Not looking to open up new can of worms, just get technical advice...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by JenPena, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. JenPena

    JenPena TPF Noob!

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    I've admired the style of photos this person does because they are somehow more luminous, pop more out of the picture - and I don't know how it's done. I guess in general I just want to know how people get shots that are so clear and crisp. These are JUST EXAMPLES; please don't get upset if you think they aren't great but I do and I would just like your advice on how to accomplish something similar. I want clear, defined photos like this - I've e-mailed the photographer a few times and she's told me a few things like she has a really great Canon camera and high quality lens, she shoots in studio, and that's about it - she doesn't know what she's doing either and doesn't want to say more. Can anyone tell me what techniques/equipment were used to do shots like this so I can try it myself?

    http://[URL="http://www.jennifernace.com"]www.jennifernace.com[/URL]
     
  2. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

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    I don't think she's trying to hide anything from you, but unless you give a specific example, rather than a link to her site, I'm not sure how much help you'll get. These just look like well lit, well exposed shots, with a bit of post processing. I don't see the dramatic technique you wish to emulate.
     
  3. JenPena

    JenPena TPF Noob!

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    The site doesn't have addresses to each photograph - you have to go into her portfolio and check each one out, unless I would be able to copy and paste them in here, and I can't do that. But all of her studio images are pretty much the same. The clarity of the images is striking to me - each person sees something different in a photograph; these are appealing to me. Her subject's skin looks soft, almost with a glow - the eyes are clear and bright, and I'm just fascinated with how 3-dimensional they are versus just a flat picture on a screen. What I guess I'm asking is how does one take a well-lit, well exposed photograph - and that's the wrong question for this, or probably any, forum. I take photographs and am constantly frustrated with struggling to get clear, crisp images. Is it something I'm doing, is it a lens issue that can help step that up a bit, etc. I just don't want to get into an opinion war with anyone over what is good, what's not. I just know what I want to achieve in certain types of photographs and maybe I'm too novice to be in this forum. Thanks for taking a look.
     
  4. Azuth

    Azuth TPF Noob!

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    Please don't take offense at my reply, there is no such thing as too novice for this forum, people here are happy to help those of all experience.

    I'm not trying to stray from your question, but this is a discussion forum and I have to call it as I see it.

    To be honest (and without trying to get into what's good and bad) I find most of this photographer's images to be tremendously over processed. By that I mean that they have been retouched (photoshopped) beyond a level that you would get for a magazine cover and in doing so made to look like plastic. This seems to run through her 'style' to varying degrees. I expect she's also retouching backgrounds.

    I've copied a couple of examples of this to my web site to save trying to somehow reference them in her flash gallery.

    Images removed due to bleeding heart liberals who think they are the guardians of all that is right and just in the world. Instead please do go to the trouble of figuring out the link above (unless someone decides to fix it) then trolling through a few flash galleries to see some extreme examples of making people look alien and plastic.

    I'm not saying they or she is bad, they're obviously the work of a skilled person. While it's obvious to me she does know how to compose and light a portrait I'd also have to say that real people have pores. If I processed somebody's portrait this much I'd actually expect to offend them.

    She's boosting colour, working particularly on peoples eyes and removing nearly all blemishes from the skin.

    I think my original answer was wrong, the answers you seek will not be found just from lighting and good exposure, to truly emulate the style of this photographer I'd suggest a long course learning how to use Photoshop.

    If you want an example, take any reasonable portrait of your own and post it here to the Photoshop challenge forum asking that someone do a slightly over the top glamour retouching job and explain to you the steps in how they did it.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I have to agree that they look overprocessed to me. To get this look, you start with a well lit and well exposed image; that's just going to take practice. After that, you can find many web pages that explain how to do the processing. Just do a Google search for "photoshop skin smoothing".

    Getting a well lit image is going to take more than we can cover in a thread. That's why photography is a long-term pursuit. Getting a book on studio photography or taking a class or two would be a good route to go.

    If you want to post some of your own work, we might be able to help point out areas that you can work on. It's hard to know what advice to give without knowing where you're starting from.
     
  6. These images are well photographed, and then processed. The two examples posted by Azuth are extremely processed. They are unattractive to me.

    In general, ALL the eyes in her shots are treated: sharpened, whitened, possibly even slightly enlarged in one or two cases. She also worked on the skin of several of her subjects. This is relatively easy to learn, google tutorials to find some good How-Tos. Look under "retouching", "photoshop
    eyes" or "photoshop skin."

    There's also books about Photoshop that spend several chapters on this topic. Check out Scott Kelby, a very good step-by-step author.

    You can do this, it is not hard. There are a lot of clients who are incredibly happy to see themselves like this. Aesthetically as a creative photographer you or some of us might not like it... but your friends (or clients!) might.
     
  7. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    well, with the two examples it is totally overdone.

    I would fade the effect applied it to 80% for baby skin and less than 50% for grown-ups.

    the way it is now it looks plastic and alien. If I would give any of my friends or relatives such a picture of him or herself, he or she would call me nasty names probably and think I was kidding ;)
     
  8. JenPena

    JenPena TPF Noob!

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    Thanks everyone; your replies actually made me feel a lot better. I was actually a little afraid to come back on here and see a lot of arguing about styles and opinions like in previous forums, and I do NOT want to start one of those. I just want to take a good - no, great - photograph and I was afraid that she had some "secret" that I just can't master - I don't want to over-Photoshop things; I want to be able to take the real picture and not process it like some of you have mentioned. It would be for fun, but not for clients. A few touchups here and there would be okay, but I'm not going into the business of changing eyes and skin like that.

    I am having a very hard time pinning down any concept of lighting - it's been a struggle for me for awhile and I know it's a major part of taking photographs; I've wanted to give up for lack of knowledge and a lot of talent but I keep trying - I LOVE taking pictures. But I don't want to be a snap-shooter; I want to control speeds and exposure. I just don't "get" any of it.

    I'm still to embarassed to show any of my stuff; some of you would be horrified that people have actually asked to pay me for it. I don't have a web site to post to yet but I'll read up here on how to do it and get something uploaded. After seeing a lot of other people's work here, I can say "I'm not worthy" but I want to learn. I'd appreciate any suggestions for certain books that focus on lighting especially, or courses you've taken or heard are good. I have been thinking of taking the beginner's course through the School of Photography, but am not sure if that's the right one for me. I apologize for all the babbling but I thought I needed to explain myself and why I'm asking these questions on an advanced forum. Thanks for all your advice!!!
     
  9. Big Mike

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

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    Don't be afraid to ask questions or to show your photos. We like to think that this is the friendliest photo forum around...and we would love to see what you have done.

    I've found, that for a lot of people, understanding exposure is one of those things that is hard to grasp...but eventually you get that breakthrough 'Eureka' moment and it all starts to make sense.
     
  10. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, we have some topics in here where people want to hit each others heads, but mostly we are peaceful and full of reason ... at least in comparison to many other forums ... this is the only forum I stayed on. the others were all mucked up totally and you could not type a single comment without starting a religeous war ...

    no need to be afraid in here :) we are not all pros here and everyone has to learn his or her whole life. and we try to help each other in here in this process.
     
  11. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    I know how you feel. I don't think anyone will "get" my pictures (even I sometimes ask myself, "Why on earth did I take a picture of THAT?). Or that I'll get criticism that won't help me. I'm very touchy about my lack of creativity, especially since, for some reason, I'm always drawn toward things that demand creativity. But I love photography so much and while my interests and hobbies tend to bounce from thing to thing, photography has been a constant interest for me all my life. Maybe it's because for me it's a no-brainer in the way that I can capture what I see and the only thing I really have to "create" is the exposure. What I mean is that I don't have to actually create the beauty in the things I capture with my camera (there's plenty of worthy subjects), just the exposure. And if there's one thing I'm really good at, it's learning!
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    That just means you are critical of your own work, which I think is a good thing. People don't usually offer to pay for stuff they don't think is worth it.

    If it helps, I've been doing this for years, it's my full time occupation, and sometimes I leave a wedding feeling like my heart is broken, and I tell myself "No more! I'm going back to being an amateur!" It's like I tried so hard, but things didn't go smoothly, or my creativity didn't seem to be functioning at all, and I'm sure the photos are just lousy. When the client sends an email I'm sure it's going to say "Those photos sucked! We're getting a lawyer!!", but instead it says "We just wanted to let you know that we got your package yesterday... all we can say is WOW!! We sat down and went through everything last night, and were absolutely blown away by your images. They are truly spectacular, and we couldn't be happier with the results. Thank you so very much!" And then it's okay, until next time. ;)
     

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