Beginners Portraits

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by zeorayf, Jul 6, 2018.

  1. zeorayf

    zeorayf TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone Im very new to photography just read a bunch and listened to some podcasts and these are my first portraits. I would love some feedback please on how to make them better

    DSC_0050

    This First pic was taken in auto with the flash but I want to learn how do it in manual
    All other pics are taken in Aperture Priority mode and they are not very good lol

    DSC_0053
    DSC_0051
    DSC_0036

    They were taken at dawn while the sun was going down. they are all kinda blue and not very good. please give me any tips you can thanks


     
  2. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Hi and welcome to the forum!
    I´m gonna give you honest critique because that is the only thing that will help you and has always helped me improve.
    Besides the technical aspect, you need to take care of your composition. Ask yourself what the main subject of your image is. That is probably the woman. But in most images, you cropped the woman and gave the stone on the right the most space.

    In the only image without the stone, the body and face of the woman face left. But there isn´t much room on the left side. Usually, you should leave more space on the side of the image your main subject is facing to.

    Regarding technical issues. I´m not a particular fan of on-camera flash (as the main light source), because it has a very unnatural look. Also, it makes everything that is closer to the flash brighter than things that are further away. So your stone is much brighter than your model and therefore attracts a lot of attention. The background is completely dark.
    So, in the beginning, you may be better off not using flash, but rather ambient light. For your first shots you used a really dark environment which made the images very noisy. The reason for this is the high ISO value your camera chose which is rather weird in your last link, because it could have easily chosen a slower shutter speed, and lower ISO instead. With a shutter speed of 1/80th, you would have been able to bring the ISO down to around 6.000 (from 25.600) which would have greatly improved the image quality. That´s probably very techy right now, but you´ll soon understand shutter speed, aperture etc..
    But what would have improved image quality even more, would have been to shoot earlier when there is more light.
    If you want to know more about ISO, let me suggest taking a look at one of the videos of my free photography course:


    I hope that helped a bit. Keep it going. You´ll soon be addicted to photography like the majority of us ;).
     
  3. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    Hello and welcome, I agree with what has already been said...
     
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  4. snowbear

    snowbear fuzzy-wuzzy Supporting Member

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    First, welcome aboard.

    You have a pretty model but, unfortunately, these don't really do her justice.
    The stone really takes my attention away from her. The last shot would have been better if it were in portrait orientation. The white balance could also use some adjusting.

    Study up on composing and exposure, and keep trying.
     
  5. Skyclad

    Skyclad TPF Noob!

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  6. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you are serious about photography, realize there are a few areas that must be mastered. First, you must learn what the camera controls and lenses do to an image. What is the effect of aperature of lens length. This is a foundation. A carpenter can't build a house til he knows how to use his saw. Next, photography, meaning writing with light, you must learn light and lighting. For example, in the first flashed image, on camera flash produces shadowless images that are flat with no depth. Think of drawing a circle on a piece of paper, flat, that's what on camera flash looks like. Then take your pencil and shade half the circle and you have a 3 dimensional ball. Light from off camera axis does just that. And flat light adds pounds to a subject. I have had few subjects ask me to add weight to them. Third, the photographer is responsible for everything that goes inside the frame and where it is placed. Learn composition. And make a free and beneficial tool for learning it, a viewing card. Cut a 2"x3" opening in a piece of cardboard. Look through it with one eye moving it in and out, and around to find compositions. It gets your finger off the trigger and starts encouraging looking more closely at composition. Try standing in one place and find 10 photos. Practice that and it will open you eyes. But most important, once you have those under your belt, a photo COMMUNICATES something. When you sit down to type an email, you don't just hit a bunch of random keys, you know what you want to say and select the letters, words, writing techniques to maximize your message. Having mastered the above 3 areas, you can employ camera, lens, lighting and composition to powerfully communicate your message. Consider a book on each of the subjects, general photography emphasizing camera and lens effect on the image, one on shooting in available light and one on composition. Or consider Kelby On line Training with it's multiple courses on all those subjects. It's $200 a year, no more expensive than purchasing a half dozen books.
     
  7. CherylL

    CherylL TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    A book that helped me was "Understanding Exposure" https://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Fourth-Photographs-Camera/dp/1607748509

    My suggestion would be to learn the camera and exposure before you add flash. What helped me was to guess the settings by seeing what the camera chose in Auto vs. what I thought it should be. I would take 100 photos and then format the card. If your ISO is too high then you will have noise. If the shutter speed is too low then you will have camera movement.

    Welcome to the forum!
     
  8. Fujidave

    Fujidave Blue eyed and Beautiful Supporting Member

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    I think out of all the photography there is, portraits of people are the hardest. You have to get every thing just right, ie... Lighting composition background and the main thing good clear focus. It is a subject that I would really like to try and get in to too, you have a lovely model so I wish you the best in your journey.
     
  9. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    oh dear...which podcasts were you watching?
    They must have been rubbish.
    if ISO is too high and white balance too hard, just flip to b/w.

    Forget ISO and all that stuff for now.
    Concentrate on understanding angles and feel.
    Nevermind the shutter speed. A little blur is fine and fun (sometimes).

    Use a longer, faster lens would be nice...and once again, understand "feel."
    ack! you're shooting at ISO 25,600?!?!!! very very few cameras can do that high ISO well.

    ok try shooting in open shade...where there's actual light.
     
  10. chuasam

    chuasam Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Portraits aren't that difficult. You must not think about lighting, composition background. You have to know that stuff and then toss it all away.
    If you're thinking about all those things, you'll get really static boring shots (people here call it traditional).
     
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  11. photo1x1.com

    photo1x1.com TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    So true. Many things customers request nowadays would have been a nogo a few years ago. People are looking for likes on social media with their images and you seem to get most likes with shots that are as different as it can get compared to traditional stuff. It took me a while to get used to, but I really started to like those natural looking shots - no posing, no additional lighting, just a very fast lens and lots of activity and emotions.
     
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  12. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Chuasam, I have to disagree. you have to know the stuff til it is automatic, unconscious, not toss it away. You often don't have time to plan every aspect but need the skill to spot a problem and correct it on the fly. Sure, for an amateur, it is fine if they are like the blind squirrel and find an acorn once in a while, but to consistently create good portraiture, the guidelines need to be understood and pretty much incorporated in the shot. There is a reason they are guidelines. A great candid photographer knows what a good pose looks like and anticipates, recognizes and nails them as they appear. Static and boring photos are taken by photographers with no creativity or understanding or sensitivity to he subject. The real challenge of portraiture that isn't present in landscapes or architecture photos. There is a human being, often anxious, often impatient, with a personality in front of the camera but because of that unique personality, more than just a likeness can be obtained. That is the art of portraiture. This is a dimension that places an additional responsibility and stress on the photographer. Not to mention, landscapes don't tell you they don't like the shot. Uncle harry gets recognizable likenesses with no lighting, no posing. I think it is misleading to tell beginners to think they don't have to employ the basics. They need to be present, whether done consciously or automatically. As for shots having to be unplanned and spontaneous, I have created shots that took 3 months to design. Others put together on the fly that few photographers could execute even when I show them how it was done. Not only are they not traditional, you have never seen those shots before. They are hardly static and boring, but instead with depth and powerful messages. How were they received, clients put them on their walls and commercial websites as lead photos and they received awards in professional competitions judged by professionals. My recommendations to folks starting in portraiture is learn the basics, practice each til they are automatic. Then the camera, lights, compositon, posing takes little of your attention because it happens automatically and you can concentrate on the subject and eliciting the expression and emotion to match your vision. How many photos these days have a subject with a blank expression? That's a human being in front of the camera, not a mannequin. Photo1x1 is right, they don't like blank expressions whether a traditional or modern photo. How much do they want expression, ask any portrait photographer which sells the most, full length where you can barely make out the expression, or torso, head and shoulders, and head shots? That's why. As human beings, only 3 things on your face, mouth, eyes and eye brows in various combinations are capable of communicating hundreds of expressions. Most are recognizable between cultures they are so universal. Don't bore the viewer with none. I wonder if that is what Photo1x1 is saying. But eliciting expression is a skill so you don't have to rely on spontaneous expressions that often don't come. Bambi Cantrell said expression trumps perfection, but Jerry Ghionis added, expression plus perfection trumps expression alone. I agree. so I want not only genuine expression but as perfect as possible pose, lighting and composition.
     
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