View Full Version : Two possibilities for Comp? Honest CC wanted.

12-17-2008, 09:46 PM
I'd like to get some feedback/CC regarding these two images. Both are portraits and fairly close-up shots to boot. The reason I like them, is that there is something about the eyes in both that sort of draws you in. Is that something that has enough impact to keep the judges looking? I haven't step mounted either image yet, since they are such close-ups, I'm not sure where to place them on the background. And yes, I am aware that they won't merit, but I'd like to see above average - is it possible with either of these images?

I'm thinking titles would lean toward something about mysterious eyes, windows to the soul, a hint of attitude, or something to that effect, unless someone has something more clever.

Thanks again.

P.S. Just threw the 3rd one in for kicks - be honest. For all of the images, please let me know what I did right, as well as what needs to be improved.

12-17-2008, 10:34 PM
Hey Angela! I want to talk about these first from just a general portrait perspective - without talking about comp yet.

On your first image, I feel like she needs to push her chin out a bit more - she feels very closed in, and her expression is not inviting. It's not quite attitude... it almost looks like she's mad. I don't get a sense of motion or movement (not literal movement... like blur) in the image - like having her lean a bit toward the light - or even better, turn her body away from the light and turn her face back in toward it. Look at my avatar, for example, it's very similar to what you have in your first image, but I'm leaning in the image - it gives a sense of movement, and is less static than a ram-rod straight pose. I would maybe cut back on your hairlight a bit as well... the top of her head is as bright as her face, but then you've got a very very blocky black on the shadow side of the face.

In image #2, you've got a bit of the same issue - she actually feels like she's withdrawing from the camera - like she's leaning out of the image. I might like the treatment you applied better if the opacity were dropped down at bit - as it is, it's competing with the image of the beautiful girl. The eyes in this image feel very over worked to me - the whites are unnaturally white. Also, be careful with the turn of the face - if you can help it, you don't want the bridge of the nose to cut through the iris of the far eye. However, see the shadows/contrast on this second image compared to the first? It's much more pleasing.

The third image feels natural. She looks pretty comfortable, but I think this could be so much stronger if her body were turned the other direction and her face turned toward the light. Make sure you have those girls sit up nice and straight and tall... she looks a little slumped over.

I'm not certain these images will find you in the above-average category, however.

I hope that wasn't too much. I know you've been working your tushy off and we've all seen a drastic improvement in your work! You asked for honest feedback, so I hope it was helpful.

12-18-2008, 01:27 AM
Hi Angela;

I am sure you will get lots of good feedback on them. To be honest, I would score them in the low to mid 70's.

Here is an analogy I'd like you to think about. When walking around a museum, enjoying all the classic paintings, I would expect to see a lot of room surrounding every subject ... no head and shoulders or closer. I would not expect to see many half-length poses either. I hope that helps you to focus on the type of images to choose.

IF there was a head and shoulders portrait, in competition, that had perfect color and saturation, density, and contrast with perfect composition ... it would still barely make it any higher than an 80. Conversely, if an outdoor portrait with a horse grazing in the background, a saddle draped over a fallen log, and a woman sitting and playing a guitar ... with all kinds of room all around was entered... that could get a score of 95 or higher. The head & shoulders would lack the impact and story telling that the outdoor portrait would show.

12-18-2008, 06:02 AM
Heather hit most of the points. I just wanted to say that the middle image is the strongest. I wish I could see the whole org. file. There are still some issues but I am posting first the image as you posted it and then after crop, tilt, and color / density correction. I did this for easy comparison so you can see how the tilt and density can really change the impact of the image. Note I did not have enough image to tilt as far as I would have liked to and I didn't do any other work or presentation to it. If there is enough space on the orginal, I do believe this one will get close to the above average catagory if not into it. JMO though.
I really hate to disagree with D Craig but there are a lot of H&S and dramatic close ups in the merit and loan catagories. We are seeing a bit of a resurgence of H&S in competition. It does have to be done very well because it is a common subject and a subject that most professional photographers should be competitent in producing. Space can be good and can be used on a H&S portrait to give it more impact, but it is not a nescesity.
I too have seen your improvement and want to encourage you to try competition and learn from it. Good luck
As you had posted
With crop, tilt, color and density changes as far as I could quickly

12-18-2008, 03:07 PM
Hi Keith;

I bow to your experience. We have not seen many head and shoulders type images in our state competition so I was speaking from what I see on print racks here.

12-18-2008, 05:28 PM
Okay, here are the original files that I was working from - so you can see what I was going for...

Heather - Thanks for all the CC. It was appreciated. I know I've come quite aways, but I still require as much input and knowledge as I can obtain. I've attached an original version of the first image, as well as the version that was presented to the client. I think I got carried away, since I was able to recover from an initially bad pose, and the mom and daughter absolutely loved it (I guess it "just her"). :) Anyway, from reading lots of other posts, I know that the client loving it, doesn't necessarily mean it's great. Thank you for pointing out about the hairlight; currently my hairlight and dual purpose background light is a 20x20 Softbox which I feather back from the top of the head to the background. (Don Chick recommended doing that, since I can't vary the power output on the hairlight). As soon as finances allow, the Novatron system will be retired. :o Anyway, that light does give me problems if I haven't positioned it just right. (Rabbit Trail -:D )

Keith - I really like what you did with that second image, the tilt and crop really change the look. There isn't too much more of the original file, but I've attached it so that you can see if there is enough to work better with, or if I should try using the waist length shot and cropping and tilting it instead.

As to the last image, she was leaning on a posing table, but I couldn't raise it any higher, so she looks like she is slouching a bit. I'll go back thru and see if I have anything else that would work better (she is a beautiful girl).

Thank you again to all for taking the time to look and comment.

Edited to ask another question. In the girl with the fur coat, if I tilt and crop like Keith's, should I crop below the wrists like the original image is, or above the wrists like in Keith's version?