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Author Topic: Softer portraits  (Read 1237 times)

Offline jinky

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Softer portraits
« on: February 22, 2010, 04:36:42 PM »
Someone likes my pics and has asked me to d some portraits for them but softer than the ones they had had done by another guy.Now sad thing is I know a couple of the people and lets just say the camera does not bring out the best in them - very strong features / teeth which I will try to disguise by pose.
Re: softening them as requested I am thinking photoshop, gaussian blur at around 10 pixel radius and soft light / reduced opacity on the blurred layer. Does that make sense?

Is there a way to actually shoot  softer without buying filters as the lenses I am using are very sharp (which I usually like). I remember reading somewhere about putting an old stocking or something on the lens - would this work. I don`t really want to buy soft focus filters as they would not be here in time for Thursday I`d guess.
Any other suggestions - thanks in anticipation
Paul



Offline SimonW

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Re: Softer portraits
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010, 05:05:29 PM »
You could smear vaseline on your lens, but better to use an old uv filter - it's a well known technique. However, personally I'd rather have my originals as sharp as I can get them and soften them afterwards on the PC because if you shoot them too soft you can't correct it later.
Simon Warren
(in Dunning, Scotland)

Offline Jonathan

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Re: Softer portraits
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2010, 05:41:59 PM »
Yeah stocking on the lens will soften the image.  But if that's all you do then you'll just end up with a soft image ;)

Here's what I'd do (not all of these are going to be appropriate and some cost money...)

1. Make up.  It's amazing what a good makeup artist can do.  Little bit of foundation (and yes this works for guys too) can solve all kinds of problems.

2. Clothes.  Go read this article.  People did a photoshoot with no Photoshop.  This article deconstructs the techniques they used.  Top tip?  Get them to wear white.  (There's some other good stuff there too).

3. Get the biggest light you can and put it as close as you can.  There's a reason they call them beauty dishes.  Though the Octabox is now weapon of choice.  Big + close = soft shadows = flattering if a little boring portraits ;)

4. Get as far away as you can.  If they have, umm, "very strong" features then using the long end of a tele from the next room is gonna squash them a lot.

5. Flatter while you're shooting.  It's a scientific fact that if you tell somebody they look great then they do.  Or if it's not it should be.

6. Retouch.  The pics should look pretty nice if you did all of this.  Little retouch can't hurt though.  Here's a really good tute.
It's Guest's round

Offline jinky

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Re: Softer portraits
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2010, 05:56:32 PM »
Cheers both. Of course you`re both right I need to avoid smearing / stocking  and having too soft an image to  start with.
My problem is that it`s a few new members of a local housing board turning up early for a few shots first. No control over what the wear and no make up time - in fact one of them is guilty of a degree of over-compsensating for what nature ddealt her with an excess of make up in every day life. I`d post a picture to show you what I am up against but it would be unethical of me to mock an elected official. I worked with them until I packed that lot in a couple of years ago so know what the problems are and better than me have failed to make her look good.I`ll use my umbrella soft box and another and follow your tips and read up on those others  Jonathan - thanks so much.

Later - those tutes are really good Jonathan - thanks again
« Last Edit: February 22, 2010, 06:00:35 PM by jinky »

Offline ABERS

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Re: Softer portraits
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2010, 06:33:52 PM »
Forget the softbox, try a large brown paper bag. Or you could tell them you are famous exponent of the Oliver Cromwell approach, warts and all!

Offline jinky

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Re: Softer portraits
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2010, 08:36:53 PM »
That`s what I want to say Alan - having worked with a few of them in the past it`s a golden opportunity but it might lead to other things.  :)

 

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