Before I get too involved in my processing, I wanted to know if things were looking okay. So here are a few photos from various stages of a recent maternity session. I wish I had used my gray card more often during this session, lesson learned there!
I actually am doing very little in CS4. Running noiseware when I think it's needed (especially towards the end when I increased my ISO but I think it was 100 for most of the session). I adjusted WB in ACR, and that's the bulk of my processing.
1. I was going for total backlit here with some haze ... used a reflector to get light on her face. Hate that I chopped her elbow though - will she hate that too?
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Focal Length: 40 mm
ISO Speed: 250
2. The sun was definitely hitting the husband more ... part of his head is blown. I can't recover it. How bad will it look printed? HUGE lesson learned here, as I blew his head a lot. I think just with how short his hair was and that he was more fair than his wife it was easier to blow his skin when I was exposing more for her dress.
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Focal Length: 48 mm
ISO Speed: 250
3. I'm loving how this turned out, and I hope she loves it as much too.
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Focal Length: 37 mm
ISO Speed: 100
4. the sky is completely blown here ... the sun was just above the top left corner of this photo. So the top of her head is almost lost in all of the brightness. I was using a reflector, but didn't get enough light right on their faces, so I had to further brighten in PP. Because of all of the light, I feel like their skin doesn't look completely right. Am I over analyzing or is it off?
Exposure: 0.002 sec (1/500)
Focal Length: 48 mm
ISO Speed: 100
5. The sun was finally starting to set here, which is why the light is giving more of a glow. Again, the husband's hair is blown, along with part of his face. I'm so sad about that, as I LOVE the series of shots I took here. I am thinking about having this printed at Costco just to see how the blown parts print before I even present this one to them. What do you think?
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Focal Length: 37 mm
ISO Speed: 160
Last edited by coolmama72; 06-24-2010 at 11:41 PM.
And when I'm done, I'll definitely share more with you, because I got some really awesome shots! I just don't want to get too far into PPing these and find out that I did something stupid with color.
Wow Gwen! #3 is amazing! I like#2 as well, and I don't think the blown spots will be too bad. Number 1 really doesn't do much for me. She looks uncomfortable and the blue chair she is on looks like it is falling over. The hazy look might work a little bettr with less contrast. The color seems off in #4,thier skin still seems too underexposed and greenish (I'm not calibrated though!) As for the last one, can you paint back in the blown bits of his face and her arm then lower the opacity till it blends? Not a quick or easy route, but a possible save.
Beth... mom to Andrea 7-26-97, Gavin 10-16-01, Kade 5-25-08 and Bentli Grace 09-09-09.
I'm on my laptop Gwen so not on my nice calibrated iMac, but that is downstairs and I'm upstairs with baby, but I'll do my best!
#1. The comp here doesn't do much for me either, I feel it's a bit snap-shotty. And I agree she looks stiff and uncomfortable.
#2. My favorite! By far! The colors look great (again uncalibrated, but from what I can tell that look nice), the exposure is great (no worries about the spot on his head in my book), and the comp is really sweet.
#3. I like it. Nice job catching a sunburst! I'm not totally in love with the angle though, how the camera is angled upward? It flatters her belly well but not her facial profile.
#4. Not doing so much for me. The sky, since it takes up so much space in the frame, is pretty distracting. And they look washed out to me?
#5 Too bad about the blown skin! I love the expressions on their faces here, they look so genuinely happy together. CC would be that I wish there was more emphasis on the belly. Her face is also partially shadowed by his due to the angle of the lighting which is a bit distracting.
Good job overall! I bet she'll be really happy!
I would try to get your values at or under 245 for printing purposes. This also needs some warming up. Just a tad on the cool side. Cute shot but would be stronger if you can remove the flare from the dress. It is not the nice flare you would want.
2. Fun shot but you may want to lighten the shadows some and take out some red out of the skin.
3. Pretty - I would just make sure the blown spot is within the printing values.
4. Try to brighten the faces some and add more warmth.
5. The shadows are really harsh and the skin is blown. You can take down the exposure in ACR and fill the shadows. You may be able to salvage this one. You have a lot of red or magenta and are lacking some yellow... a tad on the cool side with a lot of magenta or red so it appears pink. Try working in selective colors.
thanks for the great CC so far!
I have a bunch of her in the blue chair, so I might have a few that are better compositionally. I also have a couple with the DH. But it sucks because I lost a lot of them due to the little gnats, it looks like some flew in front of my camera and then the sun hit them, so there are odd streaks in random places.
Cindy - so you mean on the sunflare, to check the spot in the middle that's completely blown? won't that print as just white? it's the sun, so I definitely can't recover that, it's blown from the getgo. I appreciate your specific suggestions on the last one, as the set of them is like that and I really want to salvage them.
Meagan - I had to get on the ground to get the sunburst, the sun wasn't quite high enough in the sky, and we had hiked a hill to get above the trees. I didn't want to drag her back up the hill when the sun went down a little bit more, because we had more ground to cover and she's 37 weeks. So yes, the angle is off. Not what I wanted when I planned on setting it up, but it was hard to tell where the sun would be on her before we walked up the hill.
Beth - I hadn't trying cloning to fix the blown spots, but I did try brushes in ACR, and any attempt at recovery looked awful. I'm going to try what Cindy suggested and see how that looks.
The good news is that I have a lot of other images from this set to play with. I just picked ones from various points of the session to get a feel on. And I have a lot to work with in regards to these comments alone. I won't get a chance to do anything for the next three hours, so I appreciate any more comments or suggestions before I tackle it head on.
Thanks again, I really don't know what I'd do without this board.
I can't help myself. I just love that last one too much, and now I just spent too much time on it.
Here are two new versions:
I adjusted colors plus reduced the shadow on her face (I can't get rid of it completely).
Okay, I'm getting back to the whole set, must move on from this one. (reminds me of the quote about how it's the few that takes most of the time, I can't remember it word for word though - if you know it, share it for me)
I can see already what a fun shoot this must have been for you (& for the parents to be)!
Here's my $0.02 worth ...
1. I think it's the chair that kills it for me. She looks uncomfortable and it seems a bit out of place. I like the back lighting and love that her face still looks so good. Personally, I think a closer crop on this might make a huge difference and it would cut down on the flare on her legs and right hand.
2. really lovely shot! the magenta on her face and both of their hands stands out to me. I love the composition here and think this is a shot they are going to cherish for a long time.
3. WINNER! WOW! This one is certainly portfolio worthy (imho)!
4. since the sky is completely blown, I'd really like to see a closer crop on this one. And you might want to think about a slight texture on the sky. My eye is drawn away from them to the bright empty areas. I think a soft texture would lessen that effect.
5. I think a test print is a good idea. I'm just not sure how that will print. I wish his shadow wasn't so prominent on her face as well, but it does have the effect of keeping her eyes full of light w/out squinting. I really love this composition though. If it prints OK, this will be a nice one for mom and dad. I just saw the edited version of this in your last post ... I think this works a lot better. I would still advise a test print to make sure the shine on his face isn't too much. Great job on bringing down the shadow on her face.
I don't care too much for this b&w. I think w/ so many rich colors in the original, you just aren't seeing enough range in your greys. Dad looks better in the b&w, but the shadow on mom's face looks ... I dunno ... doctored, not quite right.
You really do have some wonderful things to work with here, Gwen. I just KNOW the parents are going to love this set!
Prefaced with : I give honest c/c!!
#1 - I agree with Cindy, if you could remove the sunspot from the bottom of her dress, this would be a bit stronger. So what about her elbow, first of all, she won't notice, second I love her smile and that is what draws me. I think you should worry more about chopping her at the knees. Is this in camera crop or did you crop it? I'm not overly fond of the angle (shoot down on her from up above). She looks on the cool side.
#2 - lovely shot. Your greens are too neon. Trick I learned... add some reds and blues in the shadows to make those trees look great! (color balance layer, shadows - add like +10 on the red and same on the blue... mask back in the people) I'd like to play with this shot - do you have it in raw you could send me?
#3 - I love your sunburst but.... the angle is wrong. She has a double chin here (shoot down on her) and the sunburst looks like it's coming from her nipple. Next time shoot down on her and burst the sun from top of the belly. IMO
Oh, and I have a 20x30 printed of a sunset and the entire center is blown and it printed just fine. I wouldn't over-worry about a blown spot in the middle of your sunburst. I don't know of any sunbursts that aren't blown.
#4 - I'd also like to see this in raw as well. How blown was it? Did you mask back parts after you brightened?
#5 - Great capture, those smiles are genuine. Is this their first baby?
They look washed out to me. You've lost color when trying to fix the shadows and brighten. I'd also like to see this in raw.
I'm asking a lot, aren't I? hee hee
Great job though Gwen, you are making progress!!!