Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's

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bigpigbig
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Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
4 months ago

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

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olyflyer
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Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

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bigpigbig
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to olyflyer, 4 months ago

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

Thanks. And don't be sorry. I make a living critiquing photographs.

Interesting comments.

Bokeh: what is it you don't like? The lens is not known for spectacular bokeh, but all reviews I have read and my personal experience is that it is quite good.

As for color: Is your monitor calibrated? What monitor are you using? I have all of mine calibrated and they certainly don't look yellow. There were all colors of the rainbow, light, but 1,3 and 4 were lit with flash.

???

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michaeladawson
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

Nicely done.  WB looks ok but I'm on an iPad right now.  My comment would be that you need even less fill flash.  I'm not seeing any shadows on the faces.  Your wife stood to one side with the umbrella held just above head level??  Maybe have the on-camera flash turned down to -2??

But I like them.

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paulski66
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to olyflyer, 4 months ago

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

I disagree with both of these statements, especially the bokeh. I think the oof rendering is fine.

Nice pics!

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michaeladawson
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Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to michaeladawson, 4 months ago

I changed my mind.  The WB is off.  In photos #1 and #4 there seems to be too much cyan.   So I loaded them in PS and did my usual CMYK sanity check.

Cyan is indeed too much, particularly on #4.  The yellow also reads a bit high.  Fixing both of these gives a much more pleasing rendition.

And yes, I have a calibrated wide gamut monitor.  But reading CMYK values with the eyedropper tool doesn't really require a calibrated monitor.

michaeladawson wrote:

Nicely done. WB looks ok but I'm on an iPad right now. My comment would be that you need even less fill flash. I'm not seeing any shadows on the faces. Your wife stood to one side with the umbrella held just above head level?? Maybe have the on-camera flash turned down to -2??

But I like them.

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Alan Brown
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Nice set.. esp in circumstances
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

just a little on the hot side for my taste... nothing I couldn't easily fix if they were mine.

Nice to see some images here though

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olyflyer
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

Thanks. And don't be sorry. I make a living critiquing photographs.

Interesting comments.

Bokeh: what is it you don't like? The lens is not known for spectacular bokeh, but all reviews I have read and my personal experience is that it is quite good.

I don't like when I see sharp edges in the OOF area. Also, it looks like that the lens created one image for each lens element, which is in my opinion also not nice. I don't know which lens you have used, or at which aperture, there is no EXIF, but in my opinion it isn't very nice. OK, it is a matter of taste, but I like smooth bokeh more than this busy type.

As for color: Is your monitor calibrated?

Yes, my screen is calibrated, using ColorMunki Display hardware, but even if I look at it using my Samsung III phone they still look too yellow, typical for fluorescent/flash mix.

What monitor are you using? I have all of mine calibrated and they certainly don't look yellow.

How did you calibrate yours? I mean, with some software only, using your eyes as reference?

There were all colors of the rainbow, light, but 1,3 and 4 were lit with flash.

???

The colour is off because you most probably used AWB and NOT balanced the flashes to the ambient light. The camera can not handle mixed light.

Also, looking at the images once again, I think there is just too much light. Perhaps the histogram is perfect, I don't know, but to my eyes, on my calibrated monitor, it seems as the flashes were a bit too strong. Perhaps if the light would have been a bit weaker it would have improved the colours as well.

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philm5d
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

On my ridiculously expensive but fantastic Eizo monitor the skin tones are spot on. Only quibble is contrast is a bit low- easily corrected in levels (see below), all a matter of taste really. Cross lighting on number 2 is perhaps not over flattering, otherwise all great!

bigpigbig wrote:

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

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Bryan
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

I went back to the motor show with two SB900's and a small umbrella (as big as I thought would be less than obnoxious) and one SB900 set to remote on the end of a monopod. My wife held the monopod flash high and just off axis. It was used as the main. The other SB900 sat on top of my D800e with the 70-200 2.8. I used the factory plastic diffuser and tilted the on camera flash 45 degrees upwards. I set it to master and -1.0 to be used as a fill.

I hope someone with more experience can tell me what I could have done better.

Here are a few, the rest can be seen at my Flickr gallery

Sorry this one (below) is without a flash

Sorry but all I see is flash overkill. I used to get similar results (not wanted) when working in South Yemen. Without flash the bright light/dark shadows was difficult. With flash it had to be held back to avoid wash-out which I think you have here - sorry.

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InTheMist
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Tata written on her tata!
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

Two of those girls in your flickr set have Tata written on her tata!

Agree about the white balance tho, and watch your crop, you've snipped some hands, arms and elbows off in uncomfortable places. I would try a second edit and see what you can make of it. In such a horrible white-balance disaster as the lighits you were under, there is no shame in turning them black and white.

Brightness is good, I would have been tempted to push the flash a bit harder (relative to ambient) to try to overpower those ugly overhead lights.

Tough lighting.

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laddsmith
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Re: Girls Girls Girls - Oh, with Nikon SB900's
In reply to philm5d, 4 months ago

Great shots at a show!  Interesting I have a calibrated Eizo monitor and the color looks fine.  Bokeh OK as well.  Imo, #3 is the winner.  There is possibly a touch of off lighting, reflection in the noses on the others, but nothing that couldn't be easily fixed.

Nice work!!

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olyflyer
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Re: Beautiful girls, but...
In reply to paulski66, 4 months ago

paulski66 wrote:

olyflyer wrote:

...the WB is in my opinion wrong, making the skin tone yellow. I think the problem is the mixed light. Also the bokeh of that lens isn't very nice. Very good details, but the background is disturbing. Sorry.

I disagree with both of these statements, especially the bokeh. I think the oof rendering is fine.

OK, I can live with that. We don't always have to agree.

Nice pics!

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wisep01
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to michaeladawson, 4 months ago

michaeladawson wrote:

I changed my mind. The WB is off. In photos #1 and #4 there seems to be too much cyan. So I loaded them in PS and did my usual CMYK sanity check.

Cyan is indeed too much, particularly on #4. The yellow also reads a bit high. Fixing both of these gives a much more pleasing rendition.

And yes, I have a calibrated wide gamut monitor. But reading CMYK values with the eyedropper tool doesn't really require a calibrated monitor.

michaeladawson wrote:

Nicely done. WB looks ok but I'm on an iPad right now. My comment would be that you need even less fill flash. I'm not seeing any shadows on the faces. Your wife stood to one side with the umbrella held just above head level?? Maybe have the on-camera flash turned down to -2??

But I like them.

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Generally speaking, given their skin color (and genetic background), in what ballpark should the C:M:Y:K ratios be? I remember reading a book by some guru on color correction that spoke about this in a very objective fashion, but can't recall the name.

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bigpigbig
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to wisep01, 4 months ago

Interesting.

White balance: Opinion is all over the place. I use Spyder4 to calibrate my monitor and they really do look like what I saw. They ARE Asian women. I have read about that CMYK method and don't agree with it. Skin tones are as varied as the rainbow. I wasn't going to get my colorcheckr out, but in the future I might just to learn more about WB.

Only one person mentioned overkill with flash. I don't mind the brightness, but I would have liked a bigger ratio between main and fill. I had the on camera fill set to -1, but it didn't seem to do the trick. I'll try -2 next time. The first shot looks like how I would like the shadows to look, but the rest were a bit flat. For glamor, though, that is not always a bad thing.

Bokeh: Opinion is also varied. Most seem to think it is ok. The lens is the 70-200 f2.8 VRII. The repeated bokeh are from multiple lights in the ceiling of the exhibition hall.

Thanks for the feedback. This is why I love teaching and learning about Art and photography: it is incredibly complex and often subjective.

PS As for the TATA logos, it is a Korean car manufacturer. But it explained that vernacular to my wife as I found it funny as well.

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michaeladawson
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

Interesting.

White balance: Opinion is all over the place. I use Spyder4 to calibrate my monitor and they really do look like what I saw. They ARE Asian women. I have read about that CMYK method and don't agree with it. Skin tones are as varied as the rainbow. I wasn't going to get my colorcheckr out, but in the future I might just to learn more about WB.

As much as I can totally accept that you think they look like what you saw...  well, memory is not always the best guide.

They may be Asian women and that would mean a slightly higher yellow value in CMYK.  But the bigger WB issue I see is a distinct cyan cast.  That has nothing to do with any ethnic skin tone (except maybe cadavers).  The "CMYK method" is not something to agree or disagree with.  It is an additional tool to put in one's tool belt.  One does not blindly follow it.  Skin tones do indeed vary.  If you adjusted every face to the same CMYK value that would be wrong.  But variations in skin tone are due mainly to the balance between magenta and yellow.

It is easy to see (in my mind) that the lady below has too much cyan.  You load it into PS and confirm that, yes, she does.  You then take out some of the cyan and you get the second image that I took the liberty of posting.  To my eyes the second image is clearly "more correct".  I have stayed away from any adjustment of the magenta or yellow channels since that is where the natural variation in skin tones mainly occurs.

OP Original photo

My version with reduced cyan.

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bigpigbig
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to michaeladawson, 4 months ago

michaeladawson wrote:

bigpigbig wrote:

Interesting.

White balance: Opinion is all over the place. I use Spyder4 to calibrate my monitor and they really do look like what I saw. They ARE Asian women. I have read about that CMYK method and don't agree with it. Skin tones are as varied as the rainbow. I wasn't going to get my colorcheckr out, but in the future I might just to learn more about WB.

As much as I can totally accept that you think they look like what you saw... well, memory is not always the best guide.

They may be Asian women and that would mean a slightly higher yellow value in CMYK. But the bigger WB issue I see is a distinct cyan cast. That has nothing to do with any ethnic skin tone (except maybe cadavers). The "CMYK method" is not something to agree or disagree with. It is an additional tool to put in one's tool belt. One does not blindly follow it. Skin tones do indeed vary. If you adjusted every face to the same CMYK value that would be wrong. But variations in skin tone are due mainly to the balance between magenta and yellow.

It is easy to see (in my mind) that the lady below has too much cyan. You load it into PS and confirm that, yes, she does. You then take out some of the cyan and you get the second image that I took the liberty of posting. To my eyes the second image is clearly "more correct". I have stayed away from any adjustment of the magenta or yellow channels since that is where the natural variation in skin tones mainly occurs.

OP Original photo

My version with reduced cyan.

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Mike Dawson

Thank you, Mike. I understand exactly what you are saying.

Can you explain to me why what I see in LR doesn't match (though it it subtle) what I see on DPReview? (Your edit looks more like what I see in LR than mine does)

Again, thank you for your knowledge and help.

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olyflyer
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

Interesting.

White balance: Opinion is all over the place. I use Spyder4 to calibrate my monitor and they really do look like what I saw. They ARE Asian women. I have read about that CMYK method and don't agree with it. Skin tones are as varied as the rainbow. I wasn't going to get my colorcheckr out, but in the future I might just to learn more about WB.

Well, skin color is indeed quite individual, but WB is not. Now I looked at the images again but on two different screens on a different computer and the WB is still off. It's common to believe that using flash "takes over" the color temperature but it does not. My comment about skin tone is not related to my own skin tone at all, it is related to the color temperature on the scene. They look a bit like corpses, not natural, no matter if they are Asians or not. The cast is all over the image, not just their skin.

Only one person mentioned overkill with flash. I don't mind the brightness, but I would have liked a bigger ratio between main and fill. I had the on camera fill set to -1, but it didn't seem to do the trick. I'll try -2 next time. The first shot looks like how I would like the shadows to look, but the rest were a bit flat. For glamor, though, that is not always a bad thing.

I wanted to mention flash overkill as well, but every time I am mentioning such thing, I get the same answer you have given me, which is that my screen needs calibration, which I know is not the case, so I more or less stopped mentioning overexposure. Never the less, I agree that the flash was a bit too strong. If you shot raw that can easily be fixed.

Bokeh: Opinion is also varied. Most seem to think it is ok. The lens is the 70-200 f2.8 VRII. The repeated bokeh are from multiple lights in the ceiling of the exhibition hall.

Yes, in a way it is opinion but no, the multiple halo I am talking about does NOT come from multiple lights at all. Look again. It is caused by reflections in the lens. I know one not supposed to speak in any negative terms about that holy lens, but if you wouldn't have mentioned that it is the Nikon I would have thought that it was one of the third party cheaper brothers. Never the less, it does not change my opinion.

Thanks for the feedback. This is why I love teaching and learning about Art and photography: it is incredibly complex and often subjective.

Yes, some things are subjective, some not. What's measurable is not subjective, but if a deviation or fault matters for an image or not is subjective.

PS As for the TATA logos, it is a Korean car manufacturer. But it explained that vernacular to my wife as I found it funny as well.

Tata in these days is equal to Nelson Mandela for many people. Of course, it is a car show... not that I see many cars...:-)

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bigpigbig
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to olyflyer, 4 months ago

In the first photo, her dress is white. It was white. White, white. Any adjustment of overall white balance would change it. How can the dress be correct, but the skin not?

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olyflyer
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Re: Changed my mind - Re: Girls Girls Girls
In reply to bigpigbig, 4 months ago

bigpigbig wrote:

In the first photo, her dress is white. It was white. White, white. Any adjustment of overall white balance would change it. How can the dress be correct, but the skin not?

Actually, the first image is indeed not wrong, at least not in any disturbing way, which should show even more clearly what I mean. In that image you don't have that busy background and the flash is definitely very dominating in terms of light, so of course that image is right. On the other hand... I think we have agreed about the flash overkill. Now, since you mention the first image, in that image there is a lot of "flash overkill" in my opinion, and the whites are blown. Even in images with wrong WB you can get the white right, since if you overexpose then the whites will be whiter, so assuming that image would be correctly exposed you would probably get the color cast even in that image.

Another thing... her eyes in that first image look totally unnatural. Was that she, coloring her eyes that way or is that done during PP? That blue color is NOT true eye color.

Anyway, you don't seem to see that the WB is wrong, and I have no intentions to start an argument about it. If you are happy then fine.

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