"Portraits" too snapshotty? C&C please...

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by aliciaqw, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    I took these for my cousin and her family last week. I wanted the practice and she wasn't opposed to getting some shots for her daughter's birthday invitations.

    Do they look like snapshots to you? I'm 50/50 on them. These are some of the better ones, but generally speaking, most of the shots were of the same quality/caliber.

    C&C please! I'd love to make a little money on the side doing this in a couple of years once I achieve a level of acceptable quality.

    Thanks!

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    5.
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  2. basso4735

    basso4735 TPF Noob!

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    To me they do look better than snapshots, but not of the quality that you want to get. My suggestion would be to get closer to the subject to draw out more emotion and less distractions.
     
  3. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    the third and the last aren't bad... the others look like snapshots because the subject is centered and hamming it up for the camera.
     
  4. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    I can understand the comment about the centering of the subject, but they needed something they could crop to put on an invitation. Sometimes I think centering isn't so bad. Is it really frowned upon? I hate to think that I can't do that even if I follow the rule of thirds for the face or eyes or some other element. I guess that's a whole new discussion though.

    Can you clarify the "hamming it up" part? She's a really happy baby, a lot like my son. Is this something to avoid? I'm confused.

    Thanks for the input. I like having new things to think about.
     
  5. MHRISH

    MHRISH TPF Noob!

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    I think they are really good. I love the facial expressions of the little girl. The only thing that is a little distracting is the white band behind the top of her head in a couple of shots. Otherwise I like everything about them.
     
  6. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    Thank you. I agree the cement border in the garden is distracting. I had the best light in that spot but could have moved her to avoid that thing running through her head. I was also worried about losing some of the plants in the background. Eh. I should have been more proactive to get better composition. Thanks for the CC.
     
  7. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    I like#3 because of the composition, eye contact and it has been desaturated.

    As the photographer you can do whatever you want as far as composition. There are no rules, only guidelines.

    However, be aware that in several thousand years of people making art, it has become obviously apparent that some compositional guidelines work better at producing images that are, to a majority of people, pleasing to look at.
     
  8. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    That one is also my favorite.

    I'm reading a book about composition right now and I'm learning slowly. Thanks for your thoughts :)
     
  9. Breaux

    Breaux TPF Noob!

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    I found only a few simple rules (or guidelines) when photographing children for a client, if that's what you want to go for:

    1. Keep light in the eyes
    2. Focus on the eyes
    3. Use large aperture to blur background
    4. Capture good facial expressions

    Things like lighting and composition are important to us on this forum, but not to parents who just want to see their cute kid.

    The great thing about photographing kids: the parents always think the photos are cute! Many times I was disappointed in my efforts and didn't think I had done good work, but the clients loved it!

    I guess my point is that I don't think it will take a couple of years to get you up to speed. Practice capturing kids' fleeting moods and expressions, and master your camera controls so you're not fiddling with menus when you should be watching for that cute look.
     
  10. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Composition is definitely a problem. Also, this girl has a different skin tone in every photo...

    I agree with KmH. There are no rules, just guidelines but, as he said, they come from reflexion on what works and what doesn't over many, many years so, why re-invent the wheel? Which, btw, does not mean you can't center the subject. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it doesn't in one way but works in another. You, as the artist, need to know what you want and make it work.

    Studying composition is a good idea but, as I often say here, if you can take a class in Design, it would be even better. Photo books about composition often leave a lot of things out because the author doesn't think it applies to photography and that is a shame.
     
  11. aliciaqw

    aliciaqw TPF Noob!

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    Thank you for the tips/advice. As a mother I find that I become less concerned with the technicalities of a photo as long as I can see my little boy's face and he looks cute :) I will keep that in mind while still trying to achieve overall quality. Thanks again :)


    What kind of class in design? That's an interesting idea. And you're right about the book. I find it somewhat superficial. I actually don't even like most of the pictures in the book. LOL. Ahhh, Amazon...

    Also, I used a reflector the first time that day. Her skin looks really light in #1, and I think that's because I had used the white side. And then in #2 and #4, I used the gold/siver zig zag side. I did some PPing for #3 to get a muted/vintage feel.
     
  12. c.cloudwalker

    c.cloudwalker TPF Noob!

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    Most school that offer an art program of some sort offer Design 101 and Design 102. The last I checked it was still that way and, to be honest, it makes sense considering the amount of stuff to cover. I'm not much of a school person myself but, in this case, I found it great for the instant reaction. I learned a lot faster that I would have if I'd have to find people everytime I did an exercise to comment on its result :grumpy:

    That said, like anything else, you need to do some homework. Not all profs are good so you need to try and figure out which school n your area has the best one.


    Now, for the skin tone. When I do a straight portrait I want the skin tone to match reality. It doesn't matter what light modifier I use and it doesn't matter what I do to the rest of the image, I want the skin tone to the real one.

    I say straight portrait because if you are shooting an artsy photo involving a person, it is a different story.
     

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