In the second photo the fuzzy object in the foreground detracts my eye from the subject matter. It has no place in the picture and should not be there. In both shots the shadows are too dark and detail is lost. The hair, the eyes and the jacket are too dark and blacked out.
I prefer the 1st picture. However, the very bright upper left is in stark contrast to the lower left of the image, which is black. This causes an unbalanced effect and is not easy for me eyes to traverse. A tighter frame might have been better, or even more of the subject with more of a story coming out of the surroundings, or a contrasty subject against a blown out sky (no house in the background) with more detail in the subject features might have been more interesting.
NB. The darkness might be my work monitor.
Looks like you should have added a bit of a fill-in flash to lighten up a bit the character in the picture.
This negative could be saved with a little bit of dodging, though.
Ok-the darkness is a JPEG compression issue and/or a monitor issue- I scanned these and adjusted them on my monitor at home which is calibrated and profiled. Looking at them on my monitor at work, they're much darker than they are on my monitor at home, which is par for the course - my monitor at work which is not profiled is always dark.
The fuzzy object is a parking meter.
Hi Scott. I like them very much! If I had shot them I would have had less head room in the first and more nose room in the second, or if i was enlarging, crop them as such. Very nice portraits, thanks for sharing.
Seems dark on my work computer monitor too. The darkness doesn't suit my impression of him, which is quite a bit more jovial than the first glance at the image gives. Also, I'd like to see some light in his eyes (not that every image needs catch lights but they can help).
Agreed on the parking meter being a bit too prominent in the frame/distinguishable than just giving some depth cues.
Can you describe how the picture is to be used, or for what intention it was taken? Any feedback may then be more constructive.