New to People: Thoughts/Advice?

Discussion in 'People Photography' started by danielrwelch, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. danielrwelch

    danielrwelch TPF Noob!

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    I've been a shutterbug for awhile but always a bit scattered. Being a musician who bounces all over, I always just shot what there was where I was. But I'd like to get better.

    Toying with my 50/1.8, I decided to shoot a friend of mine who was a willing guinea pig. So in general, any insight that can be thrown my way would be greatly appreciated.

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    PS: Mods, if this should be moved to the Beginner's forum, sorry! Just let me know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  2. Jacki

    Jacki TPF Noob!

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    These would be great shots if the lighting was better. There is a shadow on her face in all of the pictures, which is distracting.

    I'm not a professional at all though. Just pitching in my two cents. :thumbsup:
     
  3. frommrstomommy

    frommrstomommy Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I like number 2 best, but its soo dark.
     
  4. danielrwelch

    danielrwelch TPF Noob!

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    Setting:

    Shot at night, using the ambient light from the glowing walls of an art museum. So they're intentionally lit for harder shadows. No flash was used with the intent to toy with the lens itself.
     
  5. |)\/8

    |)\/8 TPF Noob!

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    Little to underexposed for my taste. Also way too much dead space on #1 and #2 above the head. I would suggest cropping those and get the eyes in the upper third of the photo. On #3 I like your composition, but still a little too much dead space, I would crop just slightly above her head and out to where the dark part of the background ends. All that space above and where the background changes adds nothing to the photo.
     
  6. NateWagner

    NateWagner TPF Noob!

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    Ok, a few critiques...

    1. One of the better ones of the set (IMO). I believe it is a little under exposed, there is also a lot of dead space at the top of the image. I would suggest cropping this out to make the image more interesting. I would also suggest cropping it so that you move her head to either the left or the right side of the image (at least not centered... it's ok, just try it the other way and you may like it better... who knows).

    2. Highly underexposed. Here the camera was probably fooled by the window light, realizing that you should blow the window out (it will appear practically white) so that her face is properly exposed. I like the composition better on this one, but I would still suggest cropping some of the top and right off.

    3. Exposure is better here, however the glaring problem is that she is not really the focus of the image. The background goes from very dark to very light which draws the attention to that point rather than her. I like how you have her posed in the frame, but I think it would be better in a different location, or with a different background. Also, from what I can see, the eyes look a little bit soft...

    4. Here, I'm not really sure what the focus of the image is on. Is it her neck? Her eyes are definitely soft (typically a no-no in portrait photography). Also, there is a definite distracting white spot on the top right of the image.

    Overall not bad, and honestly with a bit of PP work these could definitely be improved. Let me know if you want to see an example (would have already done so, but you're "not ok to edit"
     
  7. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    #1 needs to be sharper, and maybe #2, too. And, #2 needs to be lit up in front considerably.

    She's a beautiful model, so a do over will do her justice. Use a tripod.
     
  8. danielrwelch

    danielrwelch TPF Noob!

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    Aaaaaaand this is why I joined TPF!

    Thanks for the input guys, it's highly appreciated. I wanted to post these with zero PP work to see what I need to train my eyes to see through the viewfinder rather than tweaking in PS after the fact.

    Concerning edits, if you want to edit them and then PM me, that's totally cool!

    I shot the following two a couple days earlier while we were waiting for a rehearsal to begin. Same thoughts on negative space for the shot from above? Thoughts on these? These have a little PP work done.

    5.
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    6.
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  9. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The negative space just kills some of the pictures. When the subject is taller than it is wide, the best framing is almost always a vertical framing, to match the subject's proportions. Like the most recent two shots; in the last shot, immediately above, there is a huge amount of dead space above her head, while the computer is cropped in less than half, and her hand shows three fingers plus a thumb, with two of the three fingers cropped off at the frame edge, and the thumb virtually touching the frame edge. The sliding room divider behind her takes up a lot of space, but doesn't add much; adding the full laptop computer and more space at the bottom of the frame would have added value. Basically, you have aimed too high on the subject.

    In the shot above that one, the horizontal shot of her, we see a very common decision made by many beginners: to hold the camera horizontally,and position the subject in front of an out of focus background that adds very little to the shot.

    The biggest problem for many people is literally "seeing" the edges of the viewfinder when they look through the camera. Many cameras do not offer a very good edge-to-edge view of the picture area, especially if one wears eyeglasses or sunglasses. It takes a few months of literally forcing yourself to scan the entire width of the frame until doing so becomes second nature. The normal behavior is to pick up the camera and point it, held horizontally, center the main subject, focus and shoot. Not to bash on you or your work, but the shots you've posted all show a similar issue; loose composition and poor framing choices. The first shot could have been very good, but you cropped off her entire bustline,and instead showed us about 25% of the frame as empty head space. So, for general insight: look toward the edges and corners of the frame,and for standing people, almost always select a 'tall" camera orientation. Always make sure that there is not a huge amount of excess empty space that does not serve a purpose; if there is, eliminate the empty space by filling it with actual subject matter.
     
  10. danielrwelch

    danielrwelch TPF Noob!

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    No worries! I don't take it as bashing, I take it as constructive criticism and exactly the reason behind posting these. I became a good musician by learning from people better than me, and I plan on learning better photography techniques exactly the same way.

    I appreciate the pointers. My goals this week: really being careful of my backgrounds, watching the excess dead space, and framing to the subject by taking note of viewfinder edges and proper orientation. Thanks a ton guys.
     

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