nathancarter on 5 years ago
I glanced through your Flickr set after you posted #2 one in Picture of the Day.
Overall, a pretty good set. Nice variety of poses, looks, and lighting.
Don't name all your files the same thing! How can I tell you which ones are good and bad? I like the one named "Tomb Raider Cosplay" where she's holding the guns and looking intense. :P
As you said, there are a lot of guns-drawn poses, so you certainly could have done a different selection of shots with and without the guns. But, having props makes it a little easier for a novice model to pose comfortably without feeling awkward; it solves the problem of "what do I do with my hands."
I would have liked to see a little more variety in facial expression. She's got that same "intense-eyes, lips-kinda-puckered" face in most shots, with a little smirk here and there. Coax and direct her into some angry, surprised, sad, desperate, sly facial expressions. Not every expression will work for every person; some of them will look really herp-derpy but some will look fantastic. Takes practice, both on her part and yours.
Seems that she's mostly emulating the Angelina Jolie version of the character; with that in mind, I'm mostly drawn to the ones with the more dramatic & cinematic lighting. Second one above, with the little bit of flare and the dust floating in the air ... and DSC_3881 with the side lighting and both guns pointed forward. That's just my personal preference, though.
Processing and skin tones are pretty consistent through the set, so good job with that. I think you could have broken into some slightly more dramatic processing in some of them, especially the ones where the light already lends itself to a cinematic look. A little more contrast, a little bit of blue or green toning in the shadows and warmer toning in the highlights... I can't give any specific direction on how to do this in Photoshop, as I generally do that stuff in Lightroom.
On processing, I would have liked to see a little more portrait retouch work on at least a couple of them, where the face is the highlight of the image. A little dodging/lightening of the shadows under the eyes (especially the darker area slightly above her nasolabial fold or "smile line"), a couple of quick spot removals of any temporary blemishes or imperfections that are exaggerated by side lighting, a very subtle skin smoothing. I realize this is time-consuming to do to every one, but pick one or two and see what you can do with 'em, without going overboard.
The ones where she's looking down at the camera ... sorry, those didn't work. Technically they're fine; aesthetically they're not: Neck looks thick, jawline has vanished, eyes are squinted away into nothing ... it's just not a flattering look for her. I would have deleted those. Nothing wrong with trying a huge variety of poses, but there's also nothing wrong with identifying and deleting the ones that don't work.
The ones where she's looking back over her shoulder aren't quite right either, but It's a little harder to identify why. After a little thought, I think it's the arm and hand: When there's no gap between the arm and body, it makes the torso appear fatter. The curve of her waist is completely gone; the breast is tonally too similar to the background, so she may as well not have breasts at all. The thumb pulls a crease in her shirt, making her look pudgy where she certainly is not.
And, 4072 and 4076 are almost identical; pick one to keep and one to toss, otherwise, you're unnecessarily bloating the set with duplicates.
If she's relatively athletic and willing to experiment, do some action shots! She's an action hero! Outside, you've got plenty of light to crank up the shutter speed to really freeze the motion. Have her jump off some rocks into the snow, or run along a short path and kick up the snow, or whip around and fling out the ponytail with a startled/angry look on her face. Most of them will be junk but a few of them will be the highlights of the set. Do these at the end of the shoot, in case she gets sweaty, hair gets mussed, costume gets dirty or wet or otherwise messed up.
 reading first post, I see you mentioned that you wanted some action shots but didn't get them .. I get that, I wanted some action shots with my Dragon Age set but they just didn't happen; it was more important to spend at least a few minutes for good portraits with every person that was there.