Critique please - Portrait In the park

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by Robclarke, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. Robclarke

    Robclarke Member

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  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Sweet. Very expressive.
     
  3. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Its a lovely image.

    Personally, I find the fabric on her shirt to be distractingly busy, but otherwise I wouldn't change a thing.

    Cheers!
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    This is quite different - in an interesting way, but I'm not sure that it is different in a pretty or attractive way.

    So if you are trying to present it as a child portrait that the parents will love, I'm not sure that it succeeds

    The eyes bother me - they follow me as I move around the room.

    And the out of focus arm reaching back to the fence somehow makes the child look overly large.

    Sorry if I sound a bit harsh.
     
  5. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    In all portraits, the eyes must give something, communicate something, to the viewer. Remember Steve McCurry's famed image, the Afghan Girl of 1985? What was it that struck the world dumb? It was the eyes, no less. This image is a winner for those big, bold, clear and expressive eyes. Depth of field has been well controlled to add just a touch of background accompaniment that suits the photo and there appears to be spontaneity in the fleeting pose, but only you can tell us what it really is. The colour and clarity is quite striking. It's the sort of pic I would frame and hang in my gallery. It is beautiful. :smile:
     
  6. clayne

    clayne Member

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    I like the exposure, composition, development, etc. but I don't care too much for the facial expression as there is a bit of a menacing feeling coming from it. I'm not sure if she's uncertain or insecure about the situation, or what's causing it, but it's there. Shirt pattern doesn't bother me.
     
  7. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I agree with the comments that the photo is well done technically.
     
  8. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Since you asked, I can be critical, right?

    To me, this portrait of a child does not work very well. Here are my reasons. First of all, it does not look natural. The setting, the pose, the expression, and choice of clothing does not belong to a child of this age. It's more like moody teenager type photograph. Also, I'm not sure what this photograph says.... It doesn't say happy child. It also doesn't say she's sad about something. It doesn't say a child being herself. It doesn't say.... anything particular. My eyes goes to her eyes immediately. (that's great) but then goes to her right arm and right out the frame. (not good)

    Not saying I can do better. But this is what I would say, if I was asked to comment critically. I'm sorry this is so critical and negative.
     
  9. Robclarke

    Robclarke Member

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    Thank you for the very interesting thoughts. I didn't expect such wonderfully detailed and insightful critique, it is very helpful to have your impartial appraisal. BTW This is just a candid shot of my daughter.
     
  10. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Critique means an informed, balanced, impartial and educated assessment. It does not mean critical in the scathing, searing, judgemental, contrived sense (no, that's not you, but just giving an example). Critical analysis would go much, much deeper than the brevity of on the spot scope sought by the OP.
     
  11. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    In that case, it is a great photograph of a beautiful child :D.
     
  12. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Yes, if this wasn't posed, I agree with MattKing. When I heard the word Portrait, I assumed you put her there when she wanted to play or have an ice cream. :smile: :smile: :smile:
     
  13. Robclarke

    Robclarke Member

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    Oh right. No I don't generally do posing just take shots when I see an opportunity.
     
  14. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I'll add a few thoughts to the discussion:

    1. The eyes arrest attention, and draw the viewer into the picture. That is very well done.
    2. The expression is one of those that will become hilarious later on in life. People don't generally smile or laugh very often, 90% of the time they have a neutral expression on their face. To me the expression says something like curiosity or surprise, but also a slight sense of not wanting to be in front of the camera, like hesitation. That's how I read her face.
    3. With time this picture will become more and more valuable to both you and your daughter. Make sure you print it and present it nicely, maybe for her 20th birthday or something.
    4. The colors are very saturated. That's neither good nor bad, just a fact.
    5. That out of focus arm does make her seem a little disjointed, and it does bother me somewhat.

    All in all it's a charming portrait with a pretty strong expression, that communicates well with the viewer through those crisp and clear eyes.
     
  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I find the picture a bit disturbing, as she lokks a bit like a doll and I'm not sure what the image is trying to convey. In that sense it leaves the viewer with questions which adds to the power of the image.
     
  16. JohnRichard

    JohnRichard Member

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    Agreed. It's fantastic, but that fabric...
     
  17. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    Can you crop it, say like 5x7? that would potentially minimize the arm and fabric issue. Otherwise looks great.
     
  18. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Basicaly take what tkamia said and reverse it.

    I like the fabric -- it really brings out the baby-smooth skin. A solid color would have been bland and detract from the skin. And I really enjoy being able to see her right hand...being out of focus, it does not lead me off the image. I like the way it also defines the distance between the child and the fence. The image is very 'kid'...drawing from having raised triplet boys. The expression (and the eyes) is what makes this an interesting portrait instead of just another snap of the kid. Kids can be very intense -- we just tend not to see it in posed photos.

    Her head size may seem a little out-of-proportion, but that is realiity for you -- kids' bodies tend to grow into their head size.

    Great portrait! I do not recommend any crop!
     
  19. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    Some of it might be monitor calibrations. Supposedly my monitor is calibrated but what do I know for sure compared to yours? To me the picture is perfectly good and the expression is cute like she is making a kissy face. The background is like a classic hand painted image.

    That said I find the jpg painful to look at. It looks very digital and terribly over sharpened with odd pixelation going on in the background. The overall contrast is way too harsh and unpleasant. It almost looks like a color Weegee shot. If it was digital I would think you need to go back to the raw file and adjust the curve so the white point is farther out. If it was a negative you hired me to make a print of I would take a piece of film box cellophane and wave it under the lens during exposure. On my monitor that shirt that is so sharp and busy hurts my eyes.


    Dennis
     
  20. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I'm not really drawn to it but I would try something.

    Crop the bottom up to where you take out the arm skin on the close arm. When you do that you pull the attention immediately to the eyes. Any skin not adding to the picture should usually be removed in this type of picture.

    Because of that I would have probably shot the picture horizontally but I don't really know what you had to deal with at this location.

    I'm not a huge fan of the expression but it's a kid and sometimes that's what you get. Some may think it's cute, but personally I don't really.

    But crop like I said and the eyes are far more powerful.

    Your flat lighting is not really to my taste but your background is handled well. I'd try for more of a direction of light.

    I know the photography world is filled with fill the frame types but I rarely do. I want cropping options later so I'm far more loose in shooting so I have options. That probably came from shooting square all those years.
     
  21. Iluvmycam

    Iluvmycam Member

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    Nice pix!
     
  22. ScarletBrown

    ScarletBrown Member

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    Great composition, exposure and technically developments and yes i love the most is expression with beautiful eyes. Really very expressive portrait in park.
     
  23. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Very nice. My grandson now 21 has those eyes and I too was fortunate to have photographed him in color at about the same age as your subject. Not a critique but have you considered cropping the image just above the sleeve line of her left arm? I think it will draw one's eye more to the face and present a stronger image.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/