My First Real "Subject" <-- I'm trying to improve :)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by paulpippin29, Nov 27, 2008.

  1. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so.... last time I posted, I got bashed badly, lol... which is what I wanted and needed. You folks were absolutely right about everything that you said, and I took everyone's advice in full. I've gotten much more familiar with things, though by no means at all, am I much better than before, at least, I don't think, but I'm trying daily to improve.

    So... the pictures below represent my first actual "model" , or real "subject" so to speak. This girl's name is Ericka, and she's a great friend of mine at the hospital I work for. We had some free time at work on this particular night, and she agreed to let me photograph her. Her personality is one which allows her to go beyond the conventional smile, and I think she took some really nice pictures.

    Thing is... people that I work with really like these photographs, and so does she, alot actually. Now, I realize that alot of you on here, if not the majority of you, actually photograph for a living. You're pro's, making a life out of this type of thing, and I can't begin to express how much I admire that... so, you're opinions of these photo's are probably not going to be to good, as you all would do a MUCH better job, which is why I'm posting them. I would love for any of you to take these pictures and "re-edit" them if at all possible, as I'de love to see what a pro could / would do.

    Now, I for some stupid reason, did NOT keep the original's, as I thought the final's were good enough, and so did Ericka, and several others, so I thought, well, why store them? <-- Should have kept them, but, didn't :( Anyway, I thought the original's were great, but needed something added to them, so, off I went in search of a photo editing application, and since I don't have Photoshop... I had to find some sort of alternative image editor that actually works, and the GIMP did NOT work for me, wouldn't load on my system for some reason, and I tried everything imaginable. So, I found a small little application called "PhotoFilter"... completely free, and has all the basic needs for a true beginner such as myself.

    These shots were taken in a stairwell at the hospital, which is fairly new, so, it doesn't have many photogenic qualities to it, plus, we couldn't get to far away, as we both work in an environment where we might be needed at a moment's notice, so, had to stay close. The lighting wasn't too terrible there, and I used NO flash at all, but it was still a bit bright, so I used some shadowing filters to dim the shots up a bit, and I forgot to tell Ericka to take her name badge off as well... lol <- Stupid beginner's mistake. You can see the bulk of the badge in some of the shots, and it's very distracting, hence the "radial blur" effect I applied, trying to bring her face to the foreground as much as possible.

    I'm sure most of you will think I went overboard with the "shadows", and "blur's", but, I thought the end result was not that bad, as did many others, but again, I don't know any photographer's, so, the opinions offered were of a natural, non-professional origin, not a "technical" or "professional" one.

    Anyway, regardless of all things... I'm simply trying to improve, and get past taking "macro" shots of plants and various other objects, and I really had a great time photographing Ericka, and hope to do it again soon, with I'm sure, some tips from the pro's, which I look forward to indeed.

    So, enjoy if at all possible, and again, if anyone would like to edit these to show me what they actually "should" look like, then please, by all means, do so. I enjoy the criticism, and opinions, as it only makes me better. Take care everyone :)




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  2. Sw1tchFX

    Sw1tchFX TPF Noob!

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    First of all if you ever do deleting, do it on your camera, or if it's obvious the picture's that bad. otherwise, Never delete, save everything, if anything it will be a reminder.

    Next thing, watch your exposure. I don't know what camera you're shooting with, but check your histograms and overexpose a smidge, most cameras can recover at least a third of a stop without major problems and at the same time, you'll suppress noise in the image.

    Put the eyesi n the upper part of the frame like the last one is like, people read things from the top down, eyes are where people connect, if they're near the top and we're reading normally, it will be aesthetically more engaging.

    Also, try to use your environment to your advantage, unless you're trying to go for a specific idea, IMO there is no such thing as a bad location. Bad locations are the locations that people don't know how to work with or use it incorrectly. This applies even more when strobes are taken into account, you can create anything you want with flash.

    In post, try dodging the eyes. Deep shadows under the eyes have a "racoon" or dead look to them - in the 3rd one she looks like she's depressed and wants to commit suicide or she's going to freak out and try to kill someone - the orange scrubs dont help either, she looks like she's in a jumpsuit as if she's in prison.

    Also the radial blur is a bit too much. If you're using an SLR in close quarters like this, there should be no need to use it if you understand aperture, depth of field, and focus.

    Make sure your color is correct, she's green and orange, the saturation is pumped way to high and she has a very unnatural skin tone. You could have easily used your cameras preset white balance function and take a reading off the white walls and you would have been set for the florescents, which by the way are not bright, and by all means never 'gods gift to photographers' like what was mentioned in a thread I saw not too long ago. I've only seen them used for a good purpose once, otherwise, they suck.

    I hate to sound so negative, it's just there's alot wrong with these, but at the same time there's HUGE potential, and I think that you need to know that. Read books and analyze GOOD portrait photography to get a good sense of lighting and composition, fasion magazines are good examples. Keep working at it :)
     
  3. paulpippin29

    paulpippin29 TPF Noob!

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    Unbelievable review Sw1tchFX, and thank you. That was the kind of thing I was looking for. Just now, thanks to you're pointing it out, I'm realizing the "racoon" look with the eyes. I never thought of that before, but now, I see it. Also, the skin tone comment, very true indeed, and hey, sorry about the scrubs, but, we were unfortunately, at work :(

    Anyway, thanks again for a wonderful review, really, it helped so much, and hopefully, my next batch will be much better, and in fact, I'm going to keep all originals as you said, and also, I shall post with no effects applied next time. I really do wish I had the originals now, as her skin tone wasn't like that, and, no racoon eyes either, but they just didn't seem appealing to me. I've got to get to where my photo's are good as is ya know?

    Again, thank you so much :)
     

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