Need help with this, please

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ButtonsMama's picture
Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 283
Need help with this, please

Hi all! I'm still attempting the ellusive perfect self-portrait. I feel like I'm definitely moving in the right direction. Still having trouble getting the eyes in focus. But, what I really wanted to ask you all is how to get skin exposed right when it's so fair. I feel like my skin is blown a bit more than I'd like, but the rest of the picture is ok. Any tips on balancing that all out? Settings for both are SS: 1/60; ISO: 1250; f/6.3, and both were taken with natural light only.

The focus fell on the wrong eye! ARGH!

Thanks so much for your expert advice! I'd really like to get a nice self-portrait and give it to my DH for V-day.

reeveslady's picture
Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 1423

I also struggle with white balance! For the longest time, every time I took a picture of myself, I would turn out very red. It just so happened that I had turned my camera settings to high saturation and forgotten about it, and that was bringing out all the reds. Check and see if your saturation levels may be too high too.

sadieruth's picture
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6178

This is the main reason I shoot in RAW. WB is a quick and easy fix. Although, the focus is more of the issue here to me. I can't help though b/c I have yet to take a photo of myself that is even worth posting! Lol I need to give it a shot though!

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

I'm guessing by expose you don't mean the white balance right? Do you shoot in RAW? Sorry I don't remember Smile Nothing looks blown to me. The first one might be a bit bright but in ACR it will tell you if any parts of the photo are blown. I'm still learning to read my histogram but that could help too I think. I also have highlight alert enabled on my camera which helps. Your skin tone looks different in both of these and the WB is slightly off on both. I don't know if these are edited though Smile How did you take these? I like #2 out of focus eye and all Biggrin I had some like this too the first time I took self portraits. I had a remote, still do actually, but the battery died Sad And it's a weird one.

ButtonsMama's picture
Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 283

Actually, I know my WB is off a bit. I'm still trying to work out how to fix that. I don't shoot in RAW - I'm really nervous to do that. Mostly because I'm not very familiar with photoshop yet, I think.

What bothers me the most about these (besides the slightly OOF eyes) is the bright spots on my cheeks and above my left eyebrow. That's where the light from my slider was reflecting off my ridiculously pale skin. Is there anyway to get rid of those particular blown spots?

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

the only thing I can think of is the healing brush tool. It's my favorite tool when it comes to fixing small things. And btw, don't be scared of shooting in RAW. You can shoot RAW+Jpeg if you want. That's actually what I did at the beginning when I first got my camera two years ago. I didn't really know what I was doing but I chose RAW+Jpeg anyway and now I'm thankful I did that because I have gone back now, two years later, to edit some of those pics. I didn't know how to use ACR back then either and now I do most of my editing in ACR. Like WB. I can't fix it in photoshop lol I used to know how but I find it so much easier in ACR Smile I think you should give it a shot. You got nothing to lose really Wink

coolmama72's picture
Joined: 10/20/01
Posts: 8185

the focus is definitely the bigger issue on the first one. Sad I struggle with focus when I do self portraits. are you using the timer or a remote?

as far as fixing the second one, I'd just sharpen the closer eye a little bit, and then use a healing brush or a close on a duplicate layer and then play with the opacity until it looks just right.

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

You are so brave trying to do self portraits, I think you've done great and definitely know where you need to improve. I hope the ladies here can give you some advice.

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

I did a play. Hope you don't mind, I have it set on private in my flickr. I can take it down if you'd like. Resolution is not so high since I just copied the picture you posted. Basically, I fixed the bright spots on your face by choosing th dropper and selecting a spot on your cheek. Then I picked the brush, set to 18% opacity and brushed in areas where there was a hot spot. I smoothed out underneath your eyes, maybe a bit much, it was a quick play. Then I did a levels layer. Removed noise, sharpen the left eye slightly. That's it.

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

Nice play El! Smile

ELF331's picture
Joined: 06/22/08
Posts: 199

Wow, nice edit!

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

I agree that focus is the main flaw in those.... El's edit looks really beautiful! except the bright spots on nose/bridge/above eyebrow look brighter to me now than the original. The eye looks awesome!

ButtonsMama's picture
Joined: 12/05/05
Posts: 283

Thanks so much guys for all your help. Especially, thanks El - that play looks great!

Figuring out how to get myself in focus when I'm not behind the camera is so HARD! I was focusing on the blanket, and then closed up my ap some (I think it was around 6.3 or so). It worked on the closer shot (sorta), but not as much on the other one.

And, thanks to the gentle prodding from all of you, I'm going to rip off the bandaid and make the switch to RAW starting immediately. The WB didn't look nearly as off on my home computer, but when I got to work and looked at them there, they looked way off. We only have laptops at home, so maybe I have to look into getting a large monitor and calibration.

I'll keep working at it - thanks for all the tips, guys!

sweetalienchick's picture
Joined: 10/25/05
Posts: 2106

do you have a remote? I think that would help with the focusing with self portraits. Wink