Olympus UK E-System User Group
Olympus UK E-System User Group

Join our unique resource for Olympus Four Thirds E-System DSLR and Pen and OM-D Micro Four Thirds photographers. Show your images via our free e-group photo gallery. Please read the e-group.uk.net forum terms and conditions before posting for the first time. Above all, welcome!


Go Back   Olympus UK E-System User Group > Show your photos > Looking for improvement

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.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 12th January 2016
Mrs T's Avatar
Mrs T Mrs T is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Glos, UK
Posts: 3,310
Thanks: 281
Thanked 504 Times in 486 Posts
Likes: 343
Liked 583 Times in 259 Posts
A learning curve

I think this is my first post in LFI.

I've set myself a mission (not a resolution!) to master flash and also be more creative in Photoshop.

With this shot today I've tried to do both (maybe too much).

I set up the FL-36R off camera and the E-M1 with the 12-40mm lens.

Shooting at f2.8 and 1/125s.

I then added a bokeh layer in Photoshop.

I think I'm ready for comments, good, bad or indifferent, as that's how I'm going to learn!

Amanda

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12th January 2016
Graham_of_Rainham's Avatar
Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Rainham
Posts: 8,050
Thanks: 635
Thanked 931 Times in 720 Posts
Likes: 2,241
Liked 1,568 Times in 900 Posts
Re: A learning curve

First of all, you have chosen an ideal subject for still life/table top photography.

The exposure and colour reproduction also looks good, but I have no reference for the colour. It works well with the chosen background colouration.

However: (aka BUT )

Starting at the top there is a dark line across the top and the top is lost from the composition.

The two white reflections should be far more diffuse. The metal emblem is not quite perfectly aligned to the axis of the lens, twisted a little to the left would improve the symmetry, as would the formation in the glass base. Although the two may be out of alignment. There's a hard line across the background. Normally a curved background is used to avoid this. The bokeh layer looks like it is behind the subject (as it should be) but there is a sharp circle above the label that looks to be in front of the bottle. Using as long a lens as you can will provide for a better perspective on such a subjec, as wold lowering the view point.

The angle of your lighting "sculpts" the label well and gives clarity to the key feature of the subject. This is a good technique and you have done well in using it so effectively.
__________________
Graham

We often repeat the mistakes we most enjoy...
Reply With Quote
The Following User Liked This Post:
Kiwi Paul (24th January 2016)
  #3  
Old 12th January 2016
Mrs T's Avatar
Mrs T Mrs T is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Glos, UK
Posts: 3,310
Thanks: 281
Thanked 504 Times in 486 Posts
Likes: 343
Liked 583 Times in 259 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Thank you for your comments Graham, both constructive and appreciated.

I completely agree about the top, and was not thinking about that as much as what I was doing. And the symmetry, now I look I can see exactly what you mean.

I had the flash about 45 degrees to the subject, 25cm away and with a diffuser fitted. I could have moved it away a bit further before it fell off the work top. I had the head at the 45 degree angle. I also had a silver reflector opposite the flash Do you know how I could have diffused the light more?

I added the bokeh as a layer in photoshop and to be honest I didn't know how to stop it overlapping the bottle.

Many thanks for your thoughts,

Amanda

Last edited by Mrs T; 12th January 2016 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Auto correct!
Reply With Quote
The Following User Liked This Post:
Graham_of_Rainham (13th January 2016)
  #4  
Old 12th January 2016
Petrochemist Petrochemist is offline
Full member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: N Essex
Posts: 721
Thanks: 36
Thanked 80 Times in 73 Posts
Likes: 211
Liked 122 Times in 88 Posts
Re: A learning curve

I quite like the look of the bottle itself (much better than I've managed yet) but I don't go for the Bokeh effect. I can't see how any distant highlights could have produced an effect quite like that.
With the right subject the effect could work OK, but it should be distorted by the glass, and IMO shouldn't extend onto the table top. Used behind a flower to break up a dark bakground (as often produced by using flash on close-up shots) could work rather well.
__________________
Mike
Compulsive photographic Dabbler.
Flickr
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12th January 2016
Mrs T's Avatar
Mrs T Mrs T is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Glos, UK
Posts: 3,310
Thanks: 281
Thanked 504 Times in 486 Posts
Likes: 343
Liked 583 Times in 259 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Thanks Mike.

This is the image without the added bokeh layer.

Amanda

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12th January 2016
Imageryone Imageryone is offline
Full member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Suffolk,England
Posts: 4,934
Thanks: 1,101
Thanked 797 Times in 755 Posts
Likes: 656
Liked 564 Times in 336 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Hi Amanda,

you could try using bounce flash to diffuse the highlights, face the flash away from the subject and onto a sheet of photo paper ?

OR remove with careful cloning

With the background, just seems to me that the background layer is over the main layer?
If I were doing this one, I would crop the bottle carefully on its own layer, then superimpose over the background layer.

Hope that makes sense?
__________________
The picture tells the story, great when you have a bad memory.DW.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Imageryone For This Useful Post:
Mrs T (13th January 2016)
  #7  
Old 13th January 2016
Graham_of_Rainham's Avatar
Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Rainham
Posts: 8,050
Thanks: 635
Thanked 931 Times in 720 Posts
Likes: 2,241
Liked 1,568 Times in 900 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs T View Post
...Do you know how I could have diffused the light more?

I added the bokeh as a layer in photoshop and to be honest I didn't know how to stop it overlapping the bottle

Amanda
I use DiY diffusers made from anything, from tissues, cloth, shower curtain, milk carton, etc.. Sometimes for very soft light I use separated multiple layers. I also have a Bowens soft box which is very good but no better than the DiY stuff.

Make sure your "bokeh" layer is behind the subject layer and simply delete any areas that are not as you want, with a soft edge brush set to about 20%.

__________________
Graham

We often repeat the mistakes we most enjoy...
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Graham_of_Rainham For This Useful Post:
Mrs T (13th January 2016)
The Following User Liked This Post:
Minniesmum (29th January 2016)
  #8  
Old 13th January 2016
Imageryone Imageryone is offline
Full member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Suffolk,England
Posts: 4,934
Thanks: 1,101
Thanked 797 Times in 755 Posts
Likes: 656
Liked 564 Times in 336 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Bubble wrap makes great diffuser!
__________________
The picture tells the story, great when you have a bad memory.DW.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Imageryone For This Useful Post:
Mrs T (13th January 2016)
The Following Users Liked This Post:
Graham_of_Rainham (13th January 2016), Minniesmum (29th January 2016)
  #9  
Old 13th January 2016
Bikie John's Avatar
Bikie John Bikie John is offline
Full member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wessex
Posts: 3,889
Thanks: 186
Thanked 639 Times in 567 Posts
Likes: 471
Liked 712 Times in 478 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Rather than use a diffuser for this one, I improvised a reflector. I pointed the flash head sideways at a piece of white mount board angled at 45 degrees, I rather liked the result. The shape of the board shows up in the shiny bit of the egg, but apart from that the light is nice and soft.



Like Graham mentioned I used a curved background to avoid a dividing line - it is a sheet of flip-chart paper attached at the top to a box with bulldog clips. Technology doesn't get much lower that that

John

Last edited by Bikie John; 13th January 2016 at 02:45 PM. Reason: Typo
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Bikie John For This Useful Post:
Mrs T (13th January 2016)
The Following User Liked This Post:
Graham_of_Rainham (13th January 2016)
  #10  
Old 13th January 2016
Mrs T's Avatar
Mrs T Mrs T is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Glos, UK
Posts: 3,310
Thanks: 281
Thanked 504 Times in 486 Posts
Likes: 343
Liked 583 Times in 259 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Thank you to everybody for your comments and helpful advice. I had another go today with a piece of card that I could curve (and a bottle placed with more symmetry and top - except for the label poking behind - an improvement).

I managed to remove the flash on the edge of the bottle following Imageryone's advice. I haven't yet tried the bokeh layer again, as I like this much better without the line running across the bottom!

I still have a few shadows but I think it's better than yesterday's attempt.

Amanda

Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 13th January 2016
Graham_of_Rainham's Avatar
Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Rainham
Posts: 8,050
Thanks: 635
Thanked 931 Times in 720 Posts
Likes: 2,241
Liked 1,568 Times in 900 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Look forward to seeing all the steps you take to get to where you want it. I like the bokeh effect in the original and the colouration of the background.
__________________
Graham

We often repeat the mistakes we most enjoy...
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 13th January 2016
Mrs T's Avatar
Mrs T Mrs T is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Glos, UK
Posts: 3,310
Thanks: 281
Thanked 504 Times in 486 Posts
Likes: 343
Liked 583 Times in 259 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Thanks Graham, I will have to have another go at the layers in Photoshop. That is a learning curve!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 13th January 2016
Mrs T's Avatar
Mrs T Mrs T is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: South Glos, UK
Posts: 3,310
Thanks: 281
Thanked 504 Times in 486 Posts
Likes: 343
Liked 583 Times in 259 Posts
Re: A learning curve

So, while I'm off work sick I have a bit more time to try things, and I think this is the way that Imageryone suggested. Still need to learn these layers though!

Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 13th January 2016
Bikie John's Avatar
Bikie John Bikie John is offline
Full member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Wessex
Posts: 3,889
Thanks: 186
Thanked 639 Times in 567 Posts
Likes: 471
Liked 712 Times in 478 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Definitely better with the whole of the wooden stopper. With the layer added I think it looks a bit disconcerting because it seems to be floating in space, presumably because we have lost that bot of shadow. You could try painting away that bit of the bokeh layer (assuming it's on top) with a brush set to less than 100% which should allow it to show through.

When you are painting away the bokeh layer, are you painting on the layer itself or on a layer mask? It's hard to explain layer masks but not too hard to understand once you see it - in effect it makes the changes reversible so if you get rid of too much you can just paint it back in.

Good stuff, I'm looking forward to the next iteration.....

John
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 13th January 2016
Graham_of_Rainham's Avatar
Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Rainham
Posts: 8,050
Thanks: 635
Thanked 931 Times in 720 Posts
Likes: 2,241
Liked 1,568 Times in 900 Posts
Re: A learning curve

Try using the same technique that you used in the first image, but reduce the opacity of the bokeh layer so that the shadows from the bottle are still visible.

Photoshop is like cooking. So many ways to make a cake with the same ingredients, everyone has their own recipe, ways of doing it and they all taste different...

__________________
Graham

We often repeat the mistakes we most enjoy...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Learning the 75 snaarman Foto Fair 16 11th June 2014 06:17 PM
A Learning Curve Patchwork Foto Fair 3 22nd October 2012 07:47 AM
More steps on the 70-300 learning curve PeterBirder Foto Fair 0 21st September 2010 07:50 PM
Another fly riding the of curve Nick Temple-Fry Foto Fair 2 20th September 2010 11:56 AM
Newbie with E620 & steep learning curve Aquavit Introduce yourself 5 11th April 2010 10:01 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 09:42 AM.


The Write Technology Ltd, 2007-2019, All rights reservedAd Management plugin by RedTyger