FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Candid Portrait

Page  12>
Author
The Shoeman View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 29 March 2006
Country: United States
Location: Massachusetts
Status: Offline
Posts: 694
Post Options Post Options   Quote The Shoeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Candid Portrait
    Posted: 05 March 2014 at 22:06
Hello,

There are times, I see a photograph and think to myself, "Wow" or simply, I just can't stop looking at it.

This was one of those for me.

This was truly a candid shot (one of about 5 shots)

Knowing there are somethings that are not always controllable when taking candid's ...I still try to keep some things in mind when shooting.

Things I think about when taking candid pictures of people are:

1 what lens is good for this lighting and distance
2 what settings should my camera have (aperture control usually) ISO & white balance
3 what do I focus on....I typically look to focus on the front eyeball
4 how do I frame this...I typically use the rules of thirds


I am not a fan of flash photography, but use it when needed...and then I try to bounce it to avoid the harsh lighting that results from shooting the flash directly at the subject.

This photograph was taken in the finished basement of my brother's during a Christmas gathering. I shot many people during this family event, but this one stood out to me. I think I got it right, but was wondering if there was something else I could do to improve my shot. Technique or tricks.

This picture is of my wife and she insisted I make some changes...so I changed the white balance a bit and I smoothed her skin out a bit (less visible wrinkles) with some PP but that's about it.

Thank you all for you thoughts, criticism (good and bad) and any suggestions you may have.




Date Taken: December 24, 2013
Camera: A77
Lens: Minolta 85/1.4 G
F-stop: f1.4
Shutter speed: 1/50
ISO: 800
Centerweighted
Focal length: 85mm
No Flash
No Crop
Light smoothing
Light color adjustment
Flash: N/A
Filters and such: N/A
Film: N/A
Minolta 7D | 20/2.8 | 35/2 RS | 50/1.4 | 50/1.7 | 50/2.8 Macro | 85/1.4 G RS | 100/2 | 100/2.8 D Macro | 100-300 APO | 300/2.8 APO | 5600D HS Flash x2

Sony A99 | A77 | 85/1.4 CZ | 70-200/2.8 G SSM
 



Back to Top
addy landzaat View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 22 April 2006
Country: Netherlands
Location: Netherlands
Status: Online
Posts: 10367
Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 March 2014 at 23:18
Why did you make her look yellow?
Your wife has lovely eyes, I would make sure they pop, but the skin has to be natural and it isn't in this case. I personally don't like the tight crop, but that is personal.

Also, I find the 85/1.4G better one stop down at f/2, but in this case it is okay.

On your questions:
1. This lens does very well in head shots in tight quarters. 85mm is very pleasant for portraiture on both FF and APS-C.
2. High enough ISO for the right shutterspeed (1/50s is okayish in this case). White balance depends on the situation. Shoot RAW and adjust in post if needed.
3. For portraits the eyes are a good place to focus on.
4. Rules of thirds works great, however, there are other rules (leading lines for one) and stepping outside the rules often works to. A good picture is a good picture, with or without the rules.
Why not follow me on Instagram? @Addy_101
Back to Top
rickztahone View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 June 2011
Country: United States
Location: Pacoima CA
Status: Offline
Posts: 4856
Post Options Post Options   Quote rickztahone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 01:40
Hello Bill, this may be the first time I see you on this forum. Thanks for participating in the Critics Corner. On to the photo:

Given the information you provided us, the one thing that stands out is the fact that you adjusted your White Balance to this end result photo. I bring that up because immediately that is what stands out. I believe the yellow cast is not doing your wife justice in this portrait and adjusting it will make it a more pleasing and natural looking WB.

I also see that you used your 85 wide open. In this case, I would have liked a little more DOF, at least to have the back eye in focus as well. I understand that the basement probably had bad lighting but in this instance I believe you could have raised the ISO just a bit and in turn it would have allowed you to get a tad bit more DOF.

Another thing that stands out is the crop (i'm assuming it's a crop). As it stands it is just a little too tight for me. Maybe soom room to her right/bottom would have made this a more compositionally pleasing shot. Of course you may have been shooting tight because of environmental items, but it was not mentioned in your description.

Considering the fact that this was a candid and not a set up shot, I do not mind the stray finger on her face. In a studio setting though I would have advised to ask the subject to move it so that it isn't so predominant in the frame.

I believe the skin smoothening was well done because there isn't a very obvious sign that you worked on her skin, which is a great thing.

All in all, I think you did a great job but there are a few things that you could tweek and get a better shot overall. The WB certainly is one of the main issues here though.

Thanks again for sharing, and please remember, these comments are all IMHO.
a99+VG|a77+VG|a55|Nex6|HVL-56/58|minO|58 1.2|24|Tam|90|SAL||16-50|70-200|∑|50 1.4|∑| 24-70 2.8
[URL=http://www.flickr.com/photos/rickztahone/]Flickr
Back to Top
ifreedman View Drop Down
Alpha Eyes group
Alpha Eyes group

Joined: 24 January 2012
Country: United States
Location: Hudson ValleyNY
Status: Offline
Posts: 4766
Post Options Post Options   Quote ifreedman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 03:04
A nice shot, certainly, but there are a couple things that definitely need to be addressed.

1. The color cast is off. Definitely a bit too yellow (as others said). It's not flattering! If you shot raw, you could address this by changing white balance.

2. I personally would crop a bit off the top. Not a lot, but a bit. I can't say why, but I think the composition would be a bit better.

Those are the fixes. Non-fixable suggestions:

a. I agree that a bit more DOF would be good, but it's not a deal breaker. Lovely shot. The near eye is perfectly sharp, which is important.

b. The hand placement looks a bit odd, and I think that's because most of the arm is cut off. I think this post might have worked a bit better if you'd pulled back just a bit so we could see more of her shoulders. But again, not a deal breaker.

All in all, I think this is a great candid capture. Just be sure to fix the color!!!! You might also want to check the color calibration of your monitor - if your colors are off, that could be why you didn't notice the yellowing.
A77ii, A6000 + various alpha, homemade and adapted lenses
Articles: Tilt-Shift Lenses
Back to Top
GlassEye View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 02 October 2011
Country: United States
Location: Indiana
Status: Offline
Posts: 1335
Post Options Post Options   Quote GlassEye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 15:24
A very appealing photo of an attractive lady. The color cast is a problem, though.    I only mention this, after others have commented on it, because on my monitor there is a serious green cast. Yellow, yes, but a yellow-green, to me. Is my monitor misleading me? Does anyone else see the green?
I am sorry if this sounds like piling on. This is a very nice picture. I like that her skin is not 'over processed'. It has been cleaned up some (we can all use that!), but it still looks like skin. I like that in people!   

Mike
GlassEye      
I use only free range, organic pixels. Some pixels have been processed, but no pixels were injured in the creation of my images. All pixels are returned to the wild.
Back to Top
tigertimb View Drop Down
Alpha Eyes group
Alpha Eyes group

Joined: 22 November 2007
Country: United Kingdom
Status: Offline
Posts: 5630
Post Options Post Options   Quote tigertimb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 15:33
Originally posted by GlassEye GlassEye wrote:

A very appealing photo of an attractive lady. The color cast is a problem, though.    I only mention this, after others have commented on it, because on my monitor there is a serious green cast. Yellow, yes, but a yellow-green, to me. Is my monitor misleading me? Does anyone else see the green?
I am sorry if this sounds like piling on. This is a very nice picture. I like that her skin is not 'over processed'. It has been cleaned up some (we can all use that!), but it still looks like skin. I like that in people!   

Mike
I see the green too - about equal green and yellow on my monitor, which seemed to be confirmed looking at the 'white' of her eye

On a 0-255 scale adding 15 blue and 15 magenta (losing 15 yellow and green) seemed about right to me, but then made the portrait darker, so it needed brightening too.

On the other hand, I like the f1.4 and that only one eye is sharp, as long as it's the near eye, which it is, where you've nailed the focus. So all a matter of taste with depth of field!
Tim
If you appreciate comments on your photos, how about returning the favour to others . . .
 



Back to Top
Maxxuman View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 August 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Posts: 1474
Post Options Post Options   Quote Maxxuman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 15:35
Definitely yellow-green on my monitor also. Otherwise a very nice shot although personally I'd prefer just a little more DOF so the other eye would be more in focus (not totally in focus but closer than it is).
Barry
Back to Top
GlassEye View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 02 October 2011
Country: United States
Location: Indiana
Status: Offline
Posts: 1335
Post Options Post Options   Quote GlassEye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 15:51
Good to know that my monitor is not *that* far off! White balance can be very subjective, but we do have a natural feel for skin tones. I don't know if the original file was in RAW format or not. Fairly easy fix if it was. Probably fixable as JPG, too.

Mike
GlassEye      
I use only free range, organic pixels. Some pixels have been processed, but no pixels were injured in the creation of my images. All pixels are returned to the wild.
Back to Top
Maxxuman View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 11 August 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Posts: 1474
Post Options Post Options   Quote Maxxuman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 16:58
If you click on the photo it will take you to photobucket, where the next photo is (presumably the original) version prior to the yellow/warming adjustment. That one also has a green color cast. There's a great tip for removing color casts that I saw here yesterday which I'm sure would work well on this file.
Barry
Back to Top
brian33 View Drop Down
Alpha Eyes group
Alpha Eyes group

Joined: 21 October 2008
Location: France
Status: Offline
Posts: 7600
Post Options Post Options   Quote brian33 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 March 2014 at 18:20
Looking at the next photo over and seeing the strange color on that one I'd just bite the bullet and go black and white or a very, very faint sepia. My only fear if you go b&w is you might magnify even worse the "issue" of her stray finger. In a b&w conversion you could potentially tone down the whiteness of her nail by darkening it just slightly. But the operative word is slightly; do it too much and it will be obvious you've monkeyed with it. Lovely shot no matter what and I have no problem with either the crop (if it is one) or the DoF. Though it's sometimes nice to stop the 85/1.4 down to 2 I don't think it particularly needs it here. The issue of one eye in focus, the other not, is as much a question of lining up the eyes on the same plane as the sensor: when you're near minimum focus on a short tele like this, you have to stop down more than you'd think to get significant increases in DoF. If you're after both eyes in focus (not saying you are, personally or specifically here, just providing a general tip) the best way to get them both in focus is to get them on the same plane, unless of course you're working w/ studio lights and can afford to stop down a lot, or back up considerably, which also will increase DoF significantly.
I detest bugs, especially spiders.
Back to Top
The Shoeman View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 29 March 2006
Country: United States
Location: Massachusetts
Status: Offline
Posts: 694
Post Options Post Options   Quote The Shoeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2014 at 04:22
Thank you all for your comments and constructive criticism. I really do appreciate all of it...it's how I learn.

Regarding more details on my shot....

I did not shoot RAW

I did not use a flash

I'm pretty sure the camera was set to Automatic White Balance

It was in the basement of my brother's house...with typical indoor incandescent flood lights recessed in the ceiling which was roughly 8 feet from the floor.

I did not crop...it was tight quarters, so I shot what I saw

The stray finger...yes, a casualty of being a candid

The shooting wide open at f1.4 was also a casualty of the lighting. I was already at ISO 800 which is usually my max. I'm not a fan of the higher ISO noise. (probably because I'm not confident in my 'noise reduction PP' skills, or lack there of) I love how the 85mm looks at f2 and above but I NEEDED the f1.4 for the available lighting that night.

I will try black and white and see how it does. I think brian33 is right though about it 'might magnify even worse the "issue" of her stray finger'...I'll see what it looks like tomorrow (it's late and has been a long week for me)

The yellow probably didn't look so bad to me, because the the original shot was much worse and I had already adjusted it. I guess I just need to adjust it more.

The picture in the Photobucket.com folder that is next to this picture had been adjusted more, shortly after the first few comments about the 'yellow' tone here. I just wanted to see what I could do to it. I honestly didn't realize it was a link and you could see the other pictures there...personally, I think it looked washed out after, but I probably changed the yellow tone incorrectly...

...with that in mind, I placed two other pictures in that folder showing the original and one that shows a little bit more of the room and the colors as well as the lighting. I can't remember exactly, but from the reflection in her eye (I've heard it referred to as the 'catch light'...so correct me if I'm wrong) it looks as though there was a lamp positioned just to my left in the shot.

This shows the room's colors as well as the colors of my wife's outfit: Not the best shooting scenarios I'm sure.



This is the original: (my wife will kill me if she know's I'm showing the original)



and this is what I posted: (just to keep them together)



Minolta 7D | 20/2.8 | 35/2 RS | 50/1.4 | 50/1.7 | 50/2.8 Macro | 85/1.4 G RS | 100/2 | 100/2.8 D Macro | 100-300 APO | 300/2.8 APO | 5600D HS Flash x2

Sony A99 | A77 | 85/1.4 CZ | 70-200/2.8 G SSM
Back to Top
brettania View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Dyxum factotum

Joined: 17 July 2005
Country: New Zealand
Location: Auckland
Status: Offline
Posts: 20650
Post Options Post Options   Quote brettania Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2014 at 04:49
Can I thank everyone who posted in this CC thread -- it is a great example of what we were thinking about when this forum was established.

Well done.
Back to Top
The Shoeman View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member

Joined: 29 March 2006
Country: United States
Location: Massachusetts
Status: Offline
Posts: 694
Post Options Post Options   Quote The Shoeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2014 at 14:43
I was able to try cropping the top a bit and going Black & White:



The White Nail does catch my eye but not as much as I thought it was going to. I think raising the exposure of the picture brought the difference between her cheeks and the white nail down enough .

I like B+W pictures a lot. (and they can sometimes recover/save an overexposed color photo) However, with all the color that my wife has on...eye make-up, eyes, lips, cheeks, hair and clothing....it just doesn't do it for me with THIS picture.

I do like cropping the top a little. It get her eyes up on the top 1/3 and I think that's why ifreedman suggested it.   
Minolta 7D | 20/2.8 | 35/2 RS | 50/1.4 | 50/1.7 | 50/2.8 Macro | 85/1.4 G RS | 100/2 | 100/2.8 D Macro | 100-300 APO | 300/2.8 APO | 5600D HS Flash x2

Sony A99 | A77 | 85/1.4 CZ | 70-200/2.8 G SSM
Back to Top
svjetlana View Drop Down
Alpha Eyes group
Alpha Eyes group

Joined: 05 March 2009
Country: Serbia
Status: Offline
Posts: 5348
Post Options Post Options   Quote svjetlana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 March 2014 at 14:54
Things that can be improved:
- white balance is off - too yellow for someone who is not sick - very easy to change if no other way you can use blue filter in PP
- her pinky nail takes too much attention away from subject
- too tight cropp - you may try with including her neck - experiment with it
- too much light at the top of her hear/head - you may use vignette
- have a camera parallel to her face so that both eyes are in focus - if possible
- her eyes should have more attention because they are very beautiful

She is very beautiful lady with amazingly beautiful green eyes. I wouldn't worry too much about her wrinkles at all.

Back to Top
Dyxum main page >  Forum Home > Dyxum Photographs > Dyxum Critics Corner Page  12>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.074 seconds.

Monitor calibration strip

Dyxum.com - Home of the alpha system photographer

In memory of Cameron Hill - brettania

Feel free to contact us if needed.