Help me learn?

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by Emerana, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    I am really interested in learning how to do fantastic candid portraiture and I have seen so many great photos here, I was hoping people wouldn't mind giving me a few pointers.

    These are of my daughter I took yesterday at sunset. I think I need a better lens, but these were done with the kit lens and a 50mm 1.8. I am experimenting with editing, I don't have photoshop but have a couple other programs.

    I would welcome any tips and c&c

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  2. Big Mike

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

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    You are off to a good start. You might try getting closer, using a longer lens or cropping closer. Sometimes it really helps when the subject actually takes up more space in the photo than the background.
     
  3. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice Mike. you have a good point and I have been playing with that in editing. You can really create a whole new photo with a skilled crop. i will play with a longer focal length with a friends child...mine are somehow magnetically attracted to me.

    I was trying to get really striking photos that falls under the candid portrait type...that almost Alice in wonderland "oh my god I could never take a photo of my kid like that" photo. i really like alot of colors and really striking eyes. These all have minimal editing, a little cropping, some saturation, some softening in a couple. I know there is alot of editing tricks that I don't know.

    I figured out how to bring out the eyes in lighter eyes but with my kids eyes, they are almost black and I have no idea how to bring that out more then they are.

    anyways, any C&C is welcome
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Also, great portrait tend to create a sense of connection with the viewer. So it usually helps if the subject is looking at the camera...and it helps when their eyes are bright. If you are working with essentially one light source (the sun) it would help if you had a reflector or flash or something, to fill the shadows and light up the face/eyes.

    It's certainly not a necessity to have the subject looking at the camera/viewer...but you usually don't want them looking out into space or at something that the viewer can't see.
    You have a good thing going with the bubbles here...but it would be nice if you caught a better expression or look in her face while she's interacting with them.

    Also, it can be harder to judge when looking at your own child or one that you know. You know their personality, so you extrapolate that into the photo. A casual viewer doesn't know anything about them, so the photo has to relate something of that. Often, it's easier said than done.
     
  5. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    :) good points, thank you.

    any photo i take of my kids is perfect, it is hard to really look objectively at a photo of my own child. You don't know she is teething, and thats why she was chewing on her fingers, and in the first photo she was looking at her silly brother. great point
     
  6. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    geeze, are they that bad? I know they aren't great but I always try to give c&c with my limited knowledge to help when I can.
     
  7. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you insisit.. lol

    Before I start... none are "that bad", ok? :D

    First one is nice and sharp, the composition is pleasing.

    The second one she is out of focus a little. I think it is motion blur. The bubbles are a great idea.

    Third one, the focus is on her dress and not her eyes. The DOF is a little shallow and the head is a little soft compared to the dress.

    Fourth one is nice, but could have been a touch better if the eyes were visible... maybe taken the shot a half second earlier?

    #5 makes her look a little awkward (all young children are at some point... lol), but if you took the pic from her side or 45 degree to her front, it would have been more interesting.

    #6 could have been improved by using a very shallow DOF there, and taking a pic where her eyes are visible. As it is now, there is little to hold my interest or guide my eyes.

    A little stonger usage of the rule of thirds will help all your pictures. Don't be afraid to get closer... either physically or with the lens. I feel (and this could be my monitor), that all pics could be improved with maybe a 0.2-0.3 exposure increase.

    For people and animals, the eyes are the window to the soul of the picture. Really, really make sure that the sharpest part of your pics are the eyes. If there are no eyes in your pic, you are forced to find a more dificult way of expressing emotion or interest. Example, a shot of her from behind, sitting in the middle of the sidewalk and 3-4 small bubbles just floating above her head... you would not need to see her eyes to know what her face looked like... nor deny that the emotion that a picture such as that would invoke in others more than if she was just down, sitting back to camera.

    Hope that helps!

    oh... I think you are off to a way better start than I was when I started... and your model is nothing short of gorgeous. :D
     
  8. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much Jerry. I will totally reread your post a few times and get it in my head. I tried to focus on her eyes but she moves so fast ... they are better focus then when I started in December, but I can see I have some to go. How do you edit dark eyes to bring them out? I see alot of people making light eyes "pop"...what can you do to dark eyes?

    I am really trying to get the guts up to take a portrait class.

    you are calling my baby awkward huh? LOL she just learned to walk, but I see what you mean. I have a couple others with a more graceful squat but they had less of her face in it.
     
  9. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]
    Here is #3 reprocessed with what I thought was more pleasing cropping?
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh no not at all, well certainly no more awkward than I was at that stage in my life, oh so many moons ago. :lol:

    And, if you think its hard to focus on her eyes now... wait a couple more months once her little legs get some practice and she starts to really boogie and move fast!

    Child portraits are very difficult and challenging, but you have the perfect opportunity and model to get a lot of practice with. :)
     
  11. Emerana

    Emerana TPF Noob!

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    heheh i was joking. I have a son a year older (yes, I am insane) and yeah, getting a lock on his eyes is a hit and miss (most often miss). He also doesnt like to be photographed anymore
     
  12. MACollum

    MACollum TPF Noob!

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    I loved the idea of the one with bubbles. I'd love to see this one recreated with more DOF and maybe a faster shutter (HINT!!) LOL.
     

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