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Bad studio rescue

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  • Bad studio rescue

    Hi All,

    This is my last post of the week, as per rules I took a photo of my wife in my own studio - which I had just set up. As per my lack of experience in this area it didnt come out too great - I show below the before which is totally uncropped.

    The after is part photo - part art - any comments on improvements would be appreciated. Especially on how to get a clean skin texture without blurring away to death.





  • #2
    Posting rules


    Under the DONT section on the guidlines for posting for this forum is says


    "flood the forum with images. No one is going to respond if you upload 20 images in one day. 1 or 2 images a week is probably a good number. This will allow everyone to see your work and make detailed comments before you post another image"

    Hope this clears it up



    • #3
      photomauler is's not so much a rule as a suggestion. It's designed to keep the forum from being spammed with images by one user before anyone gets the chance to respond. The main thing is to try and contribute comments on other's images so that they will return the favor on your own long as everyone tries to contribute at least a little, I doubt anyone would mind if a member post 4 or 5 images in a week.

      Peter - ...On to the image! I'll probably write more later but I am about to fall over from exhaustion from a very long day. The extraction of your wife from the image is extremely well done (would love to see a detail.)...the hair had to have taken some time!

      The thing that sticks out as being strange is the lighting. It seems like her face should have much deeper shadows...a greater level of "chiaroscuro" to use an art term.

      The flowers are also a bit strange. There is an odd relationship between the figure in the dark robe, sitting in front of what appears to be a church window, and the vase of flowers. The flowers seem out of's like I expect a different object to be there given the solemn nature of the image.

      By the way, any symbolism to this image? The flowers, window...figure in black, etc... It's an interesting image and certainly has an air of mystery to it.


      • #4

        Great job on the composite. Like Greg said, the lighting. With all that window light the hair and edge of the skin would have a glow from behind whether there was an additional light source from in front of her or not. Shading the left side of objects (nose, lips, check, between the nose and the cheek on the lit side, etc.)to simulate light coming from another window to our right and giving the hair highlights from light coming from behind, would I think, tie it all together.

        Great job on richening up the contrast and saturation, I think the background needs a boost to match your wife. Think in terms of matching the moods.

        Hope this helps, Roger


        • #5
          I think you did an amazing rescue by picking that background and blending it in. Looks great.

          Now for some detail.

          1. I am going to disagree with the others about the lighting. Because you seem to have a cross between painting and photo, and because the setting has a monastic feel, it makes sense to borrow an old-style painting practice of playing down source lighting (or ignoring it) and throwing a light from the front that would not actually be there. IOW, I think this enhances the painting part of the feel.

          2. Distractions. The wires coming out of the top of her head are out of place for the feel you have there. There is a faint shape in the lower right that I kept staring at. The tie thingy at her throat is distracting.

          3. You asked about how to smooth the skin, and I only had time for a few quick tests. Most promising was a layer with smart blur, set to partial opacity over the original. I also used a mask so the eyes were not smart blurred. The result was positive, but it left a bad stepping effect around the fringe of the face. But this might not happen on the original that doesn't have jpeg blocks.

          4. It might look nice if you added slight painterly effects to the flowers, or in some other way made them a tad less photographic. This could go with the softer feel around the window, and add to the photo/painting feel.


          • #6
            I just had time for a few more quick tests.

            There is a plugin that comes with PhotoDeluxe Business Edition called Eye Fidelity Tools Limited Edition. File name is Dvp_le.8bf. I got this bundled with a printer, and moved it over to Photoshop.

            Anyway, this plugin has three filters, one of which is Jpeg Clean Up. Basically it does smart blurring, but it's smarter than Adobe's Smart Blur. I just tried it and it was like magic in removing the blotchyness from the skin.

            If you are lucky enough to have PhotoDeluxe Business Edition, give it a try.


            • #7
              HI Peter,
              I really like the new bcakground, if you're worried about the lighting I sometimes use a filter to add some directional light. It may be of use to you.
              Here's the link


              • #8

                Very nice. When I look at an image first - I don't look at technical aspects at all. Technical errors leap out at you. Most of them can be corrected in PhotoShop anyway. When I look at a photo, I look at the overall artistic vision - the impact and the mood / sense of place. These are the things that are so much more difficult to correct for.

                I love this photo. The sense of time and place in it are outstanding - I looked at the "after" shot first, and I never suspected that the background was faked in - never occured to me for a second - so I am going to ignore specifics of the lighting - this has been discussed here already, and for my part - the lighting works. It looks like studio lighting - yes - but it looks like studio lights set up in a monastery / church. This photo is strongly rooted in the environment in which you have placed it, and I applaud your sense of the "rightness" of the setting.

                I usually only comment on techical aspects of photos if I think the phot is damaged by a technical oversight. As I say, the artistic vision is much more important to me. So my only technical comment is to do something with the corner / moulding/ whatever growing out of the model's head. That is a dead simple retouch and would make this photo sing.

                Is this a graduation picture from a semenary school?