Friday, May 8, 2009

I Heart Faces - Constructive Feedback Friday

Since I got so much great advice last time I entered a photo into the Constructive Feedback Friday at I Heart Faces (Click Here To Visit Their Site).

I am so glad that I get the chance again because I did my first shoot with a family other than mine and like a dummy didn't change my ISO before taking the pic. I feel like such an idiot... Please help me out and let me know what I can do with these photos, I have salvaged a bunch but some I couldn't.... My major thing with this one is the sun glare on the Mommy's forehead. How do I get rid of this?

Here is my original photo.....

F-Stop: 3.5
Exposure Time: 1/4000 Sec
ISO: 800
Focal Length: 28mm
Camera: Rebel XT
Exposure Bias: 0 Step
Meter Mode: Average
I didn't have any of this photo in an edited form because I just left it as it was because I couldn't get the sunglare fixed. So this one was not added to my album of images for the family. Thanks in advance for your feedback..


  1. If you do a bit of a crop to show off the faces, then change your curves up a bit to lighten it. I would also turn up the contrast to give it a boost. Also if you are able, adjust the vibrance or saturation to boost it some more. Pioneer woman has some great actions that can help called boost, warmer, lighter etc.

  2. They are adorable!

    That is lens flare :). Sometimes, photographers try to get this effect in their shots. Look at portraiture by Jessica Claire or Jasmine Star. They are the queens of backlight and lens flare :).

    It looks like there is a really light place on her forehead and then a circle above. I would try lightening up the whole shot considerably, then cloning out the lens flare.

    I would crop to a 5x7 ratio, taking out much of the background and focusing on their faces.

    With the underexposure combined with the high ISO, you are going to have quite a bit of noise. Using noiseware on a low setting may smooth things out a bit. There is a free stand-alone version you can use: Noiseware Community Edition.

    You might also try a contrasty b/w conversion of this image. If you can get the faces light enough, it might really bring out rim light around mom's hair and be a nice artsy shot.

    I hope this helps! One time, I went to the beach and shot all day on ISO 1600. On my Nikon D50, can you imagine the noise? Yeah. Bummer. But I saved some of them with Noiseware and cloning. Since it was just us, it was o.k., LOL!

    Amanda J.

  3. AJ is right, there is going to be some substantial noise with this one.

    There are definitely times when lens flair works, I'm not sure it does in this image though so you are best off cloning it out. You'll have to zoom in close and really be careful to keep the line on the pole behind the mom looking straight and her hair looking normal but if this is an image you truly think is worth saving than it might be worth the time to do so.

    The image itself is quite flat (lacks contrast) so adding contrast in the right places, cropping to minimize the distracting background and adding either a color boost or a contrasty black and white conversion might be the way to give this one some CPR.

    And don't feel too bad about your ISO mistake, we all have done it at least once!

    BlogBaby's BabyMama

  4. The picture is really cute and boy do I wish it was sunny where I live.

    I agree with AJ that the picture needs to be cropped...too many distractive playground lines.

    I was looking at your exif data I have some suggestions for future shots.
    1. During the day and especially outside, try to shoot w/ an f-stop of between 8 and 11. This will reduce the light entering through the lens, control the sharpness of the image, and help lower your ISO and shutter speed.
    2. Decrease the ISO to between 100-200. Smooth images can always be sharpened, but blown-out images are harder to exposure adjust without adding noise. Given the high shutter-speed, you could have afforded to lower the ISO and still have very crisp image at 200-400 1/s.
    3. I am not sure if you were trying to incorporate lens flare into your image, but composing a picture with the sun directly behind the subject is hard, especially if not taken during the golden hours (1-2 hours before sunset and 1-2 hours around sunrise). A harsh sun can be slightly off-set by using a flash to illuminate the front of the subjects. Depending on your flash (on-camera or hot-shoe mount), I like to use a longer lens (~100-200mm) and shoot with a flash. The longer lens allows you to stand further away from the object, gives a nice natural bokeh look, and lets the flash light diffuse better. This may also help with the contrast of picture SOOC.
    4. Shoot with a lens hood on. I don't know how much it would have helped in this situation, but lens hoods are great in reducing lens flare SOOC.

    If the shot is an integral part of a portfolio for a family or client, there are ways to reduce the lens-flare. Photoshop provides cloning tools or you could select the flared areas and adjust their hue/saturation. This is extremely time intensive.

    Best of luck with future photo endeavors! Thanks for allowing us to look at your picture and make comments.

    NoEly EvaN

  5. Hi Jenn!

    The ISO thing has happened to most of us at one time or another. It just makes your heart sink, doesn't it?

    I read that you are taking a photoshop that right? That's great! I don't know how far you've gotten, but I think this photo can be salvaged.

    To get rid of the white spot of glare on the mom's face, I would use the Patch Tool. Circle the spot with the tool, and move the spot into a close area of good skin.

    You can lighten the photos more using levels/curves. The background is not important here, just the subjects, so it doen;t matter if the background gets too light...we'll crop it out, anyway. Go Image Adjustment>Levels and bring the darks up a little for contrast and the midtones and highlights until the faces are light enough.

    You can also go Image Adjustment>Curves and create a little bit of an S curve with the darks a little darker and the lights a little lighter. I like to do this to add some more contrast.

    With the high ISO, and the shadows on the faces, I think a Noiseware program is a must. Try a free one, like Amanda suggested, or if it's in your budget, Noise Ninja or Neat Image work well and are not very expensive. Also, many sets of actions come with a smoother or noise reduction, so that's something to think about.

    I like Catharine's suggestion about trying some actions to boost the color and contrast further. I don't know how familiar you are with using actions, but her suggestion of Pioneer Woman's free sets is excellent. I would try different looks with the photo to see what works best. If the noise issue can't be resolved satisfactorily, you may be left with too much color noise, and a vintage, faded, or B&W may work best.

    I would crop in and rotate just a bit...if it were me, I would keep the vertical crop and come in about at the mom's arms.

    If I think of anything else, I'll come back, but I hope it helps a little! Thank you for submitting your photo for CFF!

  6. You have already received so much wonderful advice already!

    We have all forgotten to set the correct ISO at one time or another. It just makes you sick when you get back home and realize it, doesn't it? I hate it when I do that.

    Your problem reminded me of something I read in one of Scott Kelby's books awhile back. He provided an acronym that he suggested all photographers should go through quickly before they begin a photo shoot:

    Scott Kelby's WHIMS:

    W: White Balance
    H: Hightlight clipping warning
    I: ISO
    M: Mode (JPEG or RAW)
    S: Shooting (Resetting to the right shooting mode for the subject: Aperture Priorty, Shutter Priority, Manual, etc.)

    If you can remember WHIMS and what each of the letters stand for, maybe that will help you not make that same mistake at another future shoot.

    I also agree with the cropping. The background is very distracting and not visually appealing. At your next shoot, I would probably try to find a location that is prettier to shoot at (ie. a building with interesting architecture, a flower garden, etc.)

    I hope this helps!

    co-founder of iHeartFaces

  7. I like the picture a lot : ). I can see the potential...even though I have no idea what all that advice is about : ).