Welcome to Our Alpha Shooters Community Forum

We'd love to welcome you on board, join today!

Family photo in fading light

FowlersFreeTime

Veteran Member
Pro Member
Site Supporter
Followers
34
Following
6
Joined
Nov 19, 2020
Posts
2,379
Likes Received
1,861
Name
Chris
Country
United States
City/State
Pembroke Pines/FL
Well, as usual, family don't always make the best photo subjects 😅
I wanted to do a family portrait at sunset, but we weren't all ready to go until the light was fading. I setup my little tabletop tripod and put on the timer and ran back into frame and hoped for the best...

Here is the original:
DSC04785_original.JPG
  • ILCE-6400
  • E 17-70mm F2.8 B070
  • 33.0 mm
  • ƒ/2.8
  • 1/100 sec
  • ISO 2000


Here is the edit:
DSC04785.jpg
  • E 17-70mm F2.8 B070
  • 33.0 mm
  • ƒ/2.7999999523163
  • 1/100 sec
  • ISO 2000


I'm pretty bummed that it didn't turn out better. I think I could have exposed us better (higher ISO, not slower shutter due to squirming kids) and I think there was condensation on the lens as we had just come out of air conditioned rooms to warm humid conditions.

Physical limitations aside, I'm open to criticism on photo technique and/or editing.
 
Attempt #2 was a bit better: walked up the steps to get some more ambient light from the building and I believe I DID wipe my lens this time.
Not even going to post the original; the white balance was all sorts of crazy due to blue hour outside and warm incandescent lighting coming from inside. Plus, this still was not as sharp as I would have liked.

DSC04796.jpg
  • E 17-70mm F2.8 B070
  • 23.0 mm
  • ƒ/2.7999999523163
  • 1/80 sec
  • ISO 5000
 
Your first effort looks pretty good considering what you started with, nice job. The second effort in the second post hurts my eyes. It looks oversaturated. The sky looks fake, clouds aren't blue. Try pulling the saturation back some, or maybe at least the blues. Exposure looks pretty decent on that one.
 
The second effort in the second post hurts my eyes. It looks oversaturated. The sky looks fake, clouds aren't blue. Try pulling the saturation back some, or maybe at least the blues. Exposure looks pretty decent on that one.
haha, I know what you mean, I will have to post the original so you could see what I was working with.
My difficulty was that before editing, the sky was halfway decent, but my family and I looked a sickly reddish orange. I could not get ON1 to separate the humans from the rest of the photo, so I got lazy and did a global adjustment for white balance. The cooler the temp, the more we looked human, but the bluer the sky looked. I may have to draw a mask by hand to separate the human layer from the background so I can make separate white balance edits.
 
haha, I know what you mean, I will have to post the original so you could see what I was working with.
My difficulty was that before editing, the sky was halfway decent, but my family and I looked a sickly reddish orange. I could not get ON1 to separate the humans from the rest of the photo, so I got lazy and did a global adjustment for white balance. The cooler the temp, the more we looked human, but the bluer the sky looked. I may have to draw a mask by hand to separate the human layer from the background so I can make separate white balance edits.
I'd use a parametric mask on the sky and desaturate.
 

Please Help To Keep the Lights On

This forum takes a lot of time, effort and money to keep running smoothly for everyone here. The forum license, additional functionality, custom code, competition giveaways and web hosting all cost money. If you like it here and wish to help keep this site running, you can do so by purchasing a Site Supporter Membership which comes with the following benefits:

No Adverts in the Forums (remain on blog)
Win $ in Our Monthly Site Supporter Competitions
Sell Items in the Marketplace
Forum Profile Signature
Custom Profile URL
Profile Cover Photo
Unlimited Gallery Uploads
Higher Resolution Gallery Uploads

View Account Upgrades
The second family portrait has been a learning experience. I did noise reduction, global edits, then used masking tools to create separate masks for the sky and the human subjects. The latter required quite a lot of manual masking, which was a pain in the *** but good practice.

Original (note hue and noise):
DSC04796_original.jpg
  • E 17-70mm F2.8 B070
  • 23.0 mm
  • ƒ/2.7999999523163
  • 1/80 sec
  • ISO 5000


After DeNoise (note terrible hue):
DSC04796_denoised.JPG
  • ILCE-6400
  • E 17-70mm F2.8 B070
  • 23.0 mm
  • ƒ/2.8
  • 1/80 sec
  • ISO 5000


Final edit after desaturating sky layer and using local edits on human layer for exposure, contrast, saturation, and vibrance:
DSC04796 2.jpg
  • E 17-70mm F2.8 B070
  • 23.0 mm
  • ƒ/2.7999999523163
  • 1/80 sec
  • ISO 5000
 
In the first photo, I would not brighten up the background. Leave it the way it is and only work on the family members. Right now my eyes go to the palms. Not what you wanted.
 
In the first photo, I would not brighten up the background. Leave it the way it is and only work on the family members. Right now my eyes go to the palms. Not what you wanted.
You're correct, I was lazy and did the first one with global edits only. But it was enough for me to see that the image clarity was disappointing because of a foggy lens, so probably not worth the effort of drawing (or painting in) a mask to isolate the folks.
 
Final edit after desaturating sky layer and using local edits on human layer for exposure, contrast, saturation, and vibrance:
View attachment 47460
Nailed it! Each step I saw the color cast and contrast getting worse... but that's because you wanted to take other steps before tending to that, which was the right call! And in your last step, it all gets together nicely.

In the first photo, I would not brighten up the background. Leave it the way it is and only work on the family members. Right now my eyes go to the palms. Not what you wanted.
Maybe, but I'm not sure I wouldn't brighten it up at all...

Untitled-2.jpg


There's no whites in the original histogram, and barely any highlights at all. So, while most of the sky should probably remain as it is, I'd at least raise the brightest parts, which should be at, or near, pure white. Very quickly, I'm thinking something like this:

Untitled-1.jpg
 
Just thinking about the composition, I like the perspective of the second image better. Moving the subjects to your left to keep all the heads in the sky and using the palms to frame might have worked if possible. Would it have been possible to use a fill flash on the first image? I have had good luck with ETTL and -1/3 stop on the flash in situations like this. The bottom line is that you did a great job with both images, and I am sure you had a wonderful time with your family.
 

Please Help To Keep the Lights On

This forum takes a lot of time, effort and money to keep running smoothly for everyone here. The forum license, additional functionality, custom code, competition giveaways and web hosting all cost money. If you like it here and wish to help keep this site running, you can do so by purchasing a Site Supporter Membership which comes with the following benefits:

No Adverts in the Forums (remain on blog)
Win $ in Our Monthly Site Supporter Competitions
Sell Items in the Marketplace
Forum Profile Signature
Custom Profile URL
Profile Cover Photo
Unlimited Gallery Uploads
Higher Resolution Gallery Uploads

View Account Upgrades
Just thinking about the composition, I like the perspective of the second image better. Moving the subjects to your left to keep all the heads in the sky and using the palms to frame might have worked if possible. Would it have been possible to use a fill flash on the first image? I have had good luck with ETTL and -1/3 stop on the flash in situations like this. The bottom line is that you did a great job with both images, and I am sure you had a wonderful time with your family.
Thanks. Unfortunately I did not carry my flash with me, so I had to make do with available light. Also, I used the only tripod I had on me, a tabletop (Manfrotto pixi) model, otherwise I might have angled down a bit to avoid palm fronds as you pointed out. Photography aside, we had a good time on that trip.
 

* Please Consider Becoming a Site Supporter To Remove These Ads *

New in Marketplace

Back
Top