Young boy

Southbound33

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Im trying my best to get better at taking pictures of people. I figured a hyper kid who refuses to stay still would be a good starting point lol. I did black and white because why not. Feedback encouraged

Setup and edits: Shot in "creative" mode because Im not that comfortable shooting people in manual yet. Tried my best to lighten the shadows without ruining the image, removed bags under eyes and smoothed skin on his face (a little bit, he was dirty) ... B&W and thats it


IMG_5944.JPG
 

Derrel

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Almost everything about this photo is good, except for the direction of the light, which has caused his eyes to appear black and kind of glassy. The other aspects are all very nice though! The way the playground equipment frames him is great! The diagonal line across the background adds an active element. The little bruise on his arm says "Rambunctious kid!" The entire compositional space is used pretty well too. the slogan-bearing T-shirt has been effectively minimized, yet revealed ever-so-slightly. Eye contact with the camera, great. I'm not so sure that B&W is the best way to see this scene, mostly due to the dark, black eyes that the B&W rendering has created. It's not a great picture, but it is a very good one. It is much,much,much better in terms of simplicity and balance and directness than many "kid snaps".
 
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Southbound33

Southbound33

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Thanks man, finally some feedback that I can use. As someone who is literally only a few weeks into portraits, having someone say its a great picture is awesome. I want to post the original picture and see if my edits were properly done, and what others would do different. This kid has hockey pucks for eyes, big and black. I just didn't like the colors in the original so thats why I did the B&W. Again, feedback is genuinely appreciated

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Derrel

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IMG_5944_Derrel's edit.JPG

"soft light edit"

The real issue is not his eyes themselves, so much as it is...it is the quality and the direction of the light. If you had used a 1/8 power flash pop at this distance, the eyes would have sparkled and had some color...is the light had been just a bit more frontal, the final image would have made a GREAT picture. The light is mostly high overhead and coming in from behind. This type of high, overhead back/side-light lighting situation is just not going to light up the eyes well, unless supplementary light of some kind is added OR his relationship to the light is changed. Even a bit of body rotation, toward the sky light would help. I see this was shot at 1/200 second, so...a tiny, low-powered pop-up flash would really have changed this shot dramatically. Not trying to rag on your efforts, just explaining that this is a common situation that has existed ever since photography has been around. "Raccoon eyes" is the common disparaging name for this phenomenon...it is so common that it has its very own name, as a syndrome.
 
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Southbound33

Southbound33

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View attachment 104351
"soft light edit"

The real issue is not his eyes themselves, so much as it is...it is the quality and the direction of the light. If you had used a 1/8 power flash pop at this distance, the eyes would have sparkled and had some color...is the light had been just a bit more frontal, the final image would have made a GREAT picture. The light is mostly high overhead and coming in from behind. This type of high, overhead back/side-light lighting situation is just not going to light up the eyes well, unless supplementary light of some kind is added OR his relationship to the light is changed. Even a bit of body rotation, toward the sky light would help. I see this was shot at 1/200 second, so...a tiny, low-powered pop-up flash would really have changed this shot dramatically. Not trying to rag on your efforts, just explaining that this is a common situation that has existed ever since photography has been around. "Raccoon eyes" is the common disparaging name for this phenomenon...it is so common that it has its very own name, as a syndrome.

Thank you for taking the time to do that, and I definitely see what you mean. I need to take more time to actually prepare for the situation. My problem is that (and this is my son so Im trying to remain impartial) I just snap a bunch of pictures and hope that a few, or even one will come out worth saving. I will go ahead and say that I haven't even dabbled in artificial light because my experience with using flash has always turned out bad pictures, so I rely on natural light. This is something I need to work on. I have yet to get a picture of him showing any color in his eyes because they really are SO dark, and when I use my flash all I get is blown out, horrible pics. This has been the best feedback so far on this forum and again, thank you. Now I know for sure what my next step is!
 
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Southbound33

Southbound33

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Also, in my OP, I removed the bags/lines under his eyes. For me it just makes or breaks a portrait because the first thing you look at is the eyes. But it looks really fake when you side-by-side the edit/original. Am I overthinking that aspect?
 

Ysarex

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Also, in my OP, I removed the bags/lines under his eyes. For me it just makes or breaks a portrait because the first thing you look at is the eyes. But it looks really fake when you side-by-side the edit/original. Am I overthinking that aspect?

Yep, you're over thinking the eyes -- children don't have bags under their eyes.

You're biggest difficulty with this photo, as Derrel noted, is the lighting. The lower contrast of overcast light is generally positive for people but even overcast light has direction. Complicating the light is the bright background and both work together against you -- boy's face is too dark. In the color original your camera's auto white balance mucked up which might explain why you didn't like the color.

It's hard enough to chase kids let alone chase them with light modifiers so no matter how you look at it odds of getting everything right with a shutter click aren't in your favor. Derrel's fill flash suggestion is worth considering.

Otherwise you're left with a processing job. You can make the processing job much easier and dramatically increase what's possible by having the camera save a CR2 (raw) file.

Joe

boy.jpg


Adjusted the white balance and lightened the boy plus darkened the background (which is a fight working with a JPEG).

And in B&W the same effort to lighten the boy's face and suppress the background.

boy_bw.jpg
 

Jasii

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I keep saying this again and again that there is no better model than a Kid. Your son is a handsome lad indeed. Your pic does succeed in doing justice to him me thinks.
Reading Derrel's comments/critique was like reading a tutorial. Thanks for that Derrel. Lotsa learning there. :)
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