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Too Much?
Thank you for your input but the lighting was not the issue. My comment was concerning the default settings the program was generating in any light. People did not like the look the program was producing. The program has since been improved but people still do not seem to like the look regardless of how much tweaking is done, I don't understand it but that is the way it is. The lighting for the photographs in question were done outside during the golden hour and I was shooting alongside one of the best known  photographers in the world, Monte Zucker, so Monte was shooting using the same light as I was and I seriously doubt you could call Monte a snapshot taker.

Ben Wrote:Well I've experimented on several images lit several different ways and and I've found the better the lighting is on the original image the better the retouching looks.  If the original was an uninteresting flat lit snapshot, the PP one is going to be a retouched uninteresting flat lit snapshot, but if the original was a beautiful well lit portrait, the pp image is going to be a retouched well lit image that looks even more beautiful.  

One last thing, images on your computer screen will look considerably different from the same image printed onto photographic paper.

Hello Tommy,

Ben is right about having a good shot in the first place. The better the image is to start with the less will need doing and, therefore, the risk of overworking PP to produce something that looks false (which is true for any program you use on it). You can clearly tell he knows what he is doing and has posted some great examples. Even so, he is still using PP and it just adds that final touch to make his images that little bit better. I commend him for his attitude about PP. He has embraced it as an additional tool to use as necessary and I'm sure he will reap the benefits in his business.

Having said that, I do think that PP is capable of improving less well set up shots. In terms of the three samples you have posted here I would suggest the following:

Shot 1 - There are shadows present in the shot so there was a definite light source from one direction. The face looks the same all over though, which gives it what I would describe as a bit of a pasty look. I think it needs warming up and a bit more contrast.

Shot 2 - The whole image is cold and flat. Warming all of it and adding contrast would be beneficial I think. In addition the mouth looks a bit odd, almost as if it has been stretched wider. How does it look with the mouth setting turned off? Also try reducing the whitening area and amount on the teeth. This seems to exaggerate the thinness of the top lip.

Shot 3 - This is much better. There are nice skin tones which are believable. The couple look good. However, the shot is a bit dull. An increase of exposure and possibly contrast might benefit this one.

Is there any chance you could upload the before images as well to let others have a go? This also seems to be a better way of holding a competition. We all start from the same place this way (or I'll never beat Ben).
Regards, Fred

Progress has little to do with speed,
but much to do with direction

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