Classic Portrait

smoke665

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Technical:
Pentax K1MII, 80mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO 100

Lighting: Studio 3 light modified Clamshell lighting. 42" octabox slightly above center line of eye, left almost on camera axis. 2x4 softbox mid height, right just off camera axis. Kicker with barn doors, on boom high, back, down to ease the hair and shoulders.

Processing: Lr and Ps.

Intent: To create a portrait in the style of a classic studio style with a little modern twist, suitable for a canvas print in the 16x20 size. Because I haven't fully decided on a size, I've left it uncropped intentionally.

Process thinking: Using the modified lighting scheme, I was seeking to minimize skin blemishes, but create a tad more shadow detail then you typically see in a straight Clamshell setup, as well as create a little glow on the skin while minimizing some of the red she has on the cheeks.

I've been researching the processing of other prominent photographers recently, and one comment that stuck with me, is that "detail on a studio shot should reflect what you might see as an observer in a restaurant". With that in mind I've worked to develop a process that smooths and softens the skin, tone maps the image and finish it off with a matte finish.

Concerns:
With younger children movement is always a concern so my go to aperture is f/8 to give me enough DOF to handle that slight movement. The downside of that is you sometimes get more detail then you actually need, in this case on the facial skin, and the chair. The facial skin I covered I believe, the chair was just way to sharp and bright in the original. Using a little lens blur and a gradient in Ps I've sought to soften and darken the chair so it isn't competing. Not sure if I might need to bring it down some more.

Things I already see I've missed:
Bottom of the shoe showing (it was what it was), some of the sparkly things on the costume need to be corrected, and a little more touch up on the Lens Blur mask, as it's overlapping the hair a little more then I intended.

Fire away.......................notepad ready. LOL

Award Trophy-509.jpg by William Raber, on Flickr
 
I'm not really qualified to crit portrait photography but the thing that jumps out to me is the space above her head. I think that could be reduced by half or so and a little more added to the bottom as the front leg of the chair looks a little close to the frame edge there. That apart, beautiful portrait.
 
This has a great feel to it and will make an excellent canvas.

The shoe being visible doesn't take anything away from the image. I wouldn't worry about it.

I would have only changed a few things.

I know children can be a bit more difficult to work with but I'd have tried to get her to sit with her back a bit more straight. Not to the point it looks forced but just a little more than she is now.
Her hand in her lap I would have had her turn down towards her lap.
And last I would have cloned out the lace that is sticking out below the upturned shoe.

Overall it's a well done photo.
Any parent would be thrilled to have this on thier wall.
 
I'm not really qualified to crit portrait photography but the thing that jumps out to me is the space above her head. I think that could be reduced by half or so and a little more added to the bottom as the front leg of the chair looks a little close to the frame edge there. That apart, beautiful portrait.

I had noted in my OP "Because I haven't fully decided on a size, I've left it uncropped intentionally". However, you are correct on the bottom space, I'd already noted that I needed to stretch that before the the final crop. That's the advantage of a black background. LOL Thanks for the comments.

I know children can be a bit more difficult to work with but I'd have tried to get her to sit with her back a bit more straight. Not to the point it looks forced but just a little more than she is now.
Her hand in her lap I would have had her turn down towards her lap.
And last I would have cloned out the lace that is sticking out below the upturned shoe.

Overall it's a well done photo.
Any parent would be thrilled to have this on thier wall.

She was originally posed further back but at the exact moment I snapped the shutter........she decided to exercise "her creative license" and lean forward. LOL Totally missed the hand, it all looks easy until you're there trying to catch everything at the last minute. Missed the lace as well, now that you mentioned it, I can't unsee it! At least it's an easy fix. Thanks for the comments.
 
Technical:
Pentax K1MII, 80mm, f/8, 1/200, ISO 100

Lighting: Studio 3 light modified Clamshell lighting. 42" octabox slightly above center line of eye, left almost on camera axis. 2x4 softbox mid height, right just off camera axis. Kicker with barn doors, on boom high, back, down to ease the hair and shoulders.

Processing: Lr and Ps.

Intent: To create a portrait in the style of a classic studio style with a little modern twist, suitable for a canvas print in the 16x20 size. Because I haven't fully decided on a size, I've left it uncropped intentionally.

Process thinking: Using the modified lighting scheme, I was seeking to minimize skin blemishes, but create a tad more shadow detail then you typically see in a straight Clamshell setup, as well as create a little glow on the skin while minimizing some of the red she has on the cheeks.

I've been researching the processing of other prominent photographers recently, and one comment that stuck with me, is that "detail on a studio shot should reflect what you might see as an observer in a restaurant". With that in mind I've worked to develop a process that smooths and softens the skin, tone maps the image and finish it off with a matte finish.

Concerns:
With younger children movement is always a concern so my go to aperture is f/8 to give me enough DOF to handle that slight movement. The downside of that is you sometimes get more detail then you actually need, in this case on the facial skin, and the chair. The facial skin I covered I believe, the chair was just way to sharp and bright in the original. Using a little lens blur and a gradient in Ps I've sought to soften and darken the chair so it isn't competing. Not sure if I might need to bring it down some more.

Things I already see I've missed:
Bottom of the shoe showing (it was what it was), some of the sparkly things on the costume need to be corrected, and a little more touch up on the Lens Blur mask, as it's overlapping the hair a little more then I intended.
Overall, a good result!

I'll give it a shot while waiting for the real portrait photographers to chime in.

It looks as if your lighting is balanced 1:1, which in my mind takes away the contours. Some of the things I have read say the normal split is a 3:1 split between the key and fill. Also, your hair light should be boosted, to something like the key, and cut off sharply (as you mentioned). The hair light is too far forward, though, and not really separating (as you had no doubt intended) the hair from the darkness of the background.

As to your aperture doing something about slight movement, the strobes will take care of that, with an effective time of exposure being far shorter than your shutter opening.

Just a couple of comments about posing your model: She is hunched over, which is not the most flattering pose, and you might consider having her look at the camera if she will.

As for all that post-capture editing you do, I know nothing about that, so no comments on that.

One more thing; I see nothing wrong with showing something of the background, particularly if you have a wall-papered wall or drapery, and a bit of the floor showing as well. These can be underexposed with enough light to show up, so this chair is not floating in space.

You can crop the right side about 15 % or so, and adjust the proportions by cropping the top margin.
 
It looks as if your lighting is balanced 1:1, which in my mind takes away the contours. Some of the things I have read say the normal split is a 3:1 split between the key and fill. Also, your hair light should be boosted, to something like the key, and cut off sharply (as you mentioned). The hair light is too far forward, though, and not really separating (as you had no doubt intended) the hair from the darkness of the background.

Typically the ratio on this type of lighting scheme is much lower, it's designed to minimize shadows (blemishes). I was metered for 1:2 but when she leaned forward it brought it closer to 1:1. The light on the top of the head is more from the key then the kicker. It doesn't show up well here, but the kicker is just catching the back edge of her head, but again when she leaned forward......... Sometimes you get what you get with kids. In the original the chair is bright and in sharp focus as it caught part of the kicker. In editing I felt like it was by it's prominence, taking away from the subject, so I did a Lens Blur and gradient to darken and soften it. May have to go in and brush in some light on the hair for more separation.

She follows directions to a point, but she will be 5 next month, and as such she also does what she wants....unexpectedly. LOL As I mentioned the aperture setting I used is to provide a DOF zone that I can hopefully catch her in as she passes through. Thanks for commenting, your points are appreciated and noted.
 
As as someone trained in formal studio portraiture, the accidental showing of the bottom of the shoe was the first thing I noticed that is quote wrong with this shot. My mentor and trainer taught me that the bottom of the shoe should not be shown in such a seated pose with young children.

I do think you should shave off a slight amount of the right hand side. as far as the space above her head, when cropped to 8 x 10 that will be reduced.I do think it would be good to expand the canvas a little bit below the chair feet. Overall I think you did quite a credible job. I think your lighting and processing is quite good. This does have a very classic look to it.
 
As as someone trained in formal studio portraiture, the accidental showing of the bottom of the shoe was the first thing I noticed that is quote wrong with this shot. My mentor and trainer taught me that the bottom of the shoe should not be shown in such a seated pose with young children.

I do think you should shave off a slight amount of the right hand side. as far as the space above her head, when cropped to 8 x 10 that will be reduced.I do think it would be good to expand the canvas a little bit below the chair feet. Overall I think you did quite a credible job. I think your lighting and processing is quite good. This does have a very classic look to it.

The $#%^&^ shoe, really bugs me as well because I know better. I could fib and say she moved it (because she did), but I just flat out missed it when I took this shot and the others worth editing. :02.47-tranquillity: Not only that, out of all the chair shots, guess which one was the ONLY one where the foot was where I placed it???? I think you can appreciate why I didn't edit this one. LOL
Award Trophy-503.jpg
 
I haven't done formal portraiture in over 40 years so the only comment I will make is in regard to the front left chair leg...there is room to stretch that side just a little for a more balanced look.
 
A canvas print will cut your detail by quite a bit.I would suggest that you make your file for print sharpened more than normal.... Almost crunchy to put it in the vernacular. The canvas texture will cut down on fine detail to a great extent.
 
A canvas print will cut your detail by quite a bit.I would suggest that you make your file for print sharpened more than normal.... Almost crunchy to put it in the vernacular. The canvas texture will cut down on fine detail to a great extent.

I added a test layer of a canvas texture, just to see how it looked. I noticed the change in detail and contrast, but the contrast might have been due to the detail loss. Thanks for reminding me.
 
FWIW, I'd echo what @Designer stated, the lighting is too flat for my liking. There is no discernible shadow which reduces the definition of shaping the face and the left side(camera right) of her face and ear are very close to the same luminance value as the front of her face. A 42" octa for one child perhaps is too big a modifier or knocking back the fill to increase the ratio, maybe even a fill card would do the trick. Lots of variables since distance of lighting from the subject is not listed.

Anyway, just nit picking, I am sure the parents are thrilled. ;)
 

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