Are these an o.k. start to photography?

Ream

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I don't know any photographers, so I've never been critiqued before.. Keep it nice! :)
 

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amolitor

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The first one is mainly interesting for the subject matter. The pictures are not bad. They look a bit soft, but being taken in the middle of a storm can have that effect -- and also the viewer will forgive you the softness. The vignette is heavy handed (this will be a theme).

The second and third ones are very sweet. They're a little to tight for my taste, but that strikes me as a matter of taste. The way the colors are altered makes it look to me as if you've got hold of some sort of "vintage" effect someplace, and love the way it looks. That's ok, but it'll get old very very fast. Everyone loves it. Everyone uses it. It's the mullet of the photography world. More importantly, these are very soft as well. You're not getting the focus on the eyes where it needs to be, and you may not be holding the camera steady enough either.

Four and five look a bit better on the focus, but again strike me as having an excessively applied vintage/blur/vignette filter. Five has an awkward looking shadow on baby's cheek -- from ear to chubby little hands -- but that's a pretty minor quibble.

In general, you're relying too much on "effects" and not letting the pictures be themselves. The pictures are pretty good, as examples of what they are, they don't need a huge amount of stuff splashed around over them. You don't need to "help" them at all.
 

Buckster

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1. It's cool that you got shots of a tornado. Not crazy about the fairly heavy vignette personally. I think a vignette should usually be applied with enough strength to pull the viewer into the subject, but not enough to really notice the vignette.

2. Cute overall, but a pity that the child's eyes were not sharp. The toning is a bit too yellow, I think.

3. Cute, but overall, I'm not really feeling the sideways portrait. Probably will go over big with that child's family though because they have an emotional connection to her that I don't.

4. This, to me, is the best of the lot. This works for me on every level; The pose, the toning, the faded vignette, even the fake blur. It reminds me of a portrait I have of me and my sister when we were 1 and 2 years old (I'm 54 now).

5. This one doesn't work for me, but will probably be loved by the family that has an emotional attachment to this child. The expression is, to me, not endearing. The fake blur went way too far in my opinion. The big flower on the left draws too much attention away from the actual subject: the child. Not really crazy about the toning on this one either. I think if the child were a bit more naturally colored, it'd work better with that toning surrounding her.

Overall, I'd suggest taking the effects processing down a notch, but that caters to my taste. If what you're doing works for you, keep exploring in the direction that pleases you.
 
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I am considering buying a different camera. Do you, anyone in general, recommend buying a certain camera for mainly indoor portraiture? I am working with a [h=1]GE A1251 12.2 Megapixel Digital Camera with 5x Optical Zoom 2.5" LCD[/h]Literally, only like a $70.00 camera, but I have taken some good pics with it.
 

limr

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My first digital camera was a GE E1235 12.1 megapixel. Sounds like we essentially had the same camera, maybe just a couple of models apart. Yeah, it was fine for a start, but if you're serious about indoor portraiture, get a new camera. You'll be surprised at the difference.

As for which one? If you're planning to stick to digital, I can't help you there. I upgraded a few years ago to a Canon SX130 IS and even that was a lot better, but if I were planning on becoming more 'professional' or looking for a more professional look, I'd go further up. I'm sure you're going to get a gazillion recommendations for a Nikon DSLR but if you're not ready to go that far up (or if you don't want to be a Nikon joiner ;) ) then there are some really good choices that are just short of a DSLR. My boyfriend has a Canon G12 that is very good. Beyond that, I don't know enough to recommend anything. My digital is mostly a backup since I mostly shoot film cameras.

Edited to add: Incidentally, I just gave my GE to my mother. Since upgrading even to just a mid-grade Canon, I never found any use for the GE. Like I said, decent enough for a starter, but if you're already feeling like you're hitting the limit of your camera, then it's time to move on.
 
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Ream

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Thanks. I basically needed a push toward what brand of camera. I have been looking at mostly Canon, but Now I will check out Nikon instead. I was under the impression that "digital" was the way to go. Do you feel different about that? I do want to be more serious about photography, and my greatest concerns have begun with choosing a camera. I bought a few books on digital photography, but would love to know if the quality is better with film or is that a personal option/opinion?
 
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Ream

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Thanks. I basically needed a push toward what brand of camera. I have been looking at mostly Canon, but Now I will check out Nikon instead. I was under the impression that "digital" was the way to go. Do you feel different about that? I do want to be more serious about photography, and my greatest concerns have begun with choosing a camera. I bought a few books on digital photography, but would love to know if the quality is better with film or is that a personal option/opinion?
 
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Eclectix

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Certain photographs are done better with film, if you really know what you are doing and if you are using the right gear/film. For general use, however, digital is just as good and possibly even better. It would sort of be like asking if a violin is better than an electric guitar. They are different instruments- both can make music, but that doesn't make one "better" and it doesn't make them interchangeable.
 

The_Traveler

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Progression by asking a question on line for every single thing you don't know will be very slow and you are only getting the opinion of the random stranger who reads and responds.
I suggest that, before you do anything else, you actually do some reading about photography.
Libraries have back copies of many photography magazines and, of course, basic books on photography.
 

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Thanks. I basically needed a push toward what brand of camera. I have been looking at mostly Canon, but Now I will check out Nikon instead. I was under the impression that "digital" was the way to go. Do you feel different about that? I do want to be more serious about photography, and my greatest concerns have begun with choosing a camera. I bought a few books on digital photography, but would love to know if the quality is better with film or is that a personal option/opinion?

Speaking for myself, I got into digital primarily due to the cost of film. There was the rising cost of film, the cost of processing, including printing, and I had a love affair with film back when the cost was more affordable. Digital also produces instant results, which might be important to some people. Also with film there is the issue of editing or not. As far as I know, you can scan in a film image and still do some minor editing, but nothing like starting with a digital file in the first place. Eclectix has a good answer regarding the film/digital comparison.

As to what brand, model, accessories, computer, software, etc., I'm sure we all have our own personal preferences, or at least our own catch-as-catch-can setup, and you will get a different answer from each of us. For instance; I have a Nikon DSLR, and an iMac. Naturally, the Nikon fans will suggest Nikon, the Canon fans will suggest Canon, and the same for Sony and Pentax. The way you decide is rather complicated and time-consuming, considering that you will probably want to get as much information as you can handle in your quest.

Good luck!
 

limr

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Film or Digital...oh the debates that those three little words have inspired! :)

You'll definitely get different answers, just the same as you'll get lots of different answers about what camera to get (I personally will go Pentax if I ever decide to get a DSLR). I love film and I know that I won't stop shooting it. I've had the photography habit for many years but it's somewhat intensified in the past 3 years or so and I have learned a lot more about film and photography in that time. Because of that learning curve, I think my digital pictures have also gotten better (I've only been using a digital camera for maybe 5 years - never had one before that.) The most common things said about film photography is that it makes you more thoughtful about each shot for various reasons: the limited number of frames per roll, the cost of the roll+developing, the time involved in scanning...That thoughtfulness also transfers to your digital photography and you start to see the strengths and weaknesses of each medium and how to work with them.

As for editing...I really don't know how much more you can do with a RAW file because I don't have a camera that can shoot RAW, though the ability to do so may be one of the reasons I decide to get a DSLR. I'm hitting the limits of this newer digital camera that I have and part of that might be the requirement of shooting in JPEG. Could I do more editing than with a digital scan of a film negative? Possibly. But I don't think 'photography' is sitting behind a computer. I'd rather spend more time out with my camera, taking shots that don't need intensive post-processing. I'd probably feel that way if I were doing the processing in a darkroom too. If I'm spending that much time trying to coax a good picture out of a poverty of raw material, my instinct would be to go out and learn how to get better material to start with.

All that being said, part of this depends on the kind of images you want to make. For portraits, a lot of the work is done with getting the lighting right when taking the photos, so lots of post processing might not be necessary. Also, if you're trying to build up a business of portrait photography, then cost may be a consideration, and digital will be better, especially as you're still learning. Because the one thing you'll have to do for sure in order to improve is to take a LOT of photographs. A LOT. And that is certainly easier and cheaper with digital.

But I can't help but suggest that you also get a film camera alongside your better digital camera, and when you're not practicing with one, practice with the other. The skills will complement each other. It's easy to take tons of digital shots but maybe it's too easy and you don't get so invested in each shot because you know you can just delete and take dozens more. You'll feel more invested in each film shot, so you'll pay more attention to try and make sure that each shot counts.
 

tirediron

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In the interest of keeping topics relative to their respective forum, OP, if you'd like to discuss gear, camera recommendations, etc, I would ask that you start a new thread in the appropriate forum.
Thanks!
 

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