Confidence Shot, Construtive Cristicism Needed

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by little_earthquakes, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. little_earthquakes

    little_earthquakes TPF Noob!

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    I applied to be in the Just Starting Out Business forums at a popular child photography forum online, and I didn't get in. And now, my confidence is totally shot. The knowledge that a pro photographer looked at my photos and found that to be sub par is really bothering me. I know they are not perfect and I don't claim to be the best photographer EVER, not by a long shot (no pun intended).

    I can't figure out why my photos are so bad that I can't even get into a "just starting out" pro forum. I'm not totally untrained here, I certainly don't know everything...and I'm not claiming to. I keep going over and over my photos and I just can't figure it out. So, I guess I need another set of eyes.

    You tell me...what's the problem? I know I occasionally have some sharpness/exposure issues, but taken as a whole I thought my portfolio was at least good enough for a "just starting out" business forum. I guess not?

    http://www.littleearthquakesphotography.com/
    http://www.lephoto.wordpress.com/
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Photography is an art you can't please everyone. I know some actual professional photographers who run a local gallery. Their photos do nothing at all for me.

    Maybe the person who reviewed your photos just isn't on the same wavelength.
     
  3. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Are you asking for a critique of the portfolio?
     
  4. shorty6049

    shorty6049 TPF Noob!

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    my advice, wich is partially the advice that i was given by someone a while back, is just read books about it, look up photography sites, maybe critique your images and say, whats wrong with this picture? and go through, do you have a strong subject? do you follow the fundamental rules of photography?(rule of 3rds, etc) dont follow the rules all the time, but keep them in mind, but anyway, thats what I would say you should do... but i'm just an amature myself so.... the blind leading the blind i guess...
     
  5. Jeepnut28

    Jeepnut28 TPF Noob!

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    the biggest thing I see is that your images are all of the same kids.....your comps are nice, but to me as an outside observer it looks like you just took out your kids, nephews, nieces or friend's kids and shot them over a couple of weeks time......

    I have the same issue on my website......all the same damn people! try to get shots of different kids and subjects and then pick only the best from your shoots.......in short, add some variety.
     
  6. little_earthquakes

    little_earthquakes TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I was wanting some feedback.

    Totally, my portfolio needs way more people in it. It's actually a few months worth of photos, but I am definitely still portfolio building. I'd charge less than I do if film and processing costs weren't so high.

    I do follow the rule of thirds. Or at least, I try. There is one shot in there that is a blatant bullesye view (one of my daughter walking away on the grass) but I do still like it. I've thought about taking it out.

    Thanks for the tips. Variety is needed, I agree. And I do need to work on my exposure issues and sharpness (the sharpness will be helped when I buy a better lens).
     
  7. Remi M.

    Remi M. TPF Noob!

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    Ok, I'm going to be the bad guy I guess, but you asked for constructive criticism.

    I don't know if you used your web site as a example of your work for the submission to the forum, but since your site is also a example of you work to act as a advertisement for your business I'm going to critique it based on the web site.

    I looked over it and I think you should trim it down... allot. I think you should pick no more then 10 of your best shots in each category and no more then 2 shots of the same child. Pick the best stuff and keep it small because your good shots are going to get lost in a sea of lesser ones. And honestly, you do have some great shots in there.

    Loose the music, most people are already listening to something else or at work not wanting to advertise the fact as to what they are doing. The first thing I look for is how to shut the music off, as fast as possible, even if it is nice.

    Your work overall is technically proficient and on the surface looks nice. But you need more varied shots. Some times you will have 3 or 4 shots in a row that are almost the same. If your subject needs to have a something unique or exciting going on. If you have shoot really close where more then 75% of the frame is filled with the baby, the baby should have a interesting expression or interesting lighting or doing something. If you are further away the scene has to "lead" into the subject or complement it. I noticed in allot of your shots the scene around the subject often times has a area with more contrast or complexity then the subject it's self, this serves only to lead away from the subject. There are a few shots where you accomplish this.

    Please take my words with a grain of salt. I don't do portrait shots for several reasons, one of them being is that I know how incredibly difficult it is to make a unique portrait photographs. Which is what I think you should strive for. If somebody wants a perfectly exposed, posed shot of a baby smiling they will go to a portrait studio and get one made. If somebody wants to go through the expense of hiring a photographer to shoot their baby, they want something special.

    I think making a creative, unique photo is the hardest thing to do. Stuff like sharpness, color or "rule of thirds" is just window dressing. It will only bring your work up to the same standard as thousands of other photographers doing the same thing.
     
  8. little_earthquakes

    little_earthquakes TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Remi, you actually echod a lot of my own thoughts.

    I guess I am confused as to which shots compliment with the contrast/complexity of the background and which ones don't. I guess some of that is subjective and a matter of taste. And I don't think you were the bad guy at all. I wanted some other thoughts and opinions. I'm going to do some trimming, it's just every time I start trimming the portfolio my head spins. I'm not the most decisive person when it comes to choosing photos.
     
  9. little_earthquakes

    little_earthquakes TPF Noob!

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    Ok. I just trimmed the color portfolio to 30 from 42. So that's a start. I don't think I'll turn off the music though. It's easy enough to switch it off.

    And yes, making a unique portrait is really REALLY hard.
     
  10. hamster

    hamster TPF Noob!

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    I have to say that I can't stand music on websites. I know lots of people agree with me. I guess that has nothing to do with your photos, but it could leave an impression.

    In addition to what everyone else has said, I think your shots have somewhat of a gritty feel (not that that's a bad thing at all), it's obviously your style. Some people don't like that. Work on clarity and sharpness. With that said, it looks to me like you know what you're doing, and I can't imagine why you would be excluded from that forum. I like your photos very much.
     
  11. little_earthquakes

    little_earthquakes TPF Noob!

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    The grit (grain?) is the 400 speed film. Drives me nuts. I'd like to eradicate it totally if I could but the only answer is fill flash and lower iso film or digital. I've just kind of made peace with it for now.

    I agree with you on the clarity and sharpness, definitely. I'm just going to have to get a better lens. I have my eye on a 1.8 50 mm lens which will be a huge step up from my 28 to 90 mm kit lens which is what I've been using lately. I also sometimes use my manual focus lenses, which are sharper, but let me tell you, it's reallllllllllllllly hard to take photos of toddlers with a manual focus lens. By the time you get it focused they've already run off.

    Thanks for your input.

    All I can figure is that forum expects your portfolio to be totally done, or your photography just to be at a higher level than mine is at. *shrug* Either way, this forum is a thousand times more helpful so I'll probably just stick around here :D
     
  12. TheLostPhotographer

    TheLostPhotographer TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    Nice site, nice photographs and nice music. I have no idea which forum you tried to join and why you were refused membership. However, I can take an educated guess for the reasons.

    Your photographs are not commercial! They're very nicely executed portraits in a documentary style. They're also very obviously personal work.

    Even though the forum you mention was a 'beginners' forum it was still a forum for professional photographers. As such, professional photographers (even beginners) would need some idea about commercial values of portraiture.

    Anyone entering the world of professional portraiture should also have a good knowledge of the basics of studio, and outdoor lighting techniques.

    As nice as the shots on your website are they don't give the impression of being saleable, professional portraits. They do give the impression of very good, personal, amateur (meant in the real meaning of the word) photographs. Very good, but who would buy them?

    I'd suggest extending your portfolio in a way that demonstrated your abilities to use creative lighting techniques. People employing the services of a professional portrait photographer will want the photographer to know how to make them look like a Hollywood star. It's not just about make-up. Everyday, candid portraiture just doesn't cut it in the commercial world of professional portrait photography.

    Hire a studio for a day and try your hand at some more formal style portraits. Learn how to use lighting for portraiture. Learn how to work with complete strangers in a controlled environment. Maybe even work with some experienced models.
     

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