How could I have improved this shot?

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by Inklingforsake, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. Inklingforsake

    Inklingforsake TPF Noob!

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    I wanted to shoot while the sun was setting but the sun set too quickly before I could get a good shot. In such a scenario, how could I have made it better?

    It was windy, so a low shutter speed wouldn't have worked i guess ... what else to improve it?

    Please critique honestly. I want to get better! IMG_8203.JPG
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think the most obvious improvement would be the addition of some fill light. Dropping the background by a half-stop or so and adding fill light would have added some light to her eyes and hair and made her stand out.
     
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  3. Inklingforsake

    Inklingforsake TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for your feedback. I am a beginner so could you please tell me what you mean by fill light? (Flash? Or soft-box kind of something?)
     
  4. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hey, welcome!

    Yes, flash. Awfully tough to control anything like a reflector or softbox out on the beach in the wind, so just a bit of flash would do wonders. Also for this shot, (model standing) turn your camera to portrait orientation.
     
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  5. Inklingforsake

    Inklingforsake TPF Noob!

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    Very useful! Thank you!


    Sent from my iPhone using ThePhotoForum.com mobile app
     
  6. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Your journey is just starting.
    There is a lot to learn, both artistic, and technical.

    Using flash we get to control the ambient light exposure separately from the flash exposure, all with a single shutter release.
    That lets us create a lighting ratio between the ambient (background) light and our subject.
    Light direction and light quality are also paramount considerations.

    Visual artists figured out over 1000 years ago that if the main subject(s) in an image are brighter than the background the subject 'pops', or is well separated in visual weight terms, from the background. The concept is codified in the axiom - Light advances, dark recedes.
    Put another way, human eyes are drawn to the parts of an image that have dominate visual weight.
    In some light situations a reflector or 2 may suffice to light the subject(s) and create a background/subject lighting ratio.

    There are some situations that diminish, or even eliminate, the need for supplemental light.
    If you can put a subject just inside some shade,have the subject well away from anything in the background, and then spot meter for the highlights in the subjects facial mask, light fall off will naturally make the background darker than the subject.

    Balancing ambient light with flash, instead of having an ambient/flash lighting ratio is known as dragging the shutter.

    Posing is an art form unto itself. But again visual artists have over a long period of time discovered which poses work the best.
    Many books have been written that show the range of good poses.
    Note too that there are masculine poses and feminine poses.

    On-Camera Flash: Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait PhotographyOff-Camera Flash: Techniques for Digital Photographers
    Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere

    Strobist: Lighting 101

    Post production is also critical to producing a quality final image.
    To make sure you have the maximum amount of post production options you will want to make your original images as Raw files, not as JPEG files.
    JPEG is a lossy, compressed, ready-to-print file type that was not designed to be subjected to any post production editing.
    Photo Editing Tutorials
    Learn Photography Concepts
    Digital Photography Techniques
    Tutorials on Color Management & Printing

    The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop (2nd Edition)
    The Digital Print: Preparing Images in Lightroom and Photoshop for Printing
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  7. DanOstergren

    DanOstergren Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Fill light whether via flash or reflector is not always necessary, especially at the time just after sunset when the lighting is so soft and it's easy to get an even exposure. I like the lighting in this shot even without fill. The cheeks, forehead and chin all have shape, and in my opinion there is plenty of light in the eyes. What grabs my attention is the lack of detail in the hair, and I have a feeling that it wasn't caused by a lack of fill light, but instead may have been caused by your editing. Could we see what it looked like before you edited it?

    Regardless of whether fill light is always necesary, it does have it's place and will improve the overall portrait in certain lighting circumstances. If you are a natural light shooter, I would highly recommend that you get a reflector (a 5-in-1 is usually less than $20 on amazon), and watch some youtube tutorials that show you how to use it.

    Pro tip: if you plan to use a reflector for a portrait shoot, try to get a friend to be your assistant and hold the reflector for you.
     
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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Turning thre camera to a tall orientation would have helped a lot; you cropped her off right through her bustline. Her hair seems a bit too dark in some spots, due to excessive contrast to the light, or to under-exposure in-camera, or maybe a bit of both. I really LIKE windy-beach type shots of women, and this would have conveyed that more if the bottom ends of her hair had been shown a bit more, in a tall framing of the subject; the "landscape" or horizontal camera has taken a subject that is taller than it is wide, and framed it in a mis-match of frame, and subject.
     
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  9. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Generally a good shot.
    I don't like the tightness of her lips.
    The image has a bit of a blue cast.
     
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  10. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Hi there! I used to be a graphic designer, so I´m not so much with the others in regard to portrait orientation of the camera. Opens space is something I really love in an image and since your model is facing that open space, it works well for my taste. Graphic people like this kind of shot - you can easily write something into it, or simply leave it as is.

    In regard to lighting. It seems you (or the camera/software) made quite some adjustments brightening your model - hence the halo around her hair and neck. For my taste that´s a little much and I would have rather brightened the whole image and live with the brighter background.
    For the most important aspect in my opinion: I´m with chuasm on the expression. Some people don´t like to show their teeth for whatever reason and press their lips together (in your case that even affects the cheeks). For me it is one of the most important qualities of a people photographer to get the most flattering expression. So this is where I think you could improve most.
     
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  11. Inklingforsake

    Inklingforsake TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all so much for the great suggestions! So much to learn, so much to do - I am inspired and excited!

    A few confessions of a beginner (me).

    First: This picture was shot in jpeg and transferred to my phone via Bluetooth (2mb size) for a quick edit on my phone using a free app. I know what I did was very very amateur - but only because I thought this picture was kind of average to begin with and I didn't want to waste time doing a proper edit on Photoshop...

    Second: I was on Manual mode on my Nikon D3400 and I used Nikkor 70-300mm DX NON-VR lens - without a tripod!! I was mostly zoomed in fully on the model.

    Third: I was scared of being judged by the model for taking too much time on fiddling with settings, that I quickly shot a bunch of pictures - only to realize after I got home that the lighting on all the pictures was bad....

    Now, after seeing all your suggestions, I am tempted to buy external flash because when I used the inbuilt flash, the light was very harsh....

    Now, for the before picture: i am open to assaults now...

    temporary.jpg
     
  12. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Don´t let us discourage you ;).
    Shooting in manual mode is great, now you need to get an idea how you can control your output. A good way to start is the histogram. Do some reading about what it tells you and you´ll immediately be able to better judge your images in camera.
    Another good idea is to shoot in RAW mode - that will give you better options to get the best out of your images - even though they might not be correctly exposed.
    Your fear of taking too much time of your model is something that we all went through. Look for people that like to be photographed - there are many out there - if you are on facebook, you could publicly ask if somebody is willing to help you get better in photography by modelling for you. Maybe somebody reads it and is more than happy to spend an hour or more with you and get some pictures. Or just ask your family or friends.
    In regard to the original image - there is still that halo to the left of her hair and above her head - so there must have been some in camera processing that is pretty bad to be honest. Check your settings and consider deactivating some functions that brighten the shadows.
     
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