First critique post (D7100 ,50 mm lens portraits of cute child


TPF Noob!
Jun 1, 2013
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I have had my first DSLR maybe a month now. Just bought my first fixed lens to go with my kit lens. a 50 mm f/1.8 I bought last night. And I couldn't wait to try it out on my guinea pigs this morning ! lol (My son and daughter at a local park) . I love #1& #2 and have trouble seeing what is wrong with it. Maybe you can break my big head and tear me down a little bit, lol. #3 , I do like it,but feel the background/bokeh is too 'busy" . The focusing might not be great. Oh and i know I chopped her body a little. I tend to do that when I try to snap a picture fast and don't want to lose that candid moment. I love taking the candid pictures. he other one just like it, I actually chopped a sliver of her head off . It was the very first picture when we first got out of the car and they ran to the flowers. I was like wait,keeping doing that lemme get my camera out, lol .

First picture
Copying settings info as I see it in the VeiwNX 2 program
#1 picture info :
Camera :Nikon D7100
Lens used : 50 mm f 1.8
time of day : 10am
Weather : cloudy ,and had rained all night,that morning, and started raining again before we rushed back to the car .
*Filters : two stacked together ; rocketfish polarizer , rocketfish UV

* First time trying filters out after seeing them & buying at the store last night* FYI I just read about not buying cheap filters in a thread today,and do plan on taking these back,and buying something different online instead.
Raw (14 bit)
manual mode (but didn't know I could remove auto iso until getting help here at TPF,thanks craig for reminding me to check the manual again! lol )
focus mode AF-C (lucky guessing because I am still trying to figure out how to use the focus settings and what they mean,to use them properly for the right pictures)
exposure comp 0EV ( I know what exposure is and what compensation is,but don't know what this 0EV means)
metering mode : "matrix" (I didn't do this on purpose, I'm still trying to figure out how to do the focus settings)
ISO sensitivity (ISO 560) again I didn't know I could turn this off until later today day, but glad it helped me!)
flash : SB600 (just a 50$walmart external flash)
Flash sync mode: front curtain (whatever that means) , exposure comp; background only (did that setting as guesswork, I know very little about flash usage.)
Flash mode (I know nothing on how to set external flash settings so it may look out of whack) : i-TTL BL , 0EV (camera oEV,speedlight 0EV)
WB: Cloudy (it was, and before&after rain)
High ISO NR , ON (normal)
Long exposure NR ; OFF
Active D lighting: normal
Auto distortion: ON
For editing:
Picture control ; "standard"
Sharpening : 3
I did the straightening tool , and a tiny adjustment with D lighting .
#1 picture:

#2 picture info :
camera : D7100
lens : 50 mm f/1.8
OK, looks like everything was the same as above, right down to the 1/80s and f/4 ,same edits (ViewNX 2) just a tiny bit of adjusting with D lighting , sharpening ,and straightening tool (I took them crooked by accident) .

#3 info
same camera&lens with both filters on. I'm going to put just what is different with this one.
Raw (12 bit)
3D tracking
ISO 100 It was in a more open area with more natural sunlight and not inside the trees like with the other ones. Still cloudy/rainy though.
Same editing as above. A little sharpening (not that it needed it,but I like adding a little) , tiny tad of D lighting, and no need to straighten this one. I was trying to get it to focus on the middle of her face, but I think I could only get on the glasses. It makes my eyes hurt looking at this ,lol so I'm sure there is plenty wrong with it.
In the first two, exposure and focus seem very good. Technically, the images are strong. I'd like to see them from a lower angle. It's not flattering to take a portrait looking down at someone. For small children, it's strongly recommended that you get down at their level and shoot them straight on. Of course rules are meant to be broken, but this is a rule that you don't want to break without a good reason for doing so, imo. Also, the glasses riding low on the nose, cause the top of the frame to cut off part of the eye, making the eye appear smaller than it should. In a portrait, the eyes are critical so be mindful of this in the future. These are definitely a good start though, just read up and practice your composition. It takes time.

The third photo, I'm not as big a fan of. I like the idea, and see where you were going with it. I think it would be better if we could see a little more of her face, so that we could see her reaction to smelling the flower. It would tell more of a story that way. Also, the overexposed part in the lower right corner is distracting and pulls my eye away from the focal point of the photo. There's not a whole lot you could have done about that, short of using fill flash to balance your exposure. For now though, I'd just try to take photos somewhere with more even lighting.

Not tearing your work down by any means. It's a good strong start. Just giving you some things to keep in mind for next time. Keep it up!
Thank you for the tips. I really appreciate that ! About lighting, that is my downfall. Honestly I couldn't tell anything was "off" with the lighting and thought with it being cloudy it looked pretty even. But that goes to show I don't have an eye for that yet. In time with experience, I guess. It's just like when my mom (who does photography herself) will say she can see a little green or blue (or whatever color) in my picture or this/that needs fixing. And I will be like I must be blind because I can't see what you are seeing. I hope one day I can though. I think that is because she has developed that 'eye" to see things others (who don't think about the technical stuff) don't see. I cleaned carpet for years, and I can spot a stain other people don't even know is there.. . So I figure it's something like that,where it comes with experience.
As for lighting , my comfort zone has been in the shade, cloudy days, or early mornings ,and I avoid direct sunlight where there are a lot of shadows. I have a lot to learn about using flash.
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I think Destin pretty much nailed the critique. Good job on your first go; keep practicing!
nice set of photos. I think you did well for your first shots with this lense.
Speaking as some one new to this forum i am impressed with the quality, straight forwardness and gentleness of the critiques that are made by people on this forum.....What a wonderful learning tool for all of us begginers...... I really want to thank the people who respond to these posts.
Pretty good background control and degree of defocus. Like Dustin said, a good, strong start with the new 50mm lens.
these are a wonderful start!

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