Portraits

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by ndancona, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. ndancona

    ndancona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm throwing these out here.

    I'd like to know what you think about them and how you'd imporve on them.

    Finally, do you classify these as portraits as it has been a topic of debate amongst my peers?

    Thanks.

    1.
    nickdancona-photo-1.jpg

    2.
    nickdancona-photo-2.jpg

    3.
    nickdancona-photo-3.jpg


     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
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  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Deliberate, planned images of people... yeah, I call them portraits. the main issue I see is lighting. In #1, there's an odd disconnect between the deep shadow on the rock image left, and subject. There's also very little detail apparent in her dress. In #2 it is very harsh; lighting from nearly overhead with no on-axis fill, and a very hard shadow on her neck. The last one is clever, but I can't help thinking a reflector would have worked wonders to bring a little detail in to her right and knock down the highlights just a bit..
     
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  3. ndancona

    ndancona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for your feedback.
    Image 1. I agree with you. I don't like my edit either now that I look at it. I tried to darken the rocks not to take attention away from the model, but it's messy. I will do it again.
    Image 2: I was alone in the wind. I had a bare flash on a stand which I held with my left hand whilst holding the camera in my right. In an ideal world I would have diffused my light and had a team of assistants running circles around me but unfortunately I was limited to the tools I had available. The light is harsh but I still prefer it to an unlit (natural light) shot.
    Image 3. A reflector.....why didn't I think of that. How simple and yet overlooked. I had one in the car.
     
  4. ndancona

    ndancona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is almost sooc, I just made a few minor adjustments in Lightroom.

    I plan to darken the sky but I'm still not sure what to do with the rocks. Should I keep attention on the model or allow the viewer to explore the whole image? nickdancona-photo-4.jpg
     
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  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Personally, I would crop this in to portrait aspect and eliminate the rock altogether; I don't really feel it adds much.
     
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  6. idcanyon

    idcanyon No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Portraits? Yes, completely.
    1. This is the best of the bunch, in my opinion. The first version you posted was over-edited in terms of the exposure on the left. You have the right idea there but you need to do it more subtly to the entire image, preferably in-camera. It appears you used flash here. If so then you could probably have underexposed the ambient light by about a stop while keeping the flash exposure correct. If not using flash then start! Also, I would have rotated her a bit toward her right/camera left, allowing her left knee to overlap her right leg for nicer curves. Potentially move the flash to the camera's left side to get nose toward light (while still pointing into the scene) while also eliminating the shadow on her right arm which would get worse with rotation. Overall this is a great idea and a style that I really love. I wouldn't crop at all.
    2. The light is too high. Hand held bare flash you say? How did you get it so high? Her eyes are too dark, neck too dark. Some types of "beauty lighting" are pretty harsh because the models have faces that can handle it. This model can handle it, but you still need light in her eyes.
    3. Besides lighting issues I'll add that the lines on the bamboo walls work but I feel like I want a wider view.
     
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  7. ndancona

    ndancona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for your input. On image 1. I wanted to include the whole scene that was my intention. A sort of location portrait if you will. However after looking at it on my computer I thought there were too many distractions. I did a cropped version, which is much cleaner and I like it for different reasons but goes against the original concept.
    This was shot with flash in a softbox. I love ocf it is very much my style.
    10-6sml.jpg

    Image 2. I got the light high because it was on a lighweight stand and i held the stand up off the ground with my left hand.
     
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  8. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In the second image, just tipping her chin up a bit would have gotten light in her eyes. Note the butterfly nose shadow should only be about a quarter of an inch and for most eye sockets that will put light in the eyes. In the first image, the back leg is locked and turned at an uncomfortable angle. If it bends, bend it. However, one of my pet peeves is a model touching her head. I call it my ex-wife's pose, not tonight I have a head ache. Give them something to hold or lean against if you aren't comfortable posing arms/hands. Great line and texture in the b&w. Might consider subtracting from her R to increase shadow there almost split lighting. Might consider a longer lens and getting further from her for more flattering nose rendition. Have you tried cropping down the nose and closer in from the right to emphasize the beam of light on the one eye? Could be a cool image within this one.
     
  9. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Very nice.............
     
  10. texxter

    texxter No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My opinion is that when you photograph people who are aware of being photographed to say something about them it is a portrait. This is the case in your images, clearly.

    Thanks for sharing your work!

    My first observation is that you have three very different portraits - a wide on-location portrait, a traditional 3/4 portrait with neutral background, and monochrome head-shot with some creative twists. You're obviously trying different techniques and approaches and that's a good thing. They may not always work well, but experimentation is an important tool towards getting strong, consistent results. I am a big fan of on-location portraits, and I applaude your choice of photographing your subject in nature. It's not easy but it can be very rewarding!

    From the point of view of possible improvements, I will focus on the first image, which I think is the strongest. You have a pretty young woman in a beautiful beach posing with a dark dress in a somewhat sexy or suggestive position, surrounding by big rocks. Because there are so many elements here, the potential for dissonance is greater unless there is a unifying theme, which I just don't see. A unifying theme could be a feeling of exhilaration and joy coming from her being there, or the drama of beauty in a beautiful setting with beautiful light, or perhaps the beauty of the human figure in nature - without something that drives the choices you make as a photographer you may end up with the germ of a good idea that doesn't quite convey interest to the viewer. So how to make this better? Start with the idea or feeling you want to express, and then use camera lens, angle, pose, lighting, etc to bring your point home. As is, the model feels like standing on a random rock doing a studio pose, without really connecting with nature or the viewer... the rocks are visually very strong and they don't connect with the model because of the different in levels of illumination... her face seems overexposed and the rocks to the left underexposed.. as a viewer I am pulled by the big rocks....

    One suggestion would be to photograph her with a simple nature setting - namely, the rock she's standing on and the beach only, without the competing visual strength of the dark rocks. Making those boulders to the left lighter doesn't help... they are compositionally unnecessary. Simplifying the composition makes it possible for her to be in her pose in a more natural way - this is because the more nature you put in there, the more I expect her to be there for a reason, like interacting with her, or otherwise connected to her. If you remove elements of nature to a minimum, then I can warm up to the idea of her being in a black dress on the beach. It's all about her, and the beach is just a simple prop that can work well.

    Second, once the composition is simpler it may be a good idea to ask about key - high or low key? If low, then darkening the background and making sure she's not overexposed would help. If high, she needs to wear something different (lighter) and the image may work better. A preplanned choice of key can make the image hang together better. A low key decision may call for photographing her closer to sunset, with a more dramatic sky. It would also call for "short lighting" instead of "broad lighting" wich would create more mystery and drama.

    Hope this helps!
     
  11. DSP121

    DSP121 TPF Noob!

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    Nice pictures! :)
     

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