<<< o >>>company fierce #4 25 comments + add yours

I wish I'd paid just a little more attention to the background when I took this shot but I'm pretty pleased with it nonetheless.

1.50pm on 23/7/05

Canon 20D

EF 70-200 f/4L USM

113mm (181mm equiv.)



aperture priority

-2/3 (-2/3 FEC)





C1 Pro


focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter

3x2 + people [portraiture]
comment by Paul Woolrich at 09:25 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

Another superb shot! You take great portrait shots.

comment by jesse at 09:37 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

Very nice.

comment by Ryan Estes at 09:48 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

Wonderful DOF and lighting. Nice work.

comment by VelviaPix at 09:50 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

I must disagree with you on this one. I think the background frames her great, and makes her more vivid, and I think it is the background that makes this a beautiful shot (for reasons other than her beauty, of course)
The framing is awesome, perfectly centered and the skin tones are so very nice and smooth. I wish she wasn't wearing that thing on her head, because it is somewhat distracting, but the DOF, and the green color of the background make me like this picture better over yesterday's.

Question: Did you do anything to the blur of the background?
It seems to soft for a f/5.6 at 181mm... Unless it was very distant.

How is the Cub coming along?


comment by Angela at 10:22 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

Sorry David ... not one of my favorites of yours: I agree with your lack of attention to background - not so well framed as could be; also portrait square on + softening technique everywhere but the oval of the face (too obviously manip'd) ... OK; appreciation of art is entirely individual - there is no right or wrong (so I hope you never take any comments personally). It's just a personal taste thing ...

I'm told we have a similar style in photography - but that's rubbish ... your enthusiasm to find beauty in everything - including rubbish on the beach - shines through. I'd lost this zest for life about 4 years ago, but between youself, John from Shots and Judith Polakoff ... I'm beginning to be re-motivated. Whilst wandering the city streets now, I find myself once again searching the world around me through a photographer's eye.

So I just want to say to you (all) ... thank you.

comment by Rock at 11:01 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

I think the background color is a beautiful compliment to your modlels lovely skin tone. I'm not sure about the square on pose; but she sure is a beautiful model.

comment by Jacob Sorensen at 11:19 PM (GMT) on 18 August, 2005

Nice portrait with good contrast.

comment by tobias at 12:08 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

I agree with Velvia. The texture of the backdrop is pretty good. I like the image. Not sure about it being fully head on though. I don't know why, just a little too... symetrical?

comment by fred at 12:37 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

Overmanipulated in my opinion ... Too bad because it could have been a nice natural portrait.


comment by Steven Ericsson-Zenith at 01:16 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

The background is perfect. :-)

comment by pfong at 02:19 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

Striking use of a centered composition. I wonder whether you used the flash pointing directly at her with a diffuser, or whether the flash was fired at an angle? The lighting highlights her skin tone very nicely with just a hint of a shadow under her chin.

comment by Nick at 04:22 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

i think expression seems forced. post some environmental portraits! generic headshots like this are all over the web.

comment by Sharla at 04:23 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

I find this shot to be a bit dizzy, a swirling feel around her head. After the wornderful contrasts with the white background, I just can't psyche myself into a new direction. Maybe it just my monitor or something, or all those cookies and milk just a bit ago.

Actually, it's somewhat akin to those interesting straight-down shots of models with their faces just above the water but presented as though they were standing with their face poking through a sheet of water. In this case, poking through the blurry effects of DOF.

comment by P at 04:52 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

no problem with the background to me -- this is a beautiful portrait of a strikingly beautiful subject! nicely done.

comment by flying cow at 05:46 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005


comment by Muramasa at 05:52 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

Don't like the fact that her body, including her neck, is not as sharp as her head. To me it makes her head appear detached from her body. The body seems more a part of the background than her own head. Her smile also appears forced, taking away from the picture.

comment by Rodrigo Gómez at 05:58 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

I don't know about this photo. Somewhat like it and somewhat not. I feel that the totally blurried background frames and centers the attention in her, but somewhat I feel it a little to much soft. And an artifcial softness that is.

But her expression... and, funny, the band in her head, make this a very interesting portrait. Maybe displaying her head totally? Don't know, it's just interesting. Maybe a sepia version would be interesting... I have just seen or understood that the green doesn't seem to help... in my point of view, of course.

Hope everything has finally "resumed" and that you now have your son in arms. Good luck! :-)

comment by Kaiko at 09:38 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

A great photo. Lights and shadows are excellents.
Only a question, how have yoy get that blurred background with an apperture of f/5.6 ?

comment by Mareluna at 10:17 AM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

Your portraits are very nice... you are able to valorize very well your models :) ... many compliments...

comment by Tom at 12:09 PM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

I always enjoy your photos. And I always get twisted this way and that by the comments. I'm glad you keep your head level when responding. My reactions, if written, would be much more defensive. For example, "Who's blog is this? If you don't like the pictures, try getting a refund for the ticket you paid for, or just Google yourself to another blog." Not very diplomatic of me. That's why you are not only such a good example for me to learn better photography, but also to learn restraint. Thanks for all you do.

comment by Kathleen at 01:32 PM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

David: Great, bold statement. I love that you've taken on portraits this summer and I think it's great that you constantly challenge yourself. All best wishes with the new baby!

comment by Navin Harish at 03:06 PM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

The white background as in the previous picture does make it look a lot sharer but I guess this background gives it a more warm feeling. I prefer this bg.

comment by amanda at 03:21 PM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

i love it when i open up your site and i instantly say 'wow' or make some other such giddy girly noise.
i dont know what u have in your hands that make pictures come out so magically.

comment by djn1 at 08:35 PM (GMT) on 19 August, 2005

Thanks everyone. As for the 'square-on pose': personally, with a strong subject, I think it works, but I'm happy to accept that it's not everyone's cup of tea.

VelviaPix: I think my problem with the background was to do with it not being particularly even; i.e. dark in places, much lighter in others. I think it would have looked better had it been more uniform. and yes, I did blur the background a little, but not much.

Rodrigo: nope, my son still hasn't arrived.

Tom: I am affected by comments, as I do want my work to appeal to my audience, but I'm sufficiently aware of the fact that feedback is subjective not to get too disheartened by negative comments. On the whole, when I've put up something good I know it's ok, and when it's not great I know that too. The comments clarify things, but don't change my basic appreciation of a shot, at least not very often.

Amanda: thanks :-)

comment by aashish at 10:15 AM (GMT) on 22 August, 2005

gr8 shot!