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Archive 2012 · hows this pic
  
 
james weston
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · hows this pic


hows this pic





hows this




Jan 07, 2012 at 03:09 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · hows this pic


It's a good meaningful image nicely rendered, although some additional sharpness to the eye detail may help.

Perhaps some retouching, too.









Jan 07, 2012 at 05:32 AM
james weston
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · hows this pic


thamks


Jan 07, 2012 at 05:52 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · hows this pic


Diggin' the scale, pattern and emotion ... b&w version

Her hair was pulling my eye up out of the frame, so I tried to fade to black to keep it from pulling away from their faces.

Slight crop (5:4) to try and place the eyes on the corner-corner diagonal .. with a kinda fibonachi/golden mean scale reduction from mother-child-hand






Edited on Jan 07, 2012 at 03:37 PM · View previous versions



Jan 07, 2012 at 02:22 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · hows this pic


It's a lovely gentle portrait. The fact it's bit soft doesn't detract from it in this case for me.

The way I compose and crop is by asking myself what is most important to the message of the photo, zooming/cropping in tight on it, the expanding the frame outward. I call it "Inside-Out Cropping". The rationale is that close-ups have the effect emotionally of pulling the viewer closer to the action, making it seem more intimate. It's a technique used in movies to heighten emotion as the camera moves from wide establishing scene to close-up. As I expand the frame I look for things that start to distract from the focal point and dilute it's impact.

In portraits the message is in the expression of on the face around the eyes and mouth. What distracts from it are the ear and folds of the neck skin on Mom (a natural result of turning the head) and her ear which has wound up brightly lit and the amount of bright bare skin on her shoulder competing with the highlighting on the faces.

Here are a couple of alternate crops to consider which minimize or eliminate the distractions.

This tighter crop puts maximum attention on the baby with the mother becoming more like a framing element. It eliminates all potential distraction by simply cropping them out. The pose with the baby in front of the mother's face made "short" lighting the faces impossible (Baby would shade key light from Mom) so using adjustment layers I augmented the lighting of the shot adding highlights with screen layers and shadow with multiply.







As the crop widens and more of Mom is seen the balance shifts more equally between them because more of Mom is seen. This crop was predicated in part by eliminating the distraction of the folds on the neck and the bright shoulder, but compared to the first tighter crop I find the inclusion of the ear a distraction.







The way I look at cropping in general is that it's not so much that one is better than another, they simply tell a different part of the same story. The question I ask, as suggest other do when cropping is to ask how much context is needed to tell the story effectively. For me my tighter edit says it all





Jan 07, 2012 at 02:38 PM
james weston
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · hows this pic


Thanks a help noted


Jan 07, 2012 at 02:47 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · hows this pic


Pose is great. A sweet, tender capture.
I like Chuck's last crop best, and find his explanation very helpful.
I am in the minority on one more issue: Although softness definitely suits the subject and mood and may work fine for the people that really matter, too me its just too soft.
Scott



Jan 07, 2012 at 02:51 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · hows this pic


+1 @ the crop determines what portion of the story you want to tell.

However, the tighter crop loses the dimunitive scale of the infant (i.e. dominates 40-50% of frame) and really changes the dynamic of the image. Of course, if you are aspiring to make the infant the dominant part, then the tight crop is the way to go (mom becomes an environmental frame). If you want to retain the scale relationship, then the looser crop helps a bit more to retain that relationship. Just depends on "What's the point" you are trying to convey to your viewer.

Both have their place depending on your intended POV ... i.e. is it about the "infant" or about "mother & child". For me, it's about the latter and keeping the relative scale is a part of that relationship that I'm kinda keen on as being integral to the story in this one. Similarly, keeping the infant in the lower third of the frame retains a diminutive suggestion, whereas central placement adds prominence.

Edited on Jan 07, 2012 at 05:50 PM · View previous versions



Jan 07, 2012 at 03:04 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · hows this pic


FWIW - I too would have preferred to see it sharper at capture, but it is what it is. But by the same token I find modern lenses to uniformly sharp and had it been tack sharp at capture I would have blurred and softened everything except the eyes and mouth by degrees in PP with the skin retouching action I use (surface blur and high pass filter sharpening).

As for the lighting I find short lit profiles much more dramatic and effective than flat lit ones as here. It's not matter of the lighting here being "bad" it just doesn't put the brightest highlights where the attention is needed on the front of the face like a short lit profile does...







A "short" lit full face, oblique and profile view all have the key light 45 from the nose with the camera simply moving around the face to capture the short lighting at different angles. I learned this apprenticing with Monte Zucker who at the time shot all his formal portraits with window light. First you pose the face to the window at about a 45 angle so only the front of the face is highlighted, then walk around it with the camera to capture the "short" lit view which reveals the 3D shape of faces in 2D photos quite well an naturally when the key light is also placed about 45 above the eye line.







Controlling lighting patterns on two different faces at the same time in a portrait with different facial angles requires some experience and understanding of cause and effect. If I were setting up this shot I would first pose the mother profile into and place the key light 45 beyond above the nose behind her (i.e. 135 from the camera axis) to get a short-lit profile view of her face, then arrange the baby in a way that its oblique view was also short lit. As mentioned previously the problem in doing that is making sure the baby is positioned in a way that it's head doesn't shade the key light from the mother's face.




Jan 07, 2012 at 03:22 PM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · hows this pic


Great thread folks - very informative - so many possibilities.

Bob



Jan 07, 2012 at 07:27 PM
JHut
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · hows this pic


Very nice tips and discussion!! I like the close crop version.


Jan 07, 2012 at 09:02 PM
james weston
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · hows this pic


thanks for the info


Jan 08, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Gregstx
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · hows this pic


I know that I am not nearly as knowledable any of the folks who have offered opinions and I am still learning myself. The only issue that struck me when I first saw this image was that the pose seemed contrived for a better word. I rotated the image so that it could be viewed as the Mom in a reclining position with the baby laying on top of her.







Jan 08, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · hows this pic


To me, the original is the more desirable composition - the intersecting diagonals provide focal points and a dynamic which the eye can follow, the curve of mom's hand juxtaposed the negative space serves to hold and redirect the eye back into the image.

I've used Chuck's rework to crudely sketch these dynamics.

The rotate version, OTOH, at least for my viewing, leads the eye off the image at the lower right-hand corner, again virtue of the strength and dynamics of the diagonals.

One person's opinion.

Regards,

Bob












Jan 08, 2012 at 02:39 AM
skasol
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · hows this pic


I agree. I would've rather have it be sharper.




Jan 08, 2012 at 02:40 AM
james weston
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · hows this pic


i added soft focus to it just to soften the lines baby was sleep mom just scoop her up just used a single flash metz 60 ct-4 wife just held up a peice of black cloth


Jan 08, 2012 at 03:15 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · hows this pic


james weston wrote:
i added soft focus to it just to soften the lines baby was sleep mom just scoop her up just used a single flash metz 60 ct-4 wife just held up a peice of black cloth

How did you soften the image?

Classic soft focus portrait lenses worked by overlaying an unsharp image over a sharp image. Mamiya made a great soft focus lens for the RBI/RZ series that was sharp in the center and soft on the edges. You inserted aperture disks in the lens with different pattern holes drilled. The disks controlled softness.

This can be approximated in PS by making a duplicate layer, applying Gaussian blur, then adjusting opacity to control ratio of blur to sharp.

If it was a little sharper, I would prefer your rendition to the other versions presented. I think the flat light from the speedlight is fine.



Jan 08, 2012 at 07:39 PM





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