Author Topic: Time headshot  (Read 258 times)

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Offline Todd Muskopf

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Time headshot
« on: August 12, 2017, 12:57:34 PM »
If you see this week's time magazine with General Kelly on the front, notice that it's not in focus at all. Really bad front-focus. The tip of his nose might be in focus. Definitely not the eyes.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 02:10:07 PM »
Must have had the writer shoot it. To save money of course, and anybody can push a button.

Offline Duck

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 02:37:03 PM »
Ouch!
My name is Charles Unitas but friends call me Duck

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Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2017, 04:27:04 PM »

Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2017, 11:44:46 PM »
Good grief!! That's an appalling shot - I get the limited DOF, by why not use a TS to get a similar effect?

They've credited Mike Morones, Director of Photography at The (Fredericksburg) Free Lance-Star, as the photographer and he also worked as a photographer for The Military Times. Seriously, what was he thinking when he submitted this shot? And if this was the best of the bunch, I can only shake my head - I'm not the greatest portrait/headshot photographer, but at least I'd have the guy's eyes in focus.

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 10:37:35 AM »
To quote Phil Collins "Ooo, I think I missed again..."

That's a horrible choice by everyone involved, from photographer to TIME editors.   My opinion: the photographer had it set for the center focal point, which is on the general's nose tip.  I know, it sounds harsh, even stupid of me to say, but....

Some personal experience:  I was contracted to teach 6 classes of photography (24 hrs) to the full time journalism teams (9 people) at a nearby military facility, followed by 24 hours of Photoshop and Lightroom.  Except for one class, midway through, attendance was never better than 25-30% and only one person was there for most or even took it seriously.  Their operating procedure was to shoot in Program, Auto WB, Auto ISO ... but they wanted to improve the dependability and consistency of their work.  However, they literally could not fathom why they should learn manual or even consider the Shutter or Aperture modes when "P" would take care of all of it.  Some Canon users even preferred the green auto everything mode.  None had read the owner's manuals, most had no idea where they were.  They had a mix of Canon and Nikon bodies and glass, all consumer quality, and 3-4 different body models from each manufacturer (not that consumer grade matters, unless you have to shoot indoors with f5.6 maximum aperture, or outdoors in rain with no sealed gear). No one camera was assigned to any one user, so they grabbed what was there when going out on assignment; not always a system familiar to them.

As it turned out, they canceled several classes to do other things and never rescheduled them.  That led me to request an explanation that I was not at fault for the lack of classes or improvement, in case the base commander questioned my effectiveness, a request which their director honored, since I was there for every one and could prove it with my check-ins at gate security.

As a result, I don't wonder so much at the quality of the photograph; more at it's use by TIME.  Could be, the others were so much worse...
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 11:02:42 AM by Jeff Behm »

Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 12:52:25 AM »
. . . My opinion: the photographer had it set for the center focal point, which is on the general's nose tip. . . .

I get your point, Jeff, but in all honesty - wouldn't a "professional" be checking their focus throughout the shoot??? He calls himself a "Director of Photography", so naturally one would think he'd know the basics of photography. . . but then again maybe I'm expecting waaaay too much from "photographers" these days.

When I was assisting, the pros I worked with were *always* checking focus when using slim DOF to ensure the subject's eyes were in focus - that's quite simply portraiture 101 for goodness sake!!

No wonder people don't want to pay for photography - if this is the quality that a renowned magazine is happy to accept and use as a cover image, what hope is there for those who do truly create outstanding portraits? My guess is (and maybe I'm a long way off base here) - it was a "boys club" shoot. His name was bandied about from his work with The Military Times and therefore was deemed *the* best candidate to shoot the general solely on that basis, not on his ability to produce an outstanding image.

Sorry for the rant - shoots like this really get at me, because I know there are many photographers out there, who would have done an amazing job if given a chance. Instead, they went with someone who had absolutely no idea and couldn't even be bothered to check focus as he shot and were then quite happy to showcase such an awful result - SMH seriously, what were any of them thinking???

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2017, 06:37:53 AM »
I think the reason this struck me when I saw it for the first time is that it's one of my pet peeves in my own work.  I've had trouble with one of my 1Ds mk3 cams with the focus wandering a bit and finding out afterwards that what looked good on the back of the cam was not.

The workaround with the camera in question seems to be this.  Shoot a photo, then focus on something else in the room, then refocus and shoot again for insurance.  I've found that if I focus on the eyes and it's off a bit, merely taking another photo does not re-set the focus necessarily, and all the shots tend to be front or back focused by the same amount.

Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2017, 07:00:53 AM »
I think the reason this struck me when I saw it for the first time is that it's one of my pet peeves in my own work.  I've had trouble with one of my 1Ds mk3 cams with the focus wandering a bit and finding out afterwards that what looked good on the back of the cam was not.

The workaround with the camera in question seems to be this.  Shoot a photo, then focus on something else in the room, then refocus and shoot again for insurance.  I've found that if I focus on the eyes and it's off a bit, merely taking another photo does not re-set the focus necessarily, and all the shots tend to be front or back focused by the same amount.

Could it be also, that we as photographers are relying a great deal on AF and becoming complacent? My 5DMKII sometimes has a hard time focusing, so I simply switch to manual, focus and keep going.

Todd, you've shown that you check your work and if it happens to be off, take steps to rectify - that IMHO, is the sign of a true pro photographer. Checking focus isn't so difficult, and missing that step has proven to be the difference between what could have been a brilliant cover shot for TIME and the pathetic cover shot they ran this past week (?).

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 11:30:13 AM »
Spot on, Nanette.   Checking is key, and you are so right in your analysis. 

Most of us here probably know that VIP's often provide little time for photographers, that stuff happens, and can appreciate that a lower rank might have been too intimidated to say "One more, General?" to the top dog. I mean, imagine the adrenaline!

The only point in my story of experience with 9 military photographers is that mine were extremely complacent about technical knowledge, including the Director of Photography, who didn't know how to operate her Nikon 7200 beyond Program.  Painting all military photographers with a broad brush isn't my purpose, only to outline one possible explanation, based on admittedly limited experience.

Offline Mike Nykoruk

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2017, 02:13:44 PM »
I'm sure this photog didn't have much time with the General, to make this shot. In the heat of the minute, checking his chimp chip to confirm great focus, would have been fleeting.  IF he did glance at the general, noticing the softness on the eyes would have difficult with good eyes, let alone aging ones.  I can imagaine that eh general after a click or two said we're done here,   next item!

The Photog, upon seeing the shot in PS, said "OH $HIT".  There are some techniques to save the shot in PS.
Mike's - "Save your A$$ technique for missed focus"
1. DUP the BG,
2. Sharpen the DUP, Even way over sharpen until you think it's too much.
3. Throw a black layer mask over the sharpened layer.
4 at 3-400% at a low opacity say 30% paint in the essential elements with a single pixel brush, ( or 2-4 pixel, or really small. )
5. Essential elements meaning the Iris and the pupil, the eyelashes, some of the eyelash hairs, the nostrals, the lips and the teeth. (Avoid the artifacts created from the sharpening.)
6. add a Neutral Grey Layer (with the little box checked for 50% grey) then add some mono Noise, say 3 or 4 points, put a black mask on it and paint the noise in over and around the soft face. ( since the Noise is sharp it will help create apparent sharpness.
They fade the RT'd layers to taste.

I shot an executive once when I focused on his eyes and un-be-knownst to me, he shifted has weight slightly to his other foot thus moving his eyes backward just enough for me to say "OH $HIT" later in post.  Lesson learned the professional way-  the hard way.


Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2017, 08:48:49 PM »
I'm sure this photog didn't have much time with the General, to make this shot. In the heat of the minute, checking his chimp chip to confirm great focus, would have been fleeting.  IF he did glance at the general, noticing the softness on the eyes would have difficult with good eyes, let alone aging ones.  I can imagaine that eh general after a click or two said we're done here,   next item!

The Photog, upon seeing the shot in PS, said "OH $HIT".  There are some techniques to save the shot in PS.
Mike's - "Save your A$$ technique for missed focus"
1. DUP the BG,
2. Sharpen the DUP, Even way over sharpen until you think it's too much.
3. Throw a black layer mask over the sharpened layer.
4 at 3-400% at a low opacity say 30% paint in the essential elements with a single pixel brush, ( or 2-4 pixel, or really small. )
5. Essential elements meaning the Iris and the pupil, the eyelashes, some of the eyelash hairs, the nostrals, the lips and the teeth. (Avoid the artifacts created from the sharpening.)
6. add a Neutral Grey Layer (with the little box checked for 50% grey) then add some mono Noise, say 3 or 4 points, put a black mask on it and paint the noise in over and around the soft face. ( since the Noise is sharp it will help create apparent sharpness.
They fade the RT'd layers to taste.

I shot an executive once when I focused on his eyes and un-be-knownst to me, he shifted has weight slightly to his other foot thus moving his eyes backward just enough for me to say "OH $HIT" later in post.  Lesson learned the professional way-  the hard way.



I think you should TM that PS technique, Mike! ;) 8)

Shall be saving it to get me out of any jams that may come up - you never know, even if I check, check, check it may be that the camera is out of alignment with its focus.  :o

Offline Todd Muskopf

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2017, 10:18:48 PM »
Spot on, Nanette.   Checking is key, and you are so right in your analysis. 

Most of us here probably know that VIP's often provide little time for photographers, that stuff happens, and can appreciate that a lower rank might have been too intimidated to say "One more, General?" to the top dog. I mean, imagine the adrenaline!

The only point in my story of experience with 9 military photographers is that mine were extremely complacent about technical knowledge, including the Director of Photography, who didn't know how to operate her Nikon 7200 beyond Program.  Painting all military photographers with a broad brush isn't my purpose, only to outline one possible explanation, based on admittedly limited experience.

Weren't your guys photojournalists?

The Dayton Daily News here essentially laid off their entire PJ staff.  I don't know if they have one or two left.  The last time there was a story done that I was involved in, the "reporter" showed up with a video camera that could also take a sh!tty still, and that was what they used.  Evidently the video was worth more. That was 2008.

When I got interviewed by the Channel 2 here back in June, I was in the TV studio, and before our show started, there were two people on the evening news set doing a promo for the web talking about what they'd be discussing at 5:30 and 6:00.  They used a cell phone to record that video. 2017.

Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2017, 06:36:58 AM »
Spot on, Nanette.   Checking is key, and you are so right in your analysis. 

Most of us here probably know that VIP's often provide little time for photographers, that stuff happens, and can appreciate that a lower rank might have been too intimidated to say "One more, General?" to the top dog. I mean, imagine the adrenaline!

The only point in my story of experience with 9 military photographers is that mine were extremely complacent about technical knowledge, including the Director of Photography, who didn't know how to operate her Nikon 7200 beyond Program.  Painting all military photographers with a broad brush isn't my purpose, only to outline one possible explanation, based on admittedly limited experience.

Weren't your guys photojournalists?

The Dayton Daily News here essentially laid off their entire PJ staff.  I don't know if they have one or two left.  The last time there was a story done that I was involved in, the "reporter" showed up with a video camera that could also take a sh!tty still, and that was what they used.  Evidently the video was worth more. That was 2008.

When I got interviewed by the Channel 2 here back in June, I was in the TV studio, and before our show started, there were two people on the evening news set doing a promo for the web talking about what they'd be discussing at 5:30 and 6:00.  They used a cell phone to record that video. 2017.

I was never a PJ, but I have a friend from college who works for one of the big papers here in Australia. They're laying off PJs there too, a few months back they went on strike and published a paper with many blank sections - to show what the news would (not) be, should the company succeed with the changes.

She's survived 3 culls of photographers to date but is not confident of surviving the next round. Exactly as you wrote - have the writer shoot it on their iPhone, forget using someone who can make a great image to match the story, go the cheap and nasty way instead.

Offline Duck

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2017, 09:28:15 PM »
Apparently this was taken by Mike Morones, an experienced Military Times staff photographer with awards and plenty of experience. It is such a rookie mistake one has to wonder what the back story is.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 04:19:48 PM by Duck »
My name is Charles Unitas but friends call me Duck

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Offline Nanette Reid

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2017, 12:25:19 AM »
I'm sure this photog didn't have much time with the General, to make this shot. In the heat of the minute, checking his chimp chip to confirm great focus, would have been fleeting.  IF he did glance at the general, noticing the softness on the eyes would have difficult with good eyes, let alone aging ones.  I can imagaine that eh general after a click or two said we're done here,   next item!

The Photog, upon seeing the shot in PS, said "OH $HIT".  There are some techniques to save the shot in PS.
Mike's - "Save your A$$ technique for missed focus"
1. DUP the BG,
2. Sharpen the DUP, Even way over sharpen until you think it's too much.
3. Throw a black layer mask over the sharpened layer.
4 at 3-400% at a low opacity say 30% paint in the essential elements with a single pixel brush, ( or 2-4 pixel, or really small. )
5. Essential elements meaning the Iris and the pupil, the eyelashes, some of the eyelash hairs, the nostrals, the lips and the teeth. (Avoid the artifacts created from the sharpening.)
6. add a Neutral Grey Layer (with the little box checked for 50% grey) then add some mono Noise, say 3 or 4 points, put a black mask on it and paint the noise in over and around the soft face. ( since the Noise is sharp it will help create apparent sharpness.
They fade the RT'd layers to taste.

I shot an executive once when I focused on his eyes and un-be-knownst to me, he shifted has weight slightly to his other foot thus moving his eyes backward just enough for me to say "OH $HIT" later in post.  Lesson learned the professional way-  the hard way.



It was interesting that I watched a show on NatGeo last night, about world leaders and this particular episode was a piece on Putin. One of the people interviewed was Platon, who shot the famous Man of the Year TIME cover. When one speaks of pressure and of time constraints, this shoot had it all - yet the shot is incredible.

His first thought when they passed by the Kremlin and continued into a deserted forest: "Am I going to be wacked??"
His gear was inspected by a guy wielding a machine gun, pointing it from each lens to the photographer to indicate he needed to prove it was harmless, and when he finally met Putin, he was surrounded by heavies.

I can't remember how much time he had, but he remarked he was only inches from Putin's nose when he shot the portrait and the entire experience was very stressful.

The Guardian interviewed him in 2008:
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2008/nov/13/photography-art

And a supersize image of the cover:
http://i.idnes.cz/07/122/org/MIZ1fd531_MDF79156.JPG

That's a pro at work - handling the pressure and getting the shot in the time allotted and in focus - exactly what you'd expect from a photographer hired to shoot the cover of a high profile magazine.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2017, 12:28:43 AM by Nanette Reid »

Offline Jeff Behm

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Re: Time headshot
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2017, 09:33:42 AM »
"Wow!" over that Putin story!  Thanks Nanette.