Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Bryan, Jan 1, 2009.
Daughter gave a Sony A200 for Christmas...new hobbiest looking for critique
Congrats on the new camera.
1st picture: Try cropping in tighter to the subject. Crop out the leaves above her.
2nd picture: The B&W conversion needs more contrast, it looks flat. And it seems a little soft to me. That lighter spot in the middle of the picture is taking the viewers eyes away from her eyes (which should be the focal point of any portrait).
3rd picture: Crop in tighter to your subject. Crop out the top part of the picture, the lighter sunlit area is distracting. Eyes tend to be drawn to the brightest/lightest spot of a picture.
4th picture: It's overexposed. Her pose is very unnatural. Could also use a tighter crop on the main subject.
To improve your shots visit this web page for a quick tutorial on composition. Then click the "How to improve your photography" link at the bottom of the page for more information.
I would add one very important thing to Samanax's suggestions. Use your flash. These photographs need it. Light up the face in photograph one for example. Yes, even if you are outdoors.
Thanks guys...exactly what I was looking for. I have looked at a thousand pictures, but with no frame of reference on how they were taken, I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. Saved the website from the 2nd response and would appreciate any others. I know that people tend not to respond if their comments are negative, however, the reason I joined this site was to learn. The second shot is a victim of poor photoshop skills, trying to save a REALLY poor pic. I have an old version of Abobe Photoshop, guess I need to update.....again thank you.
The first looks quite cool to me (colour temperaturewise, that is), so to flatter her more, I'd surely warm it up a little by shifting the colour balance over to more yellow/red. Do it subtly, but it will help the photo, I am sure.
The second is funny: her face not only looks so much brighter than the rest but also yellower, in that part, the photo seems to leave the realms of black&white, and I don't understand that! How could it happen?
The third is not composed too well: a lot of headroom, but the frame cuts off her bottom.
And I'm not sure about her pose in the last, as at our age (I'm about the same age myself) we tend to show double chins when we look like that, and I'd HATE anyone to take my photo with me looking back over my shoulder. But if she likes it ... then all is good. I, however, feel that this pose is more one for the younger models.
All in all, watch your backgrounds when you do portrait photography. While these might have been only just test shots in the garden, you might want to do some "serious ones" later, and for that I'd suggest you really go hunting for a nice location. Where there are no rose bushes growing out of her head, no fences in the background and no black plastic buckets and neighbours' houses to be seen.
And yes about the use of flash (though that is a "science of its own" and I am miles from getting even a proper GLIMPSE about the right use of flash!!!).
Here are a few more sites I've found to be very helpful...
planet neil: tangents - flash photography techniques
The Luminous Landscape
Jodie Coston's Free On-Line Photography Course
11 Tips for Beginner Photographers
Digital Photography Tips for Beginners
Digital Photography Composition Tips
How to Make a Killer Photo using 8 Simple Composition Rules
How to Make Great Photos
Bernie's Better Beginner's Guide to Photography
21 Ways to Shoot Better Photographs
How to Take Better Photographs
101 Photography Tips
These were from the same shoot,,a little more candid and perhaps incorporating "the rule of thirds" (quite by accident, if so) that I got from one of the articles provided in an earlier post.
and with a little lighting affect and crop
It's nice to see another sony shooter on here. (there's not too many on this forum) since your using a Sony try using creative style (Vivid) and bump up saturation by 2 on it. That will make her red hair really pop, instead of looking dryed out and flat. Also on your D-range optimizer use +3 That will add more detail in the picture. I use +3 about 90% of the time.It really helps with adding detailed shadows to the pic.
Images are a little soft. When shooting portraits, it's good practive to set you focal point to the face.
Nice shots and congrats on your new gear.
Specifically the eyes.
I'm not familiar with SONY DSLRs but read the owner's manual and see if you can manually select focus points in your viewfinder. Select the one closets to the eyes, lock focus, recompose if necessary and take the shot.
Boy, I could learn alot from you, since we have similar equip. When I pressed the function button to change the D range optimizer the only choices were standard, dro off and dro+...I found no setting to increase saturation...does this have to be done in photoshop?...I can do it there..I appreciate your help and your time
Probably a difference in the model of camera. I also use a Sony the A100 I dont have the ability to up the settings on my dynamic range either other than the + setting you speak of. You should be able to set the focus setting so that your focus is the center of the view finder. You can focus lock by picking the area you want in focus (the eyes) press the shutter release until the camera beeps at you hold it there recompose the shot then snap the picture.
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