Trying REALLY hard w/Lighting c&c

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by linpelk, May 21, 2009.

  1. linpelk

    linpelk TPF Noob!

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    It occurred to me the other day that there is a white sheet hanging about 1/2 way inside my garage where my husband projects his Wii. I thought, hey, that light looks kind of nice. This is my attempt at using natural light with a little boost from my flash in my garage.

    Pic #1. I opened the garage door and put my daughter next to the white wall on the left side of the garage. I used my flash and bounced it off of the white sheet that was hanging in the middle of the garage.

    f/1.8, 1/200, ISO 250 w/50mm lens

    [​IMG]

    Pic #2. I put a bar stool in front of the white sheet that is hanging about 1/2 way inside of my garage. I used my flash and attempted to bounce it off of a reflector to my left. I put a sheet over the chair she is sitting on and I know it looks hokey, but it was better than the ugly chair. Since the sheet doesn't go all the way to the ground, I had to get my kids up high enough to be in front of it :lol:

    f/1.8, 1/250, ISO 250 w/50mm lens

    [​IMG]
     
  2. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    I think you did a fine job here... they look great to me. Cute kids btw.
     
  3. brettmc

    brettmc TPF Noob!

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    I think that they both are really great. The first one is my fav, my only thought is that you may want to warm up the light just a tad kind of bluish. Very small critique, but I still really like it, great expression and nice light catch in the eye
     
  4. LuckySo-n-So

    LuckySo-n-So TPF Noob!

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    #1 is great. Only flaw that my peasant eyes can see is that the chin is a bit soft, but her eyes jump right out. Great focus on the eyes. Adorable little girl.

    #2 is nice as well, but not as good as #1. I think because it has that 1975 Olan Mills look to it. I really like it when the subject is looking at the camera in most cases.
     
  5. Skedaddle

    Skedaddle TPF Noob!

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    I like them especially the first photo. Then second one is good but I really like the first except for the soft chin.
     
  6. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think 1 is pretty awesome. Print that and hang it on the wall. I agree a bit more depth of field would have been nice... get that whole cute face sharp and the rest fuzzy, but even so... solid. And those eyes DO pop.

    In fact, if you will forgive me a minor editing transgression, have a look at this (be sure to look at it full size):

    [​IMG]

    What I did here is this: (all in Photoshop)

    - Slight bump to contrast: ~+10
    - Slight bump in overall saturation: ~+10
    - Slight added bump to BLUE saturation: ~+7 or so
    - Slight bump to sharpness (unsharp mask): 70%, .8 pixels, threshold 2

    In my opinion, nearly all digital photogs need to be a bit more heavy handed in their settings in these areas... not excessive, but for me even a slight adjustment can really make images POP.

    Keep in mind, too, that ALL digital pictures need to be sharpened to some degree (unless you want a soft effect)... there is an anti-aliasing filter (a physical device) over the sensor of nearly every digital camera that is there to help make an analog scene translate to digital without stepping and other artifacts that would normally be the result. This softens them. You want to correct that in post processing for most scenes. This is oversimplifying things a bit, but hopefully gives you a starting point.

    BTW, on your second shot I think the light may have been a tad harsh for her and the shadow behind and the all-white background doesn't seem to help the scene too much for me, personally. I think you could salvage the shot a bit by air-brushing the cheeks a bit. (lemme know if you don't know how and I can explain that... I've probably said too much already!) :lol:

    Again, love the first one. Cute girls. :)
     
  7. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Oh, I forgot - I also cloned out two little dots on her face... looked like usual wear and tear on kids. :) I have two young girls, too... they're always getting banged up. :)
     
  8. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I like the first one. I love the angle and composition. You managed to get the eyes in focus which is key and they just pop out of the picture. Color temperature may be a little cool, but this shot is well done.
     
  9. linpelk

    linpelk TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your comments! I was really happy that I actually got those eyes in focus..it doesn't happen for me very often. I am one of those people that feel like if I don't nail those eyes, the picture is useless. Needless to say, I have a lot of useless pictures.

    Manaheim, thanks so much for your help with this shot. Her eyes are so much bluer in your version. It is a REALLY nice improvement. I was following along well with your adjustments until you mentioned the unsharp mask: 70% .8 pixels...that's when my brain just shut down. I've been using an "action" for sharpening my photos because I don't know how to do it myself. I envy all of you who have a grip on Photoshop. I feel like this is going to be that constant bump in the road until I can enroll in some kind of class or workshop. Thanks for the info on making the sharpness adjustments. This is something that I've only recently discovered and that I don't always remember to do. It makes a huge difference!
     
  10. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hey, very glad you liked the rev. I can give you a quick tutorial on sharpening if it helps... (of course I'm just going to type it now and hope that it does.) :lol:

    Note that it's a good idea to have your image at 100% zoom when you do this, and to watch your preview window carefully. Sharpening is destructive and will create artifacts like "halos" around the edges of objects, can increase noise, etc.

    Also be sure to always keep your originals... most editing processes can be destructive!!!!

    Also, understand that what sharpening is doing is trying to find and clarify edges for you. Keeping this in mind helps understand what PS is doing.

    Ok, onto the sharpening...


    Look at (from your PS menu) Filter -> Sharpening. You have a number of options there, but the two key ones you're going to want are Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen.

    Let's start with Unsharp Mask because I think it's what most people use and very good with pictures of people.

    Basically what you're doing is setting the level of sharpening (in percent), the distance that the algorythm looks "outward" from each pixel to determine what it needs to do to sharpen an image (the radius) and then basically how forgiving you want the tool to be (threshold).

    The percent is easy... it's just "more or less". I find that with my Nikon cameras that I'm usually sharpening between 70 and 100% for almost everything I do. You tend to want to go a little easier on people's faces than on, say, buildings or cars. Things with solid unwavering colors and defined lines tend to lend themselves to stronger sharpening with less visible damage to the image.

    The radius is kind of a "play with it and get used to what you like". It also depends on the resolution of your camera. I have a 12MP D300 and I generally find I do between .8 and 1.2 pixels. The majority of the halo effect seems to come from this control.

    The Threshold is basically how forgiving you want it to be... it's been a while since I've looked into the specific mechanics of this, but I find this helps a great deal with skintones because skin tones are NOT consistent, and you don't necessarily want the alg. to consider a 20% change in color of the skin as an "edge" and sharpen it. I usually set this to 2-3, depending on circumstances and how varied the tones are. This is also a control that is NOT present in Smart Sharpen, which is why I don't use the latter on people. I find it does... bad things. :)


    Now smart sharpen...

    It's basically the same thing, just lacking that last aspect of the tool. I will admit I do NOT know the difference between these things mechanically- haven't looked into it- but I find that smart sharpen works very well on VERY well exposed images of more "hard" objects. Unsharp mask is a bit more gentle and really seems to look for just outer edges- Smart Sharpen seems to kind of go hog-wild on the whole thing.

    Again, this is just my interpretation of the results I see and by NO MEANS a useful explanation of the mechanics. :)


    The final key with sharpening is to play a bit... grab your image and move a slider to a major extreme and see what it does. Then back it off slowly and look at the results as you change things. Do this with every image and after a while you'll get a pretty good feel for what you generally find pleasing to your eye.

    There are also some advanced tricks, but get the basics down first.

    And, of course, feel free to ask questions here. :)

    Good luck!
     
  11. linpelk

    linpelk TPF Noob!

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    manaheim, thanks so much. I just went to photoshop and tried this out on a picture of a friend of mine and her husband. I get it now!! That was really easy..and I've discovered that sharpening works on wrinkles too..yikes!!
     
  12. manaheim

    manaheim Jedi Bunnywabbit Staff Member Supporting Member

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    ahahahaha... yes... yes it does! :lol:

    I'm glad it worked for you! :)
     

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