Lurkers Unite! - Assignment #2

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Ladybugsteph's picture
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977
Lurkers Unite! - Assignment #2

Elizabeth - yellow.rose.of.canada
Marie - DrakePlusOne
Amanda - Muddee
Jill - Jillie Bean
Jess - Omrithekat
Marymoonu
Lynsey - RedCherry

Up Close and Personal

Okay, ladies! It's time to see what you've learned! What I want to see this week from you are some head shots. The focus of a head shot is the face of your subject, so let's not go below the chest for this assignment. We'll work on half and full body shots in coming weeks.

You are welcome to post one photo a day, or just one photo for the entire week, but please at least share one. I'd like for you to post by Thursday morning, as I will be leaving for vacation and won't be back until October 1st. Don't forget to share your SOOC. Feel free to post your edit as well, but it's not necessary if you're unfamiliar with editing at the moment.

I can't wait to see what you come up with!

DrakePlusOne's picture
Joined: 06/29/09
Posts: 1889

Oh yea! This one makes me excited b/c I just did my son's 'school' pics last night. Smile

Edit to add pics:

SOOTC
PR1
f/2 ~ 1/500 ~ ISO400 w/ 50mm 1.8

Edit in B&W
D1FB

SOOTC
D6FB
f/2 ~ 1/250 ~ ISO400 w/ 50mm 1.8

On the two color versions, I am not sure what to do processing wise. :/ I *think* the color looks ok but seriously, processing is a struggle for me bigtime! Also, the B&W isn't as strong as a LOT of the conversions I see on here. I just don't get it, maybe? I edit with GIMP and love it, but conversions and color are still, eh......

Muddee's picture
Joined: 03/13/08
Posts: 2119

One question, does the face have to be human?

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

Exposure looks good on these, Marie! Great job! I'll give some CC on each of them:

#1a - LOVE the bokeh! I'm missing the eye contact here. I think that the lack of eye contact could work if he had a shy little smile and look on his face as he was looking off. Also, be careful about where you're chopping the head. You could have benefited from backing up slightly to get his entire head in the frame. Head chops CAN work, don't get me wrong. It's just that you want it to be intentional. So just cutting off the top of the head looks like you made a mistake (I do this all the time, so don't feel bad!). One other thing you might want to do when you edit this, is make sure his eyes aren't dead center. So, I would crop it with the rule of thirds in mind. Bring in the crop on his head to near his forehead. You might still have room without cutting into his chin.

#1b - The thing with b&w's is that you have to have the right kind of photo in order to pull it off. B&W's are all about the light. You have to have lots of different shades in order to create the contrast that you need to not have it look grey and flat. I think that you're having trouble with this one because there's just not enough contrast of light and dark on the face. I bet that if you converted your second photo, you'd be happier with the result.

For conversions, I will create a gradient map. Then I'll either play with a levels layer or I'll do a brightness/contrast layer and mess with that to get it where I like it.

#2 - I really like this! The lighting on it is fantastic! And because of the great lighting, you have great catchlights and even looking skin. When you edit this one, I'd warm it up a tad, since it looks a little cool to me.

I encourage everyone else to give a little bit of CC on all the photos that are posted. If you're having trouble, just try to say one thing you like about the photo, and if it applies, one thing that you don't like, or what you think could be improved. This is an important step in learning, as you are looking with a critical eye, which opens you up to looking at your own photos with a critical eye.

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

"Muddee" wrote:

One question, does the face have to be human?

No, you can use an animal...or even a doll, I suppose Wink

DrakePlusOne's picture
Joined: 06/29/09
Posts: 1889

Stephanie, that is just GREAT CC. I will def work on the edits tonight/tomorrow and post the results. Thanks. Smile

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

Here's my conversion (private on Flickr) for your #2, Marie:

Gradient map and brightness/contrast layer at +27 brightness and +22 contrast

yellow.rose.of.canada's picture
Joined: 01/13/10
Posts: 1173

Marie, I LOVE your second picture of Drake. Great connection and catchlights. Smile

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

Okay, just a reminder to get your photos in by tomorrow morning. I'm finding myself pretty busy getting ready for the trip. I'm hoping to have a bit of downtime in the afternoon, but I can't commit.

Jillie Bean's picture
Joined: 07/21/09
Posts: 149

Ok, here are my best tries... I had a little trouble getting cooperative subjects!! Wink (all are 50 mm)

SOOC-1/15, 7.1, ISO 1600

Untitled

a conversion I played around with not great but I like the mood

Untitled

SOOC-1/25, 2.5, ISO 1600 (this one isn't great quality but I love it...) Wink

Untitled

SOOC-1/500, 3.2, ISO 200

Untitled

SOOC-1/10, 6.3, ISO 1600

Untitled

Omrithekat's picture
Joined: 08/01/07
Posts: 62

Oh sorry, Steph. I didn't even read this thread until right this minute. I was just going to start on assignment 1, so I thought I'd look to see why this one was.

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

Go ahead and do both of them, Jess. I'll CC them when I get back. It's not a problem, I just didn't want anyone to wonder if I was ignoring them!

I'll type up another assignment so you guys can work on that this next week, so we don't loose momentum Smile

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

Jill

#1 - AWWW! I'm a sucker for dogs! I think you did a nice job on your exposure. It might be a touch overexposed, but it's doable. I like that you used a higher AP for this one. The tendency with photographing animals is to use an open AP like you would with a human, causing the nose to go OOF. The unfortunate thing about this one is that it's fuzzy Sad That's due to your super low SS. The absolute lowest SS you're going to be able to hand hold your camera with is 1/60. And you are going to have to have a super still subject even. Is 1600 the highest your ISO will go? If so, even though you want that nose in focus, you're going to have to open up your AP to allow you to raise your SS. I also think that this one could have been benefited from you stepping back a tad (or zooming out). You've juuuust about chopped his mouth.

The conversion is good with a lot of contrast. Just be careful, because it looks like you have blown the top of the head and the nose.

#2 - Oh my goodness, look at that face! I definitely see why you like this one. It looks a little underexposed. What time of day was this? Looking at your settings, it seems like you were having trouble getting enough light in. Again, the SS is too low here. Look at hubby's hand. See how it's got blur? That's due to your SS being too low. With kids or just fast moving subjects in general, you'll want to keep your SS near 1/250, at least. I know some people will tell you 1/125, but that's pretty impossible for me. That means raising my ISO for me. Don't get me wrong though. There is definitely a time and place for a slow SS. Maybe we'll have to do an assignment with that sometime soon. I don't know if you noticed or not, but looks like the focus hit on the grass instead of Cooper. That's probably because they were moving quickly, and with the small DOF, the grass caught the focus.

#3 - This is probably my least favorite. It's hard to figure out what he's doing in this, and his hair caught the focus, instead of his face. It's a bit underexposed, so for this particular one, you could have raised your ISO, and left the other settings. I like how fast your SS is here. It's going to give you a much more crisp photo.

#4 - Great smile you caught on your hubby! I can tell that he's having a blast with Cooper here! Again, your SS is too low. It just seems like with this one, and #2, there just wasn't enough light, so it was giving you a hard time. So don't beat yourself up about it.

I think you're going to nail the next assignment. You're really on your way here, so keep it up. Just remember to keep that SS up, and you'll be good Smile

Jillie Bean's picture
Joined: 07/21/09
Posts: 149

Thanks Steph! 1,2 and 4 were all last night as I was trying to cram in some pictures after dinner time and the golden hour I had hoped for slipped away! Wink And yeah, my camera only goes to 1600 ISO which really hinders me a LOT, I am hoping Santa will consider a new model for me this year. I'm excited for next weeks assignment!! Also, so excited to hear about your trip when you all get back-you are going to have a BLAST!! Have fun!!

yellow.rose.of.canada's picture
Joined: 01/13/10
Posts: 1173

Okay, finally felt good enough to head outside and take some pictures. Smile Here we go..

ISO 400 F 2.5 SS 1/160

ISO 400 F5.0 SS 1/640

ISO 400 F2.5 SS 1/250

ISO 400 F2.5 SS 1/160

ISO 400 F2.5 SS 1/250

And I did a conversion for the last one. I never do B&W because I feel like none of my photos lend themselves to it and I don't like the way they turn out. But this one I love.

Sorry I have so many shots! My DS never cooperates for pictures, so when I had him laughing I took a bunch. I know they're not technically great, but they capture him so well. Smile

Omrithekat's picture
Joined: 08/01/07
Posts: 62

SOOC
IMG_2396-2

edited.
IMG_2396LOGO

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

Elizabeth -

Could your kids be any cuter? Overall, I feel like these are all a little soft. The best is #2, and if you notice, your AP is closed up more, making focusing much easier. I'd also give you the same advice to close up a bit to maybe 3.5 or so until you can get your focus nailed. Are you using all your focal points? If so, I'm going to suggest choosing a single focal point and either toggling or focus and recompose. On my particular camera, it's easier for me to focus and recompose, but it's not fool-proof. It's easy to shift out of the focal plane when doing that.

Just a few specific comments -
#2 - The lighting is a bit harsh here. Rotating her toward the sun a little bit more could have helped with the shadows in this one. You do have directional light, but the shadows are just a little too much in this one and a bit distracting.

#3 - This one could have benefited from you backing up slightly into a half-body. Half-body can be tricky, and we'll get to that. For close-ups, you want to watch your chops. For me (and this could just be myself and not really the "rules" of photography comp), I don't like that his elbows got chopped out. It's so cute with the hands up near the face, but my sightline is cut without seeing his entire arm. Does that make sense? His eyes are pretty much dead center, leaving a little too much room at the top. It's just some dead space that doesn't necessarily need to be there.

#4 - Great smile and eye contact!! When you edit this one, go in further to make the head chop look intentional, and to bring her eyes in the top 3rd of the frame.

#5 - Conversion is ok. I think it could be a touch brighter, and a bit more contrast Smile

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

Jess -

SOOC is underexposed. I you probably could have lowered your SS on this one, unless you're finding that a super high SS is what is going to give you a crisp photo. If that's the case, you definitely could have upped your ISO on this one. There's not a ton of light in her eyes, and she has some shadowing in that area, so in a setting like this, I would try shooting down slightly on your subject to get a little more light in there.

Nice job on the edit! You may want to bring down the highlights a little bit, because her white shirt looks like it's getting to the point of being blown. Also, you lost a bit of her freckles. Her skin tone looks nice though, so I'm not sure what bringing down the highlights on her face would do to her skin. For your portfolio, I would be inclined to clone out the images on her shirt. It's bringing my eyes away from her face a bit.

yellow.rose.of.canada's picture
Joined: 01/13/10
Posts: 1173

"Ladybugsteph" wrote:

Elizabeth -

Are you using all your focal points? If so, I'm going to suggest choosing a single focal point and either toggling or focus and recompose. On my particular camera, it's easier for me to focus and recompose, but it's not fool-proof. It's easy to shift out of the focal plane when doing that.

Thanks for the feedback. Smile I am so frustrated with the focus. I have been doing single focal point, focus and recompose. I was thinking about trying toggling but I am so slow when I do that. Maybe I should try it with an adult who sits still. Smile I will take your advice on closing up the aperture.

Omrithekat's picture
Joined: 08/01/07
Posts: 62

I just wanted to say thanks for the feedback, Steph. I didn't want you to think that I was ignoring you- I've just been busy, as you know Smile

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

Oh, I definitely didn't think that! You've had your hands quite full as of late. Hope the boys are better now.