View Full Version : Different Matte

04-07-2008, 02:04 AM
First, what do you think about the image itself? Please make any suggestions. I get so tired of the same mattes thought I would get some comments on something different. Good or bad?


04-07-2008, 02:40 AM
Sandra, I like it. I love what you did with her eyes, they are gorgeous!!

04-07-2008, 02:44 AM
Lovely is what comes in mind for me!

04-07-2008, 03:01 AM
Thank you both. This little girl lives in the Bahamas. She would not let anyone photograph her there. I met her parents on a trip with a friend to photograph their family inScotland Cay, an island in the Bahamas. I told them when they were in Florida I would try. After letting her choose the chair she wanted to sit in she was happy and everything just fell into fun. I have so many beautiful images of her. Talked to her Dad yesterday and they are bringing her back this summer. Can't wait.


04-07-2008, 04:03 PM
Hi Sandra;

To matte, or not to matte ? For a client I love it ! For competition, my approach is less is better. So, just to get you thinking and to get the tongues of Keith and others wagging ... here is my approach. It's flipped and she is on the 2nd quadrant. I prefer the 3rd and especially the 4th but the pose didn't seem to fit. I hope this helps you in some way. (or helps someone else in the future) Oh ... your capture is so exquisite, I hope it is at least a 24" X 30" on your studio wall.


04-07-2008, 10:57 PM

Thanks, I like the oval border but I don't like her reversed or leaning. She looks awkward to me. Her right eye looks smaller reversed. I don't know how to make an oval border. Is there an easy way?


04-08-2008, 07:56 AM
I like the original with just a bit of exception. The girl's image has just a bit too much negative space on the left. She is looking away from that negative space. Eliminating some of it improves it a bit. A different placement on the matte might be better than this, but I feel this edit shows what I mean. Craig's oval doesn't do much for me, but that is just my personal opinion. Craig is certainly well educated in competition. I value his input. But this one leaves me saying... Ehhh!

As for the original image and the work done on it, I think it's a bit over processed, but beautifully done. The eyes are just like print artists have created for decades in classic portraiture. I personally never liked the fake look. These are far better done than some others I have seen. But barring all of my personal takes on the techniques, this is a wonderful portrait of a beautiful little girl! I also like the image in the matte. It works quite well on this.

Well, anyway... here is what I meant about illiminating some of the negative space on the left.

04-08-2008, 11:38 AM
Thanks Dave,

I do get carried away with eye processing, a painter thing. Is this better? I like the way you matted it. I kept moving it around and never thought of a more narrow approach. When she is flipped her face loses its features to me. Doesn't sound right but the only way for me to explain it.


04-08-2008, 01:46 PM
I'm no expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night - and to me, it looks like it needs rotated a tiny bit, it seems to be leaning to the right just a little teensy bit. And I agree, the flipped version looks funky - the lighting on the face or something is just wrong.

As for making an oval mat - I probably do it the hard way, but I will tell you two ways I know of doing it.

1) make an oval selection on your image, ctrl J to make that selection into a layer, add a stroke and there it is. if you need to, you can lower the fill to zero and then you just have the stroke, in case the duplicate layer changes anything.

2) I don't do it this way, but I bet it would work - use your shapes to make the oval, add the stroke, lower the fill to 0%.

Now someone can tell us the easy way!!!

I'm still getting my stuff together for you Sandra - I promise! And I love this image - she's way cute!

04-08-2008, 01:58 PM
Hi Sandra;

Here is how I add an oval. I add a transparent layer. Next I select the Eliptical Marquee Tool. (M on keyboard and drop down menu for eliptical) Draw it out how you want it. It can be fat or long and skinny. (if you ever want a circle hold down shift) And if you ever do want to turn it click on Select > Transform Selection > and then grab one of the corners and turn it.
Then you stroke that layer. If you want it less pronolunced simply lower opacity on that layer.

There is a very good reason I flipped her. She is on the right side of the presentation AND looking out the right side as well. If you do another session like this, pose and light so your subject is facing and looking to the left side. It lools strange to me to have her faced away from where the judges eyes will enter the presentation.

04-08-2008, 02:21 PM
As for the original image and the work done on it, I think it's a bit over processed, but beautifully done. The eyes are just like print artists have created for decades in classic portraiture. I personally never liked the fake look.

Dave, I see what you mean about the fake look. I would call it a painted look rather than fake, but I understand what you are getting at. I think what is bothersome about it is the level of work is not consistant throughout the image. While the eyes and the face very much look like a painting, the hair and forehead, her arm and her dress still appear as a photographic image. It's that inconsistency that bothers me. If Sandra is consideing this image for competition, I would suggest she go ahead and work up the rest of the image to match the level of work on the eyes and face.


04-08-2008, 02:33 PM
Thanks Lori & Craig,

She was leaning. I straightened her. Craig what about this one? Is it any better? I don't know if she is still in the middle too much.


04-08-2008, 02:34 PM
D Craig is right about why to flip her, but it doesn't look right and so should be abandoned. Sometimes breaking the "rules" gives you a more pleasing image. This is one of those times, IMO.

I have a couple of comments on this image, Sandra, if I may. The first thing is the eyes. The irises don't bother me that much- they are obviously done painter style, and I prefer them to look a little more natural, but it looks like you put the catchlights in yourself and I really don't like that look at all. For one thing, they appear to be in the exact same part of the eye, but this is rarely the case in nature. Usually there is a difference eye to eye. Next time you are talking to someone, check out the catchlights. They are almost never as symmetrical as presented here. The other thing that gets me is it almost appears as though there is a haze over her face. I didn't really notice this last night, but on this monitor it's rather pronounced. The effect of this is to leave her arms as being the most contrasting part of the image, drawing attention there rather than to her face. The remedy to this is to either lighten her arms or add more contrast to her face (I would choose the latter, probably). To do this add a curves adjustment layer, grab the middle part of the curve and pull down about a square. This will make the image look much too dark, but that's what you want. Now fill the mask with black. Then use a large soft white brush at low opacity (like 17%) to darken her face a touch, then increase the opacity to about 40% and reduce the size of the brush to give her eyes a little pop (and anything else that needs it).

04-08-2008, 03:18 PM
This is the original and after processing. She has a different arm as you can see. I did have her posed to the right but with the arm switch she moved.


Didn't even think about her arms, she is from the Bahamas and is in the sun lots. Eyes, I am bad about making things match. Wrong thing to do.


I brought back more photograph than painting. I am so geared to painting I forget not to overdo. Is this better? Thanks.


04-09-2008, 07:03 AM
The latest matted work is just what I was getting at. It is much better than the original composition.

The hand at the bottom seems overly large. Hands are rarely posed well by most photographers I know, especially myself! I'm no expert at it at all. In the days gone by of say 15 years ago, this image probably would have merited. I can't say for the current competitions. I personally love it. But I am no PPA judge. I know one. At least one who used to be a judge. But no clue to what is merit worthy these days. I see some I think are lacking, and they merit. Some I see are wonderful, but don't. So my thoughts may not be of as much worth as others here.

Good luck! I hope competition gives you a good experience!


Yeah,the "painterly" look of the eyes has been done in the past on most large prints I saw from the pro circuit of years gone by. But Painter and Photoshop weren't tools available then. Just print artists who "painted" catchlights and "fixed" color in the eyes. I appreciated the work, but felt it wasn't "photographic". If you know what I mean. Thus the "fake" look comment.

Cheers to all! :)