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Author Topic: My photos look so dull  (Read 40803 times)

Jamesy

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2012, 07:37:26 PM »
I use LR3 which has brightness and contrast while LR has the white and black slider - although LR3 also has a blacks slider.

I tend to do contrast type adjustments with the tone curve in LR and I have used Levels in PS CS5. I was just watching a video that sayd the new 'auto' button in CS6 is much improved in the Levels and Curves adjustment layer dialog in CS6.

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #45 on: August 16, 2012, 07:37:26 PM »

philsv77

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2012, 07:58:57 PM »
Looks like all of them are shot with flash , except the first one (Unless you were using a diffuser to soften and spread the nice evenly while shooting at a higher focal length)

I vote that the last one was bounced. just because i like the picture the most :)

Indeed, only the last one is shot with bounced flash at night time inside the house.   The others are all natural light coming from a large window.  Window lighting is the simplest thing I learned to shoot portrait and I strongly suggest every newcomer should learn to master it :).

I would not recommend buying WB card or such, it's a waste of $. When you first start, shoot in RAW and adjust it in post-processing.  Only take < minute.  When you're good, you can set manual WB to adjust to the env you need and off you go, no more post-processing :):):).   

wockawocka

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #47 on: August 17, 2012, 08:08:04 AM »
I love how examples of rescuing the image are so oversaturated and clipped.

What I did:

Created two layers in CS5, Top layer was a screen overlay, pulled back until the brightness was correct.
Auto levels
Auto curves
Auto colour

Then manually edited the RGB values in levels with the slider. The grey of the jacket is perfect for getting a neutral reading from.

Then added contrast by dodging the highlights around the light spots, bit of the jacket, forehead and tips of the hair.

Use your eyes, does the skin look green? blue? and bit purply? Skin tones are your colour and brightness barometer. Nobody cares about the jeans, or the jacket, or the grass. We'll look straight at the face and go 'that looks weird'.

Keep it real, don't go balls out and over saturating things like the examples on here.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 08:13:04 AM by wockawocka »
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@!ex

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #48 on: August 18, 2012, 03:25:26 AM »
I love how examples of rescuing the image are so oversaturated and clipped.

What I did:

Created two layers in CS5, Top layer was a screen overlay, pulled back until the brightness was correct.
Auto levels
Auto curves
Auto colour

Then manually edited the RGB values in levels with the slider. The grey of the jacket is perfect for getting a neutral reading from.

Then added contrast by dodging the highlights around the light spots, bit of the jacket, forehead and tips of the hair.

Use your eyes, does the skin look green? blue? and bit purply? Skin tones are your colour and brightness barometer. Nobody cares about the jeans, or the jacket, or the grass. We'll look straight at the face and go 'that looks weird'.

Keep it real, don't go balls out and over saturating things like the examples on here.

Bro, I get what you are going for.  You would make a nice museum curator, but in this case your edit looks a bit mummified.  Portraits are a fine line between reality and surreally.  In fact that goes for all creative photography (excluding photo journalism).

elflord

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #49 on: August 18, 2012, 07:11:22 AM »
I have an anti flash hate, perhaps i will be cured one day when i get a decent flash. Im traumatized by the P&S inbuilt flashes.

Point and shoot flashes tend to blast indiscriminately in the subjects face. I think this is largely the reason why many new enthusiasts develop a taste for "available light photography" (meaning "I don't use a flash") About the only time you want the flash aimed directly at the subject is to compensate for backlighting. However, consider this -- nearly all studio photographers and most wedding photographers make heavy use of flash. The difference is that they nearly always either bounce the flash or have the flash off the camera (e.g. a studio setup will use off camera flashes). The result is that the light isn't coming directly from the camera. The key to effective use of a flash is getting the light source away from the axis between the camera and the subject.

Regarding lenses, the L designation is just Canon's marketing. Usually lenses that are marketed as more high end are higher quality but the rule is far from absolute -- there are several exceptions including newer budget primes, some APS-C only lenses and some third party lenses (which aren't marketed by Canon and therefore don't carry Canon's marketing badges).

Jamesy

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #50 on: August 18, 2012, 09:26:40 AM »
About the only time you want the flash aimed directly at the subject is to compensate for backlighting. However, consider this -- nearly all studio photographers and most wedding photographers make heavy use of flash. The difference is that they nearly always either bounce the flash or have the flash off the camera (e.g. a studio setup will use off camera flashes). The result is that the light isn't coming directly from the camera. The key to effective use of a flash is getting the light source away from the axis between the camera and the subject.
An on-axis fill by way of an umbrella or a ring flash is also used, typically in conjunction with a key light coming from a location not on-axis can render a pleasing portrait too.

unkbob

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2012, 09:51:23 AM »
Bro, I get what you are going for.  You would make a nice museum curator, but in this case your edit looks a bit mummified.  Portraits are a fine line between reality and surreally.  In fact that goes for all creative photography (excluding photo journalism).

Bro, your edit is terrible.



Seriously, those eyes are shocking - far too much contrast and the whites are too bright to the point where she is now a robot. Whole image is just an over-saturated mess.

I'm only saying this because you critiqued someone else's edit, which was infinitely better than yours, even if it was a bit flat. Don't worry though, this whole thread is littered with horrible edits so you're not alone! There's only so much you can do to an image which was awful to start with - bad lighting is bad lighting.

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2012, 09:51:23 AM »

CowGummy

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #52 on: August 18, 2012, 11:24:41 AM »
I love how examples of rescuing the image are so oversaturated and clipped.

What I did:

Created two layers in CS5, Top layer was a screen overlay, pulled back until the brightness was correct.
Auto levels
Auto curves
Auto colour

Then manually edited the RGB values in levels with the slider. The grey of the jacket is perfect for getting a neutral reading from.

Then added contrast by dodging the highlights around the light spots, bit of the jacket, forehead and tips of the hair.

Use your eyes, does the skin look green? blue? and bit purply? Skin tones are your colour and brightness barometer. Nobody cares about the jeans, or the jacket, or the grass. We'll look straight at the face and go 'that looks weird'.

Keep it real, don't go balls out and over saturating things like the examples on here.

+1

This is the only edit in this thread I would consider good. Gets my vote for sure, and I'm not a museum curator.
A lot of shockingly bad understanding of what processing is and when/how to apply it on the rest of these edits.
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NotABunny

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2012, 01:21:37 PM »
wockawocka's edit is natural, though a tad purple (especially in the upper half). But this is what you can get in a short time when having such bad light. The original has a very low dynamic and tonal range. There are no blacks and you can see the green cast which messes the color balance.

To point out some things:
* Bad color balance is virtually irrecoverable. You can try a BW instead (looks better for this shot); you can actually try some insane white balance values to give the shot a special film look.
* A good (hardware-calibrated) display is necessary for post-processing color.
* Taste varies wildly and the point of this exercise is to show the OP that good light and post-processing matter hugely.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2012, 01:29:12 PM by NotABunny »

wockawocka

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #54 on: August 18, 2012, 03:11:11 PM »
Bro, I get what you are going for.  You would make a nice museum curator, but in this case your edit looks a bit mummified.  Portraits are a fine line between reality and surreally.  In fact that goes for all creative photography (excluding photo journalism).

Bro, your edit is terrible.



Seriously, those eyes are shocking - far too much contrast and the whites are too bright to the point where she is now a robot. Whole image is just an over-saturated mess.

I'm only saying this because you critiqued someone else's edit, which was infinitely better than yours, even if it was a bit flat. Don't worry though, this whole thread is littered with horrible edits so you're not alone! There's only so much you can do to an image which was awful to start with - bad lighting is bad lighting.

Leave him be, it's ok to be fascinated with the bad guys in Stargate.
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tx8koibito

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #55 on: August 20, 2012, 08:31:04 AM »
Here is my attempt,



10 mins job.......!!!! no skin blemishing involved. Tried to stay true to the original without going overboard.

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« Last Edit: August 20, 2012, 08:43:20 AM by tx8koibito »

unkbob

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #56 on: August 20, 2012, 11:50:10 PM »
Here's my effort. 100% Photoshop.

fallenflowers

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #57 on: August 22, 2012, 11:37:18 PM »
it's definitely "post process" look you need, it's not your camera or lens. took me about 10 mins to edit your photo, i removed the blemishes, add contrast, little of saturation and using the levels to add more brightness.

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #57 on: August 22, 2012, 11:37:18 PM »

skitron

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #58 on: August 25, 2012, 01:15:53 PM »
I guess I'll play too. So unkbob's sentiment not withstanding (there is a lot to be said for getting the shot right to begin with, but I will be the first to admit that isn't always going to happen, so then it becomes a game of salvaging what you have)...here's how I see it. Done with Capture One Pro 6 messing with some sliders and levels 'thingies', no layers.

Sometimes crop is your best friend...I probably went a little warmer than I should have going after the skin tones, but the idea is to show what a crop and some exposure tricks can do to change it up. In this case, crop for the face, expose for the face, "hdr" for the face, and then tone down the rest with a little vignette (CO has what to my eyes is by far the best vignetting tool out here). I also took the contrast back pretty far to help drag out some shadow detail and then did some color sat to make up for it. Also added a dab of clarity to help make up for pulling back contrast. [edit] Oh, and also used a stock 'darken mid-tones' RGB curve... And if you're really serious  :) you could use layers to lighten the hair shadows on the left a bit and contrast the right side of the scarf a bit.

« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 03:01:28 PM by skitron »
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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #59 on: August 25, 2012, 06:02:39 PM »
Just imagine the possibilities if we had the RAW file. ::)

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Re: My photos look so dull
« Reply #59 on: August 25, 2012, 06:02:39 PM »