Is this over the top?
I can post the original photo later. The photoshopping is not very advanced, just Layers, Masks and Levels.
It never looks like it would have originated from a camera. Sorry to be blunt but in the interest of honesty and brevity...
It might help if it were possible to post a picture of the original then we may offer suggestions to the changes we may make.
It would also be of help if you could describe the picture you hoped to create. It looks like it started off being a photo of a Christmas procession.
No I don't beleive it is out of the camera. I also find the brightness of the background a little distracting. I bet if you lowered the saturation on the blue and darkened the background on the right side you would get to a point where it could look natural. I think that this is a neat photo, congratulations on catching the shot.
Having said that, artists get good money doing work with a surreal quality to it, this has that kind of surreal quality that kind of works - the mood is almost consistent between the people and the background.
I really really like what you've tried to do. Obviously, there are a lot of problems that I'm sure you already know, blown out highlights, blurring, the last character looks like a mummy. The black figures in front are ill defined with a glow around them that doesn't add anything (to me). In terms of achieving an ethereal, ritualistic feel, you've done a great job.
Good morning and thanks everybody! :)
First of all, a Great Thank You to all of you commenting. I know I "broke the rules" by not saying anything about the image, but I was after your "gut reaction".
Render clouds - Correct! Plus Lighting and Satin
No need to be sorry. You answered my question!
Yes, it's surreal, but it seems according to you guys - over the top. I had a slight suspicion...
Hmmm... Perhaps I should simply crop the last girl. Didn't occur to me! That might give me a 3:2 picture instead of 4:3 The highlights were blown in the original
Yes, this is a "Santa Lucia" procession, which we celebrate here in Scandinavia (St Lucia was a Sicilian saint, and we're not even catholic up here - go figure...) on Dec 13. For those interested, check here http://www.umkc.edu/imc/stlucia.htm
The Norwegian text of the (Sicilian) song goes
"Into our darkened house
Striding with burning lights
Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia"
So -- this is the reason for the lighting. I want darkness to be ahead and light spreading behind. I chose blue by accident! It just looked good with the girls.
The blue "fringes" that Duv doesn't like are also the part that I'm most dissatisfied with. I tried to balance the (wilfully) blurred foreground against the blue backgrund, but I had a feeling it didn't work, and I was right
So -- now that I've explained the (cultural) background a bit, can I be so bold as to ask you nice people for improvement suggestions?
The raw image:
Lighting is the candlelight you see and the electric crown that "Santa Lucia" is wearing, nothing more. There are many more girls with candles following.
1/2 sec; f2.8; ISO 342; 130mm focal length; hand held.
Shooting conditions were ... um .. difficult! The song's rhythm is 3/4, meaning they stop between each step, and I tried to shoot while they were temporarily still.
Photoshop technique. The three obvious layers plus some adjustment layers and masks. Lots of manual touch-up, obviously.
- Reduced background luminosity
- Removed foreground blue colour
- Removed "mummy"
Too little "air"? Did I crop too tight?
Since most of you guys are still fast asleep over there I have time to add a question and a concrete plea for advice.
I used Render clouds for a background, as I didn't want anything too smooth. I would appreciate better suggestions! As you can see from the original, that background had to go.
Hmmm, I'm already learning a lot here!
The question of background cannot be answered until I know what I want to achieve. Do I want a "dreamy" image or do I want one that may actually pass off as being taken there and then and can be shared with the other parents?
I'm going to a (stone) church now and could photograph its walls, but the procession was not in a church...
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