Family Portrait...what's wrong with it?

Discussion in 'Critique Forum Archives' started by Sharkbait, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    Maybe I'm being overly critical, but I'm concerned about this photo. Over the next few weeks I'm going to be shooting several senior portraits and family portraits. While I think this is a good shot, I think it's still lacking a certain something. Granted, this was taken with ambient (window) lighting in a living room, but still... I dunno, any thoughts/suggestions?


    [​IMG]
     
  2. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    hmmm....I think it's the grouping that's bothering you. Nothing particularly wrong with the lighting here, it's just that the back row folks seem oddly size-distorted by plane. Any way to bring you all a bit closer??
     
  3. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    PS I'm sorry, was that too brutal??? :wink:
     
  4. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    Could be the grouping. Another thing that popped into my head was maybe just the informality of it. I can see the blanket on the couch in the background, nobody is really dressed up, etc. :shrug: I dunno!

    What do you mean about the back row looks distorted by the plane? I'm not sure I get you.


    (I was using the timer and tripod for this one, so there was virtually no way for me to accurately compose the shot with me in it. So I think that might be part of the problem too.)
     
  5. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    Not at all! :D :p
     
  6. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I"m sorry if I wasn't clear - I was being paged at work while I was typing before. :roll: I meant your front row looks several feet closer than your back row, and I'm betting it was really a distance of a couple of feet. A more effective group shot has all the faces looking more on the same plane, and it can be a challenge. You don't want the heads of your front row looking twice the size as the back row, and that's what I am seeing here. Does that make better sense?

    The informality of your pose doesn't bother me a bit. I like the homey feel. I think folks are more at ease when it's not too formally posed. Again, I see little else "wrong" with it; all the subjects are perfectly lit with no shadows.
     
  7. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    Ahhhh, yeah I see what you're onto!! That may be a big part of it with this shot and my misgivings. When we took the shot, yes we were crunched into my parents' knees, so the distance is no more than 18" or 20", but you're right, it does appear much further. What causes that appearance?? :scratch:
     
  8. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    How far away were you from the tripod?? That's my first question. And what lens did you use?
     
  9. Chase

    Chase I am now benign! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Taking into account that you were using the window for lighting, one of the things that bothers me is that the the foreground subjects seem brightly lit with good exposure, but the people in the 2nd row seem underexposed. If only we all owned a complete set of lights! ;)

    Secondly, I think you are on to something with the sofa being distracting. Maybe a tighter crop may help, or if you can drape the blanket over the entire sofa to create a solid color. The blanket being a dark cover, but not completely covering the lighter sofa catches my attention.

    The last thing, and this is just being picky, is that I would watch out for positioning (good luck when you're in the photo!). Something about the placement of hands of the gentleman in the background is also distracting to me.

    I don't think this is a bad photo at all, but these are the little things that prevent me from considering it a great photo.

    Nice start for the critique forum! 8)
     
  10. danalec99

    danalec99 TPF Noob!

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    I think the elders should come a bit forward to be in focus as you are. You could probably move back and re-set the lens.

    I dont know, just a suggestion, coz parents seem to be out of focus.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's a good shot, but I think you're right...it's missing something. Besides the parents being a bit far back I noticed that the parent's shoulders are square to the camera. (Now I'm no portrait photographer) but I've read that you never want square shoulders...especially with women.
     
  12. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    The biggest issue for me is what Terri was talking about, which is the result of a wide-angle lens. You can fit more people in, but it really distorts the distance. I'd step back as far as you can and see if you can get a focal length over 50mm. Over 80 would be best. I think this would help make the lighting look a little more even, as the faces would be the same size too. The father is a little bit darker, but I don't think that would be as much of a problem if his face wasn't the smallest. The light looks pretty good to me other than that.
     

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