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  • Need new eyes

    Shot this amazing pic at Myth Masque LA before event of Steed Lord. It's for the cover of an upcoming mag. I need other eyes on it to tell me what I am missing.
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  • #2
    Re: Need new eyes

    Forgot to post the before.
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    • #3
      Re: Need new eyes

      What are you trying to accomplish here? I can pick out a lot of things where I dislike the choices from a gut reaction perspective, but I don't feel they're that meaningful without knowing what you're attempting. For example if the purpose is to bring focus to the actress, I completely understand why you would want to get rid of the big stage track light beams/trails or whatever you want to call them. I cannot understand why you would lighten the background so much in spots, especially toward the edges. It brings focus away from the subject. I also think it's strange that you tried to make the dress meet the floor in a solid line with a very small amount of clearance. It just makes it less interesting, and the highlight pattern now makes less sense. Note the floor reflections also don't match. If you really wanted to go that route, it would have looked better if that general area faded more into shadow and obscurity. The floor highlights are especially way too bright compared to the dress at that portion, so there are several points where the conflicts between elements are obvious there. A casual viewer won't pick up on that right away, but it goes far enough that they might sense something is off.

      This is just my opinion, but I'm also not a fan of making things look so warm overall. You get variations in the warmth of lighting from what is being reflected. Some people like it, but I dislike overly saturated skintone highlights. I also think it's better if things like backgrounds that are obviously lit more indirectly are allowed to go a bit cooler in tone, as it keeps the subject from feeling too flat.

      Again take it as you will. I don't feel like I understand the purpose of this, so it kind of limits the value of any comments I type here.

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      • #4
        Re: Need new eyes

        Thank you for your opinion. The image is a fashion shot for a cover. So I want to focus on the model and the garments. The background is also part of the story here. She is a goddess and the fountain represents the nautical idea.

        The overall image was brighter and I actually darkened the back and edges to focus on the subject. I am a bit lost on the floor and reflections bit. I am not sure I understand what you mean. Many who I have shown the image too, love smoke light/or whatever you call it and said it brings subject out more. But, we all have our opinions. I'll read what you said again and try and understand.

        Cheers again!

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        • #5
          Re: Need new eyes

          Originally posted by TopherAdam View Post
          Thank you for your opinion. The image is a fashion shot for a cover. So I want to focus on the model and the garments. The background is also part of the story here. She is a goddess and the fountain represents the nautical idea.

          The overall image was brighter and I actually darkened the back and edges to focus on the subject. I am a bit lost on the floor and reflections bit. I am not sure I understand what you mean. Many who I have shown the image too, love smoke light/or whatever you call it and said it brings subject out more. But, we all have our opinions. I'll read what you said again and try and understand.

          Cheers again!
          No problem. When I said I didn't understand it, I wasn't sure why the face was blurred in one and masked out in the other. I thought you might be trying to obscure it for the posting, but it was done in different ways. What I pointed to was that you lightened some parts where the background went a bit darker in the original, presumably to even it out. I often let things fall off toward the outer portions to let the subject have a greater focus. I wasn't thrilled with the color palette of the background being just as warm as the subject combined with the very warm highlights such as on the arm, but that is just my opinion. It's hard to describe with enough detail without mocking up what I would have done.

          There is one area where I can probably elaborate a bit better. Take a look at the bottom of the dress in the original. In the retouched version you have evened out the bottom so that it no longer has those really bright highlights. It meets the floor abruptly. The floor then has some implied reflections of the dress. After you dimmed the reflections on the dress that much, their reflection in the floor looks much too bright. I would have also liked to see a slightly more natural dress line, but that can be quite difficult.

          Does that explain it a bit better? I like the shot. Some of the choices made in post just didn't entirely coincide with my own tastes.

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          • #6
            Re: Need new eyes

            In my opinion the light beam falls across the subject, but I see no shadows (i.e. Rembrandt shadows, etc) to help establish the presence of the subject. Because of the lack of shadows the subject is rendered flat; dimension is lost.

            Also, in creating the light beam, there is not enough variation within the beam itself. The way it falls across the subject is...too apparent. I would venture that making the light beam more subtle as it falls across the face, et al, will have a greater effect.
            A great example/tutorial on this topic is found here: link.

            Overall, adding a highpass layer set to linear light (assuming you use photoshop), then masking/fading it selectively may help give the edges more definition (dress, crystals in background, etc) and offset them from the rest of the shot.

            These are just suggestions based on my own experience and I hope they are of some value to you...

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