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18 March 2010

I Heart Faces: Constructive Criticsm

At first, when I saw that I Heart Faces wasn't doing Fix-it Friday this week, I was disappointed. The constructive criticism idea is cool, but they looked like they'd somehow already filled up all their "slots," even though it's still only Thursday. Then I got looking at some of the links and realized these are old ones, and they must be from the last time they did some constructive criticism, so I decided to play with this picture I took this afternoon, which I'll be using in our 2nd baby's scrapbook.

This is the SOOC. Obviously, I'll need to crop it. This was one of the first ones I did and I was still figuring out where to stand. But I just love the way that Monkey is doing a "belly picture" too!

One thing I'd absolutely love to hear about is books that help people figure out the manual settings on the camera. My programmable-automatic setting does a great job, and is pretty flexible, but I'm sure that if I could just figure out how to use the manual settings I could really have some fun. Plus, this looks just a little underexposed to me, in spite of some fill flash.

Anyway, here's what Bridge tells me is the data for my picture:

Focal length: 6.7mm (this part means nothing to me)
A: f2.8
S(?): 1/50 (This one's not labeled, I'm guessing, since shutter speed is missing.)
ISO: 200
Flash: compulsory mode (I knew it was going to be backlit, even with my curtain "backdrop.")

Here's what I did with it:

1. Cropped it.

2. Curves adjustment layer - first, brightened it up, then removed a little green and took out a touch of red. Flatten.

3. I haven't got a good system for removing noise, and this one had more than a little. Best thing I've got thus far is I use CoffeeShop's Baby PowderRoom action and between the "red skin repair" layer, and the "smooth skin" layer, I can usually get rid of the worst of it. But it only works on skin. I've only recently downloaded this action, so I haven't had chance to run it, step-by-step, and see if I can figure out what she's doing with it. That's on the agenda.

So, noise suggestions? Free noise suggestions? I haven't got a budget for any cool Photoshop toys right now.


Oh! I didn't realize that people might be willing to spend time playing with my photo! How very generous! Here is a larger file, if you would like:


Skeller said...

I love how your son is mimic-ing you!! He's so cute :-). Yikes! Your camera did NOT choose good settings. But hey, now you know it doesn't handle backlit situations well. In the future, you may want to choose a different lighting set-up - for example, you and your son can face the light - either looking OUT the window, or perhaps standing in or in front of your front door (doorways often make great portraits!!). There's not much I can do with the photo you have posted, because it is very tiny (600x900 px), but here are the adjustments I made in Lightroom (which can also be made in Camera Raw in PS): +26 yellow and +22 magenta in white balance, +1.6 exposure, +10 clarity, +24 orange luminance, +17 luminance noise reduction, and +20 color noise reduction. When I have a "noisy" photo, I will often convert it to b/w, because grainy-ness doesn't bother me so much in b/w. In this b/w conversion, I also added a Gaussian Blur layer to soften some of the drapery detail.
Regarding learning manual settings ... here is a book I highly recommend: Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.
My "after" pic is posted here: http://shortonwords.blogspot.com/2010/03/constructive-criticism-friday-at-ihf.html

Ritsumei said...

I agree - Monkey is a cutie! And we had such a good time doing this. He spent a good portion of the afternoon with my old tripod, "I'm the photographer!"

I keep hearing how wonderful RAW is; I'm going to have to dig out my camera's manual and see if I can use that. I couldn't find a setting for it, looking just now, in the menu, but I'll have to have a look at the book. It should be around here... somewhere.

Thank you for the book recommendation! I'm off to have a look at your work on my picture!

Skeller said...

Here's the great thing about using Camera Raw. You don't have to shoot raw to use it. It works on jpgs, too!

AJ said...

I love Monkey's little face!!! I can see why you want to keep this one :).

I played with the larger file and came up with this: http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y286/NanasMama/DSC07848editweb.jpg

I brightened your face and all of Monkey's body and face. I fixed the white balance issue and that's it. I tried burning the background a little, but it didn't work, LOL.

Next time, definitely put the camera between you and the window and look out the window. You'll have great light that way! Or even go outside around dusk.

This will make a great page in the scrapbook!

Have fun,


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