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Archive 2012 · Misty Mountain Critique
  
 
IslandSpark
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p.1 #1 · Misty Mountain Critique


Hey guys, i'm not a very regular member around here (working on it) but I'd love to get some feedback on an image from one of my last jobs. We nearly cancelled the shoot but in the last hour the weather changed, the rain stopped and we were left with some pretty awesome low fog that I feel really added to the image.

Hit me with everything you've got, i'll try not to cry

Patrick

ps. sorry about the large watermark, somethings up with the software on this machine







Feb 12, 2012 at 02:58 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #2 · Misty Mountain Critique


Patrick,

Have no idea of the purpose but somehow I see it as CD case insert/cover. Otherwise, who/what is the intended subject?

Color seems a tad off (cool) but then this laptop is not that great either.

Regards,

Bob



Feb 12, 2012 at 03:44 AM
IslandSpark
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p.1 #3 · Misty Mountain Critique


Bob, sorry, you're correct, Andrea is a local girl, an aspiring singer/songwriter that needed a few shots for the website she is designing and possibly a demo CD that's in production. I'm hoping the color issue is just your machine, looks about neutral here but im sure as more people comment I'll find out, i'm away from my main machine, though this laptop is calibrated (as well as one can).

Thanks!



Feb 12, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #4 · Misty Mountain Critique


IslandSpark wrote:
Bob, sorry, you're correct, Andrea is a local girl, an aspiring singer/songwriter that needed a few shots for the website she is designing and possibly a demo CD that's in production. I'm hoping the color issue is just your machine, looks about neutral here but im sure as more people comment I'll find out, i'm away from my main machine, though this laptop is calibrated (as well as one can).

Thanks!


Fits that bill wonderfully.

Re color? This laptop is not calibrated, and most of the time neither is my color vision perception I suspect your machine is correct.

Bob



Feb 12, 2012 at 03:57 AM
cgardner
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p.1 #5 · Misty Mountain Critique


It's a great shot, ideal for a squared front CD cover, but if you wanted a front-back wrap around cover you'd have wanted her slightly right of center (where the spine of the CD case would be) with scenery behind her to go under the notes on the back.

In terms of its holistic look and feel I found the white top to be distracting and the very dark under-filled shadows on her face to be bordering hard edged and unflattering: more R&B bar signer than country singer. For comparison on these points I did this quick edit with adjustment layers, etc.







Toning down all the bright distracting highlights in the white clothing makes the face contrast more. Lightening the shadows on the face and darkening the highlights a bit lowers the highlight>shadow contrast gradient on the face just as a lighting ratio with more fill would have resulting in a overall "softer" impression of her face and demeanor.

Lighting, holistically, is about contrasts and using the contrast gradient over the entire photo and body of the subject to guide the viewer. It starts with clothing / background selection.

As here if you subject is wearing a white shirt there's little you can do with the lighting to make it less distracting, except to pose her with her back to the sun as rim light. Even then when the front was lit with a pair of flashes for key modeling of face and fill to open the shadows it would wind up distracting again on the med. dark background. The best solution is avoid white clothing on dark backgrounds.

If you want the face to contrast as the "star in the spotlight" use clothing darker than the shadows on the skin when shooting on med-dark backgrounds. It's also worth noting here for future reference that if the POV of the camera been lower and she was profiled by the brighter sky the white top would have been less distracting than when seen in front of the darker mountain. The lesson there is: when you can't change the clothing, change the background so the clothing and background tone blend together. That in turn will make the face contrast more.

In terms of lighting and pose in the shot the oblique / short pattern on the face models it's 3D shape very naturally, but if you look critically at the facial angle resulting from where you stood with the camera to capture it you will see the ridge of the nose has started to cover the far eye and the far side of the face, while profiled nicely around the eyes, looks thin and unbalanced lower around the mouth.

There's a lot of variation in the shape of faces and most aren't perfectly symmetrical. So finding the most balanced flattering angle is a process of trial and error starting by looking at the face square and full face, then from both oblique views at the point where the far ear and side of the head seem to disappear. While the angle in this shot is flattering, had the camera been a bit more to the right it would have likely made the chin area wider and more balanced and the overall appearance of the face a bit more flattering. Nit picking perhaps, but that's the difference between good and great that you'll only see by trying to refine the angle like that and them comparing the results...

For example a few years ago I was shooting Barry Black, Chaplain of the U.S. Senate and former Chaplain of the US Navy who was a guest preacher at our church. Like most preachers he rarely stopped talking or moving. I found the spot on the right where I saw I could capture him in an oblique view with "short" lighting with the stage light, but then had to wait until he turned into the light at the most flattering angle...

Near miss...





A more balanced, natural looking and flattering angle...






For those shots I use flash on bracket, gelled to match the tungsten spots, to keep the shadows open and remove a magenta bias in the stage fill lighting on the shadow side. The shadow control via fill results in a full natural (seen by eye) tonal range. An "acid test" for that is to do a B&W conversion which will make less than natural contrast more obvious...







Here's a similar conversion of my before/after edit above...







It's not so much a matter of which looks better opinions on that will vary but knowing how to pre-visualize and get either result predictably




Feb 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
 

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IslandSpark
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p.1 #6 · Misty Mountain Critique


Wow! Thanks for taking the time to write all that out for me cgardner! I appreciate the critique!


Feb 12, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Skarkowtsky
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p.1 #7 · Misty Mountain Critique


I like where the photo is headed. Optically, she seems to close to the left edge, relative to the expanse of the landscape.


Feb 12, 2012 at 05:14 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #8 · Misty Mountain Critique


Skarkowtsky wrote:
I like where the photo is headed. Optically, she seems to close to the left edge, relative to the expanse of the landscape.


+1



Feb 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #9 · Misty Mountain Critique


Good comments and suggestions. In addition, although her face is quite small in this version, I'd still recommend re-touching her face before reducing the image size to eliminate the visible scowl marks to give her a gentler look. Also a bit of liquify to adjust her left arm shape would be flattering. A quick example to illustrate using Chuck's revision as the base, within the substantial limits of working from a web sized version:







Feb 12, 2012 at 09:15 PM
IslandSpark
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p.1 #10 · Misty Mountain Critique


Here's the full (non cropped) image before I have to run out the door this evening, I opened up the shadows a little and played with it quickly, not enough time to implement all your suggestions yet! I wish I had dropped another light in for fill, you can only push things so far...





Non-Cropped, slightly opened the facial shadows dropped the exposure on the shirt.




Feb 13, 2012 at 01:12 AM





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