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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

Ready, Aim , Fire

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  #11  
Old 10-10-2009, 02:38 PM
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garibaldi garibaldi is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

sure it is, it has iphone, palm, blackberry and mobile mirror sites so it can be viewed on those too. Im looking at it on my iphone right now should be working on your end
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  #12  
Old 10-10-2009, 08:48 PM
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Curious...did you do the website, contract it or is it template oriented from a 3rd party? A little slow starting..anyway to speed up coming into the website? I really like your photos..especially the landscape pics...very clean and crisp...you provide good space and a look I don't see often. I like most of your people shots, some very good, some not as appealing, but I like ALL the landscape pics. Good stuff!
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  #13  
Old 10-10-2009, 09:09 PM
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Cuervo79 Cuervo79 is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Well I would of loved to ripped you a new one.... But sadly I can't, I like your web page and your work very much, the only thing I would recommend is to do a stronger edit on the photos. That and after looking at all your portfolio I'm beat I don't think a client would look at ALL the photos in your port so It would be something to think about if you leave all that or display way less photos.

Bear with me since its just my opinion, specially since most people think "you can only opine and be (right) about it if you (know) what you're talking about". Which if you see my work IMO it isn't on the same plane as yours yet. Just take it as another point of view....

In my opinion I would edit out.

On your "un advertising" section please take even with more salt than usual, since I believe this section is for showing your artistic side and its very subjective.

(the 8th photo on the form part didn't load for me, but I could see it in the thumbnails, so I would take that one out as well)
Form: The fourth (I would take out the photo that just has the dry lake bed), the trailer home (most of the photos are bordering on super simplistic or even abstract, this one that you can see everything breaks the flow of the slide show), the last one with the pond and the "forest" (again this one even if its the last breaks on the simplistic flow of the others).

Areal: the sixth (even though this is an areal I would put this one in the form section), the seventh (the angle it was taken doesn't really show the streets clearly so there's no real "grid" to make the chaos "smooth" so it just leaves chaos in the photo), the ninth (was it snowing or did you photoshop them B&W? What ever is happening in the trees makes that areal photo "less areal" because I can't really see the details on the forest), twelfth (even though you can definitely see the two streets going over times square [at least I think it is times square] there is still too much chaos in the photo), the last one (although this is also an areal I would put this one in the wings section because of the size of the airplanes it breaks the whole areal "miniature stuff" flow of the series).

Wheels:
2Wheels: the first one (the crop is too wide), the one with the 18 motorcycle and the second motorcycle in the background (even though the other one is a bit blured because of DOF I can't decide which one to focus on), the one with the dude with the beard is super cool (but I believe this would go better in the people section its more powerful than some of the ones you have there), the one with the two photos of the two riders (I would take out the one with the white uniformed rider and leave the other one), the one with the helmet "on a stick" (I don't know if to focus on the blury helmet or look at the focused rider), the one with the "body work" upside down (only the people that know what it is will recognize it quickly).

4Wheels: The first one with the Mercedes (the fine lines and curves look jagged instead of smooth, and on this particular photo It takes the focus away from the car, also for I have the image of Mercedes as more pompous and grand, the crop makes it look like a lexus), the second one with the audi tt roadster (the crop would be better if there was equal "empty" space on the front and the back of the car), the one with the two guys and the "no windows" car (to me I identify more with the two guys, the journey, the friendship, the wind, but not the 4wheels they're riding), pick of one of the magnificently restored beetle or try to put them in the same slide, the one with the green mitsubishi wagon (breaks the whole mood and beauty of the earlier cars), the one with the classic fiat 500 (also breaks the mood of the whole slide show, the last one of the Aston Martin (although I like the 2 photos for a while I thought it was a photo of only the mercedes, until I took a longer look and saw the it was actually an Aston in the left photo).

Wings: the plane and the moon (you can barely see the nose of the plane), the one with the back of the "private jet" (I know its the heat from the exhaust that's making the distortion but to me it screams photoshop!, the framing doesn't work), the one with the two turbines (maybe a tighter crop would work better), the one with the red helicopter (I don't know which helicopter to focus on either the red one or the other that's framed by the blades), the last one with the 3 helicopters (again I don't know which to focus on).

People: the one with the guy jumping out to the "lake/pond/sea" (it looks cool that he's in flight but other than the 3 people already in the water there's nothing to make the photo stand out), the one with the kid and the trees and palms in the background (its soft and has less impact than the rest of the photos so it breaks the flow of the slide show), the one with the effect of the "motion blurred" reflections (breaks the flow of the slide show everything before it feels more organic and this one doesn't have it), the one with the guy and the white bike (if its people your main theme the building is taking the show from the subject, everything's in focus and very contrasty so the last thing I end up seeing is the guy), the guy with the shades doesn't work (that kind of photo is very tricky to make work, specially if you can see gear other than your camera and the water bottle next to the photographer), the girl with the smirk (the WB, the smirk, and the skin screams to me "I'm wrong, I'm wrong", the only good thing I found though is that it made me feel visceral rejection as soon as I saw it, so if you where looking to make people feel something when they see that photo it succeeded), the one with the kids I found it a bit bland (although the girl takes your eye first because of the wide crossed eyes the boy is just bland, maybe its just the primadonna elitist in me talking), the last one of the woman and the park is another bland photo compared to the others.

Lifestyle: The photo of the woman with the sunflare is stronger than the B&W one, the guy walking the rail road tracks slows the pace down in the order, the one with the five guys to me looks like the "grooms" photo and the jeans and "dress trousers" combination is off.

Sports: The bike flip sequence although its cool I find it "hey it looks photoshoped" when I saw it, the photo with the guy running you cropped the arm off, of the same session the photo where he's stretching you can't see his face, the photo of the female doing a pushup yes I know she's doing it but I wouldn't think the normal viewer would get it at first because you can't see the rest of the body.

Habitat: the antlers I loved the idea of a welcoming image but repeating it again is a no no unless you didn't show it completely in the first instance (for example cropping it), the "uterus" sofa is a cool idea but it looks flat it would be cool to ad a second photo, the photo with the two "high chairs" they're so alike that its like looking at the same photo (maybe turning one horizontally so they're symmetric to each other, either that or just pick one), the one with the white sofa the coffee table with the antlers breaks the continuity of the slide show, the one two photos "lounge chair and lawn" don't work good together and the lounge chair doesn't work alone (either look for another pair that has to do with the same motif as the lounge chair retouch the wood floor or take them both out), the one with the dinning table breaks the flow of the slide show and the "chair drapes" are wrinkled (compared to your other photos that are almost immaculate), the last one of the bedroom doesn't work (maybe its the angle but it doesn't feel good for a last photo).

Product: The one with the 4 "spray bottles" in a row I would take out you've got stronger images of products like it later, the lipstick and eye shadow compact has "too much going on" because of the water droplets it makes my eye look all over the place instead of just focusing on the product, the one with the two spray bottles (even if the liquid is originally "yellowish" I would change it to something completely clear or make it go "bluish"), the "kai" body lotion doesn't work (I think its because of the angle feels like you're selling the pebbles and the "bowl" instead of the body lotion), the one with the brush doesn't work in that breaks the flow of the slide show (the box its what breaks it all, and without it it doesn't work, the white bristles are barely visible with the white background), the memory of kindness perfume is very powerful the only thing that bothers me is the "black" distortion ( its not uniform if you look at it it changes from dark gray to lighter gray, you could up the contrast a bit of the "chrome" spray and cap), although I love the concept of the umbrella it takes a while for it to sink in that its an umbrella because the crop is to tight on the extended one (also the wrinkles on the fabric I would take out), the last one of the belt buckles the crop doesn't work (the space you leave for text is great for the client but not for showing the photo without it).

BLEH I'm beat, don't take my comments the wrong way, just take them as I said "an opinion of another point of view".
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2009, 11:07 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Layout is clean, professional, well scaled, navigation easy. After going through about 15 images, they stopped loading. I'll update my Flash to be sure it isn't that; but, if others notice it too, you may want to investigate why.

Image selection good. I like the division of styles, easier to navigate and allows us to compare your abilities for a particular type of shoot. Images load fast, look good, crisp color and edges, good resolution.
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  #15  
Old 10-11-2009, 02:35 AM
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garibaldi garibaldi is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Wow , first off I jsut want to say thank you guys for looking at my site, I really appreciate you taking the time and giving me your input. Like I said, Im still tweaking some stuff so I am all ears. Really though thank you !

Skydog, I did the site with Aphotofolio. http://aphotofolio.com/ I shopped around for quite some time. I originally got a flash site through flashden, but I am a total moron with xml coding etc and ditched that idea. then I came across this fantastic blog called A Photo editor and there was a page discussing all of the portfolio sites for photographers http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2008/01/...ebsite-design/ . I spoke to a number of people I knew and was looking at companies like Live books, Click book etc and found that aphotofolio was the best in terms of product value, ease of use and cost. I couldnt be happier with them, theyre stuff is that good, Ill plug it without batting an eye hope that cool up here.

Cuervo, well, ahem, what do i say? I thought for sure Id get some shots from you haha (Joking, were old pals!!!) I really appreciate ALL of your feedback, I never expected such an in depth review, much much much appreciated. I agree with some of the stuff you mentioned, and I am still tweaking the site, so I certainly appreciate everything you had to say. that must have taken a while to write, so I owe you a drink or something for sure! I know theres a fair amount of content on the site, and I am going to refine it and clean it up a bit. Its going to take tiem to strike a balance and flow within each portfolio since I shoot a lot of different stuff and I have found that my styles and aesthetic have been changing over the past year or so. Also some of that content I had no control over while shooting for various reasons so there are some things like locations, decor, styling, clothing, product, and client demands that I couldnt work around, but I still would like to include it for viewing so I can potentially get more of that work. Its a work in progress for sure.

I remember over 4 months ago buying the site and saying oh Ill have it up and running in a week or so. then I sat down and started looking through my archives, my current porfolio and all of the stuff I never had gotten to yet, and it took on a mind of its own. I literally pretty much worked nonstop on an entire new body of work since June, my electric bill spiked, I went through 3 cases of vitamin water, my ass hurts, my eyes burn, and I just noticed today that the tip of my wacom pen is worn down to almost nothing and theres a ridge on the tablet hahaha. to add to it, Im still blowng through folders of shoots and stopping on images and pulling them so I certainly am spinning a bit with what I want ot have up there. Needless to say it was a bit overwhelming but I had to get it up and gets started. I still have an entire shoot I did this summer out west that should be incredible when I get to it that is going to get its own category, its just too cool not to, so ill be sure to let you guys knw when i get that up too.

TommyO thank you as well. dont know why it would have stopped loading for you, should be working fine, Ill certainly look into it though thanks for pointing that out!
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  #16  
Old 10-11-2009, 08:02 AM
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Cuervo79 Cuervo79 is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Good to hear, I know how much time it devours even for something pretty simple like my web page, with yours I wasn't surprised about the time you had invested in it. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming that you can't see up from down, but as I said I like the web page and the photos, and thanx for the links you provided to APE and the web page builder. I certainly feel that my web page needs a look like yours but I haven't put any real time on it, specially since I don't really like to put $$ on things like web pages but when I saw that you controlled pretty much everything on yours it got me interested again, I hate to give out control to others on my stuff I prefer to do it all.
Although when you don't have enough knowledge on some stuff, quality suffers from it.
Question, does the Aphotofolio have any options to get "before/after" photos? Like with a slider or something so the client can see in the same space the before converting to the after, I've always wanted to not only promote my photography but the extra oomph that retouch makes in order to entice the client into it as well.
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  #17  
Old 10-11-2009, 09:00 AM
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garibaldi garibaldi is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

I know they dont have a slider option for before and after, I would guess that you could put two images side by side though if you wanted. You should look through that blog link, theres pretty much every company listes there that does portfolio sites that are decent so maybe one of them has an option for something like that. You can also shoot them an email asking if that something they can plug in or make for you, worst they could say is no.
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  #18  
Old 10-11-2009, 04:53 PM
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seattle-light seattle-light is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Hey Garibaldi...

Overall a terrific site. And congratulations are in order for completing your site and getting it up and running (no small accomplishment). Great photographs overall. You have a keen eye for composition.

But a few quick comments are in order.

I have a pretty robust wireless network, but the site was painfully slow in loading images. So it often seemed that it was simply being unresponsive. In my hard-wired setup, the performance speed was a lot better, but having to cache images that are 2000 pixels wide to view them at 800 pixels wide is making people transfer more than four times more data than they need. On a 24-inch iMac, you're not going to be able to see a 2000 pixel wide image at its full resolution -- as it's only got 1920 pixels in width (before you even make a allowance for menus and such).

So you're forcing everyone to cache tons of excess information in order to make the full screen work for the .5% who will look at your site on a 30-inch screen (and even a lot of people who have those big screens will be looking at your site on their laptops -- as I did).

I realize that art directors are probably part of your target audience, and they are much more likely than others to have big screens. But for every art director with a big screen there are 50 others potential clients with smaller screens who will be leaving your site while waiting for images to load when they're looking for a great photographer while having a coffee at Starbucks.

I think having two versions of each image -- one at 1000 pixels wide for smaller screens and one at 2000 pixels wide for larger screens would greatly improve the site's performance on people's laptops. Your site is already doing a window size detection, so it shouldn't be that difficult to have it choose between two versions as it opens an image.

The hovering arrows on the sides are self-explanatory, but I didn't figure out that the four rectangles was to go to the thumbnails until my second time through looking at the site.

The navigation at the bottom of the screen is really small. I would normally say that navigation should be as small and unobtrusive as possible, but here it's treated so minimally as to look like legal copy. It would also really be helpful for there to be a small version of the four rectangles for the thumbnails next to the word thumbs in the navigation at the bottom so that people will understand what the four rectangles symbol is when it comes up.

The scaling of the images is impressive, but occasionally when you scale the window the navigation becomes unresponsive and unrecoverable.

On the image order in the sections, it seems that you're not leading with your strongest images. It almost feels like they're put in order randomly.

And it also seems that you're starting with the more esoteric categories rather than the most accessible. You should start with the most accessible/understandable work and proceed to the more artsy and abstract -- otherwise you get pegged as an art photographer by people who are looking for a commercial phootgrapher.

In Habitat, the white antlers image looks like it's a placeholder while waiting for the image to load. So it just looks as if the section's images just aren't loading. Even more so since it appears several times at the beginning of your site in a similar manner. It's such a quiet, ghosted, white-on-white image that it doesn't really register as an image.

And this particular image seems out of place with your overall style, which is generally a lot more bold and dynamic. You're not a subtle, quiet, white-on-white kind of photographer, so it seems unusual that you would choose it as your signature image.

You have more than enough images. You could probably show as much with 10 images per category. Lead with strength, and make sure every image is amazing. Your goal is for people to look at your site and to have a pretty good feel as to what they can expect from you as a photographer in terms of photographic style and technical performance. If you have doubts as to whether an image supports their making that decision, leave it out.

The goal isn't to show every aspect of your abilities as a photographer. The goal is to show that you do amazing work and that people can be confident in hiring you that they'll get incredible images.

Hope this is helpful.

Take care. Alan.
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  #19  
Old 10-11-2009, 05:10 PM
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garibaldi garibaldi is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Absolutlely helpful, thank you. The image sizing on the site is actually set with a width of no more than 1860 pixels on its longest edge. The guys at the company recommend that and then im optimizing them under save for web in photoshop. with the exception of some of the really detailed horizontal images in lets say the aerial section, the final uploaded image size is no larger than 300kb. In some instances with a few of them though, there was no way around it, and I figured id take the chance and rather have the image look good rather than load ultra fast. The white antlers, really mean nothing, just thought it was simple thats all, and added a little something to the opener and thats it. the landing page opens with it just so that theres an image there, but not such a bold one that you dont notice the categories, and nav on the sides, figured it would allow people an extra second or so to see that, since I watched a few people sit there and stare at one image and wait for something to happen and not see the sides when i had the site in beta. As far as the images go and the order and content, im still shuffling things about, its going to take some time before I get the feel and flow nailed down, but its getting there. The funny thing is that I get such different feedback from every person so its pretty interesting. But again I thank you guys so much for helping me out and offering your opinions!
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  #20  
Old 10-11-2009, 05:38 PM
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seattle-light seattle-light is offline
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Re: Ready, Aim , Fire

Dear Garibaldi...

I would advise against adding retouching as a separate section in your site or showing before and after images.

If you're doing retouching separately as a business then do a separate site for that, but if you're doing retouching on your own images then there's no benefit in showing before and afters on your site.

The retouching is part of your overall image-making workflow. The capture is just the first part of your process. I can't imagine that you would release your RAW shots to a client. And the prices you charge as a commercial photographer would include a certain amount of retouching.

When people select you as a photographer, they're actually kind of signing up for a package deal. It's your abilities as a photographer and retoucher, with a singular vision that make you a compelling choice.

Showing the before and after images shows your retouching skills, but also show the problems and limitations in you capture.

For you, it's one unified process. And to separate it out would take away from the magic. The same reason that a lot of photographers don't want retouchers showing their work -- it has a potential to show their shortcomings.

And then you get people wanting to negotiate with you on price on the photo shoot and on the retouching or wanting you to shoot the images and then sending the images out to someone who will retouch them for less and where you can't control the quality. You're not offering an a la carte service.

So the before and afters seem like a no-win situation to me.

If you want to show off your retouching skills, then include some images that clearly couldn't have been done without some serious retouching, but not as before and after images. As a photographer, you're about the finished images you release to your clients.

Getting into the blemish removal, masking, compositing, dodging and burning, and myriad of adjustments is like asking someone who's thinking about buying a Ferrari to get under the car and see how the exhaust system is attached and the suspension actually works.

I came in to buy an expensive sports car and this guy wanted me to learn about the engine. Can you imagine me crawling around under a car? I just wanted to drive fast and look fabulous. I really don't want to know all the details about how it works. That's why the car dealership has mechanics. So I walked down the street and bought myself a Lotus.

As for Cuervo79's lament as to the lack of before and after functionality in templates. Retouching is a rather limited market for a template maker to build for.*

Most retouchers will either do a side by side presentation or have a rollover function for comparing before and after versions.

*But if you find a photography template you like, you might be able to contact the creator to write a bit of custom code for the rollover effect. A rollover effect isn't terribly complicated. For the person who wrote the original template it should be a rather easy addition. Getting someone else to create it means they have to dive into another person's code to figure out how it's built in order to add the rollover effect into the mix. That could be a whole a lot of work.

Hope this is helpful.

Take care. Alan.
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