JMK: CC and advice needed

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TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2335
JMK: CC and advice needed

I am so discouraged right now! I feel like I totally suck at taking pictures of my kids. I know I don't practice that nearly as much as other stuff because it stresses me out, and because I hate my kids to feel like they constantly have a camera in their faces... but gee, it is upsetting to want so badly to get a great photo and then be disappointed!

Yesterday I had the rare chance to dress my daughter up for church (usually we don't dress up because we go to a house church), so I decided to try to do an ultra-quick "studio" set-up before we headed out in the morning. Problem #1, her light dress was too bright and shiny. Bigger problem #2, it was very bright and I did not realize that even with the kids right in front of the window, I would get such a colour cast from our annoying yellow and orange walls (painted before we moved in). Problem #3, my son would not look at the camera directly at all. So I did my best and got some so-so images, but I can't get all the colour cast out, and I can't seem to process them right to deal with some of the lighting issues. Does anyone have advice on the colour cast issue in particular, and any other problems that spring to mind when you look at them?

#1
Micah

#2
(This next one is the only one I really love, even though he's not looking at the camera!)
Mr. GQ

#3
Nora 1

#4
Nora 2

And while I'm doing a CC thread, I took these two shots today, lying on the ground underneath the swing. Do either of them work, or is the sun flare just too overpowering?

#5
Swing 1

#6 (with his head thrown back - don't know if you can tell that or does he just look headless?!)
Swing 2

Thank you in advance sincerely, from the bottom of my frustrated heart!

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Hi Tracy I can definitely see the color cast. It can be edited on PS. But what I would do the next time is to try and cover up your wall with a white fabric of some sort to avoid the color cast.

Don't worry about feeling disappointed - I think everyone has that moment. I know I still struggle. It just takes time. Hope this helps!

Joined: 03/15/09
Posts: 576

Hey Tracy - I am totally with you at feeling discouraged right now! I guess all we can really do is just try and keep at it!

I do see the color cast....I had the same issue in one of my past homes and I honestly never figured out how to get around it. But, Els idea to try and cover the walls is worth a try. Thats a tough one.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Ugh! I typed up a response, but my computer ate it! I'll try to type it up again tomorrow.

Amy_&_Eva's picture
Joined: 08/23/07
Posts: 2378

I've seen that kind of cast come from lamps that were left on too; but it is fixable. In my program I use a Hue Brush to "reverse" a color cast like that. I've used it to reverse the green color casts from being in grass/fields outside too.

For the swing pics, I did think #2 was "headless" at first. But I like the first one!

StateChick's picture
Joined: 03/22/07
Posts: 3629

I like the first swing picture, too, Tracy!

re: the color cast - same issue in my house, but no editing tips as I'm still learning, myself!

And I think he's pretty darn close to looking at the camera in #2...cute expression. I also have an eye contact issue with my kids! :rolleyes:

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2335

"Amy_&_Eva" wrote:

I've seen that kind of cast come from lamps that were left on too; but it is fixable. In my program I use a Hue Brush to "reverse" a color cast like that. I've used it to reverse the green color casts from being in grass/fields outside too.

I can't really see a Hue Brush in GIMP. I googled it and just got suggestions on using the airbrush tool.

I also tried a GIMP tutorial on correcting colour cast, involving using thresholds to set sample points and then using the levels dialog. But it didn't seem to change the image at all that I could tell!

"EL2" wrote:

Hi Tracy I can definitely see the color cast. It can be edited on PS.

What would you use to fix it, El?

Good to know I'm not the only one discouraged at times, or who struggles with this kind of issue! Sigh!

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2335

I played a bit more and got some of the colour cast out of his skin (though one spot on his forehead is still pretty yellow), but now his hair looks blue! Boy, do I have a lot to learn about editing.

Micah colour cast fix attempt #1

Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3396

Editing is tough, Tracy! And I have heard that fixing an orange cast is the worst.

The room in my home with the most amazing natural light is 'burn-your-retina-orange' (as DH calls it). You can click here if you want to see what I'm talking about. I love the room, but it is TERRIBLE to use for photographs. I have hung fabric (usually black or brown since that is what I have on hand) on the walls to help diminish it. But mostly, I just don't take photos in there. And when I do, I will often have to resort to converting to b&w b/c I am terrible at editing out the cast.

I doubt that is much help to you, but I'm hoping misery loves company. Wink

As for your photos ..

I love #2 and your last edit looks pretty darn good. My favorite of your girl is #4. Brighten that one up a bit and I think you'll be real happy with what you see.

I *love* the sunburst photos, especially the first one! Your conversion is great! And I don't find the sunbursts overwhelming at all.

And finally, I want you to know that you are far from alone when it comes to getting good pics of your own kids! Our families all suffer from 'photographer's kids syndrome'. It's not fun for either side of the camera, but we all struggle with it.

Take care and keep on sharing!

Best,
GiGi

Jeffininer's picture
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

You've got some cute shots!! I would just suggest watching for limb chops with #1. How close/far are you from the light source? If you can move closer, I would probably suggest that. Also, angle them more towards the light. It looks like in #1 and 3 they're faces are not towards the light....does that make since?

Don't be discouraged! I feel that way ALL THE TIME! It's hard when you see so much pretty stuff and then you go and try to get something and it turns into the opposite of what you wanted (sorry, I'm speaking for myself, not everyone I suppose Smile )

Color casts are the worst. I'm horrible with correcting them in processing. BUT, I have learned (in photoshop) how to 'paint' on new skin color to get rid of the cast. I'm sorry I don't know how to do that in GIMP Sad

Going foward, I'm afraid that if you want to avoid this you can A) hang up some fabric over the offending wall or Dirol find nice neutral tone and redecorate Wink Those bright colors are just hard to handle without getting a cast.

Just keep at it. There are days where my DD won't sit for anything, but when she does, you better believe I'm on her so quick she doesn't have time to change her mind!!!

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

I think similar tools are present on Gimp as in PS. I use the eye dropper tool to click on the face typically the cheek, then I would use the brush at very low opacity, start with 18% and paint over the cast, then increase opacity as desired. Hope this helps.

EL2
EL2's picture
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

"acarbo99" wrote:

The room in my home with the most amazing natural light is 'burn-your-retina-orange' (as DH calls it). You can click here if you want to see what I'm talking about. I love the room, but it is TERRIBLE to use for photographs. I have hung fabric (usually black or brown since that is what I have on hand) on the walls to help diminish it. But mostly, I just don't take photos in there. And when I do, I will often have to resort to converting to b&w b/c I am terrible at editing out the cast.

That is one unique room. I do admit that I love the color!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Tracy, stop being so hard on yourself! You have some good shots here! I think you have great lighting here! It's super hard to get your own kids to look at the camera. My favorite of your boy is #2, so I would focus on that one (seems like you have Smile ). I think you're on the right track with your edit. Kristin gave me an awesome tip about color casts that the others have already mentioned. Create a layer, use the eye dropper to select a good skin color, paint over the cast, change the opacity to suit (around 20-30%) and change your layer to "color". Since learning that nifty little trick, I've felt like a whole new world has opened up to me Wink

Now, I know you're frustrated with getting your kids to look at the camera. It's hard! What I usually do is take the kids out for a "photo walk", instead of trying to just set them up and pose them. They HATE that! But when I take them out for a walk with my camera, I just occasionally ask them to look up at the camera. Sometimes I get smiles, sometimes I don't. I'll also ask them what they see in my lens. Bugs are common ones that I'll ask them to find. Jackson (my little one) is into dogs and babies right now, so I'll point to my lens and ask him if he sees a baby. Carson likes "potty" humor right now, so just saying fart or poop will get him to smile/laugh. Maybe you could sing their favorite songs, too. I have a really great one of Jackson while doing pat-a-cake. Hope that helps with your eye contact frustration.

Keep your head up! You're doing great!

TracyF's picture
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2335

OK, the process for trying to remove the colour cast is helpful, thanks - I will try it! Seems easier than the other stuff I was reading, which didn't work anyway!

And thank you for the encouragement. I don't often pose my kids this way, but I knew I wouldn't have another chance that day while they were dressed up, so it was just a quick option. Problem for me is, outdoors like you said, Steph, my stupid P&S doesn't give me nice DOF so I almost like the portraits done against a plain backdrop at home. But then they don't cooperate as well, as you pointed out!! Though the "poop" thing often works for me too. This time I had them tell me some of their favourite things, like, "I love..." and they filled in the blank, and that helped a little.

Wow, GiGi, that is even more orange than our place. I would dearly LOVE to re-paint, but it isn't on the agenda for now. Other priorities taking up our spare time. This house drives me nuts though. Colour, colour, everywhere, and no good light anywhere except in the yellow and orange room! For now, next time I try portraits, I will hang a white sheet, as you suggested, El. That's a great idea.