Friday, May 8, 2009

May 8, 2009

I appreciate those of you who willing spend your time and use your expertize to help me improve my photography. Constructive comments are always welcome. Thanks to i heart faces for the help.

Here in Florida, swimming season has started. For the next five months I take a lot of pictures of kids swimming. The photos are a mixture of fast action (diving, splashing, running ... wait ... my kids never run around the pool, that just isn't safe) with the obvious blue water and bright sunshine. However, because the pool area has a very dark screen covering the entire area, I get a lot of dark shadows. Also, the background is always cluttered.

Before (SOOC):
Ella has a dark shadow across her face. There is lots of negative space in the photo that I'm not sure what to do with. If I brighten the colors up too much, she turns lobster red. If I lighten it, her swimming vest gets washed out. I often use Elements, for easy touch ups I use Picasa, and I use Picnik (even though it drives me nuts) for the frames and curves. For this photo I used Picnik.

Nixon D80
Exposure: 1/500
Aperture: f/5.6
ISO: 160
Focal Length: 135.0 mm
No Flash

My Edit:

What would you do? Suggestions? Comments?

Thanks again for your input and thanks to i heart faces for the forum.


drewmark19 said...

If you're in a situation where there is no way to avoid the shadows, I'm wondering if there is a way you could reflect light on her face without reverting to flash. To me that is the biggest problem with this picture, and probably ends up being a consistent thorn in your side when trying to take pool pictures. :) I read somewhere that a sun reflector (like the ones used to keep a car cool by placing in the front window), can help direct light to the face. Sometimes too, I think flash can be used with wax paper over the flash unit to diffuse the light. I'm thinking trying some methods to fill in for the shadows would be a solution for an area where there's no avoiding the shadows. :) (At the same time, I'm not an expert. I look forward to seeing what the other contributors suggest.)

Florida4x4chick said...

I always just like your pictures. We should go to the Zoo sometime soon cause they have an awesome splash park for the kids and i bet it would make some fun pictures.

Mr. Tharpey said...

hi annette,
i like the moment you captured here. it always stinks when those are the expressions that seem to always have some glaring issue (like shadows) in them.

i took this into photoshop and messed around with it for a while. by the end of it all, i had ended up with about 20 different layers, each doing something very subtle but significant.

i was able to pretty much remove the shadow across her face without losing any detail or coloring (which i had to add back in)

in essence, i just used several burn/dodge layers, several hue/saturation layers, several curves layers, and a couple levels layers.

let me know what you think. i'd be more than happy to explain how any of this was done. i used camera raw and PS-CS4.


Heasleye said...

What a fun season of picture taking you have ahead of you! :) Spotty shadows are particularly tricky to deal with. Using your flash outdoors may prove to be a very surprising solution! When you're outdoors, the light can scatter and it's not bouncing off a wall behind you, causing those tell-tale and unattractive, too-flashy shadows. I've used a simple pop-up flash outdoors in a pool situation and had very pleasant results. If you have an external flash, even better. I would try really experimenting with whatever flash you have in this pool situation. Flash is often avoided as being all bad, when it actually can dramatically improve your photos, in certain situations and when used properly.
Using a shallower depth of field (smaller f/stop number) will help blur your backgrounds.

Happy Experimenting, Splashing and Clicking this summer! :)


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