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Messages - Famateur

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I usually read a thread all the way through before replying, but I just haven't the time tonight. My apologies if I'm repeating what someone else has said...

I've heard the "pros compose in-camera and never crop" but don't subscribe to it myself. While composition is always in mind as I shoot (for that matter, I'm constantly composing in my mind just looking at things), cropping can be a powerful artistic tool. Even if you nail the composition you had in mind at the time you pressed the shutter button, another (sometimes better) composition can be created with the crop tool.

I'll often be looking through "throw-away" images and suddenly see a different (crop-enabled) composition that takes the image from chopping block to cropping block to favorites folder.

I can't help but mentally crop nearly every image I see, anyway. :) 

Lenses / Re: Gateway lens
« on: October 10, 2013, 07:09:55 PM »
Mine wasn't a hard street drug, but rather a prescribed painkiller that got me hooked...

It was the terrible Auto Mode of the G12. It constantly overexposed, would boost ISO to spare the flash at the expense of noise. The photos from my faithful 4MP A80 looked better! I had decided to return the G12, but I couldn't help but wonder, "What is this 'M' on the dial for?"

That's all it took.

With only a little Google-fed knowledge, I started to get great results out of that little camera. That led to consuming ridiculous dosages of photography tutorials, then switching to RAW, then more tutorials, then Lightroom. There was no going back. Once an addict, always an addict. 

Canon -- thank you for the crappy Auto Mode on an otherwise stellar G12. Had Auto Mode performed in a pleasing way, I would know nothing of photography and might never have moved to a DSLR and a nice lens...and another lens...and another...and...

Maybe that was Canon's intention all along? After all, my doctor is now the dealer that feeds my habit...

I would never fake or stage a "wildlife" picture :)

You may have fooled others, but not me. A common loon in a tree? Nice try! ;D

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 04:30:10 PM »
Ack way too work. Just got home and looked on my monitor. I was doing it at work on my laptop....shhhhh lol.

Color management is such fun, isn't it? :P

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 03:15:21 PM »'s still a bit too warm (on my monitor), but if you're simulating "golden hour" sunlight, it's pretty darn close. If you're going for typical daylight tones, it needs a little more cooling (again, to my eye on my monitor).

It's definitely well-saturated. :)

The saturation is a little much for my taste (bright color is nice, but if it's the first thing I notice and not "Aw, she's so cute", then it's a little too much), but things like saturation and color temperature are exactly that -- a matter of taste. It's not quite as objective as whether or not a highlight or shadow has lost detail.

I say tweak it to your heart's content. Once it pleases you on your monitor or from your printer, it's a home run.

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 12:04:05 PM »
Hey, whatever works! It's not always about the tools you have but how you use them. That's actually a clever solution, and if that's what it takes to produce such a great image, rock on.

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 11:18:22 AM »
Comparing on my external monitor at the office, I'd say my version is still a bit over exposed (note to self -- don't post process on 6-year-old laptop). You've done a better job smoothing out the skin tones and highlights, particularly on the ear and (her) left leg. I also notice you softened the shadows under (her) left foot and right hand. Good call.

The only two things I'd do are:

1.) Take a stab at helping the shadowed foot's skin tone warm up to be more consistent with the others.
2.) Back off the warmth of the image over all just a skosh. Again, that might just be my monitor.

Anyway, you've brought your image from "nice memory" to "lovely portrait", in my opinion. Great stuff...

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 11:00:36 AM »
Just saw your current edit. Much improved! What do you need us for? :)

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 10:59:33 AM »
You're welcome, Scott. Thanks for letting us all take a shot at it. If there's one thing that makes a big difference in Lightroom, it's the local adjustment brush. Sometimes global adjustments just can't get you all the way there.

Quick example: Look at the parts of your daughter where her skin is in shadow (face and foot, especially). The shadowed tones are much cooler and can clash with the sunlit tones. You can try to change the white balance and warm things up a bit, but by the time the shadowed tones look okay, the rest has gone pumpkin. Enter the local adjustment brush - you can paint in just the shadows, boost the exposure slightly, warm the temperature a bit, bring a little more magenta tint to keep it balanced, and you end up with skin tones that are more consistent overall (at least on my monitor!).

Another spot was right under the nose, a couple of places around the mouth and between chin and bottom lip where the shadow had a greenish cast from the grass. Paint over those areas with a nicely feathered brush, and you can bring in just enough magenta to cancel the green. Probably not something anyone would notice directly, but it enhances the image, in my opinion.

Anyway, food for thought. Little things like that can make a big difference, even if you don't notice it directly.


PS: I bet that cold, shadowed foot jumps out at you now in your original image!

PPS: I wrote this before you posted your current edit, so my comments were about the original, not your latest! Latest looks excellent. A tad warm on my monitor, but still a lovely edit. Nice job.

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 03:45:03 AM »
Okay...big disclaimer: I did this late at night on my laptop, which has not been properly calibrated. If my stab at editing the image turns her into a blueberry, pumpkin or scoop of rainbow sherbet, I apologize in advance.  ;D

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 25, 2013, 03:33:06 AM »
Not an easy one, but here's my try. Processed in RawTherapee + a very minor brightness/contrast adjustment in GIMP. [/url]

Yours is the best rendition for recovering highlights in the bow and smooth skin tone in the arms. Nice job.

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 24, 2013, 10:45:34 PM »
I was just out shooting pix at the park of my little girl and knew the light was bad (once I got there).
I didnt have any extra equip on hand.

I know how that is! You gotta do what you can with what you have, and it looks like you did pretty well. 

I meant I wasn't able to get it looking right either in PS is all.

Gotcha. Jim beat me to the RAW file (thanks for posting that) and did a great job with it. What do you think of the before and after?

I might fiddle around with the RAW file, too, if I can squeeze it in tonight.

By the way, adorable little girl you have there! She'll grow up way too fast...

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 24, 2013, 10:39:46 PM »
How does this grab you?  The flowers are largely blown but the rest seems at least ok.


I see you tamed the orange glow quite nicely. Well done, Jim.

Technical Support / Re: More PS help with a image
« on: September 24, 2013, 08:12:25 PM »
Couple of take with a grain of salt as I'm just some dude on the internet.


I know you're asking for advice on fixing what's already happened, but it's helpful to know that the lighting conditions were setting you up for this challenge to begin with. Of course, we can't always choose when and where we shoot! That being said...

1. Even with adjustments, detail in the white bow isn't recoverable -- it's burned (at least in the JPEG). This is a product of the harsh light. Looking at the shadows, I'd guess this was shot somewhere around 10-11AM or 3-4PM -- definitely unforgiving light.

2.) I know it seems counter-intuitive in bright light like this, but fill flash would be one way to tackle the challenging light (one reason why I still like pop-up flashes). You can bring your exposure down to tame the harsh sun and then fill with an appropriate amount of light. Easier said than done, though, when you have a baby turning into the sun, then away from the sun, then back into the sun!

3.) Another option, if you have someone to assist you, is to use a diffuser of some kind to soften the light (even a white bed sheet would probably work). That would take the edge off the highlights, allowing more recovery of detail.


Since you're working with a JPEG file, you're a lot more limited in what you can do to correct things like exposure and white balance. Jim demonstrated well how much you can improve the file from what it is, but I'm confident it could be improved much further from a RAW file. That being said...

1.) The next thing to correct after the exposure/highlights is the orange glow (kind of like banding) that is visible along the middle and sun-edge of each arm and at a 45 degree angle on the sunlit cheek (this can happen in sunset images, too). You might need to use a brush or layer to tone down the saturation. The challenge is that you can't just bring down the orange, or the rest of the skin will look pale and sickly. If this was a RAW file, it might be possible to desaturate the orange channel and then adjust color temperature to bring back the warmth (you'd have to do that locally, though, so as not to spoil the white balance of the whole image.

2. I'm curious to know what it is about RAW that doesn't work for you. When I first started dabbling in RAW processing, I was using Digital Photo Professional. I found it difficult and tedious, and I struggled to get results that were better than the JPEGs coming from my camera (although the CA correction was very nice). Lightroom, on the other hand, is much easier, in my opinion, and more powerful. I really enjoy using it, and my processing results have improved. With a few good tutorials on YouTube, you can get a good start. If you haven't yet tried Lightroom, you might consider it.

3.) Just to beat the RAW vs. JPEG horse some more (I thought I saw it twitching still), the camera makes white balance, contrast, noise, sharpening and other decisions for you, baked into the image. In this case, it looks like it sacrificed highlight detail for shadow detail. You can see the shaded side of her face okay, but her bow and sunlit skin are fried. With a RAW image in Lightroom, you could selectively bring down highlights to recover any detail that's there while still boosting the shadows as necessary. Local adjustment brushes give you even more flexibility.

Anyway, I hope this is helpful, and I apologize if you already know or have thought of all this stuff. Maybe it will be useful for someone else.

By the way, if you have a RAW file for this image, I'd be interested to see how much more pushing/pulling can be done.

Canon General / Re: I'm so sick of Canon ...
« on: September 24, 2013, 07:03:05 PM »
... I just ordered a 16-35L f/2.8 II and a 70-200 f/2.8 II ... What to do of this addiction?

There is no cure, but there is treatment available. Step One is to admit you have a problem (which you've done -- good for you). Step Two is to turn over your lenses to a certified Addiction Recovery Specialist (which I happen to be).

Send me a private message for the mailing address. You'll be feeling better in no time!


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