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Looking for improvement This is the e-group critique board. If you post a picture here it will be assumed that you are looking for comprehensive technical feedback - both good and bad, but always respectful. Only post pictures here if you can deal with potentially negative constructive criticism. Anyone is qualified to comment and post feedback, and everyone is encouraged to do so. NB: "Looking for Improvement" is the place to post any pictures you would like advice on improving, no matter how bad you might think they are.

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Old 27th September 2017
KeithL KeithL is offline
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Iona Fisher - first such attempt

On our recent long weekend, one of the acts was the young mezzo-soprano, Iona Fisher. (In 2012, she was asked to sing at the funerals of the policewomen murdered by Dale Cregan)

The lighting was not ideal (!) and it was a long reach for the PL7 with the 75-300 at nearly full stretch, but I got these results, hand-held. First time I have ever tried this type of photography, and there will be more later, of other acts, with better lighting. I am wondering what you think.

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

Not quite as sharp as I would like, but hellishly difficult hand held in that lighting, and having to hold the camera out in front (no viewfinder). I was using ISO 5000, giving me a shutter speed of around 20-50.

Any thoughts welcome.
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Old 27th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Keith - you are brave to post these shots and I hope you get constructive input. Sometimes I get similar results (grandkids concerts etc). You could ramp up the iso, and get noise (I wonder why I chose that Tag ). Increase aperture and get a great Nose in focus. Fiddle with WB, or buy a very expensive lens. I would like to know too.
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Old 27th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

They're nice shots. I'd be tempted to convert them to mono though. The stage lighting is giving odd colour casts.
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Old 27th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

They look very good given the circumstances. You've caught a couple of nice expressions and her eyes in the first look amazing.

This sort of stuff is really challenging because you are totally at the mercy of the lighting. There isn't usually enough of it and it's usually in the wrong place. Many's the time I've seen the backdrop lit up with a million watts and the performers in shadow. Also lampies seem very keen on using magenta light, which might not seem too bad in the flesh but is awful in photos and very hard to correct to anything that looks reasonable. (Red is even worse because it irons faces completely flat)

Generally in small venues I try and get close and use a shorter lens with a wide aperture. Larger venues generally (but not always) have better lights so you can use a longer, less fast, lens from further away.

I look forward to seeing what else you caught once the lights were turned up.

John
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Old 28th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Good efforts.

The white balance is way off though, you can do something about that as she is fully lit by the same colour light, it only gets tricky if there are different colour lights at the same time.

You can also play around with the tone curve and black point to make the background disappear a little (although then you may want to selectively lighten her hair).
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Old 28th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

I agree with the post by Nawty that adjusting the white balance is a good thing to try to re-approximate (and it will only be that as you have no idea of any makeup she was wearing)

In terms of composition I get the limitations that you were working under, but I'm not keen on the 1st - the second with the smile is much nicer, I guess its just a case of clicking away until you get ones with a nice expression

I have had very mixed success in similar situations as with some people getting a nice expression can be really hard as what makes a good picture may not make a good sound

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Andy
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Old 28th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Difficult conditions so you did well and are brave enough to let us see them.

It looks like you have given the shots some thought as going as high as ISO 5000 is not most people's first choice and underexposing (-1 EV) was an excellent idea to get the shutter speed up. I thinks its best with this type of shot to go all out for for sharp as that is the thing that is most obvious. In this case up the shutter speed even more as 1/40 sec at 246mm is not ideal (by the way 246mm is a good choice for this lens at they don't always perform their best at 300mm).

You have an E-PL7 so if you get another chance try and squeeze ISO 6400 or 8000 out of it and ignore the noise (see Iso's comments).

I'm with Nawty and Andy on what you can do to enhance the photos you have. I had a play around with the second picture in OV3 as that is the more pleasing shot to increase the sharpness and raise the saturation to bring out the red dress. I can post the results of you like.
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Old 28th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Folks
Thank you for all your thoughts, much appreciated. You are, one way and another, echoing what I was thinking: the first choices seem to be mono (which may or may not work well) and WB.

This lighting set up was awful. There should have been two spots on her; instead it was just overall 'mood' lighting (don't know what mood though! !) It started off with an orangey red which the camera wouldn't cope with, then changed to this sickly blue, and stayed with it throughout. Weird!

I hope we'll do this sort of holiday again next spring; then I shall take my newly acquired M1. I have an idea for getting closer too; but it's difficult, because there are various barriers, and you can't get in the way of other people in the audience.

I'll have a crack at both mono and WB, and post the results; I'm sure you'll be interested what they look like. I may have another idea or two yet. She was certainly one of the most challenging subjects I've ever had!

Incidentally, she has a very nice voice, though she was straining it somewhat on the high notes. She is on YouTube, if anyone is interested:
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Old 28th September 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Here is the best shot of her in the odd orangey red light. Not her best side, I feel:

[IMG][/IMG]

I'll do the updates later.
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Old 2nd October 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Dont like the one above too much nose ..The first two just needed cropping in more for impact
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Old 2nd October 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

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Originally Posted by Pistnbroke View Post
Dont like the one above too much nose ..The first two just needed cropping in more for impact
I'm afraid I can't do too much about that...
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Old 2nd October 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Yes you can don't take photos with side profile if people have a long or straight nose and/or delete the picture
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Old 2nd October 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

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Originally Posted by Pistnbroke View Post
Yes you can don't take photos with side profile if people have a long or straight nose and/or delete the picture
I did say that her left side wasn't her best! I just used the image as an example of the yellow/orange lighting that they started with. I didn't use that view in the 'proper' image set.
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Old 3rd October 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

I've taken pictures in similar circumstances, and is obviously not easy to take photos beyond 'usable ' pictures.

Some suggestions for next time:
- use higher ISO, I've got usable ones even at 25.000 with a EM-5. Set speed at 1/60, 1/125 better.
- use RAW+JPEG
- post process RAW (not jpeg) with Lightroom or similar. There are quite good SW for about 40€.
- correct white balance, noise, luminance. Look for more natural colors, it's quite difficult to get because of dominant red lighting but not impossible.
- try to use chromatic aberration correction to the max, sometimes it helps to reduce color halos in hair.
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Old 3rd October 2017
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Re: Iona Fisher - first such attempt

Quote:
Originally Posted by c12402 View Post
I've taken pictures in similar circumstances, and is obviously not easy to take photos beyond 'usable ' pictures.

Some suggestions for next time:
- use higher ISO, I've got usable ones even at 25.000 with a EM-5. Set speed at 1/60, 1/125 better.
- use RAW+JPEG
- post process RAW (not jpeg) with Lightroom or similar. There are quite good SW for about 40.
- correct white balance, noise, luminance. Look for more natural colors, it's quite difficult to get because of dominant red lighting but not impossible.
- try to use chromatic aberration correction to the max, sometimes it helps to reduce color halos in hair.
Thanks for this. I have Lightroom, though I rarely use it - I use Affinity. And I do always use RAW + JPG. I did the first corrections in RAW, but not well enough, given the slow shutter speed and poor light.
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