Rework Wednesday – Stephen G. Hipperson Day

Over the course of the last several weeks, Stephen G. Hippperson has been kind enough to take the time to leave very constructive comments on some of my efforts, and I wanted to take some time to challenge my skills to see about post-processing according to his comments. I’ve ad mixed results, but here’s my effort.

Stephen had this to say about my post Emerald: “In this particular case, I find the oof foliage in the foreground acts as a break to me entering the rest of the picture. It’s unfortunate that it’s so out of focus because the ground level in the same plain is less so – the foliage thus appears as a blob. The oof foliage is also the brightest point in the picture so it tends to drag my eye too. You could try darkening that part which might lessen its magnet like qualities – if you can manage to darken the brightest parts to something like those at the left lower corner the viewers eye would be drawn into the picture by the brighter background.
Without those leaves, I like the diagonal line of the fallen trees leading our eye from the lower left into the counter line of the strata of the rock and natural line of the brambles.
You might also try a little vignetting to the top left corner, which tends to lead out of the picture.”


Well, I gave it the old college try, but to be honest I don’t care much for this photo and I don’t think it has a lot of potential. I snapped the shutter because I liked the texture, but I didn’t compose it well and it’s too busy to edit a lot of the composition flaws out. My attempt to darken the foliage in front I think is too obviously-edited.

Next Photo: “I don’t know how good your selection skills are but you may find a slight defocus of the background will help separate your model and the rig from the background – the only difficult area looks to be the demarcation between his hair and the background – everything else looks like a pretty sharp interface. Maybe a dodge of vignetting to the top. I applaud your choice of prop and the fact your model seems to be dressed ‘in keeping’ with that sort of subject. You clearly have a rapport with this model.”

Colton Thresher-5

well my selection abilities apparently aren’t very good :) I tried a lot of techniques and tools on this, but in general the background just didn’t want to be blurred. In the end I just painted a blur over everything. Again, the editing is way too obvious and just doesn’t work for me.

Next up: “I quite like the composition here, but the brightness of the rock to the right is imposing itself on the scene. Darkening it slightly will allow your model to dominate the picture.”

Colton Rock-


I really appreciated this comment and I think this edit works well. All it took was a gradiant to bring the exposure down on the right side of the photo, and the entire image is much better balanced.

And finally: “Can I recommend you try darkening the white wood showing in the doorway? the lines behind her head are a powerful inducement for our eyes to roam along them and thence to the light patches there.”

Madison Stairs-


Significant improvement.

The broad takeaway from all these comments is that I need to pay more attention to details, particularly the small ones, when I’m behind the camera as well as in front of the computer. Small and easy changes can often do much to significantly improve the viewer’s experience.

Thanks Stephen!

2 thoughts on “Rework Wednesday – Stephen G. Hipperson Day

  1. The photos of Madison are some of the best you’ve posted. Not sure how they could be improved.

    As for the second shot, I am thinking the dof is limited just at the models hair. A stop smaller and you probably would have nailed it without having to worry about dodging or selecting.

    • Madison is a joy to work with and I hope I have the opportunity to shoot more of her. The issue in this particular one was just a patch of distracting background light that I should have got first time around. (Now that I’m looking at it on a bright computer monitor, I see I still need to edit the vertical line some more.

      For the second shot, I was a 20 feet away from the subject on that one, so I probably needed to open up to maybe 3.2 or wider instead of the chosen 5.6 to get the kind of DOF being discussed. The trees were very far behind the subject, and even at 5.6 they were pretty clearly in focus. Probably what I really really needed to do was get closer to the subject instead of fiddling with the settings. I cropped enough of the photo out that I could have been just half the distance from him, which would have put the DOF at 4 feet instead of 20 at 5.6.

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