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A few B&W Portraits of young lass Lizzie.

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Iconindustries, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Here's a few more portraits of a friend. Putting a feeler out there if you guys like these black and white tones. I don't want to get stuck in a rut with what I think looks good and I need some feedback. In the past I've done all of my black and white work in LR and since I've picked up a new macbook I wanted to just stick with Aperture. So bit by bit I'm getting it to a stage where I like my black and whites. Are they ok or do I need to make any B&W adjustments?

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/8267537585/" title="Lizzie by iconindustries, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="Lizzie"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/8268609496/" title="Lizzie by iconindustries, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="Lizzie"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/8268560123/" title="Lizzie by iconindustries, on Flickr"> View attachment 245978 "800" height="627" alt="Lizzie"></a>
    • Like Like x 8
  2. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Brady, let me say straight away that I'm no portrait photographer. To me number one lets the set down. You've chosen a background that, whilst it's out of focus has become very distracting overall. Your processing might have given that undue emphasis. What I guess is some very delicate headscarf over your models hair seems to be smeared in places and also has hard, distracting edges. Having said that your friends hair, face and shirt are good. It seems strange to have a photograph almost of two halves.

    As a non portrait photographer numbers two and three look good to me. I guess the pose in number two reflects in some way the character of your model.

    I trust these comments are taken as constructive.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK

    I am not a portrait photographer either but unlike Grebeman I really liked Number 1. It gives me the feel of an oil painting ...

    Isn't it strange that the two comments so far have come from Devon.

  4. Bill Gordon

    Bill Gordon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    In my humble opinion I thing that your impressions of this very pretty young woman are excellent.....keep up the good work!! Just the thoughts of an old man that many years ago took portraits for $$$.
  5. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I agree with Barrie - maybe you could tone down the background in #1 by brushing in a lower exposure or add some vignetting?
  6. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    south Devon and north Devon eh, we'm be different, oh and Barrie is good with me by the way Geoff :biggrin:, Brady and I go back a ways on :43: although I've been rather absent on here for some months so he'll know who you mean.

  7. caimi

    caimi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 13, 2012
    middle US
    Caimi caimiphotography.com
    A photogenic subject always helps and Lizzie fits the bill. I like more contrast rather than the grey tones you've selected in one and two. But all three are winners.
  8. dogs100

    dogs100 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2011
    N Devon UK

    Thanks for the friendly post. I always look for your posts as I am in awe of your 'bird' knowledge, it is good to see.

  9. Christilou

    Christilou Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 25, 2010
    Camberley, Surrey
    I'm only a dabbler too but to my mind Barrie is right. The first thing I saw in number 1 was the bokeh circles and then the scarf. The piece around her neck looks, at first glance, like the sleeve and so it seems out of context with her arm being in the wrong place and so I would lose the scarf myself! Nothing wrong with the others, they show her character but I would soften them a little so that edges are not so hard but then I would say that wouldn't I :)  I was just re reading your text regarding the actual B & W. There are lots of filters in Camera Bag and it's very cheap. Really easy to experiment with the tones that you like.
  10. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    +1 on the distracting background, but I like the scarf. It adds a flowing feminine touch to the subject. However, the upper portion of the picture seems bright compared to the scarf bunched at the bottom - I kind of like the tones of that bunch of scarf. Or maybe I am just being distracted by the background. :smile:
  11. PSimmons

    PSimmons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2010
    Central Florida
    I get frustrated with this forum some times because people don't put which equipment they used to make images. I know you listed your arsenal at the bottom but it would've been nice to see which did what. Hopefully I'm not coming off as rude but if this an equipment oriented forum I think everyone needs to cater to that.

    As someone who gets paid to do portraits I really like 2 and 3. Number 1 is't like anythign I'd do but maybe that's where I'm going wrong. At the end of the day its about the client and if they're happy and recommend or use you again then its a win-win for everyone.
  12. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Gotta agree with Barrie. The background highlights are too strong and take away from the subject. The last one is spot on though.
  13. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 28, 2012
    S.Yorkshire, UK
    For me in B&Ws, I like the blacks to be black and the whites white, rather than greytones, so I prefer the tonality of #3, although maybe the shoulder/shirt highlights are a bit harsh and could be backed off in just that area.

    But, it's all subjective, what works for one person doesn't work for all, as we know :biggrin:
  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I hate BW unless it is really good. I prefer color unless it is bad. Anything that keeps you flush with the ladies is all that matters. How does she like them?
  15. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. I'd like to say that I dont' make any money from pictures I take, I just enjoy it and often times I just take my portraits spontaneously. In effect it's a hobby, but saying that, I do want to get better as time goes on.

    No worries Barrie. Those things didn't even enter my head. The background in the 1st picture is a tree behind her and I guess the dappled light on the leaves is what gives the distraction. Good point- I'll try somehow to get rid of them or tone them down. I should check the background before shooting more, often times I'm not sure how it will look once processed. I think the B&W shows up the highlights alot more than colour.

    Thanks for your input Geoff. I think the interesting thing about photography there is no really right or wrong, and it may mean different things to different people. But I know there are essential things that make a good photo really good and that's what I aspire to learn.

    Hey Bill! Thanks for chiming in mate, I haven't seen you for a long time. You must be getting to be an antique now, Right!

    Antiques are more valuable did you know that! :smile:

    Yep thanks, I'm already attempting to sort that out. Brushing is a good idea, thanks for the tip. Do you think cloning would work?

    Yeah Barrie and me are old mates. I remember he even shares my passion in model engineering.

    Caimi, I really enjoy your standalone black and white pictures and I think that's what gives me the inspiration and partiality to shoot black and white. Do you use the contrast adjustment or Tone curves? I don't really like the contrast slider in Aperture because It doesn't seem to work that good and I also am not very good at adjusting tone curves as well! I'm interested in how you process your pictures.

    Thanks for bringing up the presets Christi, I hadn't heard of camera bag before so i'll check that out. I'll do as you suggest and bring down the highlights on the scarf. I smiled when I read about softening the pictures- I can't copy Christilou's signature style can I? :smile:

    Good onya Hyubie, I'll lighten up the bottom portion of the scarf. I'm not sure why it's so dark. I think it's the contrast between the light shining through the top and the darker thicker parts.

    Oh sorry mate, I do try to put down what I use most of the time but I clean forgot. It's the Em-5 and O45mm lens.

    It's all I've got time for now, But I'll be back after work! See you then:smile:
    • Like Like x 2
  16. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    I don't think cloning would be your way out, what would you clone from?, the whole background is of a similar nature, and there's far too great an area to consider that. When I started out down the digital route back in 2001 using early versions of Photoshop I used to use layers to put a new background in on pictures, mostly replacing bland skies with more interesting ones, but it's a lot of work and when you have control of the photograph, in this case you could have selected a better background, then that would be the way to go, get it right in the camera where possible.

  17. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I had a play around with the first picture again. Went quite different and sat there painstakingly with a clone brush and took everything out. Adjusted the tone curve to make the whites whiter and blacks blacker. Also gave it a crop after the arm was mentioned.

    And I forgot to mention the thing over her head is a veil and not a scarf and thats why the top is so bright because of the sun shining through the thin fabric.

    What do you people think of it now?

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/50527022@N02/8272124542/" title="Lizzie by iconindustries, on Flickr">
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    "800" height="600" alt="Lizzie"></a>
    • Like Like x 1
  18. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Brady, a considerable improvement, the eye is now drawn to the subject of the photograph. I think I might have made the background slightly less black as though there was some form of light fall off in it, if you get my drift.

  19. mfj197

    mfj197 Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 20, 2012
    Guildford, UK
    Somewhere between the two I think would be rather better - the second attempt has made the background much too dark leading to a halo effect around her where the edge of the brush is. Try just backing off the brightness (and maybe contrast as well) of the background rather than making it almost black, and see how that pans out. The interface between the girl and the background should be natural, whereas in the latest one it looks false.

    Hope this helps!

  20. LB1940

    LB1940 New to Mu-43

    Nov 13, 2012
    São Paulo, Brazil
    Luiz Barata
    Dont mind the critics, your portraits are excelent! The background on #1 is a bit strong, but it is, on the other side, very singular and interesting. May be, you could try cropping it square to eliminate the darker tones on the sides. #3 is wonderful! Congratulations!

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