Give a new guy some pointers....

Shades of Blue

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I've been taking photos for years, but haven't ever really had anyone give me more than "looks great!" As a "first call for advice," I'd like to basically get to know everyone here through a critique. I am not thin skinned, so please let me have it....respectfully....aw heck just let 'er rip! lol

Anyways, I'm not a full manual guy yet and bounce between aperture and shutter priority modes. I am just getting started trying to grow my name and take as many photos of people as possible. I typically edit with an iPad because I simply don't have a lot of cash to get going. My main equipment is a Nikon D5000 with a 55-200 lens. My first thought is to not go too bright, but sometimes I think my photos tend to be dark.

Here are a few shots that represent my style....if you see fundamental issues, please let me know, and nice to meet you! (image quality isn't the best from a lot of copying the original files from facebook and whatnot. Actual files are MUCH sharper!)
 
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Designer

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Four photos is about my upper limit for a cursory critique. If only one photo, I can get more into it.

Please number your photos. Also please do not strip the EXIF. I will sometimes examine the EXIF if I have questions about your settings, etc. I cannot view the focus points either.

#1 Awkward frame, missed focus.
#2 Cropped too tightly. Need more light on subject's face.
#3 Nice, but would be better if subject's face was showing.
#4 Foreground tree should not have been included. Possibly missed focus. A bit too much background above the children's heads.
 
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Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue

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Four photos is about my upper limit for a cursory critique. If only one photo, I can get more into it.

Please number your photos. Also please do not strip the EXIF. I will sometimes examine the EXIF if I have questions about your settings, etc. I cannot view the focus points either.

#1 Awkward frame, missed focus.
#2 Cropped too tightly. Need more light on subject's face.
#3 Nice, but would be better if subject's face was showing.
#4 Foreground tree should not have been included. Possibly missed focus. A bit too much background above the children's heads.

Thanks, I will try to stick to 1-2 files. For future posters, feel free to just pick one or two to tear apart!
 

480sparky

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1. Missed focus. Awkward posing on the girl on the left. She too close to the bottom of the frame. The wood on the right is a huge distraction.

2. Missed focus. Top of her head is lopped off. Her left arm is cut off as well.

3. Not much wrong with it.

4. Missed focus. Girl on left is, again, awkwardly posed, grinning too much and her eyes are closed. Too many distractions with the branches, garland and OOF tree. Too much space between the girls.
 

waday

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My favorites are 1 and 3. I actually quite like #3, but it's too underexposed.

Despite the missed focus and awkward framing, I love #1. Seems to capture the moment pretty well. It's ok as is, or possibly converted to B&W. To fix the crop, you could make it square, like below. If you were to take the picture again, a few things come to mind: the girls should be properly exposed (they seem underexposed now--use some additional lighting if you have to), in focus (you need a larger DOF), and it seems a tad warm to me (but that could be my monitor).

Girls.jpg
 
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Shades of Blue

Shades of Blue

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Thanks for the replies so far. I actually realized that photo 2 is the unedited image, but I can't get to the edited image at the moment.

By the way...the shots of the two kids together were my first clients...well, their parents were! Overall it went well but I learned one major thing. Taking photos of kids is NO EASY TASK. Sometimes you take what the kids give you.
 
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