Maria. Who has a really awesome lop-sided smile.

OK, another one on the educational/informational side, which is my excuse for posting a bad photo. The biggie here is pay attention to your backgrounds; even shooting at f/1.8 the background is still defined enough that you see the white road stripe passing through her head. Aieee, people often don't notice this until I point it out but it bugs me no end. I wasn't thinking when I took this shot. You should!

The 50mm f/1.8D is still awesome! On DX digital it's about the equivalent of a 75mm lens on a full-frame camera, equivalent, which of course is a nice focal length for portraits. It's also sharp enough that you don't worry about shooting it wide-open when you really need it, as I did here.

Post-processing trickery: I shot it with the "Shade" white balance as a starting point for RawTherapee, and tweaked it to be somewhat cooler. I used a negative value for RawTherapee's vignetting correction, which adds vignetting. I still added a little more later with GIMP. Another trick I used was to sharpen clothing and hair, which makes faces look relatively softer. The final trick I used was to use layer masks to slightly, and I do mean very slightly, desaturate the background. Don't overdo any of these things: any such processing should be subtle enough that you'll only see it if you know it's there. (Of course, you'll notice it now.)

I'm pretty thick-skinned (ask around), but I am actually insanely self-critical. Something that has stuck with me was a comment along the lines of "most of his subjects just look annoyed with him". It's entirely possible that I am actually annoying (ask around), but either way, now I read annoyance into all my people photographs, including this one. Meh. Hey, bad reviews are good for you, if they make you improve, and I hope I have. Thanks, random people on Internet forums!

Tech trivia: Nikon D2H shutter actuation #396,018, Nikon 50mm f/1.8D at f/1.8, 1/1600 at ASA 200, shot in raw and brought into the real world with RawTherapee.

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