Two Piper Christmas Photos

So, I took a couple of shots of Piper laying under the tree during the Christmas holiday.  I developed them in two very different ways (other than doing both as HDR’s)

I don’t recall all the settings on the photos themselves, as they’ve been sitting in my blog folder waiting to be posted since December 12th, but I do want to share both and see which one you all like the both.

The first has an accurate white balance and a high detail level.  I like the way the shadows and hair on Piper make a very interesting texture and feel.  I also like the way the floor looks in this photo.  This is a photo that came out as a quite sharp shot and while the textures are interesting, I don’t think that the high detail level is flattering for my beautiful girl.  Regardless, here’s the first HDR photo.

The second photo uses the yellow/orange light of the Christmas lights to make a warmer shot.  I also spent time softening out the photo and getting rid of the somewhat harshly detailed feel of the first one. (They were both processed the same in Photomatix)

So this is the second shot.

Which one do you all like better and why?  Can you all think of things that I should or could have done differently in the photos either in composition or other technique?


3 responses to “Two Piper Christmas Photos

  1. “I don’t think that the high detail level is flattering for my beautiful girl.” How is clarity a bad thing? I think both shots are nice, but I like the first one more. As with most of my critiques, it falls down to composition more than your technical specs though.

    I like that I can’t see as much of the background (specifically the cage) in the first one. It allows me to focus on what’s important in the shot — her and the tree. I also like her expression, staring at the tree…or at the emptiness under the tree. I realize you took these weeks before Christmas, but I’m glad you posted it after because to me she seems to be lamenting the holiday’s passing and the (assumed) joy it brought her. … or maybe she just wants you to go away so she can get at the water under the tree, I don’t know.

    I don’t mind the warmer tones on Piper in the second shot, but I feel that overall the image ends up looking too yellow. The color balance feels awkward. Try squinting until it all gets blurry — everything becomes masses of slightly different yellow/brown with one green blob in the top left corner (and a hint of red beneath). The first image isn’t exactly a rainbow of color either, but I feel like it has a better balance.

    • I agree on the clutter in the background, unfortunately the photo was candid and I can’t go decluttering my background for every random photo I take, she just happened to lay there and my camera was right next to me so I started shooting.

      As for the detail level, with the HDR, it makes her fur look way too contrasty for my taste and it looks unnatural to me, that’s what I meant by the high detail level isn’t flattering. It’s kind of like you take a photo of a person with such high detail that you can see every pore, even if in person, motion, lighting and a variety of other factors tend to blend them into the skin a lot better and it isn’t flattering.

      I completely agree with the feel, and I know Piper is missing her mommy and daddy being home quite a bit more over the holidays. (Oh and the tree is fake, no water)

      I don’t mind the color balance on the bottom shot, that yellow is what really was there with the lighting from the tree. I don’t think it’s very awkward, but you are right, it does lean the whole photo toward yellows and leaves the photo having less variety of colors. I personally think it feels warm.

      All that said, I also like the top shot better, though I think I would like a combination of what I did to the two photos done to the top one better. I love the pose, the angle and the actual photo a lot better, but I think some softening of the photo would work better for the content and her expression.

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