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suggestions for manual correction and method of portraits taken with 35mm lens?

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Jon Iverson
suggestions for manual correction and method of portraits taken with 35mm lens?
on Jan 11, 2019 at 6:27:33 pm

I wasn't sure where to place this question as I no longer use Photoshop, but most of what Photoshop does, I can also do in Affinity Photo so here goes.

I've been experimenting with self portraits using a Pentax DSLR with its 18-55 mm kit lens. This is done indoors using a speedlight with light softened and directed by a softbox umbrellas. Even with this simple set up, I'm really liking the results except that, with such small focal lengths, my nose and mouth often appear a bit larger than they should be in the photos. Now I know both Photoshop and Affinity both have automatic lens distortion corrections when opening and working on the RAW, but from what I'm seeing, I don't think this is enough and I'm supplementing manually. Basically being a beginner at portrait photography but fairly well versed in Photoshop/ Affinity, I have been selecting and feathering my nose and mouth, then reducing size by 5 and 2.5%, respectively. Looks better, but wondering if it's sufficient. What do you do? Is there a better way? Do you correct anything else? I've tried pucker/ pinch tools, but I don't like the result as much as simple size reduction of the areas.

Of course, a portrait lens would be the answer, that is, if I had the extra cash, which I don't. I do have a Zeiss 135mm f3.5 lens, but I don't think this would work well indoors (although I am going to try soon just to see how it does).

Thanks, in advance, for any suggestions.


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Dominic Deacon
Re: suggestions for manual correction and method of portraits taken with 35mm lens?
on Jan 11, 2019 at 8:32:37 pm

Why don't you think the Zeiss would work indoors? I guess you need a bit of room for 135mm but I would much prefer to be taking portraits with that than a 55mm lens.

I'm not versed in Affinity at all but a couple versions back adobe added a Face Aware Liquify mode for specifically this. I guess this doesn't help you at all but Affinity does seem to try to mimic new photoshop features so hopefully you'll have it soon and for others having the same issues it's an excellent solution. On the right hand side of the Liquify panel you have sliders for the size of all facial objects which Photoshop has identified automatically. It works amazingly well and as a portrait photographer no one has ever picked that I've enlarged their eyes, shrunk their nose and brought up their chin.


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Jon Iverson
Re: suggestions for manual correction and method of portraits taken with 35mm lens?
on Jan 11, 2019 at 9:44:01 pm

Dominic, thanks for your response. Well, I actually just tried the Zeiss a little while ago. I was then faced with two issues: 1)barely enough room for me to still do any camera adjustments and also technically not quite enough distance to get my entire head in frame (my room is just a bit small, but could work if I fiddle a little), and (2) the more serious issue of losing my umbrella flash- since my on camera flash triggers the umbrella flash optically, it's now too far to do it.

I remember the face aware liquify feature; unfortunately Affinity still doesn't have it, but they do have the liquify tools.


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Kalleheikki Kannisto
Re: suggestions for manual correction and method of portraits taken with 35mm lens?
on Jan 12, 2019 at 9:03:10 am

Lens correction cannot change the distance from which you shoot the photo, it just fixes the curving of straight lines at the lens edges.

The right solution should be obvious, but here are two unusual an non-optimal ideas for your situation:

1) Shoot with 55 mm from as far away as you can get and crop

2) Shoot with 135 mm via a mirror and flip

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer


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