Help with a poorly lit portrait

Took my camera out after a long time for my kid’s birthday. Also tried out dt 3.2.1 and filmic v4. I don’t think I’ve quite gotten the hang of it yet. Any ideas as to which direction I can go in would be very helpful :blush:

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef (29.2 MB) 20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (27.9 KB)

Comparing with the embedded jpg…

Edited version on the left. Ohh I’ve certainly messed it up!

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

1 Like

Beautiful girl. Here’s my humble attempt with ART (and thanks for sharing!)

EDIT I realized there was an ugly artifact in my previous rendering, so I got rid of it. I also tweaked the temperature and contrast a bit

1 Like

Nice photo; I love the variety of colors. I did a fairly simple set of changes in dt 3.2.1.

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (6.0 KB)

1 Like

girl.portrait.nef.xmp (12.2 KB) darktable 3.2.1

She looks so proud and happy!


Thanks for the ideas. I see I have really overcooked it.

1 Like

Namaste @zhopudey [or perhaps Namaskar],

As usual, there are half a million ways to develop a photo.
Here is one of them. Normally, I am fond of more contrasts,
more oompf — but I feel this portrait should be a trifle softer…

Mubarrak ho!
Claes in Lund, Sweden

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.arp (11.7 KB)


20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (14.7 KB)


I typically use darktable, but am putting more effort in to learning Rawtherapee. Love how it manages the skin and detail, and was able to get some colour separation between skin and background.

portrait-girl-red-DSC_2839.nef.pp3 (12.1 KB)
RawTherapee 5.8

Edit: learnt a few new tricks

DT 3.2.1

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.xmp (10,8 KB)


Nice portrait!

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (11.4 KB)


Nice girl. Happy belated birthday!

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839_01.nef.xmp (20.5 KB)

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (15.7 KB)

Already posted a darktable version, but I’ve been trying out RawTherapee (5.8) and came up with these:

girl.portrait.jpg.out.pp3 (13.8 KB)

girl.portrait-1.jpg.out.pp3 (14.3 KB)

In my opinion it is well exposed, just a bit noisy and the background is brighter than the girl.

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (20.4 KB, darktable 3.3)

1 Like

A D750 shouldn’t be showing so much noise at iso1600, right?

@zhopudey : The base RAW file isn’t all that bad to be honest. You can, however, create noise during the edit.

If you want a sort of reference: I made a whole bunch of test shots a while back, not for ISO comparison, but I did cover a wide ISO range. Here’s the 1600 ISO RAW version from that set: D75_0633.nef (28.9 MB)

20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (14.7 KB) 20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839_01.nef.xmp (17.3 KB)

The area on the wall behind her left shoulder really bothered me. I had no success getting rid of it, so I gave up trying. In B&W it’s not so objectionable, IMO.
EDIT: I made a few changes. This is yet another time in my life where I look at something I did and said to myself, “Boy, what was I thinking?”

@zhopudey Thanks for sharing. Your daughter has a confident smile. Her expression seems to show she is proud of you, and I am sure you are of her as well.


My try at the portrait of this young lady - all done in GIMP.


20200927_19.30.38_DSC_2839.nef.xmp (28.9 KB)

I’m recently interested in ‘colorimetric’ color, that is, colors as rendered through a camera matrix or LUT that was created from either a target or SSFs, no ‘looks’ or other color processing. In that regard, here’s a rendition made with rawproc, camera blackpoint, camera whitebalance, ahd demosaic (amaze is doing something goofy of late, need to troubleshoot that…) and just a bit contrasty filmic curve, using the z6 LUT camera profile (all the recent Nikons are similar, and I can’t find the D750 profile I made a few weeks ago… :open_mouth: ).

In the full-resolution image I don’t see noise worth addressing; indeed, even at ISO 1600 you’ve got a shutter speed and aperture such to give the sensor decent exposure, and it’s a D750 after all. With respect to the color, only the red shirt changed substantially when I changed from the matrix to the LUT profile, skin tones remained the same. Mine are middle-of-the-road compared to most others; your side-by-side comparison between your edit and OOC pretty well defines the range. Whitebalance probably has a lot to do with the cooler renditions, although I wonder how the OOC camera gave such a blue tint when the camera-supplied numbers didn’t reflect that.

Nice color exercise!

1 Like