Saturday, April 7, 2012
Sharpness of a portrait
It is true most if not all the camera and lens development with goal to reach the ultimate quality that is quantitative, with objective properties, such as contrast, color accuracy, sharpness, noise and many more – they are not wrong, but those are the goal of a photography tool, not the goal of photograph itself.
Portraiture photograph is perhaps one of the subjects that most exemplify the subject. Modern society although has also evolved digitally, thanks Facebook, but the likelihood of one individual meeting another is still much greater than the time before us albeit not at the same level as electronic social networking. In other words, we are seeing portraits everyday, ourselves in the mirror, family, friends, colleagues, strangers. And they all come in varies sharpness, because of how we see it, and when we see it, and many times, how we want to see it.
Coming back to photographic portrait itself – is a portrait sharper always better? May be not, at least I don’t believe so. Applying to modern digital photography, this means one may be able to take a technically sharp image in original capture, but it is always depending on individual artist to define the final sharpness – which I like the term Adobe use “Unsharp Mask” – to determine how artist wishes the viewer to see the final image, as we did everyday.
Of course a critical sharpness is still preferred, but it is just a beginning. The camera and lens in use, the choice of isis, speed, direction and distant from the light source, or with artificial lighting – how the light was shaped and etc. all contribute to the sharpness at the moment of capture – that gives the photographer a solid ground to move forward.