<<< o >>>Iva #2 15 comments + add yours

This is another shot of Iva Sakarova, taken back in September, at the same time as this one, but I've held off posting it as I can't decide whether I like it or not. Sometimes I've opened it up and thought it was great, while at other times I've looked at it and wondered why I bothered. Part of the problem, I think, is that it's so far from my usual style that I just can't evaluate it alongside my other images, either in terms of content (as a portrait), or in terms of post-production (it was produced in Lab Color Mode). Anyway, it's sat there, haunting me since last September, so rather than keep looking at it and wondering what to do with it ... here it is. Let me know what you think.

In other news, my apologies for the lack of recent updates but I've spent most of this week working on a new online course for PPSOP (the Perfect Picture School of Photography). I already run one Digital Darkroom course – Unleashing the Power of High Dynamic Range (HDR) Images – and from February I'll be running another. Hopefully I'll be able to post more details over the weekend.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
image editor
plugins (etc)
12.06pm on 4/9/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
580EX II (1/2 power)
Camera Raw
Photoshop CS5
1x1 + people [portraiture] + no print + show the original
comment by Carlos Garcia at 04:48 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2011

Not quite sure on this one. To me it almost looks like there is a "fake" background (like a shade in a studio) that just doesn't seem right. Her "pose doesn't help. Just my opinion.

comment by djn1 at 04:52 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2011

Carlos: the fact that the background looks 'fake' is one of the enduring characteristics that I do like about this one, but I take your point :)

comment by Kellee at 05:07 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2011

I love HER. I find everything about her to be amazing. Her angles, the light, her expression. She was captured beautifully. I kind of like the weird background combined with her edgy self, makes the photo kind of interesting. I'm also wondering if I might like it more if more of the color was lifted from the background - not sure about that, though.

What I'm not totally loving is the framing. I think having her right there in the middle is kind of awkward, and her position within the background - tree locations, etc - seems kind of off as well. I do find the photo very interesting, though. And the combination of the two elements is fun. :)

comment by Michael at 06:05 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2011

I loved it (like the first one), then I looked at the original, switched a few times and then I was not so sure about it anymore. Guess that is what you sort of experience as well. Still after looking at it again I started liking it again as well. I like the coloring but I guess one should refraining of going back to the original. But for me it is a " yup, I'd blog it" :-)

comment by Karla at 06:06 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2011

Please forgive a novice's thoughts... for me, the yellowish tone in the background seems to fight with Iva's coloring, especially her skin. I agree with Kellee. What if the background toning matched her toning? I like her tones and pose. Maybe add texturing to the background? Maybe a different crop? Oh, and I do not prefer the original colors. ;) Thanks for taking chances and showing us all facets of your work and allowing us to join in the analysis.

comment by djn1 at 06:24 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2011

Kellee: thanks. As for the framing: in the original shot she was placed to the right of the frame - which 'should' have made for a stronger shot. When I began working on the image though I decided that placing her more centrally worked better - the background was less of a distraction. I do take your point though, there's definitely something that's not quite right about this one.

Michael: the 'show the original' is often counter-productive, i.e. any image becomes a combination of the final one AND the original. If I didn't post it it would be easier to evaluate the final image on its own merits :)

Karla: thanks too, and your suggestion regarding the toning of the background is probably a good one. If I get some free time at any point soon I may well revisit this one and try out your suggestions.

comment by Ian Mylam at 06:41 AM (GMT) on 15 January, 2011

I think this is a great portrait. The use of a wide-angle lens works well here; I really have the feeling that the subject is leaning towards the camera and out of the frame, but you have successfully avoided unattractive distortion despite the use of wide-angle lens. The dynamism of the image is further enhanced by the opposing diagonals of the model's head and body. The processing is interesting. The accent colour together with the location of the mouth close to the intersection of the two diagonals leads the eye back to the to the lips, which I presume was your intention. The toning of the image has a 70's retro feel, but the accent colour is in contrast to that, which adds interest to the image.

comment by Ines at 10:26 AM (GMT) on 15 January, 2011

I don't like it either, sorry to say!
Part of the problem, for me, lies in the light. I think you should have left a little shadow on the left of her face and body so that she integrated better with the natural light behind. And the other thing I don't like at all is her skin tone; she looks sick, and her red lips help that impression (I mean, you have desaturated nearly all red all over her skin, but not on her lips). A simple solution for that would be to edit lips and skin in a similar way.
And perhaps Karla is right too :-)

comment by Doug Hickok at 02:40 PM (GMT) on 15 January, 2011

I enjoy both versions, even though both have a different mood to them. It's an effective composition either way.

comment by djn1 at 03:28 PM (GMT) on 15 January, 2011

It always great to read all your comments, but especially interesting when an image splits your opinion :-) As for this one: I'm still not sure what I think of it, but it was good to hear that some of you like it.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 04:10 PM (GMT) on 15 January, 2011

I'm in the "I'm not sure..." camp. The overall selective de-saturation bothers me most. I was intrigued by this technique once, but less so now.

comment by Garry at 07:04 PM (GMT) on 15 January, 2011

It looks like it's a promo shot for "Six Feet Under"... very Hollywood-esque with the combination of the lighting and the soft, separated background.
I wouldn't class it as one of my favourites, but it's brilliantly executed.

comment by Jen Spillman at 08:52 PM (GMT) on 21 January, 2011

Another great picture....i love the color in the lips and the saturation in the rest.

comment by FRANK S. at 03:15 PM (GMT) on 22 January, 2011


comment by Carmen K. Sisson at 04:40 PM (GMT) on 1 January, 2012

I'm kind of undecided about it, too. I love the toning, she's definitely gorgeous, I like the background, but the framing and the awkwardness of her pose bothers me. It's not terrible, but I'm not totally loving it either. The model, however, is gorgeous. I'd like to see her in some kind of different shot though.