Photo Portraiture Critique Wanted

stevengriffin

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It's been a very long time since I last visited the photo forum. Almost two years ago I posted a very sub-par photo thread and was given lots of insight. But alas I'm here again to hopefully have my photos ripped to shreds by those more photo savvy than I. I've been working effortlessly to perfect this craft and appreciate any and all feedback.
stvngrffnphoto.com (These pictures were from a recent paid shoot)
 

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tirediron

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I'm going to be blunt and say that I hope the client didn't pay a lot for these. There are a lot of issues with this set, some of the most significant are: Lack of fill light, missed focus, and poor posing. I'll pick Alexis9 as an example. You've chosen to shoot at f1.8 for some reason; based on my estimate of your shooting situation, I'm going to guess that your total DoF was something in the order of 6" or less. Your point of focus seems like it was her left knee with the result that her face is very soft. It appears that no fill light was use causing her eyes to appear as almost solid, dark holes without detail. There is mottling on the skin around her neck and blemishes on her fingers, both of which should have been dealt with in post, and the lens you're using suffers from some HORRIBLE CA. Lastly, you've neglected to level the image.

While I realize that sounds rather harsh, if you're going to move into the realm of the professional, you have to expect to be treated as one. I realize that you're young and without a lot of experience, but people who are paying you aren't going to worry about minor details like that.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to work as a professional, but you need to make sure that you're ready to take the plunge, and it requires a significant investment of time, equipment and money to do so. I would suggest spending a bit more time shooting TFP to learn the craft more thoroughly while you assemble your gear and get your business ducks in a row!

I will say that image #10 in your portraiture gallery is a great image, and with just a little more work in post would be a portrait that any photographer would be proud of!
 

KmH

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Few of us will have the time or the inclination to write a C&C on each of 7 photographs, which is why someone else recommended posting no more than 2 or 3. I recommed posting 1 at a time myself.

In general, I see poor use of light, a general tendency to under exposure of your main subject, white balance issues, and posing that accents less than flattering aspects of the subject.

What resources have you used to learn about posing, lighting, and the various technical aspects of doing portrait photography?

I routinely recommend these as a starting point:
Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
Off-Camera Flash: Techniques for Digital Photographers
On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography
Master Posing Guide for Portrait Photographers
 
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The_Traveler

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The dullness of these might be explained by editing on a laptop where the brightness is too high.
Just to look at #9
Not a great pose fort a slightly chubby young girl with a gorgeous face.
Way too dark, too flat, shot in dull overhead light.

Not in great focus and tilted (generally buildings are not on a slant.)

upload_2016-12-4_15-42-30.png


upload_2016-12-4_15-42-50.png
 
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stevengriffin

stevengriffin

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Few of us will have the time or the inclination to write a C&C on each of 7 photographs, which is why someone else recommended posting no more than 2 or 3. I recommed posting 1 at a time myself.

In general, I see poor use of light, a general tendency to under exposure of your main subject, white balance issues, and posing that accents less than flattering aspects of the subject.

What resources have you used to learn about posing, lighting, and the various technical aspects of doing portrait photography?

I routinely recommend these as a starting point:
Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
Off-Camera Flash: Techniques for Digital Photographers
On-Camera Flash Techniques for Digital Wedding and Portrait Photography
Master Posing Guide for Portrait Photographers
Thank you for not only pointing out the issues but also steering me in the right direction to correct them. This was a 30 minute shoot and had no choice but to work with the overcast sky as my key. I believe the images may appear under exposed due to my laptop screen being too bright when editing (didn't even think of that being an issue). I've read a few books but the majority of my knowledge comes from youtube videos.
 
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stevengriffin

stevengriffin

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I'm going to be blunt and say that I hope the client didn't pay a lot for these. There are a lot of issues with this set, some of the most significant are: Lack of fill light, missed focus, and poor posing. I'll pick Alexis9 as an example. You've chosen to shoot at f1.8 for some reason; based on my estimate of your shooting situation, I'm going to guess that your total DoF was something in the order of 6" or less. Your point of focus seems like it was her left knee with the result that her face is very soft. It appears that no fill light was use causing her eyes to appear as almost solid, dark holes without detail. There is mottling on the skin around her neck and blemishes on her fingers, both of which should have been dealt with in post, and the lens you're using suffers from some HORRIBLE CA. Lastly, you've neglected to level the image.

While I realize that sounds rather harsh, if you're going to move into the realm of the professional, you have to expect to be treated as one. I realize that you're young and without a lot of experience, but people who are paying you aren't going to worry about minor details like that.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to work as a professional, but you need to make sure that you're ready to take the plunge, and it requires a significant investment of time, equipment and money to do so. I would suggest spending a bit more time shooting TFP to learn the craft more thoroughly while you assemble your gear and get your business ducks in a row!

I will say that image #10 in your portraiture gallery is a great image, and with just a little more work in post would be a portrait that any photographer would be proud of!
No worries, I was hoping for harsh criticism as I truly aspire to be an amazing photographer. Thank you for your insight, luckily I've yet to deliver the images, (and there are plenty more). I regret posting "Alexis9" as it was definitely a missed shot. I had planned on bringing a small umbrella and reflector to the shoot but was given last minutes notice that the girl, (Alexis) was on a time constraint. I felt I had no choice but to work with what light I had which was an overcast sky. Alexis suffers from eczema on her arms and neck which I tried, but failed to mask in post. I'm going to look into how to correct CA and how to correctly level my images.
 

KmH

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This was a 30 minute shoot and had no choice but to work with the overcast sky as my key.
Do you have a hot shoe flash unit?
Overcast sky is some of the worst light to do portraiture under, because it is so flat. The other problem with overcast sky is that reflectors become useless if it is a hard overcast.
For head shots, these can work as reflectors:
Elmer's Foam Board Multi-Pack, White, 20x30 Inch, Pack of 3
For 1/2 body, 3/4 body, or full body portraits you would need bigger reflectors:
Neewer 35" x 70"/ 90 x 180cm Photo Studio Gold/Silver & Black/White Flat Panel Light Reflector with 360 degree Rotating Holding Bracket and Carrying Bag
I believe the images may appear under exposed due to my laptop screen being too bright when editing (didn't even think of that being an issue).
For a variety of reasons, but mostly because of calibration issues if they aren't used under the same ambient light evertime you edit photos, laptops make poor editing platforms. Many laptops lack the display controls needed to calibrate the laptop display or an external display that is always under the same ambient light.
I've read a few books but the majority of my knowledge comes from youtube videos.
Not all YouTube video are created equal, and few are in any kind of a series that's in a logical, effective teaching order.

Make up is more effective for hiding skin blemishes than post processing the photographs.

I don't know what make/model camera you use but my Nikon D300s has lines I can turn on that display in the viewfinder I use to make sure I'm holding the camera level.
 

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