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05/30/2013 02:37:01 AM · #1
I need some editing opinions...I had a headshot session the other day for a broadway headshot.

This is the pose he chose and my latest edit (you can view it full size by selecting "View full-sized image")

Does it look ok?

There are some things I'm not entirely sure are ok, but I want opinions first before adding any bias.

Thanks in advance!

Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_1071129.jpg
05/30/2013 06:56:21 AM · #2
I know nothing about what the Broadway people might be looking for in a headshot, but, his face seems to look a little "dirty". When viewed full size you really see his stubble and even the blackheads on his nose. Considering they wear makeup on stage, would a bit of PS cleanup be out of the question? Other than that, I don't see anything wrong with it.

eta: Oh, wait, I did see a bad bit on cloning on the one ear. You might want to fix that up.

Message edited by author 2013-05-30 06:57:55.
05/30/2013 07:40:19 AM · #3
the lighting looks good, accentuates his features properly. the lights seem a little hot though so you are losing skin detail on the cheeks.

DOF looks a bit shallow, what aperture did you use? i cant tells if the eyes and nose are slightly out of focus and the the focus in on the forehead and hairline, i cant really tell though sometime its just an issue with resizing that i see on the monitors at the office.

the background is killing it though, use a circular gradient fill to tone it down, the bright white is way too overpowering. I'd use a grey tone that complements the shirt as a base color and fade it in to near black on the edges. you need something to draw you into his face.
05/30/2013 08:00:06 AM · #4
The only major critique is that its a little flat and no wrap around light from the strobes. Otherwise the eyes are sharp and the skin looks great. Mike I have to disagree that the backdrop is distracting, a lot of headshot's are done in high-key and very successful. The reason you may feel its distracting is because the subject is flat. Peter Hurley one of the most famous headshot photogs in hollywood, shoots nothing but high-key!

Neil did you do an extraction or light the backdrop for this?

Message edited by author 2013-05-30 08:02:16.
05/30/2013 08:21:52 AM · #5
my monitor must be going to crap because Hurley's images look blurry too. :)

i think Damon nailed it too, comparing with the link, the subject is very flat.

Message edited by author 2013-05-30 08:24:04.
05/30/2013 08:49:11 AM · #6
I agree with the others on the flatness of the light. I'm sure you're aware but the mask needs a bit of refining on camera right and in the hair.
05/30/2013 10:06:23 AM · #7
Thanks for your feedback.

Some info/points/follow up:

1) I've done quite a number of headshots for local theatre groups, but this was different for me. In fact, this a shot, as much as I could, in the style of Peter Hurley.

2) It's odd that he should look "flat". In fact this was shot with a ring light as the key light. My attempt at Peter Hurley like light without the expensive Kino lights. But maybe compared to dramatic regular lighting, ring lights look flat too people?

3) Perhaps I have him too bright? I was not fond of the skin tones when I turned the contrast up a bit or darkened it.

4) What do others think of the skin tones? I desaturated reds a bit and toned done the saturation a tad.

5) I could have removed stubble and skin issues quite easily. I wanted to avoid making it a glamour shot because it's for purposes of casting. If the actor doesn't shave closely, it's his look. I will revisit any temporary blemishes he might have--those are fair game.

6) I could do a bit of dodge/burn to accentuate the shadows--hopefully you looked at the full size version though because on my monitor the light does not look flat. (Though I have one of the NEC wide gamut displays.)

BUT: Here's my biggest concern: As I mentioned, I shot this with a ring light. Although he liked the shots--I did not like the ring light catchlights. So I removed the ring light from his eyes and put in a catch light. I was concerned about this--because this fellow is broadway bound, and he's got a really good chance of landing something good (he's already done a traveling broadway show, Beauty and the Beast). Personally, when I went through the shots and saw the catchlights, I asked him to come back for a quick reshoot of just this pose. But he said he loved this one, it was fine, and didn't want a reshoot.

So, I was curious if anyone would notice those before I mentioned them. Now of course, you have a somewhat biased eye knowing that...but what do you think anyway?

And I am pretty tempted to return the ring light. I did think it gave a very nice wrap-around light, but it wasn't as bright as I'd like, forcing me to ISO 800, and as cool as the rings are, I think they are distracting in a head shot. What do you think...here's the original from LR, before editing http://nrshapiro.com/mwhitney2013#h5ff94eea (You can look at the other shots he picked there--I had him go through the shots and pick out the ones he liked while he was here, then I uploaded them after a few LR adjustments. PS has not yet been done (so they are all "unfinished.)

Thanks again (and in advance of any new comments!)

(ETA - if you scroll through the gallery using the arrow keys this and some of the others have "ring light/attempted fix" before and afters. Most, to me, don't look as good as the method I used to fix this one.)

Message edited by author 2013-05-30 10:12:34.
05/30/2013 10:35:04 AM · #8
one of the things i noticed was that you catch-lights seemed off, the place of the one seems good but it seemed to be missing another. the shadows were too exposed to not see at a least a reflector as well as the main light.
05/30/2013 12:05:52 PM · #9
His right side is his best side!

Not a helpful critique, I know, just an observation. ;)
05/30/2013 12:16:04 PM · #10
the main thing is that you have way too much light. you can easily solve this by setting up and shooting through the range, either in camera or in your strobe, until you find the right settings. hurley uses a lot of light, but it's evenly distributed, allowing for a ton of detail in both the highlights and shadows. this is what's throwing your skin tones way off. they are extremely warm, and your draining the reds doesn't help. this might look better bw. also, if you're really wanting to go pf, his head shots are a lot tighter.

you've got a good start. another 2-3k tries and you should have it cold ;-)

Message edited by author 2013-05-30 12:16:41.
05/30/2013 12:46:26 PM · #11
Neil, left you a lengthy comment.
06/15/2013 10:08:36 PM · #12
I love the use of negative space, but that is what I like to do. If you were going for artistic, I think the composition works. If you were looking for a headshot for a business purposes, I think getting rid of the space helps.
06/16/2013 12:10:52 AM · #13
Originally posted by Damon:


Neil did you do an extraction or light the backdrop for this?

Go to full-size and check the hairline; it's an extraction at least in that area.
06/16/2013 01:28:54 AM · #14
Originally posted by Neil:



2) It's odd that he should look "flat". In fact this was shot with a ring light as the key light. My attempt at Peter Hurley like light without the expensive Kino lights. But maybe compared to dramatic regular lighting, ring lights look flat too people?



Then it should be no surprise that the light is flat. Ring lights are EXTREMELY flat, because they are on axis and light from all sides of the lens. Of all the sources, they are perhaps the flattest. It's for this reason that I enjoy using them largely for fill. They also can work wonderfully for macro work because of the even illumination.

Message edited by author 2013-06-16 01:29:41.
06/16/2013 08:17:31 AM · #15
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Originally posted by Damon:


Neil did you do an extraction or light the backdrop for this?

Go to full-size and check the hairline; it's an extraction at least in that area.


No, it's not an extraction at all. However, I brightened the background in post with a magic wand selection in the proofs, and then there were portions of the hair that didn't get selected well. Fixed in the final proofs, which are here...

He is going to go with #2 I believe...(though he's a big fan of the horizontals). My choice is either #2 or #5.

ETA: I like the negative space too, and thus hate when I had to do the 8x10 crop for the horizontals...they looked better at 3:2 (I think he liked this better too). The first one is still 3:2 (hmmm, or did I crop this one to 8.5x 11...not in the file name, I'd have to check).

Message edited by author 2013-06-16 09:04:02.
06/16/2013 08:50:59 AM · #16
Originally posted by Neil:

. . . Fixed in the final proofs, which are here...


???
06/16/2013 09:04:28 AM · #17
Originally posted by nam:

Originally posted by Neil:

. . . Fixed in the final proofs, which are here...


???


Oops. Fixed in the original message. (or here)

ETA: If I didn't already say it below, thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions!

Message edited by author 2013-06-16 09:41:11.
06/16/2013 01:03:29 PM · #18
vignette from the finals is my fav.
06/16/2013 04:38:18 PM · #19
This sounds harch; the photo is really great! But since you want critique, here are a few thought off the top of my head.

- It's soft.
- Too much dodging - especially on the cheeks.
- The edges look unnatural - has the background been removed?
- Either I need to see more of his left ear, or nothing at all.
- The crop is too tight above his head. Either cut off some hair or make more room.
- Speaking of the crop; I don't like the ratio. Maybe cut off a bit on the bottom.
- No depth at all. If it's on putpose, fine, but it makes it uninteresting to me.

Again, the shot is great! :)
06/16/2013 04:39:58 PM · #20
Only wsaw the original photo until now. Just want to add, the fake circular (beauty dish) catch lights ... yeah I'm not a fan of those :)
06/16/2013 10:01:18 PM · #21
I actually like this image much more than the one you chose. He looks more natural and charming.

I really like this one too.

I don't like the expression in his eyes in the one you posted here as much as I like these other two.
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