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Chintan

Critique of wedding pictures

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Well, these are not designs per se but just a sample of photos I took a couple of weeks ago

 

I've done editing using the develop persona in affinity photo and nothing else.

 

Are they good enough or what else can I do that to improve them? One of the persons in the photo said she wants softer photos - but she's thinking of those cartoonish filters from some mobile app.

 

 

post-50884-0-80760900-1493802261_thumb.jpg

post-50884-0-98560200-1493802278_thumb.jpg

post-50884-0-33524500-1493802302_thumb.jpg

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And please respect the privacy of the photos - they are for my client

 

Any critiques about vibrance, exposure, softness, sharpness etc welcome. Whether it's too much or too little

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And please respect the privacy of the photos - they are for my client

 

Do you mean "Please don't share them elsewhere", Chintan? You've already shared them yourself on this public forum!


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Hi Chintan,

with all respect Wedding photos are unlike most other images - they are a personal record of how THAT CLIENT wants to remember their big day.

I would edit and provide options for each key image and let the client choose.

Cheers P

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As PaulAffinity said, the issue is not mostly technical. It is trying to understand what the client wants the picture to look like. I painted and drew portraits for a number of years, and capturing a good likeness was not nearly as hard as figuring out how to make the likeness have the emotional characteristic that pleased the customer.

 

Looking at the images, I'd have to say that from a technical standpoint the white balance is not quite right. I suppose the light sources were not well balanced, because it was not studio lighting.

 

But as far as the client comments go, I'd suppose there is too much fine detail. It appears to me that in the close up of the woman's eyes, she is wearing contact lenses. That is nothing that needs knowing. And while it may be a good bit of work, in the couple photo, the background is more detailed than necessary. Perhaps select that, and work on reducing the detail and reduce the selected areas' value & contrast to make it more of an incidental back ground.


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Well those are IMO generally a little bit pale processed for wedding portrait shots, they are missing defines and pop on certain important parts to make them shine slightly more. Keep always in mind that the couple, or at least the bride here has to shine and show her beauty there on the shots, for this important day. So you have to work over on selected shots (always best selected together with the customers, aka let them first see/review and choose which one they like and want to have processed accordingly) to make them slightly more outstanding and being worth as a memory for them. - To give you an idea what I mean, see this quick comparison ...

  • post-49706-0-08387100-1493848489_thumb.jpg

... you should make yourself some general reusable macro(s) for certain adjustment layers, things like those you can see in the above shown sample. Then depending on the image you can adapt those things which you (and/or the customer) think are needed for retushing them slightly.

 

Further if possible, you might want to use a gray card during your wedding location shootings, so it's later easier for you via image processing to get the lighting conditions and color tones sorted out more correctly and well adapted.

 

 


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Do you mean "Please don't share them elsewhere", Chintan? You've already shared them yourself on this public forum!

 

I meant that yes, and it does sound ironical when you put it that way :wacko:

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Hi Chintan,

with all respect Wedding photos are unlike most other images - they are a personal record of how THAT CLIENT wants to remember their big day.

I would edit and provide options for each key image and let the client choose.

Cheers P

 

I would have done this except I never had much time plus my experience with editing photos is nearly zero. There were 440 images in total so I had to finish them with the least effort possible per photo

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As PaulAffinity said, the issue is not mostly technical. It is trying to understand what the client wants the picture to look like. I painted and drew portraits for a number of years, and capturing a good likeness was not nearly as hard as figuring out how to make the likeness have the emotional characteristic that pleased the customer.

 

Looking at the images, I'd have to say that from a technical standpoint the white balance is not quite right. I suppose the light sources were not well balanced, because it was not studio lighting.

 

But as far as the client comments go, I'd suppose there is too much fine detail. It appears to me that in the close up of the woman's eyes, she is wearing contact lenses. That is nothing that needs knowing. And while it may be a good bit of work, in the couple photo, the background is more detailed than necessary. Perhaps select that, and work on reducing the detail and reduce the selected areas' value & contrast to make it more of an incidental back ground.

 

 

You're right, it wasn't studio lighting. There were a couple of CFL lights on the ceiling and I was using on camera flash 95% of the time

 

I did get that comment from her sister that the detail is too fine, that she needs softer images. That is the part I don't know how to do yet, though I'm hoping you can guide me on how to do it. I just hope that the softening and other work can be done in photo persona and not develop since develop persona takes too long processing

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Well those are IMO generally a little bit pale processed for wedding portrait shots, they are missing defines and pop on certain important parts to make them shine slightly more. Keep always in mind that the couple, or at least the bride here has to shine and show her beauty there on the shots, for this important day. So you have to work over on selected shots (always best selected together with the customers, aka let them first see/review and choose which one they like and want to have processed accordingly) to make them slightly more outstanding and being worth as a memory for them. - To give you an idea what I mean, see this quick comparison ...

... you should make yourself some general reusable macro(s) for certain adjustment layers, things like those you can see in the above shown sample. Then depending on the image you can adapt those things which you (and/or the customer) think are needed for retushing them slightly.

 

Further if possible, you might want to use a gray card during your wedding location shootings, so it's later easier for you via image processing to get the lighting conditions and color tones sorted out more correctly and well adapted.

 

 

You have a point there, where I process further those photos that already have outstanding moments or scenes - thank you for that

 

Your edit is amazing and that just shows how much I have to learn. It almost makes me feel insignificant

 

Can you show me how you did that? Using affinity photo.

 

I'll find out what the grey card is and how to use it - thank you for that tip too

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Just from the pink color tones of your shot I can tell that you are using a Nikon, since those tones look (when boosted) pretty familiar to me and are typical for certain models sensor output.

 

The gray card (or a colorchecker) will help you much here, for fixing and setting up more correct white balance and color tones when processing a bunch of images later after such shootings. You will then perform from one gray card shot (from a series of shots made under the same lighting conditions) the processed WB and curves adjustments and save those settings as a reference setting for the other shots of that series. Then you can apply those saved settings afterwards quickly for all other shots of that lighting condition series. It's a time saver for your later image processing tasks and will give you much better results.

 

I don't have/use AP thus I just can tell you only how to do it generally or how you would have to adapt that for AP. - Since those are always repetitive tasks (the retouching stages) you apply for all selected/choosen images, you want to automate the creation of certain working layers here. I once have made/recorded PS actions (macros) for my retouching workflow, which does perform for me the adjustment layer creations. I made several adjustment layers with corresponding layer masks for different portrait aspects, like tonemapping, curves, boost colors slightly, remove red tone from faces, apply whiter teeth, define eyes, dodge/burn... etc. There is always a layer and a layer mask for every aspect here. I then only need to run that action/macro on those images I want to work over. Then judging from the individual selected image, I work over those parts where I think it needs some work out. So I adjust the corresponding layer and fine tune (via smooth brushes and lower setup layer opacity settings) over those image parts in the layer masks, until things look like I wanted here.

 

All in all that's the way, I retouch portraits and on location people shots etc. I always do that image fine tuning manually on selected images, since that way I have most control over that process.


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There's a lot you can do with portraits with the free NIK plugins.

 

Long tutorial using photoshop and nik but should help you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhaICsk4R8k&feature=youtu.be&t=191

 

and a more advanced one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=835ZrB-ZJJs


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Chintan, The grey card could be somewhat helpful to you; but not so much in a shooting situation such as that. If you shoot.jpg, then setting a custom white balance using anything white would be better than the grey card for a wedding. Best option, depending on your camera, is to save as RAW and take care of white balance in post for each individual image - things happen fast at weddings and parties. rmar's mention of the NIK collection now being a free download is something you may want to act upon quickly; one never knows what Google may do next.

 

As far as these particular images go, some simple adjustments in contrast, brightness, HSV, and a negative adjustment to vignetting made vast improvements. Regardless of what camera you have and even the skills you develop with editing in AP, the thing that will help to improve your images the most (of course, I am speaking about future images) is for you to shoot as much as possible and get to know each and every setting on your camera and what they do and then to be able to change them almost blindfolded. Secondly, look at images of the type you plan to shoot and see what you like and what you do not like while also learning as much as you can about composition - after which, you can forget everything you learned about composition and those images you do not like so that you can shoot images that you yourself do like.

 

But your question was about what more you could do in AP to these images. I might suggest, and I am being completely sincere with the thought only to help you here, is that you open the original files in AP and then one by one see what each slider does in the develop persona. Then do the same in the Photo persona. Seriously, as you move each slider you will see, "Oh, I like that" or "Usch, I don't like that" and then be sure to make a note of what you did and what that did to the image. There is no formula or set of adjustments that make all photos better; in fact, so called 'presets' only work well on certain images. You will want to know how to adjust each image to your own liking. I would even be so bold as to say that presets can even prevent you from consistently creating good images. The NIK collection has some presets that can sometimes be good 'starting points' for an edit but if someone only uses these presets what will happen the day NIK no longer works?

 

There are a lot of great tutorials made by Serif for AP and they have even stated that there will be a workbook, similar to that which they made for AD, coming out soon. Plus, the 'Help' files in AP are very complete and should be able to answer almost any question you may have. And then, as you have already done, there are the members on  this forum which should be able to provide the answer to any specific questions that may come up.

 

I edited the photo of the hands and of the couple, with slight adjustments to the compositions as well, and they turned out well. The close up on the eyes is hindered by the fact that she appears to be wearing coloured contacts. But I thought your compositions were OK and I hope to see you showing off your images here after you have gotten a handle on AP.      :)

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Just from the pink color tones of your shot I can tell that you are using a Nikon, since those tones look (when boosted) pretty familiar to me and are typical for certain models sensor output.

 

The gray card (or a colorchecker) will help you much here, for fixing and setting up more correct white balance and color tones when processing a bunch of images later after such shootings. You will then perform from one gray card shot (from a series of shots made under the same lighting conditions) the processed WB and curves adjustments and save those settings as a reference setting for the other shots of that series. Then you can apply those saved settings afterwards quickly for all other shots of that lighting condition series. It's a time saver for your later image processing tasks and will give you much better results.

 

I don't have/use AP thus I just can tell you only how to do it generally or how you would have to adapt that for AP. - Since those are always repetitive tasks (the retouching stages) you apply for all selected/choosen images, you want to automate the creation of certain working layers here. I once have made/recorded PS actions (macros) for my retouching workflow, which does perform for me the adjustment layer creations. I made several adjustment layers with corresponding layer masks for different portrait aspects, like tonemapping, curves, boost colors slightly, remove red tone from faces, apply whiter teeth, define eyes, dodge/burn... etc. There is always a layer and a layer mask for every aspect here. I then only need to run that action/macro on those images I want to work over. Then judging from the individual selected image, I work over those parts where I think it needs some work out. So I adjust the corresponding layer and fine tune (via smooth brushes and lower setup layer opacity settings) over those image parts in the layer masks, until things look like I wanted here.

 

All in all that's the way, I retouch portraits and on location people shots etc. I always do that image fine tuning manually on selected images, since that way I have most control over that process.

 

I use a D5300 with either the 18-55 kit lens or 55-200 zoom lens. I haven't bought any other lens since I want to first get my skills better at taking photos and processing them.

 

It is strange that this is the affinity photo forums and yet you don't use it :blink:

 

I got the part about doing the macro, doing certain actions repetitively.

 

  • Tone mapping - I need to research that
  • Curves  -I assume you mean the tone curve in the develop persona - I use that when it suits the image, usually a preset so I can get the same consistent curve profile
  • Boost colours - this is the contrast, vibrance and saturation sliders, right? I've been adjusting these slightly, like +2% up to +12%
  • Remove red tone from faces - this I have no clue on how to do it
  • Apply whiter teeth - I was using an overlay brush tool and then changing white balance to make them whiter -this is on the RAW file - don't know how to do it on the JPEG file
  • Define eyes - another thing I don't know yet
  • Dodge/burn - I saw this somewhere in the photos persona of AP

 

 

Would it be too much to ask if you can give a short breakdown of the areas I've mentioned above that I don't know about?

 

Thank you

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There's a lot you can do with portraits with the free NIK plugins.

 

Long tutorial using photoshop and nik but should help you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DhaICsk4R8k&feature=youtu.be&t=191

 

and a more advanced one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=835ZrB-ZJJs

 

I'm not sure what these are for but I'll check them out - hopefully there's an explanation of what they are for and where to use them

 

Thank you

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Chintan, The grey card could be somewhat helpful to you; but not so much in a shooting situation such as that. If you shoot.jpg, then setting a custom white balance using anything white would be better than the grey card for a wedding. Best option, depending on your camera, is to save as RAW and take care of white balance in post for each individual image - things happen fast at weddings and parties. rmar's mention of the NIK collection now being a free download is something you may want to act upon quickly; one never knows what Google may do next.

 

As far as these particular images go, some simple adjustments in contrast, brightness, HSV, and a negative adjustment to vignetting made vast improvements. Regardless of what camera you have and even the skills you develop with editing in AP, the thing that will help to improve your images the most (of course, I am speaking about future images) is for you to shoot as much as possible and get to know each and every setting on your camera and what they do and then to be able to change them almost blindfolded. Secondly, look at images of the type you plan to shoot and see what you like and what you do not like while also learning as much as you can about composition - after which, you can forget everything you learned about composition and those images you do not like so that you can shoot images that you yourself do like.

 

But your question was about what more you could do in AP to these images. I might suggest, and I am being completely sincere with the thought only to help you here, is that you open the original files in AP and then one by one see what each slider does in the develop persona. Then do the same in the Photo persona. Seriously, as you move each slider you will see, "Oh, I like that" or "Usch, I don't like that" and then be sure to make a note of what you did and what that did to the image. There is no formula or set of adjustments that make all photos better; in fact, so called 'presets' only work well on certain images. You will want to know how to adjust each image to your own liking. I would even be so bold as to say that presets can even prevent you from consistently creating good images. The NIK collection has some presets that can sometimes be good 'starting points' for an edit but if someone only uses these presets what will happen the day NIK no longer works?

 

There are a lot of great tutorials made by Serif for AP and they have even stated that there will be a workbook, similar to that which they made for AD, coming out soon. Plus, the 'Help' files in AP are very complete and should be able to answer almost any question you may have. And then, as you have already done, there are the members on  this forum which should be able to provide the answer to any specific questions that may come up.

 

I edited the photo of the hands and of the couple, with slight adjustments to the compositions as well, and they turned out well. The close up on the eyes is hindered by the fact that she appears to be wearing coloured contacts. But I thought your compositions were OK and I hope to see you showing off your images here after you have gotten a handle on AP.      :)

 

With the 2 weddings I shot last month, I was shooting in RAW mode on the overwhelming advice from my photography colleagues here in Kenya - so that part is covered

 

I understand about the part of photographing as much as possible in different scenarios - I'm trying to do that as much as time allows

 

It's funny you should mention that - when I was a kid I couldn't afford to get a teacher teach me Microsoft office - so I taught myself through trial and error. I'm still learning office that way actually

 

I was thinking yesterday that I might have to do just that, explore AP from beginnng to end - even though it may take me a couple of weeks to go through everything

 

I've watched the tutorials, about 40% but most of them don't actually seem to apply to people photos but rather nature or landscape - plus the tutorials assume you actually know what and why you are adjusting that particular trait. I can't adjus something if I don't understand why I should do it

 

Would you kindly share the edits you made? so I can see what I can and should do

 

Thank you for your time

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I can not share the edits I made as I deleted them after seeing how much I could accomplish with the jpgs. I made the edits only so I could let you know what I had done and then that was answered by others.

 

But I can share something better than the edits with you that will help you greatly from now on and will help you to see the value of 'playing' with each and every slider to see for yourself what they do.  I hope I can write this clearly enough to be understandable. It will help with white balance only, but it will make clear the principle to use on other sliders.

 

Open a a copy of the unedited image of the couple in AP.

Go to Develop persona.

Under the Enhance panel, slide the vibrancy slider all the way to the left and then all the way to the right and notice what it does to the colours. Do this a few times.

Move the slider all the way to the right and leave it there.

Put a check mark in the White Balance panel's box. 

The panel will open and show you two sliders. 

Move the top one all the way left and all the way right a few times and notice what it does to the colours.

Move the bottom one all the way left and all the way right a few times and notice what it does to the colours.

Put both sliders back to the middle position.

Keeping an eye on what should be white in your image (and on the colours a bit as well), move the top slider until there is neither too much blue nor too much yellow in the whites.

Keeping an eye on what should be white in your image (and on the colours a bit as well), move the bottom slider until there is neither too much green nor too much magenta in the whites.

Continue moving these sliders until you are happy with the whites.

You should now have a pretty good starting point on your White balance.

When you have completed this adjustment, move the vibrancy slider back to the middle position. (Important step!)

If you have lost too much saturation (or gained) you can fix that in the Photo persona later.

 

That's it! Well, as far as White Balance.

 

Use this same technique to make other adjustments. For example Clarity. Zoom in to the woman's eyelashes and adjust clarity until they look right to you (probably 1 - 2%). Same for exposure, black point, contrast, etc. Obviously the order in which you make these adjustment not only depends upon the image but it will also affect the outcome. But, once again, trial and error will teach you. Following someone else's advice on which order to use will not teach you. Knowing 'why' is better than knowing 'how'. Doing it yourself will teach you the 'why'. A good way to start might be to start at the top with the exposure slider and work your way down. But that is only one way to do it. When you teach yourself you will develop your own workflow.

 

I hope this helps. :)

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I use a D5300 with either the 18-55 kit lens or 55-200 zoom lens. I haven't bought any other lens since I want to first get my skills better at taking photos and processing them.

 

 

That's pretty Ok for starting up and getting your feet wet, lens wise it's a good combo for the beginnings which covers together a wider range. - Later when you are ready for it, you will see that using good glass (maybe some faster better quality primes) do make still a huge difference here and will let you get out even more out of your cams sensor, as you initially might have thought.

 

It is strange that this is the affinity photo forums and yet you don't use it :blink:

 

Well I use AD instead but more for vector oriented things here. - AP doesn't yet offer what I personally need here for my workflow and the way I commonly work with image processing and retouching. Over the years I've built a lot of custom made actions and scripts, which I use together with certain plugins etc. All that stuff goes hand in hand in terms of automation and processing and it isn't yet possible to use/work with AP in that way. Further I need generally more reliable and stable things here.

 

I got the part about doing the macro, doing certain actions repetitively.

...

 

Yes the aim here is to build a custom powerful macro, which then offers you to always create/apply all of those adjustment and fine tune layers and their corresponding layer masks automatically for a loaded in image. Once the macro is created, saved and works as you want, you can then fire it up on every image you want to do retouching work.

 

  • Tone mapping - I need to research that
  • Curves  -I assume you mean the tone curve in the develop persona - I use that when it suits the image, usually a preset so I can get the same consistent curve profile

 

 

You should start with these as the first created adjustment layers, you can use levels and/or curves here for checking up and if needed adjusting the shadows, highlights and midtones of an image.

 

 

  • Boost colours - this is the contrast, vibrance and saturation sliders, right? I've been adjusting these slightly, like +2% up to +12%

 

Yes this is probably the one to use for AP here. You apply a mask here so that you can draw on the mask with a black or white brush, setting or removing boosted colors.

 

Note: you generally apply masks for all macro layers here, retouching certain things is then just done via the masks. Initially nothing is drawn on the masks and so as default no effect takes place. But when you draw on with a soft brush over the image for a mask, you then apply an effect. When drawing with the opposite brush color you can then remove again the previously drawn over effect. With the oppacity setting for the soft brush you can control also the degree of applying an effect, also by adjusting the layer oppacity settings etc.

 

Remove red tone from faces - this I have no clue on how to do it

 

 

Here you can use a channel mixer setting in order to compensate the red componend.

 

Apply whiter teeth - I was using an overlay brush tool and then changing white balance to make them whiter -this is on the RAW file - don't know how to do it on the JPEG file

 

 

You can use hue/saturation adjustment here and then set up a white level to be apply with dependend on the persons initial teeth color.

 

Define eyes - another thing I don't know yet

 

 

Try a highpass filter setting for this about 20 pixel or something equivalent.

 

Dodge/burn - I saw this somewhere in the photos persona of AP

 

 

This is a basic one which should be there.


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I use a D5300 with either the 18-55 kit lens or 55-200 zoom lens. I haven't bought any other lens since I want to first get my skills better at taking photos and processing them.

 

When you are thinking of purchasing additional equipment, instead of purchasing additional lenses, I would strongly recommend instead buying a dedicated flash (a flashgun aka speedlight flash). The built-in flash itself is contributing to images not appearing "soft," (the bright highlights directly on the subjects, the shadows behind the couple). Unlike the built-in which always illuminates straight on, you can bounce an external flash, which lights your subjects in a way that looks more like natural light. This specific lighting issue can be corrected somewhat digitally, but it is much easier to prevent. (I promise you, getting an external flash made more of a positive improvement to my photos than any lens ever has).

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