Pre-ceremony living room portrait

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by david_schilling___chicago__illinois, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. I don't often post images for feedback but thought I'd post this image from earlier today. This was taken at the house
    just after the bride had gotten dressed. Thoughts and comments are welcome.
  2. Submission's the image.
  3. Its a well posed, fresh, happy look. Well done. your exposure was dead on. Often getting a nice formal shot in a home is difficult. You made it look easy!
  4. I agree that it's a well-lit and expose photo as well. You might consider, however, doing a soft focus application in Photoshop to soften her skin a little. Keep everything else sharp, but soften up the skin a little. You might out the dots on
    her left shoulder as well. They can be a little of a distraction. Overall, though, is a very nice portrait. I'm sure the bride will
    be very happy with it.
  5. Opps, edited verrsion:
    I agree that it's a well-lit and expose photo as well. You might consider, however, doing a soft focus application in
    Photoshop to soften up her skin a little. Keep everything else sharp, including her eyes, teeth, hair, and flowers. You might
    also clone out the dots on her left shoulder as well. They can be a distraction. Overall, though, this is a very nice portrait.
    I'm sure the bride will be very happy with it.
  6. Very nice. I would not soften the skin or remove the "dots" as Bakari suggests, as that is how she is. Many people would take offence at being "over-photoshopped".
  7. Sorry for my opinion, I still learn, but is a good way to learn when I critique; this is a very good portrait, but I want to ask you something what bother me in some of my portraits to and I still have problems to avoid it: the shadow under the chin is not to strong?. Is adding contrast and is put up the face but I still think is a strong contrast there.
  8. I like it and until Simona pointed it out I didn't notice the shadow under the chin and on her arm under the bouquet. With the bouquet so close I might be difficult to get some fill light under there. For my part (did I say I like it), as she appears to be sitting at the end of a couch or chaise I would like to see a similar pose either without flowers, hands touching, or with her left arm following the line of her torso to expose more of the lovely gown.
  9. David, if you like, I'd be happy to download your photo, soften up the skin, and remove the blemishes to show you what
    type of improvement it would make on the photo. It is not "over-shopping" the photo. It's doing what good photographers
    always do, and that is make your client look appealing without changing who she really is. You can show both versions of
    the photo to the client, and I guarantee you she will select the soften version. The technique is one I learned from Scott
    Kelby, and it's extremely easy to do.
  10. David, considering you are going to do another five hundred or more pictures and this was done in the living room, I would move
    on. It's a nice picture. Her eye makeup could have been a little better as it is dark under the lower lids but that's out of your
    purview. I guess it could be corrected in PS but when I start something like that I am never satisfied with what I do. It is a nice
    picture and I would do nothing with it. It's very hard to say what a customer will and won't like IMO.
  11. Not good. Could her bouquet of been any bigger? Too close up to my liking, as it doesn't flatter her at all.
  12. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    > for feedback <

    Hi David.

    Having seen some of the work you have posted as samples to embellish your comments, and having read many of your comments - this is something I interpret you would have caught (almost) on the run.

    The Bride was there and the scene was lit ``quickly``.

    There is good control over: exposure, framing, pose, rapport, communication and composition - but the lighting is a bit flat and the shadows intrusive - so that`s a technical appraisal.

    I expect it is one of several and captures and is just simply a moment in time: rather than being a fully controlled Portrait - and also a moment in time.

    I am not sure what feedback you wanted, but if your consideration is to leave it in or to take it out - if it were mine, I would leave it in - it is a moment in time, and very likely the Bride (or Groom) will like it.


    Ah! After writing my comments I just read all the others:

    Personally, I would not play with the shadows - especially the one under the chin - it gives dimension to the face.

    The large bouquet doesn`t bother me personally, and moreover, from a sales perspective I have found coverage of Bouquets and the Wedding Gown, very important.

    And funnily enough, I kinda mimic Dick Arnold`s thoughts :)

  13. WW that's because (forgive me) we are old.
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    No apology necessary -

    The forgiveness (and the linkage to ``old``) was implicit in the fact I decided to noted we were copying each other`s manuscript !

    Actually, the (other) hook which I threw out, to David, and I am really interested in the answer to, is:

    ``why`` this particular image for comment?

  15. Good question for David.
  16. Thanks to everyone for the feddback and interest in the image. It was one of many portraits taken at the house and I
    did take almost 600 more images after this one. I selected the images because I loved the eyes and the general feel
    I had with the moment. The lighting and technique was uber-simple, more photos from the event are here:
    dwesleyportraits dot smugmug dot com/gallery/6630607_aXr2U#422923600_a2pdU

    The wedding itself was alot of fun and I experienced a personal first: at the reception I enjoyed the company of 5
    couples whose wedding I had the honor of covering. Many of the babies and youngsters were a result of those
    marriages. I first shot a portrait of Melissa as a young teenager at the first wedding I covered with this group of
    family/friends. Then, used my PS skills to remove an eyebrow piercing and I presented a print of the image to her
    parents. I'm probably most pleased with my sequence of images during the "presentation to Mary" near the end of
    the ceremony. I'll likely finish with post processing the wedding by tomorrow or Tuesday.
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Ah! - ``rapport and communication``

  18. It is very difficult to shoot spontaneous portraits you have done a nice job. If you ever want someone to be
    second shoot for you, look me up. Regards, Steven
  19. David - really nice, I wouldn't change a thing. I second the 'no problem with the floral' as we've used images like this in conjunction with the florist as sales tools. --Rich
  20. Above her left eye is a line that runs to her forhead.. Is that a stray hair? I would take care of that with PS. Other that that, nice.
  21. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    > I selected the images because I loved the eyes and the general feel I had with the moment. <

    Well . . . I had to have a squiz:

    I reckon, that amongst many there with ``the eyes`` and a genuine ``feel of the moment`` - are all the three quarter and full length Bride, in front of the Altar.

    The second Three Quarter shot, from an infinitesimally lower camera angle, got me.


    Yes. I understand your PB, regarding the Presentation to Mary series. And also the earlier removal of the eyebrow piercing.

    Thanks for sharing - so much.


  22. nice, simple.good job.
  23. Nice pose David. I would have used bounced flash off the ceiling to soften the shadows with a white kicker card to put catchlites in the eyes.Quick and easy to do on the fly.Or an on flash diffuser.Good work I am sure the bride is happy.
  24. Thanks for the additional comments.....Steve, let's have coffee sometime, I'm in the SW burbs.

    Couple of extra pieces of information: I'm happy the image doesn't appear to be PS'ed, although I didn't soften the skin, I did take care of a few spots/blemishes with the healing brush and cloned some shine off the chin and of course added both an inner & outer sloppy border. The image was taken with a 580EX/omnibounce attached to a Stroboframe canera flip bracket.

    Also with the two low angle "presentation to Mary" images /dwesleyportraits dot smugmug dot com/gallery/6630607_aXr2U#423040076_DxJK2) I knelt discretely and placed the camera/bracket on the floor and didn't actually shoot while laying on the floor. Mary was located to the far left of the church and the presence of all the pews hid my movements.
  25. Phillip, actually this image is primarily lit with bounce from the cieling. The omnibounce was angled at about 45 degrees (as in diagram) so most of the light came off the cieling while some traveled straight forward to serve as fill. I also used a long lens to give me a comfortable distance from the subject and to allow space for the light to open up. The bracket keeps the speedlight higher and directly over the lens. For quick and easy, it comes pretty close to a studio "butterfly" lighting scheme.
  26. David -- nice job on the wedding. I paged through a few of the photos on your Smugmug site, and these folks are fortunate to have a photographer who's excellent at catching the moments. Your posing of people and their expressions show that you indeed have a good rapport with folks. Which is a big part of making good photos, as you know.

    With the lighting in this photo (and other photos nearby in the album), the shadows are a bit too defined for my tastes. Those Sto-fen omnibounces can be good, but especially if you have some distance between you and the subject, it quickly becomes a point source. Also, the bounce/direct ratio changes quickly if you crouch for a different angle or get closer to or farther from a side wall. Sometimes the diffuser is a good tool, but I often use the card on my SB-800 and bounce the direct flash off of a wall or shoot into the corner between the wall and ceiling. This often gives me a lot more bounce than direct, which softens things up.
    It really depends on the situation and the effect you're going for.

    If I have the time, I do my best to set up some off-camera flash in an umbrella or two. I find that of all the ways I can spend my time, this makes the biggest difference in the finished product -- and costs the least amount of time overall. Diffused, predictable light saves me so much time in post-processing, it's not even funny. Over the last few years, I've built up a Strobist-type system (see that's very portable, quick to set up, and (if I use it correctly) gives me consistent, good light. I've got an SB-800 and a couple of 600's which I put in an umbrella or two and trigger with the on-camera controller of my D300. For a couple years, though, I shot with a D70, an 800, and a 600, usually with the 600 off-camera in an umbrella. (And I'm still amazed at some of the stuff I could get with that setup.) I've gotten to the point where I can set up a flash and umbrella in about 3 minutes, and take it down just as fast. For a grab shot (especially on a wedding day), where it's just a one-off, I'll make the best of it with ceiling/wall bounce. But if I have more than a few minutes to make the photo, it's worth spending 6 or 7 to have good light.

    All that being said, it looks like you're doing some excellent work for these folks -- keep it up!
  27. Hi Dirk, thanks for the comments. I like to do some multiple light setups if I have an assistant or have a little extra time. With this wedding I had a huge room with high, I did do a two light setup for the girls catching the bouquet /dwesleyportraits dot smugmug dot com/gallery/6630607_aXr2U#423601917_EMkCt) and the guys catching the garter. I set a 430EX set to slave, 1 stop hotter than my 580EX, positioned on top of a table just a bit behind and to the left of the camera, bounced off the ceiling and it worked out well. In hindsight, I wish I would have used this for the cake cutting and toasts.
  28. I haven't read any of the other comments - so if I am repeating it is not to be redunant just to give my opinion... the light seems a bit - and I mean just a bit harsh... the shadow under her chin I find a bit distracting...I really like the photo in general and and yet there is something that is bugging me about it... maybe it needs less flowers and a tighter crop... maybe she could be offset just a bit? the more I look at it the more I think it is that I would like a tighter crop... but that is personal preferance... that would also remove the shadow from her arm... and this is not a "bridal portrait" it is the bride on her wedding lighting will never be as it is in a studio.... so with that in mind I think it is really nice...
  29. David. I am afraid I was looking at the picture like a bloody photographer would look at it. Too close. I sat back and
    looked at it like a normal person would. . What an appealing face and you captured it. I bet her mother likes it. I have
    used a 45 degree flash angle when doing tables at large gatherings and I find it works very well with a relatively short lens
    in softening the light and allowing me to move rapidly. Thanks for sharing. The thread gives some nice insights. Thank
    you for sharing it. I have thought I could have done better on almost every picture I have ever taken. And, I probably
    could have. I found some of my early photos in the cellar this morning. All I can say is I have improved and digital has
    made me better.
  30. l_e


    fairly well lit, well composed, a bit too bright for my tastes, and a rather boring image.
  31. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    > I was looking at the picture like a bloody photographer would look at it. Too close. <


    > I bet her mother likes it. <

    I totally understand those comments.

    Frankly, I did not what hat to put on, (to frame my answer), when I first read David`s question.

    Dick, I agree the thread has touched some (introspective) insights - good point. I did not apply those, initially, I have now.

    It is very interesting, what we each take away from the table.

    Cheers to all,

  32. If you want to smooth her skin consider Surface Blur in Photoshop. "Skin" by Lee Varis has a tutorial on how to use this.
  33. Dick, I'm happy to have you look at the photo as a photographer and otherwise....I'm also happy with the comments and generally pleased with most of my coverage of the day. Granted, I can always see things that I could have done differently and always try to do better next time. I really wish I would have done more remote lighting at the reception for example. I've played with softening the skin using the dynamic skin softener in nik color effex Pro 2.0 and added a little bit of PS work....played with the crop. Most of the time I try to keep the PS work on the minimal side. I didn't see this portrait as an award winning image....just a nice portrait that was very low on the fuss factor. I could have setup studio lights but the goal was to celebrate the day, get some nice images with the bridemaids and family. The garter shot with the bridesmaids was pretty traditional but I thought it was an "oldie but a goodie" All in all, I considered the coverage "respectable" professional-level work.
  34. I can't look at her anymore.
  35. David, I won't even pretend to be half as experienced as you are in this fine craft, so I make my comments in all humility. I was thinking, the shadow under her chin catches my eye quite fast (whereas it shouldn't) and even though it adds a dimension (depth) to the photo, I reckon if you had used a bounce-card/diffuser combo you would have succeeded in toning down (pardon the pun) the conrast and by throwing more light forward, killed the shadow more effectively. By and large, in my rovings on this World Wide Web and on the numerous jobs where I have used it, I have found that the Demb Flash Diffuser excels in such conditions. Fast-n-dirty lighting instantly transformed using this simple but highly effective device. I find that the proximity of the omnibounce to the flash-head and it's geometry does not allow sufficient 'softening' of light.
    <p>Having said that from a photographer's perspective, I have no doubt that the bride will love this shot. Its seeming spontaneity, the bright and cheerful expression as well as the catchlights really do 'light up' this image...
    <p>Mark :]
  36. David , I want to thank you to give your picture for critique, I learn from all the posts more then I learn in one month. Do it again and give us some mind work, I prefer real picture like this one then the usually pictures from peoples gallery here on
  37. Also think the lighting is a bit harsh.. There are hot spots on her face and the hair does bother me as well... Shadow under her chin is fine and control of the light as far as shadows is pretty good... I might have diffused the light though to minimize the shadows of the bouquet, hair etc... My portraits tend to be a little more relaxed looking but I believe people hire David for his classic style of portraiture. So that is a personal taste thing for me.
  38. Nice PS work Mary.....your PS skills have really grown over the past months.

    Simona, Thanks for your comment, it's one of the main reasons I contribute to the forum.

    And, again thanks to everyone that's contributed to the thread......perhaps it's time I consider more diffusion possibilities and multiple light setups for the home, the altar shots, and the reception hall.
  39. Thanks David - I'm totally 100% self taught. Trial and error and practice.. Still have a way to go though.
  40. David I just love the tighter crop - really shows her beauty and a hint of the flowers... btw I was blown away by your photo with her in front of Mary... amazing and made me have goose bumps... really beautiful work...

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