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New here - loking for C&C

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Old 03-22-2011, 09:35 PM
Charles_cz Charles_cz is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 34
New here - loking for C&C

Hi guys, I am just starting with basics and I would love to have honest critique and comments to help me get better.

Basically I just got new Paul C. Buff Einstein lights and I am trying to figure studio photography and photo retouching at the same time.
Please see this link to see picture before and after.

Please let me know how I did. I've tried to keep it simple...

Too much? Too little? Something to be careful about? Please be brutal and honest...

Thanks Charles...
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Old 03-23-2011, 10:14 AM
MBChamberlain's Avatar
MBChamberlain MBChamberlain is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Knoxville Tennessee
Posts: 281
Re: New here - loking for C&C

Hi Charles,

Welcome to RetouchPRO.

Let's start with the photo itself, I count 3 lights. It looks like a key to the left with a 24x36 softbox, fill on the right with an umbrella, probably silver, and a background light. For this image, I'd rotate the key toward the camera and go for a butterfly rather than a loop setup, and have the model tip her head up to prevent the shadow from hitting the upper lip. The fill is a bit hot, a little less will allow the shadows to do their work, overall the image is just a little flat. I might stop down the background light as well because the hat is blending into the background.

The other lighting thing you need is a reflector, lay it flat, just out of frame, to bounce a little light up into smile creases, under the eyes, hat, and hair. You could even go so far as to move the fill to a 3/4 back position, and use a second reflector to fill in the space between the lights. Also, if you have the space, move your lights further from the subject.

A couple of posing notes, she looks a little hunchbacked, and she's got her chin tucked into her shoulder, this adds up to make her look a lot heavier than she is. Have he draw her shoulder back and down and bring her head up nice and tall, exposing the neck, and making her taller and thinner, both good things in photos.

When it comes to retouching, since you're the photographer and you can control these things, powder...lots and lots of translucent powder. I keep a translucent rice powder and some cotton pads in my bag. (rice paper is a good thing to have on location) Apply liberally and often, it cuts the shine, smooths the skin, and prevents the light from scattering under the skin and bouncing back out, reducing the look of sub-dermal color variations, veins, and acne scaring.

Those things you've worked on look pretty nice, but there are a lot of details that remain untouched... creases on the inside of the eyes, shininess on the forehead, particularly above the eyebrows, crows feet, and uneven tones on the cheek are all areas to look into. The level of retouching you've chosen works very well for this image, being casual and western, a highly processed look would seem out of place.

Keep up the good work and congrats on the new lights. Keep practicing with them, lighting and retouching both take time to develop a finessed approach, but you're off to a good start.

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Old 03-23-2011, 04:42 PM
Charles_cz Charles_cz is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 34
Re: New here - loking for C&C

Hi Michael, thank you very much for warm welcome and very useful response. That is exactly what I was looking for and that will help me to improve my technique.

I used to do wildlife photography as a hobby and I was looking more for quality and direction of light. I did not really worried about shadows.

Obviously studio photography and portrait photography is all about light and shadow. I will need to train my brain and eye to SEE effects of light and shadows.

I know it will take time and a lot of shooting to get better. I will keep practicing and I look forward to seeing more comments and critique from you and others.

Hopefully one day I will be good enough to help others. I find your input very helpful and encouraging.

Thanks Charles
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