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C&C desired for family photo

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Post Options Post Options   Quote alphatini Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 July 2014 at 15:10
i think that the last edit is too thight on left side
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Idyllic Pics View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Idyllic Pics Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 July 2014 at 15:15
Originally posted by alphatini alphatini wrote:

i think that the last edit is too thight on left side


Understandable. Art is subjective.

Personally, I think it balances the RHS which was cropped through his arm an equal amount. The original shot where the LHS has breathing space but the RHS is cut off, just felt wrong. I prefer symmetry in this instance.

TFL.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Annette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2014 at 19:44
Originally posted by Idyllic Pics Idyllic Pics wrote:





Idyllic, this edit is very well done. Given the imbalance of the original, the crop simplifies the LHS by cutting out as much as possible (more legs, more color, more detail, more distractive "noise" that draw the eye away from the faces), while maintaining and maximizing what is good about the photo.

It is a shame more people do not utilize the crop feature more "savagely", and more often!

When you have a picture that has a lot of imbalance for the eye to deal with, even if everything else in the photo is "right", the eyes "struggle" to find a balanced focal point and the integrity of the photograph is completely undermined. My point is, better to be brutal in cropping and have a photograph with a stable and balanced focal area than to end up with a mediocre picture that, meh - everyone would just rather it get removed from the wall in the hall and hung in the dusty office out in the barn.

"Savage" crops are also a spectacular way to turn even an amazing picture into a work of art. The trick to making that happen rests in the frame. On the flip side, improper framing can ruin a photo just as much as improper focus or closed eyes. IMHO, framing is just as important to photography as the photo and it is a tragedy that more photographers do not consider the frame DURING post processing. If they did, they might be surprised how often it changes the final product.

Anyway, in the right frame, this photo can be balanced between the LHS & RHS even more, it will just take a bit of creative, "out of the box" thinking.

I actually see this is in a really nice divided metallic frame. On the top 2/3 of the frame would be this picture. The lower 1/3 would be a small individual portrait shot of each person who is in the group shot. By using darker colors in the small photos on the RHS and lighter colors in the small photos on the LHS, you can balance the 'heaviness'. You can also "pair up" a couple of people for a portrait to use for the RHS and then only use singles for the LHS as well. That would move more faces to the lower right.

It would be neat to make the photo large enough to span the coat and shoe area.   Put "hooks" under the little photos and everyone in the family would have their own coat parking =)


______

Other than my two cents on cropping & framing, I wanted to mention something about your not liking to do full body shots. I get that. My only recommendation is that, you find a way to position the subjects so that the cut off point on the collective is at a visually appropriate place on their bodies. For example, this photo pre-crop has cutoff your subjects between the knee and the ankles and it ends up looking like "sloppy" framing from the photographer. In other words, it looks like you were not paying attention to where your subjects were positioned within the photo. To me, this looked like the opposite of the "chopped head". Does that make sense?

Suggestions:

1. Either bite the bullet and get the feet in there
2. Smoosh everyone together and cut off at the waist
3. Take a full bodied shot from higher ground, looking at a downward angle (this minimizes the lower half of the body and makes the upper body - including the faces, appear larger
5. "Stack" your subjects. Have the kids kneeling or sitting in front.
6. Pick up a funky old couch from the thrift store and set it in the middle of a field, in the woods, or at the beach. Then start piling your subjects onto and around the couch.
7. Same as above only use a chair ... or chairs.
8. You can do the above inside as well, but I think it loses its "punch"
9. Get everyone on the stairs!
10. Try using stools, logs, ladders - anything that will create "space" to stack your subjects.


Happy snapping!






Edited by Annette - 07 August 2014 at 20:55
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Annette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 August 2014 at 20:19


This is only a quick example of what I was trying to describe. Obviously, this is not a "frame" and I do not have photos of the family members except to crop from the original and put as a kind of "space" holder. AND I missed some people. Because of these reasons and lack of time, understand that I realize this is not perfectly "balanced".

However, it IS a fairly good visual "sketch" of the idea I was trying to convey. Notice how even this "quickie" has already begun to even out the weight of the R & L sides.   When framing, consider where the photo will be hanging as well. Then of course, once the photo is hanging in its new space, final balancing touches can be made through the use of other elements in the room, lighting, furniture, other photographs, etc.

Anyway... What a beautiful family! This photo is worth taking a little extra time and money (custom framing) "saving" because, very few group shots have such great expressions! We all have those pictures where it would have been just perfect if only that "one" person had not blinked or squirmed or ... or ...



Edited by Annette - 07 August 2014 at 20:27
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thebigz View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote thebigz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2014 at 02:16
I haven't been posting, but thank you. These ideas are very helpful and look great.

So on a slightly different topic, not completely unrelated to the photo, what is the technique for brightening people's faces? Adjustment brush in LR?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2014 at 04:13
I suspect it's simpler using a whole image tool rather than a spot tool at least for most of it. Not sure about the tool name in LR but its parent, Photoshop has tools to brighten or darken selected parts of the histogram. In this case it looks like the adjustment was simply brightening the "shadows", or the darker portion of the histogram, and perhaps the whole image. But the fundamental problem was shooting with faces in shadow. Changing the angle of the shot no more than 45 degrees would have changed the back/ side lighting into front side lighting. 90 degrees would be better and still not facing the sun = squint. Then you have no problem so solve. As well as brightening faces you coud lower the brightness of the sky behind.   All without resorting to masks.   

Annette's example two posts back is an excellent example of another opportunity. I was able to do something similar with my dad's 90th birthday a couple years ago. Starting from well focused, and in this case well lighted by fill flash, 24mp images of 20+ people, I cropped out individual or family unit pictures of 1-4 people that were completely acceptable as prints for an album. Which surprised me. Some looked as good as a small group portrait. (Also I shot about 25 images, some in rapid sequence, to get varying expressions, all with me in the picture, all of the entire group, using a remote trigger as you did.)

Edited by analytical - 10 August 2014 at 04:20
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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: 10 August 2014 at 04:15
I do not have Lightroom. I use Photoshop CS3. From what I hear, Lightroom is pretty fantastic. I should get a free trial and see how I like it.

That said, I recommend picking up a reflector to avoid the problem at the start. I like my "4 in 1" from Westcott. (30" Illuminator Reflector) It comes with two "pop fold" panels. Gold/Silver and WhiteReflective/2-stop Diffusion.

:)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Annette Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2014 at 05:17
Analytical & I must have been writing at the same time, so I did not see his suggestions until I checked my email.

His advice is spot on. Using direction change is always an easy way to help with shadow when you are 'on the fly' - as is fill flash.


If you love playing with sunlight, squint and shadow will always be a problem and the only thing I know that helps all the time are reflectors/screens. I love mine so much I want to get some bigger ones :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Idyllic Pics Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2014 at 06:21
Originally posted by thebigz thebigz wrote:

I haven't been posting, but thank you. These ideas are very helpful and look great.

So on a slightly different topic, not completely unrelated to the photo, what is the technique for brightening people's faces? Adjustment brush in LR?


I added radial filter to each face with a slight exposure and temperature increase. Some faces needed it more than others. I also added some contrast if it helped.

One face was particularly grey so I painted that with an adjustment brush instead.

As mentioned above, opening shadows, dropping highlights, adding clarity over all and then a couple of graduated filters both L&R top corners, and an adjustment brush to reduce clarity on the background buildings to "soften" them a bit and give them a bit of an OOF effect. Looks like I also lowered exposure, and warmed the image overall.

Edited by Idyllic Pics - 10 August 2014 at 06:31
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Idyllic Pics Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2014 at 06:32
Originally posted by Annette Annette wrote:


Idyllic, this edit is very well done.


Thank you - I very much appreciate the feedback.
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