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Looking for a little help


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Jun 8, 2010
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I am not happy about how this photo came out for a lot of reasons but I am not sure how I should go about re-shooting. I dont think the lighting is right, I think I am in a bit too close and I think I want to get out of the studio look (no back drop) but I am having a hard time figuring it out. When I shot this, I had not figured out my strobes for my 4x5 so I was using a video light which resulted in a 1/2 sec exposure which is why she is blurry. I do have my strobes working and wireless now. I think I also calculated the bellows compensation wrong which resulted in the image being a bit over exposed. Could also be from having to photograph the negative to "scan" it causing the exposure issue as well. I want to get a dark gritty emotional feel from this but I dont think I hit it with the image. Any thoughts?

Wabi Sabi by Shutter_Inc., on Flickr
Yeah, maybe too much light on her face, cropped too closely, etc. Just try some stuff. Give it an overall color shift to some "sad" color, whatever.
Not sure exactly what you want. Looking at this, I see about six, maybe seven different tonal values, with the face being mostly one value, then the highlights on the face, the shoulder lower right being the brightest tone, then the hair having three different tones, and the shirt another tonal value. The face and neck are pretty large areas, but have mostly large expanses of similar, broad light tonal values, and the shadows on the face are pretty light ones, with detail visible in them, so overall, the lighting is fairly broad, and fairly soft-ish...so, you had the ORIGINAL, on-scene lighting relatively low-contrast on the majority of her face and neck, and then it drops off to dark shadows on the off-side.

I suppose too there's also the matter of the scan/digitizing exposure as well...the clear edges of the film look a bit too light to me, so I think there is a less-than-perfect black point at work here.

The other issue could easily be the lip color; not sure what the original film was? If it was B&W and shot without a filter, her lips will look a bit too light, tonally, in B&W. I would consider using some of the different B&W filter effects in Lightroom to make the lips darker, more-contrasty, and perhaps also to sort of separate the tonal values more from one another.

The curves adjustment tool can also be a major help in this.
IMO, I think your over thinking the image. It is a fine image all by itself. A good image doesn't have to be tack sharp. I just pulled the tone curve down a little, bumped the contrast and clarity up to give it a little richer blacks with a subtle amount of definition. Even with that, not much different. Wouldn't even consider sharpening. Personally, I love your image.

24684731510_7a1d08aab9 2.jpg
beside blurring...I feel like it lacks of consistency.
She has the make up melting, like she cried or she's a little bit ina sloppy mood, but the hair are perfect and the pose of the head it's not consistent with the idea.
Also the p.o.v. is too much straight. I would dare something more dramatic. Also play with curves adjustment tool.
To answer your question, I think this image is a great start.

For reshooting I would agree that it'd make sense to have a more consistent look (messy hair with sad face or whatever).

For lighting, this is just me thinking creatively, but I think it'd look cool to have shadow on both sides of her face, and have the front of her face well lit with a slight angle from above (butterfly style).

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