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Am I improving?

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  #1  
Old 06-18-2005, 01:15 AM
1STLITE's Avatar
1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Am I improving?

A friend of mine wanted some portraits of her daughter for her husband for father's day. We managed to take a few decent shots on the grounds at my apartment, and I had fun retouching them. But I thought I would give you all a peek at them, being that you all know what to look for. I woudl love a critique of these. I still have issues with a couple things, even though she loved them and so has everyone else, I guess we are always our own worst critics. lol

On the one with the white dress, I took her head from another shot just moments before in which her hands were up so her body position was no good there. Love it when it is that easy! lol

Now, the one with the hat, I changed the background on it to something more colorful and less distracting, and it was an image I had on my hard drive but I am not sure where it came from. If any of you know, Please tell me where this came from. I suppose, not knowing, that I shouldn't have used it. I need to clean off my hard drive of old stuff so I don't have this worry anymore. What is the best place to get free pics of some pretty scenery that I can use for whatever. I am hoping, since she has been showing these at work, that I will get some business, and I want it all to be on the up and up, ya know.

So, Whattaya think?

Dawn
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Asheligh hat before small for web.jpg (98.8 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg Asheligh hat after small for web.jpg (86.1 KB, 55 views)
File Type: jpg Ashleigh smile light before small for web.jpg (98.7 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Ashleigh smile light for web.jpg (92.9 KB, 45 views)
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  #2  
Old 06-18-2005, 01:23 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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darling little girl.

your first one is great. the blue sky really brings out the color in that hat. and cropping it to bring her forward was right. do that with the next one also, crop it to make the baby the picture. you dont need all that background in there. and the last one is almost there. maybe one sharpen, or double the file size first and then sharpen and then half the size again after. also, there seems to be a little light fuzz under her chin. is this a lighting thing and if so, maybe reduce it a tiny bit. otherwise, it looks great.

Craig

edit: oh, and i've seen some references on retouch to free pic sites. dont recall where exactly, so have a look around and if i run into any of them again, i'll post them back here.
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  #3  
Old 06-18-2005, 01:36 AM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Thanks, Kraellin. The third photo in the atachments is the before of the last pic. She wanted that "soft, fuzzy, angelic, glowing" look but not overboard. Hence the softnes and glowy-ness. In the Photo-Art forum you asked about if it was a picture to beign with, it was a picture of her from the same day.

I am always not perfectly happy with anything. But my friend was very happy as was all her family, so like I told her what I like does not count as long as she does. lol In hindsight, I shoudl have removed the tree, and I wish I had not done that smudging on the grass just in the background of the hat pic. It really bothers me to no end, but is probably something that they will never even notice at all. But, thats what I get for my working after the kids go to bed. I was up til 2:30 am on the hat pic. Thank goodness the others did not take as long, though I probably could have spent that much time on them as well trying to make it "perfect".

THank you for your comments. I never noticed the issue with her chin until now, so there is another something for me to fuss with, at least mentally. lol But that is why I love this place. You all are training me to open my eyes a littel more, day by day.

Dawn
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Old 06-18-2005, 01:48 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Hi Dawn,

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful little girl. Well done.

The only criticism I have is with the first picture. The background is uniformly blurred. It may have more realism if you'd used a gradient mask to make the blurring increase from bottom to top, giving a little depth of field.

This is only a minor point, and does not really detract too much from what is a lovely picture.
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Old 06-18-2005, 02:07 AM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Thank you, Gary. You've got me all grinny now - lol. I really appreciate your comments.

I knwo what you mean abuot the background, and originally that was my intention. And it is something I really wish I had completed. I think what happened was I got frustrated and decided to just try this as it was, and since she liked it I never went back to it after that night. And it is what I get for messing with it too much I think. I had it at a point where it looked as though she were sitting at the top of a hill with the background down and behind her. Had the grass by the blanket all there. I should have stopped there.

Thanks again!

Dawn
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  #6  
Old 06-18-2005, 10:27 AM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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ummm, the third picture is not the before of the fourth. different poses. same baby, but different shot. either that or you've been doing some serious manipulation ... or i'm going blind

Craig
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Old 06-18-2005, 11:08 AM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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I guess you overlooked that in the first post. I said it was two different pictures and in one she was smiling but here hands were up and the other she looked pretty mad, but great body pose. So I took her haed from the smile pic and there it is.

Dawn
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2005, 12:03 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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ah! ok, i did miss that. nice job! hehe, now you see why i critiqued these pics as if the third and fourth images were different. i'm really going to have to be a bit more careful with my reading of text.

well, take it as compliment on your work. you did the manipulation so well that i couldnt even tell

i recently retouched about 160 pictures of our family reunion. they were taken by three different family members with varying degrees of photographic skill and different degrees of quality of camera and one 'professional' photographer (that shld have been shot). in going through that volume of pictures i had to come to realize that i wasnt doing 'photo art'. that was not the purpose. i was simply correcting various issues in photographs for family. these werent going to end up at an art gallery. so, i concentrated on the simple mistakes folks make with cameras, framing, focus, red-eye, lighting, fingers across the lens and so on. in some cases the fix was a simple 5 minute job. in others, considerable more time was spent, but this was partially due to me training me in retouching. one person had an older digital camera in the 2 mega-pixel range and every shot he took where the subjects were somewhat more distant, i had to raise the resolution of the image before working on it or it just would look too 'jagged' and then edit it.

all in all, it was an interesting training exercise, both for technique and discipline. the discipline aspect was perhaps the harder. i had to seriously curtail my natural inclination to try to turn everything into 'the perfect shot' or i'd be working on it for the next five years.

i probably averaged about 30 minutes per picture, a lot of which was due to trying new things, learning new things and getting familiar with my new printer. the further i got along in the project, the faster i got. i could probably now have cut that time down to 15 minutes per picture on average. some would have still taken longer as they were in pretty bad shape.

as i finished and printed these pictures out, i put them all into one album, found an old photo of my folks when they were much youger and only married for about a year and put that on the cover. my mother was blown away and i've gotten nothing but compliments from everyone else on it since.

so, i guess the point i'm making is, stick to the purpose of the work. most folks arent looking for photo art or restoration when they bring you their photographs for retouching. they want the red-eye out or re-cropping or a bit more focus, etc. just make em better and you'll impress.

and that's not to say you cant make them photo art. you can. you did an excellent job with what you posted above and that's great. just find out what they really need and want, and then do a bit more to show off a bit. or, if you're doing it soley to blow them away, that's fine also. just know what the purpose is for that piece and go to that level to obtain the desired result. for my family reunion pictures it wasnt necessary to go to a high level to obtain some very good effects. that just wasnt needed in that case. it's basically a matter of communication. what do you want to communicate and how do you achieve this. the emphasis is always on communication and not perfection

Craig
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  #9  
Old 06-18-2005, 02:27 PM
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1STLITE 1STLITE is offline
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Craig, thank you for your advice. I truly appreciate what you are saying. That is exaclt why it took so logn on the first one. This was really my first real attempt at a retouch that goes that far. I had about a 20 minute play with one of my daughters pics and she loved it and that is what led to doing these for her husband for Father's Day. I am hoping to get more than my time and paper and ink's worth on these, many folks have already expressed a great interest in these and the photo-art canvas print. One woman has even said that when she has her first child she want me THERE - lol.

It is interesting to me that I love the really "touched-up" look of the first one, as does her mom, but of course Daddy's favorite is the softer sweeter second versoin. lol Which is fine by me cuz I will probably make more off those types of pics rather than the other, not only because of hte time involved (Which I am trying to improve on) but also that the second seems to appeal to a wider audience. That and the photo art prints. My mind has been reeling with the ideas coming to me on that one! lol After a bit of a "dry spell" here, I am in love with and excited again about Photoshop.

Thank you for everything. I truly appreciate the feedback I get here. And I know there is no way I could have done ANY of it without Retoch Pro's members!

Dawn
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  #10  
Old 06-18-2005, 03:24 PM
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Craig Walters Craig Walters is offline
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yup. like i said, you hit the first one out of the park. i love it also and the 2nd was so good you fooled me with it

so, just ignore anything i said in my last post if it conflicts with anything you said in your last post as it would seem you're creating the effect you want

in fact, you've given me a few ideas also. i hadnt even really considered doing enhancements like you're doing for a 'retouch job'. there might indeed be a big market out there for that. so, thank you as well.

Craig
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