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I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 12:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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So here's the thing...I've got no "pop" in my images. I have had feedback that my ability to catch "the look" is pretty good, but the images don't jump off the page the way that they should. In comparing images that I shot at RG's Chicago workshop with others who shot similar images, it looks like the difference between a sunny day and a cloudy day. I know that at least few guys weree Photoshopping images at a very high level, but that isn't true of all. And when I look at images taken by the elite shooters on G1 (at least the guys that I consider elite) I know that PS only plays a small role that is largely to correct modest imperfections.

I realize that it is ALL about the light, and I did not have a reliable light meter at the workshop. That is being corrected with the addition of a new Sekonic L-358, but that isn't a magic wand either.

I know that the most correct answer is long and complex, but is there a shorter bulletpoint version that I can use to get myself 60% of the way there?
As always, my thanks in advance.
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 01:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had a look at your portfolio and the photos there seem somewhat dark and pretty low contrast. You might want to look into monitor calibration software or find someone to do it for you. There are some camera stores that rent out the calibration stuff. Might be worth a try.
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 02:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Carpo,

Yes, it's important to get proper exposures and that meter will surely help. I've used nothing but a hand-held incident/flash meter for a couple of years now and (at least I think) my images are better for it.

Have you seen the book "The Art of Photographing Women" by Kevin Ames? Two things I learned from that book have helped me an awful lot: First was how to color balance "by the numbers" and yes a lot of that is personal but with this system even someone colorblind should be able to do a passable job. The other thing I learned from the book was the value of and how to properly use the curves tool in PhotoShop.

There's also a little trick you could try with UnSharpMask... try it with settings of 10,50,0 and you'll get a subtle increase in "pop".

Cheers!

Eldor
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpe Imago
So here's the thing...I've got no "pop" in my images.
There are so many variables but it starts with light quality then exposure then white balance, then monitor calibration then photoshop.

But the number one pop answer is light quality. Is it flat, soft, hard, diffused, direct, bouncing, above, below, in front, behind, or right on.

Yes, you can photoshop pop so if you want to learn photoshop pop there are plenty of techniques but photo pop is all in the light.

J T
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 03:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i agree with mostly everything people are suggesting to you. but let's look at what you really mean when you say you want your images to have "pop!"

my definition of images that "pop!" (as it relates to shooting pretty chicks in contemporary glamour styles) are images where the model seems to "jump" or "pop" out from the environment in which she's being shot.

sure, the quality of the light, exposure, contrast, and color rendition all contribute to the "pop" value of the images. but the easiest way to "pop" your subject out of her environment is with backlighting and manipulation of DOF.

you want to pop your model? first, shoot her with suitable and controlled backlighting, edgelighting, rimlighting or whatever you want to call it. second, reduce the DOF in the background. Those two elements alone will go a long way towards providing dynamic "pop" to your images.

but don't forget all that other stuff that's been mentioned. cuz that stuff will not only contribute to the "pop" value but provide other elements to your images that will make them aesthetically cool.
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 03:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Reading what everyone else said... it is all true, and great words of wisdom.

To answer your question about why your images from a workshop don't look the same as others, It looks like you just need a bit of level adjustment/ compression

Put a levels adjust layer on your image and pull in the bottom and top by 5 or 10. This adds contrast ( pop) to images. you can do the same thing with curves but I find it is easier with levels.

Glenn
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Dreaming of "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 04:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I was hoping to see feedback from a few of you specifically, and appreciate the time.

Eldor, I'm headed to Amazon to look for it right now. You have yet to lead me astray. BTW, the new Hensels arrived from the Left Coast last week...now it's time to light 'em up and see what happens. More to follow...
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 05:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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From the images in your portfolio, Photoshop can make them all look really nice.
-joshua
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 06:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for asking that great question Carpe, and thanks to the rest for putting in thier million dollars worth. Some great ideas/methods from some of the best out there (from what I've seen so far)

I got a basketful of info out of that post, and all I had to do was "Lurk"

-Matt.
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Re: I've got no "pop"
Old 05-23-2006, 08:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I too suffer from that same problem ,people have told me to bump the contrast
so a major fix for me is to open every image in photoshop and tweak the levels in from the two ends ( unless I really missed the exposure )
then with the curves dialog I just grab the line in the middle and push it up and to the left a little
Whatever I am doing wrong these two little things make a big difference

I was suprised that no one has asked what you shoot with (camera - flash wise )
or what settings you have the camera on ??

could it be as simple as one wrong setting or iso different from light meter type thing

( JT has me thinking about the custom white balance - but I have been to lazy to try it )
I say this because the last time I used studio lighting AND a light meter everything was fine
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