Can you critique me.

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by msbarnes, Jul 18, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Not a thing in the world wrong there, especially when you have good subject material handy. Nothing wrong with the technique, so there's nothing to critique (criticize). Sure can't do that kind of work around where I live. No subject material. Pretty good work there.
     
  3. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    The last one is the best, not generic looking for a portrait. The contrast of the black dress and the white ground is very nice.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Nice. I like the tones and flow of 1 & 2 the best. #3 intrigues me because I'm a bit bothered by the upward gaze (too much nostril, perhaps?) but keep going back wishing there was a bit more "below the frame" showing. Just a little more, not much more.
     
  5. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I a specific question about exposure/fill.

    I guess this is more of a style thing but in another forum someone commented that my exposure is bad and that I needed to use fill via reflector or flash. I think that my exposure is fine as I get enough shadow detail but something like fill I would consider.

    Ofcourse this is more of a style and personal choice but is anyone put off by this?

    I'm thinking of using a reflector and/or flash for for under harsh conditions like the last image and images like this:

    77.jpg

    Well I'll have to play around with it, but I worry that using artificial lighting to fill might make things look unnatural...but the trick might be in the skill of lighting.
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Not put off by it, but a tad more lighting of the eyes in photo 1 was a thought of mine
     
  7. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    That was my thought. The light on the shoulderblades is good but in all your photos, the face is poorly lit. Eyes should sparkle rather than being in pits of shadow.
     
  8. mrred

    mrred Subscriber

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    I liked them all, but the 1st one had too little DOF. I find that your subject would have been better emphasized with a broader focus. As usual, this is probably a taste issue.

    Good work. You are on the path of many great images.
     
  9. mesantacruz

    mesantacruz Subscriber

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    wonderful photos... I'm no expert myself, but i would add some fill or flash... of course i would decide this based on the sync speed of your camera, and given that you mostly use natural light, reflector is the natural answer....

    btw... the 1st photograph is my favorite of the four... moreover, i think the focus is fine and the shadow/darkness of it is awesome... putting a fill in here, would ruin the mood of such a photograph, which i see is somewhat prevalent here.

    i mentored with a photographer who went from medium format to digital with many years of experience, the thing he always emphasized was catchlights (of course in the case of photo 1 and many others on your website the photographs don't call for catchlights).. I think for those that do merit in some fill light also deserve some catchlights.

    all in all, those are awesome photographs.
     
  10. jvo

    jvo Subscriber

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    excellent use of light... and spacing. i like them though it's easier to find things that i'd criticize if it my work... since you asked i'll offer it!
    #1 i'd like the face to be sharper, it would "attract me more
    #2 the window is growing out of her chin
    #3 is excellent, my favorite... i get real emotion and connection/cooperation between photographer and model in creating something
    #4 that sharpness again. i might even increase the contrast and moving the model back and using the tire tracks.

    keep going, wish i'd done them!

    jvo
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    OK, may I suggest the following - Take a pepper (as made famous by Edward Weston), or some round/elliptical object and try lighting it and photographing it in many different ways. This will make you devoid of any personal connection with the subject. Then apply what you have learnt to your next model.
     
  12. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    The most difficult thing for people when beginning to make portraits is thinking that a portrait really has to be a portrait. Are you making a photograph of a person, or a photograph of what they're wearing?

    #3 and 4 seem to want to think they are fashion photographs, but they don't stand up to the weight of the challenge. I'm partial to #1, tonally and compositionally, although the fact that the strongest highlight is on her shoulder instead of her cheekbones or something is a bit offputting because it draws your eye to an out of focus area of the picture that isn't really more interesting than the focal point. #2 looks more to be a picture of a girlfriend or something, rather than a "portrait" of someone else. Whether you want to communicate this sort of feeling sort of makes or breaks the photograph...I find these sorts of pictures more interesting as part of a narrative grouping, rather than one offs.


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  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi michael

    nice grouping !

    i guess i could critique you and mention dust, things to crop, lighting &c but i don't think that matters
    fill light might help illuminate your subject a little more, if you are going for
    the "beauty shot" aesthetic, but if these are photographs of a friend, at ease
    in front a a lens and you at ease with her, i think they worked out ...

    you could easily fix the lighting in the dark ( or light ) room but burning and dodging
    and crop funny lines ( by thigh ) or spot the dust out ...
    using natural light to make portraits is never an easy task, flat overcast light is nice
    bright sun burns out highlights and makes heavy shade .. reflectors and flash can help
    but then you have brought a studio along with you ... a flash and a cord might be fun too
    plug it into your PC socket and match it to the sun, and use it as a fill ... it all takes practice ..

    it looks like you will have lots more nice photographs coming out of your camera, keep practicing ...
    john
     
  14. bvy

    bvy Subscriber

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    I saw that too, but it's really only apparent in the thumb. I don't think it's an issue when viewed large -- on screen or in print.
     
  15. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I would use a reflector on all shots except the full body one in the desert.
     
  16. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another ditto about reflectors and fill. Also want to echo the notion of depth-of-field: you need to control it better. Two shots could use a little more depth of field - #1 and #4. I know it's tempting to think of your images in terms of f2.8 from your Rollei's ground glass, but sometimes it's hard to tell when waist-level viewing on that small of a screen how sharp something really is. Start paying attention to the DoF guide on the focusing knob- it will help visualize what is and isn't sharp. Assume the human body takes up a 3' x3' square when standing still, and a 6'x 6' square when moving or gesturing. Do you have 6' of DoF at the given aperture when shooting the woman out in the desert? Is all of her contained within that 6'? Obviously when shooting a tight head-and-shoulders (or closer) portrait, you're not going to need that kind of volume, nor would you want EVERYTHING necessarily in focus. But what is/is not in focus should be deliberate, regardless.
     
  17. rbender

    rbender Member

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    These are all good photographs. Be careful getting too close with a normal lens, it tends to distort the features. Most beautiful women don't care for that. As said above experiment with a reflector it's more natural than a fill flash and easier to see what your getting unless your shooting polaroids (fuji). Getting a polaroid back and doing that can be very helpful before putting it on film. Back in the day polaroid was your friend but it does add to the expense, no reshoots especially with models :smile: Keep shooting it looks great.
     
  18. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Is this a snide remark? Because I honestly do not understand what you mean by this commentary.
     
  19. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions so far. A lot of these compositional and technical errors I wouldn't have thought about! Like the window frame for #2 and the nostril thing for #3.

    I am going to make an effort to pay more attention on lighting, especially fill and look out for distracting background elements in my composition. The DOF is a tricky thing because of shutterspeeds and films (I shoot low ISO in subdued light often) but I will try to be more aware of this and maybe use a tripod (these are all handheld).

    I guess it is important for me to think of what emotions I am trying to evoke and convey. It is a little different everytime but I'm not really deliberately going for fashion, glamour, or a conventional portrait. I have to think this through.
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    He's actually being serious. I don't necessarily agree 100%, but his point is valid. It will actually help you to understand the effects of lighting to photograph a single inanimate object in varying lighting conditions. Get anything, really- a pepper, a stuffed animal, an egg (if you're really up for a challenge - shoot an egg in high key lighting, preserving detail in the highlights of the egg against a white background!) and play Flat Stanley with it, at least as far as lighting conditions are concerned. Shoot it high key, shoot it low key, change the relationship between it and your light source by moving it, and then by moving the light source, and then by moving yourself relative to it and the light source. While you're doing all that, pay attention to the background and the subject's relationship with it. The reason for using the inanimate object is that you'll be trying to accurately render the observable physical characteristics of the object instead of trying to capture the emotional response you have to the subject. It's a good exercise - not to get your heart to detach from portrait subjects, but to train your eye to detach so it sees the form and the shape, color and texture without being distracted by the emotive aspect.
     
  21. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    Thank you for the clarification. Thinking about it, that actually makes a lot of sense.
     
  22. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    Not a critique per se but just my quick personal thoughts:

    #1: Bad use of wide angle for a portrait. Not enough fill light. A reflector is key in those situations. Dusty neg.
    #2: Excellent portrait but the window is really bothering me. It brings me back to your setup instead of keeping my attention on the model.
    #3: The best of the bunch by a long shot.
    #4: Too amateur on all accounts. The pose, the hidden feet in the sand, the non-existent left arm, the hair hiding her face, the sunglasses, the little shack on the horizon is distracting, the sand itself is distracting with all the Tire trails.
     
  23. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    His remark is the very best thing that you can do to understand the light in relation to a subject. It's photography 101 and classic practice.

    Nowadays, everyone is a "Pro photographer". Buy a camera, read a few forums and and expert is born. Back then, when photography was a serious thing with classes and teachers, the Pepper was an imperative homework.
     
  24. jcc

    jcc Member

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    Her outfit barely has detail on the top, but turns to a wedge of black towards the bottom. You could have exposed for her face, and controlled the highlights either through development or burning — looks like the exposure was just an average of the whole scene. In this case, a reflector would have helped; especially to soften the harsh shadow that is distractingly slashing down her neck and shoulders. The shadows are blatantly obvious if you shoot in mid-day sun, so use them to help your composition; otherwise, grab a coffee and wait for the sun to soften or clouds to roll in. Just my two cents on this one.