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PhotoZAP 21: Lesson Plan

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“I'm not crazy about all the blown highlights that show clipping in the info palette…or the completely blocked shadows in the curl of hair.”—Jack Howard


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© Jack Leach, Springwater Trail High School, Gresham, OR. Canon G5, SP Studio Systems Portrait Kit. Lens set at 28mm. Exposure: f/8 at 1/60 sec. Converted to grayscale in Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Photographer’s statement: “I was demonstrating to my High School photo class how to use the strobes to shoot portraits. I converted the RGB file to gray scale by desturating the color. I also worked the levels a bit, and did a bit of dodging in her hair/shadows. I got an OK from the student in the picture and her mom for this photo to be critiqued. I will give her the coupon for being a good subject. My students will get a kick out of this, so beat me up pretty good!”

 

Our critics say...

Monica Cipnic: This is a nice portrait, but it needs some work-- it's always important to work and interact with your subject for the best result. I would have moved the hair away from her eye so that it wasn't in such deep shadow, next the highlights on her face are too hot, and the dodging in her hair is too obvious.

Mason Resnick: The light hits her face so the close side of her nose is in deep shadow while the bridge of her nose and far cheek are too bright. A reflector in front of the camera and slightly to the left would have helped mitigate these problems and kick in enough light to give her hair detail without the need to dodge. Her pose seems cool and stiff, and I wish she made eye contact with the camera. That would draw me into this picture. Her distant stare makes me want to look somewhere else, too.

Jack Howard: I like the distant gaze and tight framing on the face by the hair. This pose illustrates confidence to me. I'm not crazy about all the blown highlights that show clipping in the info palette, as the screenshot (below) shows, as well as the completely blocked shadows in the curl of hair. This was a controlled environment, and from the dodging and burning you mention in post, it doesn't seem like the intent was deliberate clipping for a hard lighting effect–but there it is. I can't find the deep specs on the G5 right now, but I'll reckon that f/8 was the maximum aperture at that focal distance. So since it's not possible to stop the camera down any more, the strobe power should have been cut down to a slightly lower output, or diffused with brollies or boxes for more evenly distributed light on the captured image.

 

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