5 Minute Portrait - Co-worker Emily

This is an old image of mine that I had shot of a co-worker and friend. It’s basically an office fluorescent light in a fixture above (normal office lighting), and a pair of fluorescent lamps on a table in front of her left and right (look in her eyes).

I recently re-visited this shot for some reason, and tried a different, brighter color toning. I was wondering what your thoughts were about it. I’m including my original version also.

New color (minor retouching):

Here’s the previous version:

I like the composition and the lighting is very competent given the office setting and use of lamps, but my major concern is that the background color, hair color, and skin color are all very close; it gives the photo an almost monochromatic feel that is only broken up by her eyes and more so by her shirt. I feel the monochrome-ness doesn’t add anything to the shot and is a bit distracting. Have you looked at it in black and white?

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I had the same feelings about the tones but apparently suppressed them enough to block them out. Thanks for pointing it out… :smiley:

You’re right, of course, that the tones are all similar enough to blend into one another (why are corporate walls always painted such drab colors?). I like where you’re going with thinking of it in B&W. I hadn’t even considered it previously, but now I’m about to go kill an hour or so fiddling!

I’ll be back!

Played with it a bit and ended up here before getting pulled away. I’m sort of torn, because I do think her eye color is worth seeing, but not at the expense of the rest of the image. I do think that this may be better in B&W otherwise.

I certainly agree with you about the eye color being worth seeing, but I think the black and white is a much stronger photograph. You could always isolate the background and change the color of it.

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I think the bg almost works and it’s use to shift emphasis to the eyes is so clever that it needs exploring more. Maybe a darker bronze?

The real problem I see is that the camera was too close and the light didn’t define the contours of her nose enough, creating a vast undifferentiated triangle at the centre of her face. So it and the two highlights on her cheeks dominate the colour picture. The real improvement in the b&w picture is that these are gone.

Of course, this is the sort of thing that is VERY hard to avoid with improvised lighting set-ups.

I’d try generating a dodge and burn version of the image with GMIC and blending it with the original to see if get some bone structure back in, then dodging or cloning out any remaining glare spots on the cheeks, nose and chin.

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