Help me improve:)


TPF Noob!
Aug 17, 2010
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Tacoma, Wa
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Hey there! This is my second post on this site, and my first ever request for critiques for my photos. I will appreciate any words of wisdom you may have for me! I have posted the versions of these photos that I have not edited (even though I have edited versions of all of them that I think look better) I just really want to get to the place where I can take great looking photos straight out of the camera without editing them. I am using a canon xsi with the kit 18-55mm lens. Thank you in advance!!!!:peacemrgreen:




1. Could have been focused better. What was your aperature? Also there is a sweet spot with this lens probably around f8. This will help with taking sharp images.

2. Looks good but the composition is really bothering me with her hair hiding her left eye. If you do not want her directly looking at the camera I think both eyes should still be visible for the pose.

3. Just a snap shot - nothing spectacular about this composition IMO

4. I like! Although the highlights are blown it looks good. Again soft focus.
Thank you so much for your input! Honestly, I don't remember the aperture I used. Is there a way to see after the fact? I'll try and stay around f8 more, because honestly I've just started using my manual mode this summer so I've been kind of all over the place with it experimenting.
Thank you so much for your input! Honestly, I don't remember the aperture I used. Is there a way to see after the fact? I'll try and stay around f8 more, because honestly I've just started using my manual mode this summer so I've been kind of all over the place with it experimenting.

I am not saying that f8 is the sharpest aperture for this lens it is only and example. Usually 2-3 stops above the the widest opening will be the the lens's sharpest. Experiment with it : ) Furthermore desired DOF, lighting conditions and corresponding shutter speed will affect aperture as well.

You should be able to view the EXIF data after a photo was taken. Here is a very simple how to How to read Exif data from your image files
I just really want to get to the place where I can take great looking photos straight out of the camera without editing them.

The reality is you always have to do some editing. Digital has less dynamic range than print film, and even less than transparency ("slide") film. To say you've gotten everything right in camera means that your editing will be small adjustments in contrast, WB and color, maybe some cropping, straightening, and some sharpening. Better glass means the adjustments are smaller, yet they're still necessary. Basically, all the same things that were done to film by the color lab. I would say, based on the pics you posted, you're well on your way to exposing properly, but a little fine tuning is still required in post.

All I've done here is add a little saturation, very slight curves adjustment and sharpened it a little. That's pretty much my normal work flow for any pic I take where I've gotten it "right in camera".

BTW, I respectfully disagree with edouble on #3, I think it's a nice candid portrait, though a slightly blurred background could have made it a nicer shot. And obviously shot on a rare, sunny day in the Sea-Tac area!

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You don't need an EXIF reader. Right click your jpeg, click properties, click the details tab. It's all there.
You have much stronger images on your flickr than said, you will always have to do some editing to get the most out of your photos, even if it's just contrast and sharpening. Otherwise you'll need to adjust those settings in your camera to try and get them where you want which probably won't be as productive (but could work).

In the first shot there is no detail at all in the flower making it look muddy.

On 2, be careful not to chop off limbs at the joints like you have done with all of her fingers. Contrast could help here too.

3 and 4 could use some selective contrast adjustments too to give it some pop without blowing out portions of the sky....a little added saturation on the sky (but not too heavy) could help too. The dog could use a tad bit of sharpening as well.
the pic of the girl i wish had her hair out of her face a bit more. and the 3rd pic w the gentleman and his dog , i would have shot a bit higher than the grass.
Here is your data on the second shot:
Camera Maker: Canon
Camera Model: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XSi
Image Date: 2010:08:01 05:40:41
Focal Length: 42.0mm
Aperture: f/5.0
Exposure Time: 0.040 s (1/25)
ISO equiv: 200
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: program (Auto)
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No
Color Space: sRGB

I would say just watch for focal points (put them where you want them, dont let the camera guess), watch your lightmeter and make sure you are metering for your subject, and learn how to do some post processing. Like mentioned above, every photo could benefit from some PP work.
1. Ehh, I think I would have focused on the center of the flower instead of the upper part. (Try using a center point AF; doing so you can tell exactly where you're focusing and once it is in focus you can move around)

2. This angle does not flatter your model; especially her nose. Also, your depth of field should have been a bit shallower in my opinion.

3. Model seems a tad blurry? Were you using a tripod? Also, what is his left hand doing? It seems extremely awkward.

4. Good job getting down to the level of the dog on this one.
Wow, thanks guys!! I've been busy today and haven't been able to get on until now but I really appreciate all of the great input!

Subscuck- That's probably true, but I love it when I come across a wonderful pic. the photographer has said hasn't edited. Thanks for taking the time to explain a few things with the one you edited:) I know not everyone is honest, but I'm pretty gullible and tend to take what people say for face value. During the summer, we actually get a fair share of sunny days! I've only lived here a year since my husband is in the military, but the weather hasn't been half as bad as I thought it would be!

Polyphony- Thanks so much! Now I know for future reference:)

Naphtali- HAHA!!! His hand does look awkward, I honestly never noticed before until you mentioned it. I wasn't using a tripod. I actually don't use mine that much, only when I go out at night and think I might do something. Thanks for taking the time to critique each photo, it's very helpful to consider things to work on from an outside perspective!

Dominantly- Thank you for posting the data for me:) I do pp most of my pics, and actually have edited versions of each of these photos on my computer but I posted original versions in order to see things I can look out for in the future to try and get a better photo straight out of the camera. I guess I have set my sights too high to try and not do ANY pp, but I guess I just know a few people who don't seem to be as concerned with getting the best shot they can straight out of their camera and fix everything with Photoshop. It's not that I think that's BAD, because I believe Photoshop is an art in itself, but that's just not the way I want to do things. If I have to pp, I want to stick to the bare min. You know what I mean? (Sorry, I rambled)

Corvphotography- Thanks for your insight!

NateS- Thank you for the compliment! I hadn't noticed one hand isn't visible, and with the others the fingers are chopped off! I'm glad I asked for input because it's so helpful to get someone else's opinion because sometimes it's hard to take a step back and see things to change in the future.

Danfine- thank you!
I hear you.
I shoot raw +JPG and it seems that more often then not, I just go with the JPG and maybe a couple seconds worth of PP.
I have only shot raw once, but I'm such a packrat with my pics. I'm afraid to do it on a regular basis because of the space it will take up on my hard drive. Does it make enough difference that I should do it more?
Well, if you are shooting something that you really value, then shooting raw gives you some peace of mind. It allows you to take more liberty with a photo in PP without degrading the image. It allows you to make tweaks that you might have missed when shooting originally, or fix mistakes you made.
If you like the JPG, just delete the raw file.

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