Friday, July 3, 2009


After Larry Patrick's spectacular Body of Work presentation to our photo club a couple of weeks ago I went through my folder of portraits from that trip. I have a long way to go to shoot portraits that are close to his level of expertise, but by following his teachings I got a few that were an improvement for me. This gypsy was very interesting to watch because she had a very expressive face and movements. My raw file of this image was dark with blown highlights on her fingers, part of the violin and the crown of her head from direct sun that was coming from behind her on the right. I tried various things in Photoshop and this is my final version.
Camera info: Nikon D200, 70 - 200 mm f2.8 lens at f2.8 and 1/1000th, ISO 200, cloudy whitebalance.
Post processing: cloned out blurry accordian player from the background and used the clone tool and a soft brush in skin color to fix the highlights on her fingers, levels adjustment layer to tone down the scarf on the crown of her head and used other parts of her scarf to replace areas, levels adjustment to brighten her face, merged layers and changed blending mode to softlight at 25%, levels for global brightness, darkened background by using a brush in softlight mode on a new layer to paint a vignette, sharpened with the highpass filter in overlay mode.


  1. I agree with you, she has a very expressive faces, especially when she is playing her violin. This portrait is about 1000% better than anything that I have--I might even be understating the difference.

    What do I like about this portrait? First and foremost, the expression. It says so much about her. Second, the colors. The color combination of earth tones all go together and they also seem to add to her essence as a musician. Third, the dynamic composition. There are a number of very strong diagonal lines--but, more importantly they all point to her face with that great expression. And finally, you have a great soft background to set her off.

    Really a fine piece of work.

    The only improvement that could be made with this portrait is it coming out of a certain Nikon D3 rather than someone else's Nikon D200!

  2. Cindi, you do good work! I like the diagonal of the violin which sends the eyes to the face. With her eyes shut, I can almost hear the sound of music. I like to play with my pictures to see how many different images I can get and learn. So I ask if there was a second light source on the left of the image. With sun coming from the right rear, would I expect to see some shadows on her right cheek? With her eyes shut, we cannot see the whites of her eyes; but, maybe you could very, very, slightly brighten the jewel on her forehead to keep pulling the eyes to her face?