Re: [OM] Portrait of Kina

Subject: Re: [OM] Portrait of Kina
From: Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:25:48 -0800
On 1/11/2018 4:13 PM, Peter Klein wrote:


This is pretty bad. Didn't try Tungsten WB on the camera?

The back story:  . . . Things went well. I brought along my now-freeware image editor, Picture Window Pro on a flash drive, put it on the family computer, made a few adjustments to the best out-of-camera JPG.  They send it off to the musical organization. I rushed home, wolfed down dinner, went to my own orchestra rehearsal, got home, looked at the photo.  Their family computer was brighter than my calibrated monitor, so the photo is too dark.  I readjusted it, did a couple of little dodges and burns, and sent it off as a "correction if there's time."

Then I fooled with the RAW file to see if I could make it any better. The Olympus out-of-camera JPG is quite warm. Kina and her Mom liked it.  Capture One, using a photo of the white paper as the white-balance standard,  gave me a muted, almost pastel rendering of the RAW file.

White paper - well - isn't . . . If the light is bright enough for a portrait, the paper may also clip, especially the red channel with tungsten or halogen lights. That throws the WB even further off. You really need a good neutral gray reference for a pick-up setup like this.

I always have a WhiBal credit card size and thickness gray card in my wallet. Can't say I use it often, not often enough, but for something like this, it's invaluable. Unfortunately, ChrisC says they have changed from a plastic that's the neutral color clear through to some kind of coating that can wear off. I keep mine in a little cover anyway, with a bent paperclip to hold it upright.

I recently picked up an inexpensive one from Porta-Brace. Just a simple piece of solid plastic, 6x9", 0.7 mm thick, somewhat translucent, matte one side, shiny the other. Haven't yet tried it out. If it's decent, I'm thinking of cutting it up into credit card sized pieces to stuff into various bags, etc. Or just use it as a big one or two that I don't have to worry about messing up.

The wall color is accurate, but Kina looks a bit paler than she actually is.


Often, I find that if I take the average of the too-warm initial white balance and a "correct" one derived from something white in the picture (or shot under the same conditions), that average is close to what I like. Not this time--whatever tweaks I tried made it worse.

You may have the wrong tools for this. C1 has all sorts of WB and skin tone controls, but all rely on knowing how to use them and a good eye. PWP is less than that. But neither seems to have an Auto Color feature.

The out-of-camera version is usable as-is.

The one up top? I'd never put my name on that.

I didn't find it hard to make a number of better versions rather quickly, but I don't know her actual skin color. <http://www.moosemystic.net/Gallery/Others/Klein/Kina.htm>

PS Auto Color did a decent job of getting in the ball park, but was too high 
key, so I toned it down.
I tried a WB dropper in ACR on the wainscoting paint and got something a little 
cooler, and again too bright.
I mixed 'em, then tried and liked a little less brightness (or lower curve 
I'm the tiniest bit RG colorblind, and she looked a little red to me, so I 
brought red down a little.
Then, why not, I applied a portrait tool to perk up eyes and mouth and gently 
soften skin blemishes.
Then, just to show why portraitists use their own backdrops - because the color and brightness affect apparent skin tones, I neutralized and then darkened the background. (Yes, one may separate her hair from the background in PS, with the right technique.)

But I have a few other shots from the session that I'd like to work up. Of course they could be converted to B&W.  But I'm wondering what I can do to make the white/color balance better.

See above. :-)  A good WB setter is magic. You could, of course go with IT8 target or McBeath Color Checker, but for me, that's like the lens I never have with me, not useful. Simple, always with me, does a heck of a job.

And I'm wondering if I should invest in a couple of reasonably-priced lights or flashes (Is that an oxymoron?) if more people ask me to do this sort of thing.

From my post on a TOP thread on flash, Tuesday:

"And a small voice in the wilderness called out "Continuous LED lighting . . . "

Especially for those of us who have never used off camera flash for their own work, eschew flash of any kind wherever possible, the likely light effects of flashes such as you speak of is a mystery.

When there's no choice, artificial light or not get the shot, one may, of course, spend a lot of time chimping and adjusting OR - turn on the LEDs.

It's dark today, and I wish to take some pictures of the stuff under the tree, so I'll take the little, light, daylight balanced LED. Probably hand hold it, look at the light on the camera LCD and push the remote release when it's right. Right first time."

Re-arranging the living room lights works fine for B&W, but not always for 

Small, daylight balanced LED lights are inexpensive, run cool and run on AA batteries. I use eneloops or the Amazon eqs. Just moments ago, the B&H daily deals email came, and I ordered a larger one for $23.

Color Me Moose

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