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One person; two portraits


ELM
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Hello I would like some critique. I am doing the dogwood challenge with some friends at the moment. This week was headshot. I took some pics of my wife and here are the results - I am torn between which one I like the most so for now have submitted both.

 

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Is the white balance different between the shots, the top one looks a little yellow/green, otherwise I prefer its pose, but perhaps with a different color shirt, but the blur of the second is perhaps better, just a bit less distracting given that the background is very plain?

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Hi Timde, thanks for the feedback. Yes I edited the white balance in lightroom for the second one using the picker tool off the wall, I also added 1.35 exposure to match it more with the first ones brightness. The first one is untouched in LR.

 

I am interested that you think the blur on the second one is better, the first one is at f/1.8 and the second one is f/3.5 so they are a bit different - I was favouring the first one for the blur on the mirror. 

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I really can't pick one over the other... But a few thing I think could improve both shots are.

1: Have your wife look at the camera. Her eyes will become a much stronger focal point.

2. Lose the print in the background. It only adds distraction to the image.

3. Separate the subject from the background. Ether by simply changing shirt color as mentioned above, or add some off camera lighting to your model to darken the backdrop / background.

 

You're a brave man putting your wife up for critique on a forum :-) (Does she know about this?)Good luck in the challenge.

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Hi Timde, thanks for the feedback. Yes I edited the white balance in lightroom for the second one using the picker tool off the wall, I also added 1.35 exposure to match it more with the first ones brightness. The first one is untouched in LR.

 

I am interested that you think the blur on the second one is better, the first one is at f/1.8 and the second one is f/3.5 so they are a bit different - I was favouring the first one for the blur on the mirror. 

 

 

 

For such a simple background, I found the extra blur a little bit more distracting. If you want to have a background, I would add a small table and some flowers, or a typewriter, or similar ... because then its kind of matching the direction she is looking, like she is looking backwards at some past dream or experience.

 

But thats me, I have no idea on such things.

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Nice looking wife.

 

The mirror frame in the background makes the picture look a bit unbalanced, I think the composition would be better if it was placed a bit higher. And a bit more to the side would make it less dominant. The large strap adds to the dominance, your wife suffers. Out of focus is not enough to offset that effect. Or has that mirror a special meaning to you or your wife?

 

And please do not add any flowers or typewriters as suggested above. 

 

Colorado has said all other things that come to my mind.

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Does it make sense to put something identifiable in the reflection of the mirror? Aside from a window frame, or even just leave it 'blank', I think the blur on that window frame is actually what distracts me in the first image.

 

I like the glance to the side, it makes me wonder why, but perhaps you get a similar situation if the body is turned to the side and then she is looking at the camera.

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For such a simple background, I found the extra blur a little bit more distracting. If you want to have a background, I would add a small table and some flowers, or a typewriter, or similar ... because then its kind of matching the direction she is looking, like she is looking backwards at some past dream or experience.

 

But thats me, I have no idea on such things.

 

 

I see your point on the extra blur, the image at 3.5 seems sharper overall to me. I'm still learning about these things.

 

Nice points on the typewriter, I suppose we use what we have available. A macbook pro in the background probably wouldn't be as evocative though.

 

Anyway, thanks for your input. This is my first attempt at a portrait such as this.

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I really can't pick one over the other... But a few thing I think could improve both shots are.

1: Have your wife look at the camera. Her eyes will become a much stronger focal point.

2. Lose the print in the background. It only adds distraction to the image.

3. Separate the subject from the background. Ether by simply changing shirt color as mentioned above, or add some off camera lighting to your model to darken the backdrop / background.

 

You're a brave man putting your wife up for critique on a forum :-) (Does she know about this?)Good luck in the challenge.

 

Nice looking wife.

 

The mirror frame in the background makes the picture look a bit unbalanced, I think the composition would be better if it was placed a bit higher. And a bit more to the side would make it less dominant. The large strap adds to the dominance, your wife suffers. Out of focus is not enough to offset that effect. Or has that mirror a special meaning to you or your wife?

 

And please do not add any flowers or typewriters as suggested above. 

 

Colorado has said all other things that come to my mind.

 

Thanks for the critique. I am going to try again using some (if not all) of the suggestions.

 

Loose the mirror, different colour shirt, looking at camera.

 

After I took the picture I typed 'headshot' into google images and found that nearly all of the images had the subject look at the camera. Also they were all better than mine ;-) 

 

P.S wife knows about forum critique :-)

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Does it make sense to put something identifiable in the reflection of the mirror? Aside from a window frame, or even just leave it 'blank', I think the blur on that window frame is actually what distracts me in the first image.

 

I like the glance to the side, it makes me wonder why, but perhaps you get a similar situation if the body is turned to the side and then she is looking at the camera.

 

 

Ok, I have to tell you my original idea. It was to have my wife's reflection show in the mirror in kind of double exposure. I didn't go through with it because she said it was weird. I did take some shots of her standing in the place opposite the mirror - the idea being that she was looking at her other self in the mirror. The problem also being that I would have to some compositing in photoshop. Maybe I'll give it a go and see what you think.

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