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Thread: Critique and Suggestions Please

  1. #1
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    Critique and Suggestions Please

    Hey all,

    I have been in love with photography since I picked up my first camera at age 12. (I'm now 20.) I was wondering if you guys could look over a few of my shots and let me know what you think of them. I'm open to as harsh of criticism as you wish, but please, let it be constructive. I'm really into shooting portraits and landscape. I do not at this point have a DSLR (hopefully I will in the next few month) but I try to make do with what I've got. I've been shooting on a Kodak EasyShare 812IS for three years now. Before I take that leap of faith that I may actually be able to do something with my pictures, I want to see what other, non-related people have to offer.

    1.


    2.


    3.


    4.


    5.


    Thanks for looking!
    Last edited by jmtonkin; 05-07-2011 at 06:30 PM.



  2. #2
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    I like your photos, I am a 'newbie' as well. Don't let the more experienced people intimidate you. I think we should all go for what we want, and the best way to become the best at something is with practice and hands on experience. You simply need to take the plunge, keep studying and keep taking pictures. It's obvious you already have some talent and skills, from what I can see. So take it from the eyes of someone who isn't critical, the rest of the world will most likely see beauty in your photos. The experts will find flaws, but all that can do is motivate you to keep trying. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbox View Post
    So take it from the eyes of someone who isn't critical, the rest of the world will most likely see beauty in your photos. The experts will find flaws, but all that can do is motivate you to keep trying.
    So the issue here is do you want to get opinions from the people who aren't critical or from those who are?

    What do you think is right and wrong about pictures #1 and #3?

    IMO, #4 because there is rarely anything about selective color that is either good or successful, #5 is just a snapshot of a girl holding an unidentifiable animal and #2 is a silhouette that every beginner takes and there's really nothing more to say about it.

    #1 and #3 actually seem like attempts to create a picture, to find a way to take a picture that is well composed and exposed but you need to be able to look at your own work and see the strong and the weak points.

    So......
    Lew

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Traveler View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowbox View Post
    So take it from the eyes of someone who isn't critical, the rest of the world will most likely see beauty in your photos. The experts will find flaws, but all that can do is motivate you to keep trying.
    So the issue here is do you want to get opinions from the people who aren't critical or from those who are?

    What do you think is right and wrong about pictures #1 and #3?

    IMO, #4 because there is rarely anything about selective color that is either good or successful, #5 is just a snapshot of a girl holding an unidentifiable animal and #2 is a silhouette that every beginner takes and there's really nothing more to say about it.

    #1 and #3 actually seem like attempts to create a picture, to find a way to take a picture that is well composed and exposed but you need to be able to look at your own work and see the strong and the weak points.

    So......

    I'm confused, are you asking me what I think is right and wrong, or the original poster? There is no 'issue' here for me. I simply was being encouraging, since I don't have a trained eye, I have no reason to rip her photos apart. They look fine to me. Sometimes that's okay, to you know, not always have a critical opinion of others photo's. As for what I think is 'wrong'.. I didn't know there could be a right and wrong in photography. If you weren't speaking to me, sorry! I have no problem with critiques, like I said.. it's important to learn and grow as a photographer. What I have a problem with is that we're all expected to be critical all the time, it's not my personality but also I do not have the technical knowledge. I can only give CC based on my personal reactions, which I didn't think would be very helpful. I will take constructive criticism, and I'll even give it if I feel the need to, but with her photos I liked them and that was my initial reaction.

  5. #5
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    So the issue here is do you want to get opinions from the people who aren't critical or from those who are?

    What do you think is right and wrong about pictures #1 and #3?

    IMO, #4 because there is rarely anything about selective color that is either good or successful, #5 is just a snapshot of a girl holding an unidentifiable animal and #2 is a silhouette that every beginner takes and there's really nothing more to say about it.

    #1 and #3 actually seem like attempts to create a picture, to find a way to take a picture that is well composed and exposed but you need to be able to look at your own work and see the strong and the weak points.
    I'm not sure who that post was directed at, but for me, I am open to input from anyone. I think its important to get an outsider opinion on these things. Your close friends/family are most likely to tell you that your work is great, even if it really isn't.

    For #5, what can I do to "spice" up the picture? Don't get me wrong, I don't think its an overly amazing picture, but I'm not seeing what classifies it as a "snapshot" compared to a "portrait." (The animal is a baby goat, by the way.) What can I do differently next time to move it from the "snapshot" category to the "portrait" category? Any advice when it comes to photographing people with small-ish animals?

    I'll admit, #1 and #3 are my favorite of these five pictures. Can you offer some more critique of these two? Given the opportunity, what should I try differently? Also, with a DSLR, is there something else I could try doing?

    Thanks for taking time to look!

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    1,2,3 are quite nice. Just need to straighten the horizen in the palm tree shot.

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    I find this kind of thread both infuriating and frustrating. And my guess is that many experienced photographers feel the same way because they are strikingly absent from the responses.

    Photography, like any art, requires work and experience to build skill, study to build knowledge and a modicum of talent. Most of all it requires some introspection, the ability to look at one's own work and compare it to what one has seen.

    Whether the viewers like it or not is totally unimportant to start. Why does the photographer like it?
    What does he or she see in it as a picture? What did she contribute that would make other people want to remember it? Why is it any more important than just a random picture taken by the camera left on a table?

    Has the OP been reading the posts here?
    Does she look at the threads with pictures like these and try and improve her own pictures?

    I suggest that the OP pick one of her pictures and analyze it. Tell us why it is good - or bad. What are its weak points? What are its strong points? What f stop was used and why? What shutter speed and why?
    Why that framing?
    Is the placement of the main object of interest good or bad? Is there enough room or too much?

    And the answer 'I like these pictures.'
    What good is that to the poster unless the commenter knows why and says so.
    A casual 'attaboy' is like candy, good taste but of no lasting benefit.

    I have inserted a short piece I wrote for a class on giving critiques

    Very few pictures presented for critique in the photo communities on the web are meant simply to convey detail or information, as does a driver’s license photo or a picture of how to assemble some mechanism.

    Pictures presented for critique generally are intended to have visual impact but, more than that, to convey a feeling, an impression, an emotion or an intellectual concept. The photographer uses all the technical and compositional tools at her or his command to achieve that. A critique should explore what the photographer did and how well it was done.

    A critique has two benefits; the intended one is to allow the photographer to see how his/her image is seen by others’ eyes - eyes that are unclouded by any emotional attachment to the image. The second benefit is that every critique can be a learning experience for the critic who sharpens his/her own eye by disentangling the many components of a photograph and weighing each of these to understand the photograph’s strengths, weaknesses and ultimate success.

    How is this ‘critique’ actually done?

    The feeling that the picture is great, good, mediocre or terrible is a visceral, emotional response; we need to be able to describe why we have that response. To understand that visceral response, the critic asks him/herself questions and the responses build the critique. The questions are meant to separate out the various components of a picture into manageable quantities so each of us can understand in some way why we feel as we do about the picture. (Think about the best chocolate chip cookies you’ve ever had and the recipe that made them.) The photographer’s ability and talent and the content do add an unquantifiable component but the critic needs to get as close as possible to picking out the qualities that make up the worth of each picture in his or her own eyes.

    Some potential questions:
    • What feelings or impressions come from the picture?
    • Are these feeling congruent with the content or subject?
    • Are there one or more centers of visual interest?
    • Is(are) the center(s) of interest - the main subject(s) - well placed within the frame and does the placement relate well to the rest of the content so that the viewer’s eye is drawn to, rather than away?
    • Is there excess space that pulls the eye away and drains any tension or drama from the picture?
    • Is there enough space so that nothing feels cramped or cut off?
    • Are there geometric issues? e.g. are the horizontals and vertical correct, and is that important?
    • Is the composition appropriate for the content?
    • Is the color or tonality appropriate for the content? Saturation or lack of it? Correct hues, white balance?
    • Does the color make the point that the photographer wants?
    • Is the sharpness or lack of sharpness appropriate?
    • Is everything that should be in focus and sharp, actually so?
    • In the reverse, is there so much depth of field, that attention is drawn away from the real object of interest?
    • Are there individual small defects - points of motion, dirt on the lens/sensor, out-of-focus spots that hurt the image, unduly bright areas that draw the eye?

    More questions may occur to you to add to your concept of each image; your summation should be - in your opinion, why is this picture good/bad/indifferent and could the photographer have done something differently or better to increase the impact of the picture?

    Respond to the picture as presented without suggestions for different angles, etc. If the environment is friendly and the photographer is willing to listen, then suggest possible technical or technique changes that, in your opinion, might improve the picture.

    Remember that wonderful, successful pictures may have many small defects and still be great. Conversely, a technically perfect picture may be completely uninteresting. Photography, as all arts are, is clearly a realm where the whole may not be equal to the sum of the parts.
    If you want to be a casual photographer, go ahead, no one will stop you and, tbh, no one cares. If you want to be an artist who uses photography as his/her medium, work at it.

    And if my opinion about your pictures is so discouraging to your idea to be an artist that you quit, then you probably didn't care enough to persevere in any case. Photography and art is hard, not just the learning and the skills, but the eventual realization that creation is difficult even for skillful, talented people. I know that I will never be a great artist, or probably even a good one, but I work really hard to achieve what I can.

    You are 20 years old, not 5. The way you start is working and studying and taking the hard knocks - and no amount of candy in the form of meaningless 'likes' is worth anything to you in the long run.
    Lew

    An Approach to Post-Processing (a long article with two start-to-finish examples )

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    Get over yourself.

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    oh, yah.
    Sorry about words with more than one syllable.
    banderson likes this.
    Lew

    An Approach to Post-Processing (a long article with two start-to-finish examples )

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    Must you always be so condescending to everybody ?
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    I am unpleasant or rude to those that take snide shots at me and, if it bothers you, I encourage you to put me on ignore so you will be spared that sight.
    Just let me know and I will do the same to you so I won't be tempted to look at pictures you post.

    Comfy?
    Lew

    An Approach to Post-Processing (a long article with two start-to-finish examples )

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    Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution(1924):

  12. #12
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    I am just wondering where that condescending rudeness comes from.
    But you can put me on ignore if you like. I never put people on ignore.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FranDaMan View Post
    I am just wondering where that condescending rudeness comes from.
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Traveler View Post
    I am unpleasant or rude to those that take snide shots at me
    I put a good amount of effort into responses - and they are straightforward, honest responses to the questions posed -

    I try to make the response appropriate to the knowledge and experience level of the person asking. What really bugs me is exactly what I said above - people who ask questions without doing any of the work of reading and understanding first.

    I generally, as most of the more experienced people do, just don;t respond to these kinds of questions but this was a specific case when a question was asked and then there was a response that said to, in effect, ignore all the more experienced answers.

    There is a thread here where people talk about raw conversions - and there are 5, 6 or more really knowledgeable contributors on that thread who don't generally get involved with C/C of beginners; there seems to be an entire stratum of people, beginners, here expecting to be fed the answers and not do any work.
    Lew

    An Approach to Post-Processing (a long article with two start-to-finish examples )

    11 Tips for Beginning photographers

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    Art is not a mirror, but a hammer: it does not reflect, it shapes.
    Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution(1924):

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Traveler View Post
    art is hard
    Ima gonna us that in my sig, K?
    jowensphoto and banderson like this.
    Best thread EVER!

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    Well, if I ask a question, I expect to be fed answers. Then I would go out and try to put the advice into practice and see what happens.
    If I dont wanne be fed the answers, I wouldn't ask the questions, right ?
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