenta cast over the skin tones, however. I don't know how to advise you to reduce it, either, but we have lots of skilled photoshop folks on board who could. :D
     
  3. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    Yeah that's definately a byproduct of the scan (from my Espon RX500 printer), not on the original slide. I used Enhance/Adjust Color/Color Cast... in P/shop Elements 2, then "spot metered" from the sky at the back, but as you say there are still some color-issues.
     
  4. Tuna

    Tuna Supermodel

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    The magenta cast can be reduced by adding green in increments - use the color balance tool (found in all photo manipulation software). Personally, I like your photo and the statement you are making - but feel it would be better stated in a good contrast B&W.

    Tuna
     
  5. JonMikal

    JonMikal TPF Noob!

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    im a bit taken by the large earring (ouch) and pearl necklace. :shock: :wink:
     
  6. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I've always been a fan of "Baby-looks-over-daddy's-shoulder"-portraits, for they give the baby in question this air of safety, snugness. This one's no exception.
    I do agree that the - albeit blurred - background is still a little distracting, but since this WAS taken at a funfair, this is what you had at the time.
    The baby looks happy, secure, and curious as to what you are doing. I like the expression you captured.
    And despite the prejudice that may be going with the way her daddy decided he wanted to look, she seems to trust and love him dearly. That's the way it's meant to be!
     
  7. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    :lol: Sadly it's just a silver necklace. I'm sure he wishes it was pearl (he'd have it up for sale on E-Bay for sure)

    I've thought about that, but I wondered if without the "distraction" of color if the lights at the back would be even more prominent. See what you think (done in P/shop Elements 2):

    [​IMG]

    For a white-point, I used Enhance/Adjust Brightness and Contrast/Levels... and spot metered off the overexposed sky at the back. For a black-point, I spot-metered off the dark patch to the left of Bob's neck. For a mid-grey point, I spot-metered off the middle of Lucy's foreheard.
     
  8. 2Stupid2Duck

    2Stupid2Duck TPF Noob!

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    I like the B&W.. but I would crop some off the bottom and off the right side. Dad's back is not the point of the pick after all.

    (and being a man with an ear-ring - it don't bother me at all.)
     
  9. jadin

    jadin The Mad Hatter

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    Okay I agree the photo should be in black and white. No doubts there.

    However, your scan seems lacking when you convert it to b&w. It seems like grain suddenly shows up, on the babies forehead for instance.

    The other problem is in b&w the lights above become much too bright and wind up stealing some attention. These could easily be cloned out, or perhaps darkened. Make them a bit darker and they will no longer steal the spotlight.

    Great emotion and great capture though.
     
  10. jadin

    jadin The Mad Hatter

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    Was thinking the same thing. Totally content!
     
  11. John Orrell

    John Orrell TPF Noob!

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    Yeah I think the limitation is with the scan. You really have to use a proper slide-scanner to get decent scans of slides, as opposed to an all-in-one printer/scanner combo which just happens to be able to scan slides and negatives. As you say, the lights at the back become too distracting in B&W, which is what I mentioned earlier. I find B&W lends itself to photos where the main subject is either the brightest or darkest part of the picture, and on photos like this where the main subject is a mid-tone, it becomes lost in the cacophony surrounding it. Even Bob's shirt becomes a lighter tone in B&W than Lucy's face, which detracts from the intended effect. This could probably be toned down a bit with careful filtering.
     
  12. Blackswann

    Blackswann TPF Noob!

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    Tighter crop works for me... something like this. But in the end it's a great composition and your pic... hope you didn't mind me messing with it...

    [​IMG]

    Warmest regards and a happy new year!
     

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