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From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

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  #1  
Old 01-19-2007, 11:41 PM
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solitear solitear is offline
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From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

I'm going to start by saying that I know less about photography and cameras than I do about the dietary habits of the endangered southcentral Australian Numbat..... but, after months of researching camera features and scary letters like ISO I followed up with an 8 weeks camera course and chose my first digital camera ..... a Sony Cyber-shot W70 because it was tiny and shiny..... so here comes my ignorant question....

If I take a snapshot (say in portrait mode) would I be able to turn it into one of those beautiful portraiture photos using Photoshop?

I'm attaching a photo of 'one of my little reasons for breathing' as an example of the look I'm interested in. It looks soft and a bit desaturated.......

Could someone .... like one of you Supreme Commanders of Photoshop...... transform a nice digital photo into something professional looking....... can it be done ?????

Now I'll sit here and hum the Jeopardy song until I hear from someone.....

Thanks for any insight,
Beth
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:36 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

I really like your photo and the composition! Now that you have the camera you just need to practice your photoshop!
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:37 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

I forgot to add this...opps!
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:40 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

Thought I'd give it a go!
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Old 01-20-2007, 06:28 AM
Bojin Taylor Bojin Taylor is offline
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

Well Beth I think you got a great start. Shooting on a seamless in a studio yet! What I think happpened to this image is called lens flare. Your light source spilled into the lens and caused this lack of contrast you see. A gobo (something placed to block out light) can help you there. To improve the image open up a curve in your layers pallet and pull down on the diagonal line.
as i did here.
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:51 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

Beth,
I think the folks above have captured the low contrast issue. I have attached a curve as one example to adjust the contrast, although as you know there are many other ways to accomplish this in PS.
The only other suggestion I would add is regarding you attachment. Your image was a very large size and very highly compressed, which resulted in severe jpg pixellation - those are the little square blocks you see if you zoom in or worse if you try to sharpen the image. You would be much better off if you saved a copy of your image for posting by reducing the size to something like 8 x5 @ 72 DPI and then saved it on a jpeg compression of 7 or 8 or the highest you could get and still have it fall within the 100KB limit.
Regards, Murray
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File Type: jpg Solitear Contrast Curve.jpg (97.4 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg Solitear portrait Rev MM.jpg (90.9 KB, 101 views)
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:20 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

well, since beth has probably now gone insane from listening to the jeopardy song she's been humming all night and since this seems to be my day for learning new terms (numbat:picture here ) (gobo: definition here ) and since others have answered the picture taking part so well, i'll just add a question for beth, did you want to use the full shot or did you want something more of a head and shoulders portrait?
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:33 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

Beth, your "reasons for breathing" are among the most beautiful/handsome I've ever laid eyes on!

I'm not sure just what you want -- you said this photo was an example of a look you want to copy. It's a nice look, and you have said before you like the soft looks, so is this photo done by someone else and you're wondering if you can get a similar one out of your new camera? With a similar background, careful lighting (the harder part), and your camera, it would be possible to get a nice 8x10 or so from your camera. The lighting setup would require extra lights.

Or did you want this photo changed in some way like the other folks have already done?


Craig -- thanks for the picture of the numbat -- I was going to have to look that up also.
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Old 01-20-2007, 11:46 AM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

Hi Everyone! To everyone who's responded, thank you for your help and I do appreciate it; however, I feel like I've wasted excellent information on my clumsily worded question...... not only that, I'm embarrassed that I failed to say that I didn't take that picture....... I posted it so as to show the kind of look I wanted to achieve.... Murry, in getting ready to respond to your info. about size I remembered I was going to crop it to just a head shot but stopped because it wouldn't get across the "feel" ........ so that tells me it's also a composition thing (I didn't realize that until just now, Wow...... thank you).

Bojin..... when I started reading your post and saw phrases like "len's flarin' up and spilling all over my nice 'seamless studio'" .... whew, I knew I had some explaining to do...... I sure didn't take the picture, it was Caden's school picture.... my photo would have looked a lot like a big tennis shoe..... never mind, I'll attach it.......

CJ...... I'd like to employ your translating services..... that's exactly what I meant to ask....... thank you and thank you for your sweet comment re: Caden ...... I guess Photoshop's Filter > Render > Lighting Effects is no match for real lighting..... and interesting cropping is no match for composition...... Gahhhhhh man...... now I gotta' learn something else......

Craig......... I'm still laughin' my guts out ........ last night, when I was writing my post, I Googled ...um....... "EndangeredRareAnimalsInAfrica" ....... a list of animals appeared so I scanned down and clicked the funniest sounding one, Numbat. There was a short paragraph about it's range and diet....... which was fine since I was only after it's funny name ........ THEN ...... I was reading your post and clicked on your Numbat link and have been laughing ever since....... I love you!

A huge thank you to each of you.

Beth
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Last edited by solitear; 01-20-2007 at 11:52 AM.
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Old 01-20-2007, 12:07 PM
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Re: From snapshot to portraiture - Is it possible?

Beth -- I wasn't being "sweet" when I said he was handsome -- it's just the simple truth.

Window lighting could be the best for a head/shoulders portrait, and would be possible without having to buy equipment. You need an uncluttered background, a chair a few feet from the window, and a chance to read/think a bit about it before you do it. I'll look for a nice summary for you to look at.

I love the sneakers photo, and you did get her face in the shot -- this will probably be one of those treasures in the years to come -- a special moment remembered in a funny way.

You and Craig may keep this up -- you're a good comedy team!

Last edited by CJ Swartz; 01-20-2007 at 12:46 PM.
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