I shot 70 or 80 pics for our Christmas card over Thanksgiving and my results where a bit disappointing. I was hoping to gain some insight from the group as kind of a “lessons learned” to help me produce better images in the future. Here are the details:
Location - beach on the North Carolina coast.
Time: 4:30 - 5:00 pm EST
Orientation: The coastline turns in so looking straight out over the ocean you are actually pointing due south. Therefore looking up the coastline to your left is east and down the coastline to your right is west. My subjects were facing west and the sun was setting back over my shoulder.
Metering - varied: center weighted and spot
Exposure - varied: P and A
WB - Sunny (adj to 4400 in PS after)
Color Space - Adobe RGB 1998 (mode II I think?)
The background looked pretty good; it was the subject’s faces where I had trouble. Basically they were too red. I worked and worked and just could not “get the red out.” I ended up settling but it still looks like they are wearing a pink/red shade of lipstick. In fact, if I could just reduce the red on their lips I would have been happy.
OK - that is all the info I can think to provide (I will post a picture later tonight) but please let me know if you have any other questions. What I’m asking for is some advice on what I needed to differently either with the initial setup or post processing. Here is what I think I could have done but I’m just guessing:
1 - shoot earlier in the day. I’m thinking the redness is inherent with shooting at sunset.
2 - Use a fill flash to give me the proper coloring on the subject while still maintaining the background coloring I liked.
3 - some sort of post processing procedure to correct the subjects faces without affecting the rest of the shot.
If necessary I would be more than happy to provide the RAW file if someone is willing to work on post processing to show me what could have been.
#1. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 0dankeny Nikonian since 29th May 2006Tue 07-Dec-04 02:33 PM
Did you adjust the WB in PS? I don't like to shoot with the sun over my shoulder. I would rather shoot with side light or even back light. Nonetheless, these photos should be salvageable if exposure was proper and the only problem is a color cast. Can you post an example.
#2. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 0dfg Basic MemberTue 07-Dec-04 03:14 PM
I had an ugly yellow cast on some faces as a result of bouncing flash off a yellowish ceiling. There's a million ways to do things in Photoshop, but I stumbled across "Selective Color", and it worked like a charm in this case. (Image / Adjustments / Selective Color - then choose your problem color and play with the sliders). Might be of some help to you here.
You'd still want to get the white balance right in ACR before moving on to this, though.
#3. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 2Tim_B Registered since 01st May 2004Tue 07-Dec-04 04:58 PM
Along with the suggestion of Doug G. I would also try a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer. The Hue/Saturation dialog lets you chose a variation of a color with the eyedropper. As an example, say you have a yellow cast, chose yellow from the drop down list and click the left eye dropper in the group of three. Now move the eye dropper to the image where the yellow cast is and click. Now adjust the saturation and/or hue.
Please post an image so you can give better advise.
#4. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 3Jerry S Registered since 22nd Dec 2002Tue 07-Dec-04 06:00 PM
You mentioned that you were able to adjust the background color to suit. Shooting earlier in the day might have reduced this somewhat; fill flash would have probably yielded more desireable results. Also, what color space were you using? Did you use matrix metering, center-weighted or spot? What was your white balance setting?
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#6. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 5Tue 07-Dec-04 11:46 PM
Wow. Thanks for all the replies. I hope I address them all so here goes.
David - I set the WB to sunny in the D100 but did adj it in PS to a lower number. I ended up around 4400 or so. See link to photo and RAW file below.
Doug G - thanks for the info. I'm not sure what is correct for wb but I do my best to adj in PS to make the colors look like the way I saw the scene. I have come to view WB as subjective....maybe there is a more scientific technique???
Tim B - I like the suggestion. I will investigate that further. See link to photo and RAW file below.
Jerry S - Good questions. I have updated my original post to include that info.
Kevin - you have mail.
Here is a link where you will find a highly compress jpg as well as the zipped RAW file. Go here
#7. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 0
I downloaded your original NEF and did a little work with it. If you supply an e-mail address, I will ship you back the results, in JPG format, done 50% in Nikon Capture and 50% in Photoshop.
George in Lansdale, PA
#8. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 7Wed 08-Dec-04 12:03 PM
George - Thanks. If you don't mind please go Here and then select "email" from that page. Seems like I read somewhere that it is not a good practice to post ones email address on bb due to spamers. Also, if you could describe what you did in PS that would be great too. Thanks again.
#12. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 7bga123 Nikonian since 04th Dec 2002Wed 16-Jan-08 12:08 PM
This was my quick and dirty edit in Photoshop.
0. Converted from NEF and increased exposure a bit. Temperature 4700, Exposure +2.25, Tint -3, Brightness 50, Contrast +25,
1. Masked the face using a combination of Magic Wand and Lasso, then reduced saturation of the red channel
2. Extended mask to cover the boys entirely, inverted the mask selection area and increased the saturation of the background
3. Used the Image | Adjustment | Shadow/Highlight to reveal the grass
4. Selected the moon with 5px feather and used Edit | Free Transform to increase it's size about 15%
I have always wondered where the dividing line is between art and photography. In the sense that what you can do with PS can result in a "nice" picture, that never really was. In other words, the moon was never so large, the sunset never so vivid etc.
Anyhow these steps illustrate my attempt to render the town and sunset more vividly without oversaturating the boys' face or loosing the detail of the grass. In the end the only thing that can't be easily fixed is the composition - and I think you did a GREAT job there.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
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#9. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 12bga123 Nikonian since 04th Dec 2002Wed 08-Dec-04 12:23 PM
Joe, one last thought - Make sure you are evaluating any picture you are looking at on a color corected monitor in an application that understands color correction profiles, like ACDSee etc. Internet Explorer can shift colors since it doesn't do color correction.
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#10. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 0
I took the liberty to grab your NEF file and give it a try in Nikon Capture.
Here are the two, count 'em, TWO STEPS I preformed in NC.
1.) Adjust White Balance by setting the Gray Point on a white area of the moon using a single point. My thinking here was that the moon is the most neutral object in the scene.
2.) Digital DEE with settings at 20,20,190 which I think are the default.
That was all the adjustments I did besides saving as a tiff, open in PS CS, convert profile to sRGB, Mode 8-bit, and save as jpg. Note: CONVERT to profile.
Now a question? You shot the scene, so you know how it should look. Does this look realistic? Also, is that a tidal pool that the ppl in the background are walking on? Should it be that blue?
Very nice looking boys and a fine shot even if it's giving you fits.
After looking at the shooting info in NC I can see why it was underexposed. As you get use to the D100's meter you will learn to overcome its faults and add positive EV compensation. Matrix metering might have done a better job here since your scene is pretty evenly lite.
#11. "RE: Need Some Advice Please" | In response to Reply # 10Thu 09-Dec-04 11:38 AM
Again, thanks so much for all the replies and emails!!!
bga123 - appreciate the time and the compliment. I realize that with the right tweaking in PS CS, I should be able to correct my image. You have also given me some new ideas to work with. As for the monitor, I do calibrate mine at home using....i think it is spyder something???? Anyway, I do it. Funny thing, I look at the picture on my 10 year old monitor at work with no calibration and it looks very similar.
Tim - Thanks, the working with the boys is like reliving my childhood. We are really looking forward to Christmas. I actually took some shots with the a +.3 EV. I would say nearly all my shots are underexposed but usually and only have to bump it up by a small increment. This image was usually under. I have not worried about it since I use PS CS and use the ACR. However, I'm still learning how to view a scene and configure my D100 to make it look like what my eye sees. Yes, matrix would have been better in this case. As for how it looked during the shoot, I think the sky in my jpg posted on my web site is about right. It just had a hint of color at the horizon while the rest was really light and whitish. It was not that spectacular. I like the more blue sky that you have others have created better. My biggest problem with my original was the boys looking like they were wearing lipstick. Others have correct this but I have yet to make it happen.