Friday, July 10, 2009

Constructive Feedback?

So I sort of cut close to Ya's back trying to get his attention and keep him on the staircase.

I'd like some comments on what could take this "look he's 45 weeks old" shot from okay to wow. After all, at this point every photo looks the same...

This is the SOOC image, taken around 9:20 a.m. with a Nikon D50. Lens was my 18-50mm F3.5-5.6. Available light only, with camera set on its "portrait" auto control. [Technical data: 1/800 exposure, F4.8, 32mm focal length.] Notice that the shot is flat and he is incredibly funny colored. I also don't like that his beautiful bright eyes seem all black and lifeless. I'd like to try something with frames (which I have no earthly idea how to do). So I thought maybe I should tint the photo, but aside from desaturating the image, there's not much talent on my part in that arena. Besides, when I desaturate the image and use "variations" in Photoshop, I get weird highlights I didn't see in the original image and end up loosing the scene's details (I burned where the weird highlights were distracting). See?

I was thinking about perhaps darkening the background above his head to help him "pop" out the image... but I didn't like the "fake" look I achieved when I used PhotoShop's burn tool. And that shadow in the lower left side is bothering me something terrible. My original solution was to blacken the edges slightly after cropping, but the right side's crop I created with the original shot won't allow me to make this adjustment effectively. Here's where I stopped:

What I liked about the photo itself is that he isn't looking at me... the downward glance is typical of his attitude of late. He is independent, doesn't answer to his name unless he feels like it, and he is always on the move. This photo seems to show that. And I eyed this setting awhile back and couldn't wait until Ya could sit up well enough to be put in it. I waited too long, because now he climbs and turns or eats whatever he sees around him. But that's a 10-month-old for you, right?

Here's hoping someone out there with a little more knowledge has a way I can improve my image...


Boybarian Dad said...

Oh, I'm so excited to see a Nikon user, yay. :) What a cute little boy. He seems like he is having a fun time just being a boy :).

I think you've done a really good job with this image. One thing I would recommend is changing that shutter speed and aperture. So maybe, switch it out of P mode and go to manual, aperture or shutter mode. If that aperture goes from a 4.8 to maybe like a f7, you'll get more dof, and more definition on his eyes and expression. But this is all subjective.

Now getting rid of some of those highlights on his head are pretty difficult sometimes. So I decided to play around with your image a bit in photoshop.

I ran unsharp mask, twice. I then blurred out his lips a touch. Next was dodging his eyes, just to give them a bit of activity. Next, I lightened the image, now this did not help the highlights already on his forehead.

So I made a new layer. I decided to use the paint dropper and take a sample on his forehead of the skin that i wanted to use. Picked a brush and had opacity and flow at the top set to 12%. I painted the highlight areas, then went under layer opacity and adjusted it a bit. Now if there are other areas, you can brush that as well. I think it does a pretty good job of getting rid of those highlights.

Here is the edited image I came up with:

As far as the frames, I have no idea, lol. I would suggest playing around with it and searching for some tutorials online.

Thanks for joining us today and have a great weekend,
B Dad

Lisa Julia Photography said...

Hey beautiful mama! i hope you don't mind my 2 cents! He's getting to be such a big boy!!!

The 'problem' with your lighting is exactly that...the lighting...he was facing full sun at what looks to be close to noon so it's up pretty high. I shoot in that spot ALL.THE.TIME. if it's the 'steps' next to the PD's in O...but you have to watch HOW the light is falling on your subject and then move them so you don't see shadows on their face (which is what is preventing you from seeing 'light' in his eyes)the sunlight was just too harsh and it's more about positioning your subject for the best results vs anything you did 'wrong' with your camera settings..that said, i shoot only in manual mode (but auto focus) and i shoot WIDE....normally my ap for one subject is no more than 2.8 because i personally prefer a more SHALLOW DOF where the background is more blurred so the subject is more in focus.
Hope this helps!

Lisa Julia Photography said...

PS..see that it was about 9:30am...yeah..for that spot at that time of day you'd have to move him around quite a bit to avoid the blaring sun!

Lisa Julia Photography said... is a shot at 'about' the same time of day in the same spot....also full sun but i was at a different angle:

Lisa Julia Photography said...

was this at all helpful? =)