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Archive 2011 · A couple of portraits
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · A couple of portraits

Thoughts, suggestions for improvement are welcome.

I also attached the original - tried different crops but couldn't find one that I was too happy with.
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Nov 21, 2011 at 04:15 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · A couple of portraits

Just my opinion here:
The first one I would consider a tighter crop of the head to accentuate the character in his face. His arms also will not be cut off.

I like the third picture. She would be more flattery with slight blurring or blending around the eyes and or selective skin areas. Below is an example.

Nov 21, 2011 at 07:09 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · A couple of portraits

A vote for JHut's suggestions.

For the last, I find my eye drawn to dark area defined by the falling hair. From just playing with re-sizing, see what you think of a vertical crop following the line of the door(?) frame. That way the arm leads into her face, her cheekbone and eye, with the hairline helping hold the eye without another lighter area to the right competing for attention. Also, the sweeping arc of the falling hair is a dynamic tending to pull the eye off the image.

I like the processing.



Nov 21, 2011 at 07:58 PM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · A couple of portraits

Here is a crop version to what Bob suggested. Pulled a little detail out of the dark and softened skin a tad.


Nov 21, 2011 at 09:27 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · A couple of portraits

Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys. I do indeed prefer the crops of both photos. I am still learning my way around Lightroom and editing stuff in general so never really have a set goal in mind - play around with various settings and see what each slider does. Sometimes I get purple rabbits, other times I get lucky with a decent picture. For whatever reason I tend to prefer black and white over color versions of the pictures I am taking. Perhaps I just like BW because others with the same set up as mine (NEX 5 + Zeiss 35/2.8 Biogon C) have posted some amazing color photos. Mine look...washed out almost. I have attached the jpeg straight out of the camera (the raw was edited). The colors seem muted (to me) and there seems to be a hazy feeling about the picture - not as sharp perhaps? I am not sure how to convey what it feels like to me but perhaps the more learned members can articulate better.

JHut, if you don't mind me asking, how was it that you "pulled a little detail out of the dark?" I know how to crop photos and soften skin (or selected areas) in lightroom but not sure I know how to do what you suggested with the darker areas. Any help or a link to a howto/tutorial would be much appreciated.

Thanks for the comments/help Bob. Would love to hear how to improve.

Something else I have struggled with is the problem of limbs being cut off in a lot of the pictures I take. I think the issue stems from my use of a clearviewer (no affiliation to the seller) and 7x magnification-


to focus the manual lens. While doing this one a small portion of the entire picture is visible to me and often I lose vital parts of the human body in the end result. I have tried using the peaking feature but have missed a lot of shots due to the wrong part of the face/or scene being in focus. Is it just something I have to live with or could one stop chopping off limbs. I have very unsteady hands and body in general and can't stand still (am in a constant motion of swaying and rocking). I have tried focusing first with the magnification and then closing it to take the shot however in just that split second either my hand or my body moves resulting in the wrong area being in focus. Any suggestions to help with that?


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Nov 21, 2011 at 10:39 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · A couple of portraits


I'm not sure if I can help since we use different software and I am not familiar with the NEX 5. I have used Lightroom in the past but I prefer Photoshop for now. As far as recovering detail from shadow areas, this can be pulled out of a RAW file if your software has a raw editor. I use Photoshop CS5 and an editor pulls up when I edit RAW files ( Camera Raw 6.3). One of the sliders is fill light. Fred sells Photoshop actions that automate processes for you. I have a Shadow Recovery action from Fred but I don't believe he sells it anymore. I used that to pull detail from your JPEG.

As far as locking focus on your subject. Many cameras have a focus lock on the shutter button when pressed halfway. I can lock on my subject and then pan if I want that focus subject away from the frame center. I am not sure if the NEX 5 has this capability. I use an old Nikon SLR camera. A fast shutter speed will ensure that your handheld shots will be more in focus. Hope this helps. John

Nov 21, 2011 at 11:27 PM

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