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Candid Portrait

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Maxxuman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maxxuman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 March 2014 at 05:29
I asked Bill (The Shoeman) if he was happy for me to try fixing the color cast and uploading a corrected version using the method in the video I linked to in an earlier post. I used the version in which he'd already adjusted the white balance to remove some of the yellow. Here's the result:


I still see a little green to the right (her left) of her nose but didn't want to do local adjustments, as they weren't part of the procedure in the link. Other than that the skin tones look a lot more natural to me, although they may benefit from a slight increase in vibrance in Lightroom.
I expect the green cast came in part from the wall shown in the photo with Bill's wife and daughter. However, I also noticed that both photos were uploaded in Adobe RGB color space. Since Adobe RGB is a much larger color space than the standard sRGB color space used on the web, particularly in the greens, it can also cause an apparent color cast when viewed online. I'd recommend Bill converts to sRGB before uploading photos.
Barry
 



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MichelvA View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote MichelvA Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 March 2014 at 08:54
Indeed, sRGB is the best choice and this wrong colorspace may be the cause of some issues.
Apart from that, while i like the somewhat soft presentation which is partly a result of the f/1.4 aperture, her right eye (left on the photo) is just oof. With a slightly smaller aperture this would be in focus too. As other said before, wrinkles don't matter much with such beautiful eyes.
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Maxxuman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Maxxuman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 March 2014 at 14:00
I just reread my post from last night and realise I got it wrong when describing the area in which I still see some green. I meant to the left of her nose as it appears on screen (so her right), although admittedly it's still visible to some extent elsewhere. No doubt these color cast correction adjustments would work better on a 16 bit file, which would be available if shooting RAW.
Barry
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Annette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Annette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2014 at 17:02
Hi Shoeman,

Before I start, I would like to say that I almost didn't post anything because I have only lurked on this site since signing up nearly two years ago - i.e., I haven't properly introduced myself to the community nor posted any of my own work, so it seemed inappropriate for me to say anything without having first established some sort of relationship with the dyxum community in the other areas of the site first.

There will always be opportunities for critique, discussions on white balance, theory, and composition - and I am happy to do that when it is polite and proper for me to do so i.e. after "we" (everyone at Dyxum and I) have gotten acquainted and after I have put my own work on the chopping block first. Prior to that, anything I say wouldn't have much credibility anyway and I would only come across as a bit "rude" due to the lack of relationship.

Hopefully that makes a bit of sense.

That said, I decided to post this for your wife's sake. If we were all good friends I would have stood in her defense and strongly protested that you not use the photograph for any reason OTHER than asking how it could be fixed. Here is why:

Your wife has a gorgeous complexion and she obviously knows how to use color and style to accentuate her best features that show off her natural beauty. The white balance on this photo is so bad she appears to be extremely unhealthy - if not terminally ill. If my husband took that and wanted to 'share' it with the world, the next time he fell asleep it would have mysteriously "vanished" from the disk - along with every other picture like it. (No, I wouldn't have cast it into oblivion, but it would have been hidden until I had a sworn oath that it would never be seen by any eyes but his own..)

The white balance only sucks because you are lacking in TECHNICAL knowledge regarding white balance such as how to properly adjust your white balance settings on your A77 - especially in low light. That also applies to your knowledge of how to handle white balance during post processing.

I won't go into what I did to adjust the color in these examples because that would be an entire book in itself, but I will mention that I did this using the edit options offered in iPhoto - about as simplistic as you can get as far as photo-editing software goes. I did this only to show that this picture is "fixable". If I had taken the time to pull out my beautiful Cintiq tablet and open up Photoshop (full version), the results would have been far better because I would have had been able to fine tune the color even more, remove the face shine, been able to create "room" so that I could 'crop' the photo in a more flattering way and so much more. I would have even been able to fix her eye that is out of focus.

I included some examples of how the photo could be 'cropped' to "odd" dimensions just to show that if you think outside the 'box' a little - stuff that interferes with the composition of the image can be handled through the use of resize, rotate, and crop... THEN framed in something that was CUSTOM MADE to ACCENTUATE that particular photo in that particular crop. Creating a frame with three different 'versions' of the same 'set' for example.














___________
Before I close this, it does not feel right to me to comment on your lack of technical knowledge about white balance without at least pointing you in the right direction of what you need to learn and do in order to fix that.

Here goes - please don't take my 'bluntness' and lack of explanation as being rude or insensitive. I just don't want to be the next "Novelist of Dyxum" as I have already been more verbose than what may have been welcome already.




1. Make it a new habit to ALWAYS custom set your white balance. ESPECIALLY IN LOW LIGHTING.

2. Your A77 has the WB button, the front and rear menu 'scrollers', and THREE slots to save three different WB settings for a REASON. Learn how to use them and how to navigate between each setting WITHOUT lowering the camera from your eye. Do this and at your NEXT Christmas party you will have already 'preset' your white balance for three different areas of the house. Perhaps, kitchen, basement, and back patio. You will also easily and seamlessly shift between those settings as you move throughout the house.

3. Learn everything you can about white balance - and I don't just mean "adjustments" and "settings" ... I mean really LEARN what it "really" is. This means understanding exactly HOW the human eye works and how the brain processes visual information it receives from the eye. For example, did you know that the human brain is constantly adjusting for "white balance" ?

THAT is what I am suggesting that you learn. When you really get a handle on that and then learn how to custom set your camera's wb ... you won't constantly battle yellow, sickly looking photos whenever the lighting is poor.



-Annette





_________________________________
Reason for Edit: Grammar/Clarity



Edited by Annette - 18 March 2014 at 15:13
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The Shoeman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote The Shoeman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 March 2014 at 20:59
Annette,

I am at work right now so I cant take as much time as I want to with this, however, I read your post and just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do what you did and say what you said.

I put my picture here on "Critics Corner" to learn. And,that is exactly what I'm doing with all the information that people have given thus far, learning. What's more important to me is when people tell me how to fix the problem, or even better, not make the mistake in the first place.

I will re-read your post tonight for certain and take all that I can from it.


I have fortunately, been able to accept constructive criticism fairly well in my life. I welcome it. I have realized it is how I learn best. I make my mistakes, get them corrected and try not to make them again.

Thank you Annette, and everyone else who has posted not only here, but everywhere else on Dyxum that I have read. I've been part of Dyxum since 2006 and have learned so much because of this site. I do know I have SO MUCH MORE to learn.

For me...Photography is a passion. I love it even when I make mistakes.
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
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GlassEye View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlassEye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2014 at 00:43
@Annette,
Interesting post, and very helpful to many of us here. The comments on WB are right on target. Auto WB does such a good job usually that I almost take it for granted. Of course, it's just a computer, though!    To compensate for that and other issues, I shoot RAW. I'm just not good enough to shoot JPG! Your advice to really drill on the camera features and settings is apt. I've been shooting with the a77 for about 18 months, but I keep finding new ways to set it up and make use of more of its capabilities. Practice, practice, practice!

I find that I'm sorry that you have not been more active on the forums. I joined up just a bit after you, but I have managed to conceal my normally shy personality. So a belated 'Welcome' to you. I believe that the Dyxum community can only grow with your participation. Oh, and please, pictures!   

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.
 



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ifreedman View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ifreedman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2014 at 01:04
@annette: nice post, and nice corrections. I like the skin tones much more in your image. Please, please, please continue to post in our forums. We love to have active members helping critique photos, not just in this forum, but in other photo forums as well (although, perhaps not in such detail).


The only thing I'd say about Annette's image is that the eyes are very vibrantly green. (They're green in all of the pics, but it didn't stand out as much due to the white im-balance). Perhaps this really is your wife's eye color, at least in certain types of lighting. My wife has green eyes, but they're nowhere near this green. So I'd just check to make sure that the eyes in the pic matches your wife's eye color. Certainly the eyes are very striking, which is often a very important thing for portraits.
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Annette View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Annette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2014 at 17:20
Shoeman, Mike, and ifreedman,

FIRST

Thank you all for your comments. It was kind of you all to be so warm and welcoming! It has inspired me to look through the site and find some threads in which to participate. I am in the process of updating my portfolio and plan to start doing some freelance work again, so a few days ago I decided to begin participating in the photo contest, assignment, and challenge threads to help push my boundaries as a photographer and artist.

Even though I haven't participated in the forums, I will say that it was the Dyxum community (and all the phenomenal talent represented here) that helped me choose which DSLR system to use. My first 35mm camera was a Minolta and for years I only used film even when digital cameras hit the market. Anyway, fast forward a few decades to a couple years back and I finally decided to invest in a DSLR system but was clueless as to what I wanted. A wedding photographer I know said to go with Canon, a friend of mine loves his Nikon... I kept looking at my very old Minolta SLR I've used for eons and ... well, I guess we "Minolta People" are just a unique breed because here I am!

Anyway, this site has been extremely helpful to me (especially the gear/equipment forums) and I was the happiest girl on the planet when I decided to go with the A900 with Zeiss and Minolta lenses. I actually bought two lenses from Dyxum members and referred my brother here as well; he bought an A700 system from another member here. I haven't regretted my decision once! Even my husband has remarked on the amazing quality of my photos now that I have quality equipment.

So THANKS to all of you as well. I have no doubt that there are a whole lot of Minolta/Sony enthusiasts that silently lurk around here that have been helped by this community as well. Regardless, I know that at least for me, the content and quality here at Dyxum has taught me a LOT and I am extremely grateful to all of you.

Thanks again for such a warm welcome.
I <3 the entire Dyxum community!


_________________________________________


Shoeman,

I too, want to know what I am doing wrong so I can fix it. I would MUCH rather someone tell me the truth so I can fix it, rather than give me a sugar coating on something I have asked to have critiqued. I have come to value quality, honest and even harsh feedback much, much more than compliments. While the latter feels good in the moment, it is the former that actually contributes to my personal growth. Sounds like you have discovered this secret as well.

Thank you for responding and letting me know my input was helpful to you. Experience has taught me to be cautious in handing out advice because a lot of people don't really want 'the truth' when they ask for 'advice'. I would never intentionally hurt someone's feelings or ever want to discourage any endeavor, and too many times that ends up the being the outcome of 'advice'.

(Actually, I came VERY close to deleting my OP a couple hours after submitting it. Now I am glad I didn't, because I wouldn't have received such wonderful responses. It is so nice to "meet" everyone!)

*********


Mike,

I am still learning all the features on my A900! In fact, this whole WB thing I only really learned and understood after I bought my system nearly two years ago. Before that I never cared about WB - didn't even have a clue as to what it was since my only digital cameras prior to this one were cheap "point and shoots" that I wouldn't cry over if they ended up in the washing machine (sadly a fate of most of my pocket-sized electronics). Therefore, my only digital camera experience pre-A900 has been "auto" everything since those were my only options.

As to the camera's features, I am still learning and practicing too. I know for a fact that I haven't really learned how to maximize on my camera's capabilities. Taking pictures is a whole lot more fun than studying the user manual! I'm getting there though. :)

p.s.
I'll try to get some pictures up soon.



**********


ifreedman,

You brought up a great point about her eyes and I agree that it would be good to compare the picture with her actual eye color. Any adjustments to the actual eyes can be made in Photoshop. I have always been a Photoshop fan because I love the absolute control it gives me over an image. For many years I focused more on "art" than photography; only recently have I been moved back to "reality" - which is why I bought my A900 :)

THAT SAID, I wonder if her eyes "pop" more with my image because the skin tone in my corrections are on the rosy end rather than yellow - giving the green more vibrance due to the complementary red tones. In fact, I might pull up the four images (Original, Shoeman's, Maxxuman's, and mine) to compare the actual shades of green just to satisfy my curiosity. The illusions and tricks light and color play on our eyes never cease to fascinate me.

As to critiquing people's work in other areas of the site - yeah, definitely not the place for such detail. If I do offer any more 'advice', I will probably keep it limited to this area anyway. I definitely wouldn't want to offer any unsolicited advice.









Edited by Annette - 18 March 2014 at 17:37
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