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Thread: 烟斗先生

  1. #1
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    1. in what area is critique to be sought?

    Composition, usability of this image for stock and processing work.

    2. what one hopes to achieve with the piece of work?

    Portray the fine wrinkle lines of this elder and his expression with his pipe.

    3. under what circumstance is the picture taken? (physical conditions/emotions)

    Mid morning in Chinatown. He saw with with my camera walking while smoking his pipe. I took up the courage to ask him if he is ok to pose for me. He agrees ^^

    4. what the critique seeker personally thinks of the picture

    I would it's my best shot of the day. The resident tends to be camera shy or total annoyed with me taking pictures. This elder really brightens up my day. I do have an issue with his button on his polo tee after processing. Do you guys feel it's distracting?
    Last edited by Cowseye; 16th June 2011 at 06:20 PM.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Personally, I find this quite good, the details and the expression and have the same feeling that this can be further improve upon.
    Let me give this a bump. I too like to know how this can be improved.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Thanks Bro, hope I can get more feedback

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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Nice uncle that he was willing to pose. The framing is very tight, is this the original framing or cropped? His arm doesn't look right as a result.
    And can you recover more detail on the polo shirt? It's most distracting this way, that's why the button stands out even more so.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Hi TS,

    Yes I think the button and the tight frame is a problem too.

    I have no solution for the tight frame if it's originally taken like this.

    But a simple solution for the over-exposed button is to lasso out the area of the button and decrease the exposure and saturate it to transform it back into it's original color look as you like (photoshop).

    Cheers
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Hi guys,

    Yes, the image was cropped, I preferred tight framing as the face details will be more profound.

    I took the advice that you guys gave (Thanks )

    Here's a not so cropped version of it:

  7. #7

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Quote Originally Posted by Cowseye View Post
    Hi guys,

    Yes, the image was cropped, I preferred tight framing as the face details will be more profound.

    I took the advice that you guys gave (Thanks )

    Here's a not so cropped version of it:
    this reminds me of a funeral portrait bro... but it's just me i guess

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    Quote Originally Posted by kei1309

    this reminds me of a funeral portrait bro... but it's just me i guess
    Thanks for the scary comment ^_^"
    that's not my intention

    Any bros got any more 高见?
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Hello Cowseye.

    I can understand why you cropped it the way you did as the subject's right forearm is really not full, and thus when you included it in the picture, it does not gel well.
    I guess, this aspect can't be helped.
    Another aspect, which I would like to perhaps raise for discussion, is that you may like to stand a little to your right side, so that the vertical pillar behind his head would be out of the frame, or at least a little further away from his head to reduce distraction. And while doing that, it may be possible to stoop down a little so that you are at eye level with the subject. I believe that would enhance the background to further throw it off focus in the aim of reducing distractions.
    My humble opinion, Cowseye.
    Last edited by limwhow; 17th June 2011 at 09:28 PM.

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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Quote Originally Posted by limwhow View Post
    Hello Cowseye.

    I can understand why you cropped it the way you did as the subject's right forearm is really not full, and thus when you included it in the picture, it does not gel well.
    I guess, this aspect can't be helped.
    Another aspect, which I would like to perhaps raise for discussion, is that you may like to stand a little to your right side, so that the vertical pillar behind his head would be out of the frame, or at least a little further away from his head to reduce distraction. And while doing that, it may be possible to stoop down a little so that you are at eye level with the subject. I believe that would enhance the background to further throw it off focus in the aim of reducing distractions.
    My humble opinion, Cowseye.
    Thanks for the feedback. Agree with both your points.
    1. The vertical pillar is a shop shutter behind. Way behind which I though I could get away with a 2.8 OOF that makes it less distracting. While reviewing the picture, I found it distracting too. Hence I applied gaussian blur to the background. Guess it's still not enough.
    2. Leveling my angle to his seated height is definitely better. I wish I did reacted that way.. But I was too surprise that he allows me to shoot him ^^"

  11. #11

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    More blur doesn't mean better especially when you are using photoshop instead of the natural blur from the lens. As such there is some kind of outline on the left half of the body which makes it look rather unnatural, even more so on the un-cropped version.

    My opinion is that he is not your hired model so you have the restriction of not able to position your subject such that the background is blurred nicely given the lens you have, so that is fine as we don't have full control of everything around us to achieve so-called technical perfection. I would prefer natural less blur than artifical more blur.

    For the button, I might just clone it away...unless you are particular about details such as why his polo tee has no button...

    Overall I find this a nice picture, alot of texture from the uncle's face and his natural expression.

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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Thanks GS84 Actually, his index finger holding the 烟斗 is much more obvious. But I can't help it...
    A buttonless polo tee should caused a larger opening in the neck collar dun you agree ^^"? I did spot EV- on the button on my uncropped version. But it still quite distracting

    Wonder if it's my photoshop skill lacking, is there a way to deal with the halo around the subject that is caused by the background gaussian blur?
    Last edited by Cowseye; 17th June 2011 at 11:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    I think I much prefer his right foreman in the frame. In fact I would consider a portrait crop down the third of his right shoulder. That would shift the subject slightly off-centre, and use his arms as a bottom framing line. It gives strong visual indication of the kind of man he could be. Dynamic posing is usually what we see in CEOs or creatives, to make them look respectable or serious, talented etc etc. As I take it, this uncle lead a stoic life, his mind does not 'think' in diagonals but in simple straight lines and he especially thinks photography is playing around (lol), that's the kind of person he is. The photograph has a top & bottom anchor, if you think the it's too eye-catching darken it slightly.

    It looks unconventional because it's sure few people would pose their subjects this way given a choice. Tight framing is good if only for the face, not if you put a floating forearm in. Just a suggestion, I'm more open to unconventional compositions than a lot of other people I think.

    Can u provide the original file, fully uncropped version without the toning and gaussian blur? I have the feeling that even with so much pp there is still problems, it may be better to do less.
    What technique did you use to apply the blurring? I prefer masking with a soft brush and reduce opacity as I brush closer to the subject.

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    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Quote Originally Posted by foxtwo View Post
    I think I much prefer his right foreman in the frame. In fact I would consider a portrait crop down the third of his right shoulder. That would shift the subject slightly off-centre, and use his arms as a bottom framing line. It gives strong visual indication of the kind of man he could be. Dynamic posing is usually what we see in CEOs or creatives, to make them look respectable or serious, talented etc etc. As I take it, this uncle lead a stoic life, his mind does not 'think' in diagonals but in simple straight lines and he especially thinks photography is playing around (lol), that's the kind of person he is. The photograph has a top & bottom anchor, if you think the it's too eye-catching darken it slightly.

    It looks unconventional because it's sure few people would pose their subjects this way given a choice. Tight framing is good if only for the face, not if you put a floating forearm in. Just a suggestion, I'm more open to unconventional compositions than a lot of other people I think.

    Can u provide the original file, fully uncropped version without the toning and gaussian blur? I have the feeling that even with so much pp there is still problems, it may be better to do less.
    What technique did you use to apply the blurring? I prefer masking with a soft brush and reduce opacity as I brush closer to the subject.
    I'm not sure how to share a RAW file here. I used magnetic lasso in PS to carefully outline the subject including much of his hair. Put that on another layer and gaussian blur the original background layer.
    Isn't the framing that you suggest closer to my first photo? With the full length left arm included?

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    I want to include the right forearm lying horizontal at the bottom but 1/3 less of his right shoulder. 1st crop was squarish, I'm suggesting more rectangular.

    No, not asking for raw file, just the processed jpeg without the toning and blur. It should have been the selection feather that caused the halo. There's better control with mask brushing than going mental trying to lasso a human being. You're lucky he didn't have too much hair to deal with.

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    Actually quite a bit ^^"
    I'll put up the jpeg tmr
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  17. #17

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    The color mood is subjective , but it's too contrast for me and this contrast will effect the skin tone , the skin tone look un natural and over processed .

  18. #18

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    Since your purpose is to "Portray the fine wrinkle lines of this elder and his expression with his pipe.", i would focus on the man's face and crop away the lower body. I would not include the right arm because his arms and face will just frame the central blackness of his polo shirt and draw more attention to his button. I think the sepia tone doesn't work well for this image, would suggest a straight black and white image which has a grittier feel to the photo which suits the subject better. Perhaps just a bit more contrast and sharpness in the photo will also help to bring out the fine details in the lines of his face and hands better.
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    Thanks zaren and biskandar

    I've another B&W shot which I think has a nicer look. I'll post that later
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  20. #20

    Default Re: 烟斗先生

    very interesting subject. besides all the above mentioned.."fake" blue halo effect and tight cropping.. Maybe you could try framing off center for portraits. this would be great if there was slightly more room on his right, incorporating some toning which zaren had done.

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