Photos for critique

Jul 13, 2013
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Here are some photos I took for my niece. They didn't turn out as well as I hoped and I'm wanting to learn as much as I can so please critique.:)

Well, learning more about how to pose people in relation to the natural lighting that is around would help. In the 1st shot in the shade, her skin tone looks too blue; you needed a warmer white balance,like the Shade setting. In #2, the pink blouse shot: her nose is in sunlight, the rest of the face in shade, which is a form of dappled lighting that is VERY challenging to work with, so avoid it until you're much more-skilled. #3-railroad tracks--move CLOSE to her, and meter off the face, and let the background blow out. #4 hand on hip...needed to be a "tall". #5...again,like #3, this is backlighting...either add fill-in to the shadowed side via reflector/white sheet/or fill-in flash OR meter close-up and allow the face to be exposed properly and let the background "blow out". Letting the background blow out would be perfectly fine, since you have basically nothing in focus, and it's already blown-out in terms of focus. The term "Blown-out" can refer to deeply defocused backgrounds OR to substantial overexposure.

The girl looks tense in all of these. Some work on how to help people project/relax would help.
I suck at posing its so hard for me to tell them how to pose without them looking awkward. Thanks for the feedback Derrel.
1. So this one is sort of deceptive, because when you look at the thumbnails it LOOKS sharp... but when I click it to look at it full size... it's not. You missed focus on the eyes, and it *almost*... almost looks like there might be some motion blur, looking at the shirt, but I dunno if that's just the pattern playing tricks on my eyes. It's also very, very cool in terms of white balance. That can happen when you're shooting in the shade, which this clearly was, so make sure you're fixing that in-camera if you're shooting JPEG, and if you're shooting RAW and haven't changed it in-camera, make sure you address it during post. I'm also not digging the crop. I don't hate horizontal portraits like some people do, but I'm just not feeling it on this one.

2. Your lighting is far to harsh in this one. Her face is shadowed, which isn't necesarily a bad thing, if done right, but you have this super bright spot on the nose. I would have waited for the sun to go down some first before shooting in open natural light. Also make sure her face is turned away enough from the sun that you're not getting that weird cut of light across the face, like what is on her nose. Then you can fill in her face with some flash, or a reflector.

3. Her face is underexposed. You needed either a reflector or some flash to fill in her face.

4. I've already said it, but the sun is a bit too harsh. Parts of her shirt are blowing out. Also if you're going for a crop like this, try to catch it a little lower so you're not cutting off her hand. I would also have her face turned a little more towards the camera... 3/4's vs. full profile. Sometimes full profile can work if you're going for something dramatic, but here I think it would have been better as a 3/4 face.

5. Rinse and repeat previous critique. This one is also out of focus.

Good effort, but you definitely need to work on working WITH the light, and not against it :sexywink:

Wait until the sun is less harsh and/or stick to the shade when it is.

There's nothing wrong with shooting natural light (insert collective shocked gasp by TPF). That's right, I said it. Natural light photographers are just as legit as those that use flash... HOWEVER... GOOD natural light photographers know how to work the available light. Just because you're shooting natural light doesn't mean you don't put use to light modifiers. Get (or make) a reflector. Make use of diffusion panels and the like. Pay attention to the light before shooting.

It's a lot to think about, but you seemed determined. I have faith in you! I've seen people come a long way with a little determination and some work. :sexywink:
Pick up a couple books on posing. It take a few read thru's and then putting it into practice to get better with posing, but that will help a lot because most of the people you shoot will expect you to know how to pose them, your the expert. I went to my local library and picked up a few good reads on how to pose and it helped me tremendously.

Not sure how you focus or meter, but for focus I will genereally use a single focus point when I focus on a person. and I will focus on the eyes. if her face or body is slightly OOF but her eyes are sharp. the photo may work. if the eyes are OOF it's not workable for me. metering, for something like the railroad tracks, I would have metered on her because she is the subject. meter on the background and your subject becomes underexposed. if you have your meter set to a large area it could pick up to much background and give you an underexposed shot as well.

just a couple things to think about.
When you look at these photos what do you see that you like and dislike? Shooting at this time of day is hard, especially in full sun. I would redo this set about an hour before sunset with a reflector. I would watch some YouTube videos on how to use a reflector properly. I would also run, not walk, to your nearest camera store to get a 5 way reflector. (Around $30 bucks) It will be a great investment. I have been using the same one for 3 years and it has been through the ringer.
Howdy neighbor, I was just up in your state last week around the Quad cities.

I'm going to repeat some of what was already said but I'm going to be more emphatic and don't want to ruffle your feathers but you said you want to learn.

1. If you're trying to photograph people in direct sunlight you will use fill flash (preferably off-camera) or you will fail. Embrace that as an imutable law.
2. Never take a camera near train tracks again.
3. Learn to control white balance either in your camera or in post post processing.
a) Your niece is lovely and the lighting (open shade) in your first photo is good. Here's how much better she looks with corrected skin tones:



P.S. Curse TPF's white background! Make sure and click on the photo and see it against a grey background.
I suck at posing its so hard for me to tell them how to pose without them looking awkward.
Negative self speak will not help you. In fact, it does just the opposite.
Your subconscious makes sure you make decisions that reinforce the negative self speak.

The likely truth is you have not yet studied posing in a structured manner - Step-by-Step Posing for Portrait Photography: Simple Lessons for Quick Learning and Reference
Doug Box's Guide to Posing for Portrait Photographers

As far as shooting in available light, consider the quality of the light that is available - Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
Available Light: Photographic Techniques for Using Existing Light Sources
Chasing the Light: Improving Your Photography with Available Light (Voices That Matter)

When a subject is backlit, fill light is needed unless you want the background to be the main image element. Fill light can come from a reflector, a flash, or a constant light.

You'll get better C&C if you post just 1 image at a time.
You posted 5 images. If someone spent just 3 minutes with each, that's 15 minutes, which is a long time on the Internet.
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I'm confident I can improve my skills that's why I accept that these photos have issues. E.rose suggested uploading 5 photos and she has helped me quite a bit already so I decided to listen to her. I need all the help I can get, especially with posing so thanks for those links and thanks for editing that photo Joe.
Oh and thanks for the reflector tip Kathy. When I look at the photos I dislike the lighting, how I had her pose, and most of all the focus in them. For some reason I had it set on landscape mode so I think that could be the issue with the focus.
P.S. Curse TPF's white background! Make sure and click on the photo and see it against a grey background.

Do you use firefox or chrome? Let me recommend my TPF "stylish" style!

thephotoforum themes and skins -

If you use IE or something else, I am sorry.

Thanks. I'll look into that. It would help me but then I'd know other people are still seeing white. I have often posted photos here and adjusted them first to accommodate the white background.


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