Practicing Portraits C&C please


TPF Noob!
Aug 29, 2008
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I found a new place to take outdoor photos, a lot of interesting backdrops. I appreciate honest critique.



As a general rule of thumb, doesn't always work naturally, is that for portraits, large amounts of skin not part of the face will distract from the face. I think the bare arms do that with your subject here. Also, the shirt is very busy.

On #1 and #2, you missed the focus. In #1 it is on the pole behind her and #2 it is on the wheel. #2 is underexposed and could be a bit warmer.

#3 definitely suffers from the harsh-flash look.

Use of the backgrounds for context and the overall composition is nice, especially with #1 and #2, though the choice to have her look into the short side of the frame in #1 instead of toward the leading space is a curious one. Not necessarily bad but not traditional, either. I'm not sure it works (on the flip side, I'm not sure it doesn't, either.)

I might have tried a shot from a different angle with the wagon wheel. It's nice, but does give that 'spokes coming out of her head' look. Also the space above her head could be trimmed a bit without much loss to the image. Not much, maybe leave 2/3rds of what's there.
i'm glad i read through what rufus said, because i thought my eyes were decieving me.. the girl is out of focus..

what flash did you use for these, built in your external??
I did use the built in flash, I've been wanting to purchase a different flash for my Pentax and thinking about a softbox too although I'm not sure I can afford it all right now. Anyone have any tips about what to do to make the flash softer without spending a lot of $$?

Any other tips would be appreciated too.
Shoot somewhere where you don't need it.

There are softeners for the on-camera flash ("The Puffer", hell, tissue paper) but they don't do much. You have a small light source right on top of your lens. It's tolerable for fill flash in broad daylight where it won't cast shadows, that's about it.
How do you use the tissue paper to soften? Just tape it directly over the flash?

This was a very cloudy day. I hadnt even planned on taking photos, we were just out exploring locally and found this park & I brought out my buddy (my camera of course):lol: to practice some.

I really do appreciate the feedback!
They have already been said really focus issues I am going to go a step further and say on all three shots. White balance is off for sure in number two. Number three has the most flattering skin tones though.
In the first one the round shape of the design on the shirt is making her look much bigger than she is-- it's really unflattering. Generally solid colors are your best bet for this kind of thing.

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