Just feeling this forum out. What you think of these pictures?

Stacie

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I'm new here and thought I'd post some pictures to get an idea how this forum works. These photos are a few that I placed at the local fair with. I compete at two local fairs, and a festival every year. Even though I placed 1st or 2nd with these I'd like more opinions on how to improve! Thanks!

The dog photo I got a 2nd at a very tough fair competition. I think the class was over 13 entries. The judge loved it. Except the grass in her face. He didn't go for that. But he was still deciding to place it over the eventual 1st. A close up of a cardinal. Very tack sharp he said! So I got the 2nd. I received a 1st, Award of Excellence and Best of Show at another fair. Smaller class, but Best of Show out of 100 entries.

Got a 1st in the rural activities class with the sleigh at the bigger fair.

And I got nothing with the foggy picture at the larger fair. But a 1st in Landscape Enlargement, and an Award of Excellence at another fair.
 

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Big Mike

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Certainly some skill and talent here but there is always room for improvement.
For example, the first two really make me want to crop them differently and probably add a bit of vignette.

Getting good solid critique is certainly possible on this forum, but keep a few things in mind.

Firstly, you tend to get out of it, what you put it. If someone just puts up a photo and asks 'What do you think?'...they won't usually get much in return. But if they give us a good amount of info on the image, like what settings they used and why. Tell us what you hoped to achieve with the photo and we can give our opinion about whether or not you pulled it off.

Secondly, responding to comments with maturity and maybe a bit of humility (when called for) will go a long way. Plenty of people put up photos and ask for opinions, but then get all upset (or disappear) when they don't get gushing approval. It happens all the time, so you (anyone) really have to prove that you are willing to learn.

It also helps if you set your profile to allow others to edit your photos. This doesn't give people any rights to use your image...but it's purpose is to allow someone to take the image and edit it and re-post it into the thread, just to exemplify the points they are trying to make.
 

Stevepwns

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I like the puppy. I am very partial to retrievers. I would have cropped a little tighter though. Just my tastes. The second is a great picture IMO. I would have brought the scene up some though, shown a little more of the forest rather than the snow.
The river is a great picture, I would have brought more emphasis to the river and bridge though in post processing. Brought them out some more out of the haze. Some more reflections with clarity in the water and the second layer of trees on the right along with the bridge. I already edited it to show as an example and then realized you don't want people editing your photos so I wont post it. But if you are interested in the example let me know and Ill post it so you can see what I am talking about. Other than that I think they are solid. For me it just boils down to personal preference. Nice shots.
 

cenote

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All three would make my revolving digital frame on my desk :)
 

amolitor

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I think they're all quite nice, with some minor quibbles:

The dog is looking "out" of the frame rather than "across" it
The snow is rendered poorly in the b&w, and the overall feeling is a little flat

The third one is really quite lovely as is. It suffers only from being a not terribly interesting thing to point the camera at, but it rewards the patient viewer.
 

Trblmkr

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1. To me the focus seems to be off. With any subject that has eyes in it, you want to make sure the eyes are the focus and sharp. I don't see the sharpness in the dogs eyes. Yes, the branch in front of it's face is distracting. You could have removed that in post production.

2. Crystal Clean, absolutely love everything about this one.

3. I think there needs to be a bit more color in the trees, and maybe cropped out the tree on the right, or just moved to the other side of the tree. Personally I would have made the bridge and the area behind the bridge the focus of the picture.
 

sashbar

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1. Wet dog, dry grass, descent light and good color scheme, pedestrian framing and not enough of properly selective focus. The distracting branch must be removed in PS. You also need to fill the frame with your main subject in this sort of composition and not leave too much unnecessary space around. This shot is not close enough.

2. Main problem here - the photo fail to convey any sense of movement or motion. Probable reason is a traditional safe angle and a central static composition. The contrast is a bit on a safe side as well for this kind of a subject.

3. I like this, the light creates a quiet, idyllic atmosphere. But the idyllic natural beauty is disrupted a bit by some construction (is it a huge gas pipe or a bridge?).
 

KenC

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They're all OK. For me the sharp foreground stems in the first are the biggest issue. Even if you remove the ones actually crossing the dog's head, there are others that are bright and sharp and simply draw attention away from the dog.
 
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Stacie

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Certainly some skill and talent here but there is always room for improvement.
For example, the first two really make me want to crop them differently and probably add a bit of vignette.

Getting good solid critique is certainly possible on this forum, but keep a few things in mind.

Firstly, you tend to get out of it, what you put it. If someone just puts up a photo and asks 'What do you think?'...they won't usually get much in return. But if they give us a good amount of info on the image, like what settings they used and why. Tell us what you hoped to achieve with the photo and we can give our opinion about whether or not you pulled it off.

Secondly, responding to comments with maturity and maybe a bit of humility (when called for) will go a long way. Plenty of people put up photos and ask for opinions, but then get all upset (or disappear) when they don't get gushing approval. It happens all the time, so you (anyone) really have to prove that you are willing to learn.

It also helps if you set your profile to allow others to edit your photos. This doesn't give people any rights to use your image...but it's purpose is to allow someone to take the image and edit it and re-post it into the thread, just to exemplify the points they are trying to make.

I certainly can take the constructive cristicism. I mean...it might hurt my feelings :) but I understand and I want to learn!! LOL! I did change my settings to allow photo editing. I was unsure of this feature. As for mentioning what settings I use. Yeah....uh...that's where I'm going to struggle a bit. Because I use most everything on auto. I know my camera will tell me how it took it. But I don't always take note of it. That is something I will start doing. But since I'm hoping to learn how to make adjustments, keeping an eye on my settings will let you all help me.
 
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Stacie

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I like the puppy. I am very partial to retrievers. I would have cropped a little tighter though. Just my tastes. The second is a great picture IMO. I would have brought the scene up some though, shown a little more of the forest rather than the snow.
The river is a great picture, I would have brought more emphasis to the river and bridge though in post processing. Brought them out some more out of the haze. Some more reflections with clarity in the water and the second layer of trees on the right along with the bridge. I already edited it to show as an example and then realized you don't want people editing your photos so I wont post it. But if you are interested in the example let me know and Ill post it so you can see what I am talking about. Other than that I think they are solid. For me it just boils down to personal preference. Nice shots.

I did change my settings so edit away!! And that's twice someone brought up cropping the dog. I like my pictures to fill the frame. And originally I thought this would be good enough. But after you and Mike brought it up, I can see where you both think that would be an improvement.
 
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Stacie

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1. To me the focus seems to be off. With any subject that has eyes in it, you want to make sure the eyes are the focus and sharp. I don't see the sharpness in the dogs eyes. Yes, the branch in front of it's face is distracting. You could have removed that in post production.

3. I think there needs to be a bit more color in the trees, and maybe cropped out the tree on the right, or just moved to the other side of the tree. Personally I would have made the bridge and the area behind the bridge the focus of the picture.

Yes! Sometimes I do struggle with focus. And I tend to forget the eyes!!! In this particular shot, I probably snapped it quickly. With people you (at least me) can always make them wait while you compose yourself. With animals it's not so easy! But again, I know focus is something I need to work on. My lens is IS, but I think I'm rushing my shots too much and getting shaky. I recently went to a Civil War Reenactment, and had quite some blur. Disappointing. But I know I'm doing something wrong. I'd put them on here, but I'm a little too embarrassed! :)
 
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Stacie

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1. Wet dog, dry grass, descent light and good color scheme, pedestrian framing and not enough of properly selective focus. The distracting branch must be removed in PS. You also need to fill the frame with your main subject in this sort of composition and not leave too much unnecessary space around. This shot is not close enough.

They're all OK. For me the sharp foreground stems in the first are the biggest issue. Even if you remove the ones actually crossing the dog's head, there are others that are bright and sharp and simply draw attention away from the dog.


The judge did not like the grass either. Though I wanted to tell him that she was hunting and hiding (it was a Thanksgiving morning duck hunt)! :D When I entered the bigger fair contest, I didn't realize that I could do much of Photoshop. All my photos I entered had minor sharpening, and some lightening or darkening. But that's it. I simply didn't think it was allowed. Though I probably wouldn't have removed the grass. After listening to this judge tell everyone else about adjusting skin tone, overexposing and underexposing an area, it's certainly something I will keep in mind for next year.

Thanks all for your tips, opinions and praise. Sorry I had to answer in so many posts but I just couldn't get the mass reply to work out for me. Thanks again!:hug::
 

The_Traveler

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the setting for each shot are embedded in the file and called EXIF.
if you want to get better, you will actually have to sit down, read the manual or tutorials online and learn how to use the various settings and adjust them for the optimum result.
 

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