My God Daughter's Prom


hear me roar
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Mar 18, 2013
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She is gorgeous so it should have been easy! However... grabbed the wrong lens in my rush to leave for work this morning so had my 55-200 with me instead of my 18-105. This also meant that I had the wrong lens hood. It was 94 degrees and bright sunshine in most of their backyard - the front of the house had some shade but no real options for a nice background. Challenging conditions for a noob like me. All things considered, I think a few of these came out nice. Not sure if they are too warm though???? I like em that way but what do you think?
1. $L1.jpg
2. $L2.jpg
3. $L7.jpg
4. $L11.jpg
The background is distracting and the focus is way off on the last one. Even if you had brought the lens you wanted to it would not have changed those issues.
The colour temperature came out fine, but... well... to be blunt, I'm not sure much else did. All of the images are soft, and as mentioned the background is horribly distracting; vertical and diagonal compositional elements (the stairs & lattice) grab the eye and pull it away from the subject.

In the first two, you've got her square to the camera (football) shoulders) with the standard "Squirrel????" look of someone who doesn't know how to pose (That's normal, most people don't) and hasn't been told (That's NOT normal, that's YOUR job). Women are almost always better posed in part profile; anwything from a full 3/4 profile to just off straight, but never the dreaded square to the camera, arms at her sides! Notice how much better #4 looks because she's turned slightly toward him and while I'm sure it was accidental, you've got him in a good masculine pose too.

Your settings are ALL over the place; a shutter speed of 1/20??? That explains why #4 is soft. It's critical that you ensure that the camera is doing what you what it to and not what it wants to (unless they're the same thing).

Now that you feel you've been flayed alive, given the conditions, they're not actually that bad. Yes, there are LOTS of things that could be improved, but these are definitely nice keep-sake images. You can do a lot to improve them as-is too; adding a nice gaussian blur to the background would help, and these would be quite easy to cut the people out and composite on to another background as well. One thing I would do is some skin smoothing; while an attractive young lady she suffers from the standard adolescent acne bumps, and I'm sure she would prefer not to be reminded of that...

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary.

LightGuru - Thanks for the feedback. Any suggestions for what to do in the future if there is limited choice of background? Any suggestions for post processing to neutralize it in these? Still learning with PS so I just did some basic contrast/exposure/white balance and cropping adjustments...

Thanks Tirediron for the detailed critique. I'll give the post processing suggestions a try. And yes, these were only meant to be keepsake photos - this was not a photo session bit still, I would have liked to have done a better job of posing them. I'll keep that in mind for next time. I have a few years to practice before my 2 nieces and 1 daughter start going to proms.
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The greenery in #3 would have made for a much better backdrop choice for all of them.
Any suggestions for what to do in the future if there is limited choice of background?

You can add blur to the background by moving your subject(s) away from the background, and open the lens more. BTW: this would also allow for a faster shutter speed.

these were only meant to be keepsake photos - this was not a photo session

Good photos become keepsakes.
I wish we'd had that option. That greenery was in a very small patch of shade surrounded by sun and shadows, we tried a few shots over there but it was not a big enough area. Having only the 55.200 really limited my positioning with that spot and with not being able to move them away from the lattice as their was only so far I could back up due to other structures. She wanted a picture of her hairdo so that area worked for #3 since I didn't need to step so far back and could get her head and shoulders in the small patch of shade.

edit to add that I appreciate all input and feedback - thanks to all!!!
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