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11/17/2008 11:08:14 PM · #1
I'm a little down on myself right now..

A freind of mine called me last thursday, and asked if I'd do some portraits of his family on sunday (group of 15). I don't advertise myself as a professional, but I told some friends if they were ever interested in doing some portraits, I would do it for free, I could use the practice. This friend is work related, and I've never met his family before. I think they are expecting great things.. as my friend spoke very highly of me because he's seen some of my better photos. I told everyone while we were out there that this was my first time for portraits like this, but I don't think they grasped the idea..because I'm carrying around a super dooper camera and all the gear to go with it. After 2 1/2 hours of shooting they insisted on paying me.. as much as I refused, they wouldn't let me out of there free. I ended up with $75.. I know..nothin major.

However.. The pictures did not turn out good. They all showed up in white shirts and blue jeans. Glaring late afternoon sun.. it was a mess. I tried shooting in the sun, but people couldn't open their eyes. I tried the shade, but the white shirts and dark backgrounds playing tricks on my camera. I was so occupied with getting my camera settings, that the poses were just totaly random hodge podge. I can't even call them pictures.. they are just decent snapshots. I took a little over 200 snaps, and I have 50 picked out to give them.

I really don't know what to do, I'm just depressed that I got paid..and have to deliver this crap to them.

11/17/2008 11:17:47 PM · #2
First, they're probably better than you think, esp. if you're using DPC as the definition of what makes a good portrait. I can't tell you how many people in my family love this shot, which scored 5.8 here:
' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/712/120/555661.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/712/120/555661.jpg', '/') + 1) . '. People are looking much more at their fsmily members than at whether the exposure is perfect.

Second, be upfront with your friend. Remind him of what you said and offer to refund the money. I bet if you say "told ya I needed the practice" he'll say "no, these are really nice."

And if he refuses a refund, walk away with your head held high.
11/17/2008 11:25:34 PM · #3
Something similar happened to me last year. My aunt asked me to take a family portrait of her and her kids. Out of about 300 shots, maybe 20 looked good, mostly because they all thought that they were models and they new the best pose and wouldn't take any direction! Anywho (done with my own little rant!), my Aunt only really needed one good photo to make her X-mas cards so in the end it worked out because she had about 20 to choose from!
I'm sure it will all work out for you too. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
11/17/2008 11:26:28 PM · #4
Originally posted by Intelli:

... I tried the shade, but the white shirts and dark backgrounds playing tricks on my camera. ...

Did you shoot these in RAW mode? What "tricks" did your camera get tripped up on?

You might want to post a couple of these...some of the DPC'rs on here are pretty darn good at post-processing. My bet is the shaded ones would have the best facial expressions (no squinting) and may have the best shot at tweaking. Look a little blue do they? :-)

Just something to consider.
11/17/2008 11:44:45 PM · #5
Ok, here's a few.. not the best, nor the worst. Unfortunately I shot in jpg.

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739971.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739971.jpg', '/') + 1) . '' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739972.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739972.jpg', '/') + 1) . '' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739973.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739973.jpg', '/') + 1) . '' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739975.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_portfolio/25000-29999/28227/120/739975.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

From left to right.. 1. Sun 2.shade (had to convert to BW the color was blue) 3. probobly the best location we had. 4. Late pictures because 1 party showed up 2 hours late (sun was going down)
11/17/2008 11:48:22 PM · #6
Ok, first and foremost slow down. You have 50 you are willing to show them? That is a ton. If they are even snapshot level you gave them 50 photo memories that will last forever. You spent over 2 hours and shot over 200 shots. Do you have any clue how much a studio would have charged for a third of that. They are not expecting Ansel Adams here. Stop feeling down on yourself for doing exactly what they expect. If you have 50 you are willing to show them that is 50 more than they had before.
11/17/2008 11:51:29 PM · #7
I 100% agree with Mike. You got 2 1/2 hours of experience and they got a ton of shots for $75. If you really want to do it for free, print $75 worth of 8x10s or something and give them to them. That way they don't have to refuse you trying to return the cash.

I think they look good enough. Probably the best lesson learned is to shoot in RAW... ;)
11/18/2008 12:08:04 AM · #8
Hi,
do not feel bad you can fix most of the stuff in photoshop. I have learned this trick. It is true that if you get it perfect the first time you do not have to use photoshop as much, but you can try to make this little fast hdr trick. This will fix shadows in the face and bleached out the white shirts. Here what you can try. Open picked jpgs in camera raw and adjust exposure to make one picture overexposed, one underexposed and leave the original as a middle or depending how the photograph look like and what you trying to fix.(highlights versus shadows, midtones etc.) and save each adjusted picture in separate folder. Then import it as hdr or blending exposure mode. If you not sure what I am talking about let me know I will explain it in detail.You will see that if you play a little with it you will get pretty amazing results right away. Good luck. Martin

Message edited by author 2008-11-18 00:11:05.
11/18/2008 12:15:38 AM · #9
nerfed.

Message edited by author 2008-11-18 01:22:03.
11/18/2008 12:19:39 AM · #10
I understand, but have never messed with hdr. I was playing with the jpgs in the raw editer trying to make something happen, but I got nowhere with it. I used levels, selective color, and shadow/highlight adjustments. My attempts with curves are lame. I'll give the hdr a shot tommorow, if I try now I'll end up abusing my head on the desk.

11/18/2008 12:25:25 AM · #11
Ok Nicholas, some great advice from the Photoshop guys, and I reckon when you look through, and spend some time on Photoshop (which will also improve those skills) you will be amazed what you can get out of these.
I have seen some photos that people (including family members) have paid a lot of money for, and have seen the results. What is often shown here are the best portraits, shot in studios, and already PP'd.
A number of lessons you have learnt also, including being very careful about light conditions. Also paying attention to the set-up of the people in the photo is something that takes getting used to.
Also, you will notice that usually, only one photo of each pose is given to the people. As a result, the doubles etc of the group shots don't need to be PP'd.
Good luck with it, remember that they got over 2 hours of someone taking photos, and you got plenty of experience working with groups, in tricky light conditions, and now also should learn plenty about Photoshop as well.
11/18/2008 12:31:02 AM · #12
I really like this one. A little processing and your good to go.

[thumb]739990[/thumb]
11/18/2008 12:39:12 AM · #13
Originally posted by ace flyman:

I really like this one. A little processing and your good to go.

[thumb]739990[/thumb]


You got the blue tint out nicely, the other issue with this photo that I notice.. I don't know how noticable it will be on a print, but if you look at the shirt of the older lady in the front.. the highlights are really blown, making the pixels distorted. It's noticable in several of the shirts.

edit: Take a look at the B/W posted earlier, and you will see it very clearly.



Message edited by author 2008-11-18 00:43:18.
11/18/2008 12:44:12 AM · #14
The blown highlights on the shirts are tough, be on me. I wonder how it would look in print too?
11/18/2008 01:11:02 AM · #15
if anyone has a copy of OnOne Professional that you could borrow, that does fantastic jobs of recovering blown out detail. Theres a shadow/highlight option in there under 'image optimize' and it does a damned good job.

Its an expensive programme but worth it.

OR, Nik Color Efex could probably help you out recovering those highlights too.

I can give it a go if you can send me the full jpeg to my email address and see what happens, you might be suprised! I can send it back to you with the remedied blowouts if you want... depends how bothered you are.
11/18/2008 03:12:35 AM · #16
Originally posted by Tez:

... that does fantastic jobs of recovering blown out detail

Ummmm...if it is blown out, there is no detail to recover, hence..blown out. It may help smooth things out within and help blend it in, but not recover detail.
With the blown out area on that shirt, you could always try a PATCH TOOL within PS from another part of her shirt.
How to tutorials
//simplephotoshop.com/photoshop_tools/patch_toolf.htm
//www.eyesondesign.net/pshop/healing/brush.htm
//photoshoptips.net/2005/09/09/patch-tool/

11/18/2008 03:56:57 AM · #17
dry wit, how endearing.

Its at least worth a shot. Things I considered to be blown out have proven to not be so hopelessly lost. It's worth a try, i'm offering to try it... what's the worst that can happen? It's a 30 second job anyways.
11/18/2008 04:02:59 AM · #18
Similar thing happened to me a couple years ago, so I feel your pain. It was my first portrait attempt - I was supposed to shoot my friend's two daughters, but I chose the wrong time of day with harsh sunlight, and I had a terrible shooting location. I knew I was just getting really bad quality shots. Luckily, my camera broke right in the middle of our photo shoot. I don't think the timing could have been better. So I had an excuse to not deliver the photos AND an excuse to buy my first DLSR. As for your situation, I think you're being too hard on yourself. The photos you shared with us are not bad and could be even better with a little post processing. People are usually a lot less demanding than we photographers think.
11/18/2008 05:07:23 AM · #19
I had a go at correcting this one for you but as the shadows are so harsh it really would be a LOT of work to get it looking really nice.

So I converted it to B&W and with some shadow / highlights - a lot of dodging and burning (removing things like the harsh shadow on the left hand ladies face and chest etc) came up with this

[thumb]740018[/thumb]

Still not quite right even for a B&W but I have run out of time and have to go out now, but that is the kind of way I think I might be tempted to prevent the image if it were me.

ETA:
With a little more work and a softened background:
[thumb]740020[/thumb]

Message edited by author 2008-11-18 05:52:27.
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