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treasures1
02-10-2009, 07:33 PM
I am just curious about whether any of these images might be considerable for comp. I am trying to get more quality work together in time for SWPPA- and maybe the Texas seminar in June. If these won't merit would they at least be good filler to have a nice case avg? Any comments are appreciated. 8500

8501

8502

8503:D:D

treasures1
02-12-2009, 05:24 AM
Should I take it as a bad thing that noone has commented? I know they're small- is that the problem? Or should I just scrap them all and start over because there's just no saving them?
( Be honest!) Thanks!

Stan_Lawrence
02-12-2009, 05:49 AM
"I am just curious about whether any of these images might be considerable for comp"

Likely not....sorry. :cool:

treasures1
02-12-2009, 10:23 PM
:)Okay- back to the drawing board! I don't think I'll ever figure out how to get this competition thing down. Thanks for commenting, Stan!

Rick_Massarini
02-12-2009, 11:36 PM
The third one looks like it could have possibilities since it shows a nice direction to the lighting - can you post it larger and maybe the full size file so we can look at cropping alternatives...

treasures1
02-13-2009, 05:32 AM
The third one was one of my favorites, but I'm not crazy about her hand posing. I picked it over a similar one because her eyes are turned in a better direction. The light in one of the eyes is lacking, but maybe there's a way to fix it. I'm going to try to post the uncropped, not fully edited version along with the one with better hands and worse eyes just for comparison. If this doesn't work I may have to look up D Craig's tutorial for posting through Photobucket.
8508

8509

Thanks for the comment! I'm not even looking for merits (they'd be nice) just a respectable case avg my first time out. :)

Stan_Lawrence
02-13-2009, 05:41 AM
Two elements aren't in your favor....the background is distracting, and the expression kinda looks bored....it really helps to have the attention drawn to the subject. Also, comp or clients, ESP....expression sells portraits. :cool:

treasures1
02-13-2009, 05:41 AM
http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss17/KNORM_comp/comp3.jpg as before- only bigger

http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss17/KNORM_comp/IMG_5041re.jpg- bad eyes, better hands

http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss17/KNORM_comp/IMG_5042rea1.jpg no crop, slight raw adjustments

treasures1
02-13-2009, 05:52 AM
She does look bored, but I thought maybe it was a classic kinda child look ( aren't they bored a lot? ) . My biggest concerns were the light in the far eye and the way her hand is posed against her face- I thought the shadow from the fingers might be more distracting than the background, but I guess I've seen it so much I don't notice it anymore. :)

If I'm looking at a way below avg score I'll scrap it, but if it'll be reasonable I'll keep it, because as far as comp goes I don't think I have anything much better so far. Thanks again for all the consideration!

http://i557.photobucket.com/albums/ss17/KNORM_comp/IMG_4368re-1.jpg

I also have lots of belly dancer pics. What do you think about something like this?

Keith_A_Howe
02-13-2009, 01:35 PM
Keesha, IMO the portraits of the little girl will all fall in the 71-74 range, below average. There are just too many challenges to those prints going any higher and again IMO I don't feel there is much PS work that could raise the score any higher. It's very hard sometimes to look at your own work and choose which would be the best choices for print competition. Do you have a website or any kind of on line gallery that we could take a look at. Sometimes a different set of eyes will pick out an image you never considered.

On the belly dancer here, you have broad light which is a problem. But the first thing I saw was the overworked background. I understand after you were told that the other bg was too busy, you probably wanted to soften this one but it's too obvious PS work. What you need to do is get your subject farther away from the bg so it is out of focus and has some light fall off. There are some other isues with the belly dancer such as her left hand appearing out of nowhere at her hip and her very stiff pose.

It's been said on this forum dozens of times but maybe not recently whree you have seen it. Get ahold of some General Showcase and Loan Collection books. Find an image in there that is a similar subject to what you are considering entering. Analize how your images differ. Look at lighting, posing, composition, color harmony etc to see what the maker of those images did. I am not suggesting you copy but rather learn from those succesful images. Copying is not even a terrible idea if you use it as a learning exercise. Try to duplicate those results so you can learn how they were achieved. Just don't enter your copies in print competition.

Keith

D._Craig_Flory
02-13-2009, 02:01 PM
I am not nearly as good as Keith but ... I see a stiff looking pose of a belly dancer. She has a beautiful face you could sculpt with light. I would love to see you have another session with her. But, this time, I would like to see her dancing. I'd also like to see a different key light modifier. A belly dancer I think calls for a spotlight ... or a parabolic with the barn doors turned in for a nice narrow pattern and then rim lighting to sculpt her body.

treasures1
02-13-2009, 03:35 PM
Those were some things I hadn't really thought about. I think the overworked background is a result of the skin smoothing software- her skin tone was very close to the tones in the background so I think some of them were overly softened when her skin was- it wasn't intentional, and I had never really noticed. I guess that's the point about having another set of eyes. I have lots of pictures of this dancer- some in less static poses on my website, but I think the background problem would be the same. I am in the process of upgrading my lighting so I will definitely consider some new modifiers- I'm honestly afraid of the reflector with such dark skin, so I will need to practice that. Sometimes I get some really shiny spots. I'm not sure exactly what lights I'll be getting, but I'll try posting some of the results. Thanks again for all the input. I knew those images had some issues. :)

D._Craig_Flory
02-13-2009, 04:50 PM
Those were some things I hadn't really thought about. I think the overworked background is a result of the skin smoothing software- her skin tone was very close to the tones in the background so I think some of them were overly softened when her skin was- it wasn't intentional, and I had never really noticed. I guess that's the point about having another set of eyes. I have lots of pictures of this dancer- some in less static poses on my website, but I think the background problem would be the same. I am in the process of upgrading my lighting so I will definitely consider some new modifiers- I'm honestly afraid of the reflector with such dark skin, so I will need to practice that. Sometimes I get some really shiny spots. I'm not sure exactly what lights I'll be getting, but I'll try posting some of the results. Thanks again for all the input. I knew those images had some issues. :)

Hi Kesha;

Please remember the word feather. You should always turn the key light and "feather" the light. That way you are not lighting using the most spectral part and you will get less shiny spots. In photo terms, you should light using the Penumbra instead of the Umbra. (the outside of the reflector / modifier rather than the middle)

I did a diagram to help show you what I am talking about. The Umbra (center) is the more harsh light and the Penumbra (outside area) gives a softer output.

http://i70.photobucket.com/albums/i93/DC47/UmbraPenumbraDiagram.jpg

treasures1
02-13-2009, 10:37 PM
D. Craig,
Thanks for that info- I appreciate the diagram- very helpful! I just recently began to see the fruits of feathering my soft box so I'll be practicing more with the reflector now. I may try out some scenics for comp while I keep practicing my portraits. One day I'll get it though. You are such a wealth of information, and I really appreciate your help!

I know this is another thread, but do you have any suggestions for brands/ types of lights I should invest in? I use flash now, but was wondering if I might have better results with something like continuous flourescents.

D._Craig_Flory
02-13-2009, 11:33 PM
Hi Kesha;

I like equipment that lasts and lasts. I have owned Photogenic Powerlights for decades. I have had no problems at all. And, Photogenic has been around for over 100 years !!! http://www.photogenicpro.com/

As for using flourecent continuous lighting ... back in the black & white film days a lot of studios had large banks of flourescent lights as the fill. When color photography started those got scrapped because flourescent lights made flesh look green. Even if that were not a problem, strobes put out much more light. I would not like to have to drag the shutter on kids and pets which I don't worry about with strobes.

treasures1
02-16-2009, 10:19 PM
I need something that will last and last- so I've been looking into these. Can't wait to get my new stuff all set up! Thanks!

Rick_Massarini
02-17-2009, 02:34 AM
Kesha,

Now that I can see the third image closer, I see that the eyes are turned a bit too far away from the camera so that the viewer sees too much of the whites of the eyes. When turning the face away from the camera, try telling the subject to look straight ahead - in the direction of their nose, instead of looking to the side, which turns the whites of the eyes towards the camera.

On the belly dancer, the broad lighting is not the best choice IMHO. If the main light had been brought around to camera right instead of camera left, you would have much more attractive lighting on the subject's face and body.

Rick_Massarini
02-17-2009, 02:51 AM
I need something that will last and last- so I've been looking into these. Can't wait to get my new stuff all set up! Thanks!

There are lots of good lighting units out there, but I, like D.Craig, also recommend Photogenic. My studio lights are Photogenic Flashmasters and Powerlights. I've been having the Flashmasters since around 1978, with very very few repairs - the power packs have never failed and the only flash heads that have failed were some of the smaller 5" units that are used for background lights, and they get knocked over 3 or 4 times a week (after they hit the studio floor a few dozen times the flashtubes finally give out - imagine that - they're TANKS. My Powerlights (600, 750, 1500) are somewhat newer (they're now about 15 years old) and have had some repairs made to them (a few flashtubes and a couple of capacitors replaced), but the frequency is negligible when you look at how much they get used - every day. Buy Photogenics and you probably won't ever need to buy lights again unless you really want something newer, fancier, or with more bells and whistles...

I also had good service with my old Dyna Lights that we used to use for location work, but Katrina drowned those...

treasures1
02-17-2009, 03:19 AM
Rick- thanks for the cc- I figured those eyes in that 3rd image would be a problem. I have some short lit images of the dancer, but I think I'll try some spotlighting for dramatic effect and see how that goes.

Hurricane Rita killed my first set of interfit lights- so I bought another set because they were cheap and the only kind our little local camera shop sold. Then one of those got smashed in the Ike evacuation- so I think I'll invest in something more substantial (and just wait for the next hurricane). I'm planning on having my 5D by hurricane season. If something happens to that- I'm moving to Wisconsin! Did you get some good pictures from Katrina at least- or were you too busy putting all the pieces of your life back together?

Rick_Massarini
02-17-2009, 06:22 AM
Kesha, I sent you a PM