Stuck in a rut...

kitkatdubs

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Ive been shooting for about 5 years, but this past year I've started to pursue photography more seriously. Every time I come home from a shoot, my husband criticizes my work saying its the same old, same old. I feel like I have a great eye for things but I also feel like I play it safe. I bought a 70-2oomm lens but I am finding I really do not like it b/c I don't have enough room and I have to back up super far and yell loud at my clients. Am I being crazy? I had a shoot today and walked away feeling defeated b/c I just don't feel like I got the greatest shots. I feel like the location really sucked (the client was insistent on it)- and it was a group of 6 adults + 3 kids. I was stressed b/c the kids wouldn't sit still so I was just trying to work quickly b/c everyone seemed uptight with the kids acting crazy. So with that being said, is composition something I should be studying up on - like recreating photos I really like? Or is it just personal eye?? Thanks!
 

jaomul

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Criticism is good, but only if its constructive criticism. Does your husband offer anything in the way of how you can improve?, if not, then do not take the criticism as it will only make you feel bad about yourself.

Some lenses suit people, some don't. I am far from a pro, or even far from being a good photographer(so take what I say with a grain of salt) .I shoot a lot at longer focal lengths. I met a guy the other day who does 90% of everything at 16-35 on a fullframe so likes very wide angle.

You probably need to find your own style, and that can take a while. Certainly a shoot with a few kids moving can be tough. Some of the best people photographers I have seen can use a camera, but there people managing skills were where they shined, and this allowed the better photos
 

The_Traveler

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Maybe your pictures are the 'same old stuff' and its possible that your husband means well but just doesn't have the experience or the vocabulary to give helpful hints.

Post pictures or a link to your web site.
 

spiralout462

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I agree that critique from some of the fine folks on TPF or from respected pros might be more helpful than a spouse.
 

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I bought a 70-2oomm lens but I am finding I really do not like it b/c I don't have enough room and I have to back up super far and yell loud at my clients. Am I being crazy?
Yes, long lenses mean the camera needs to be back a ways, but there are some things you could try:

Pre-frame your shot before asking the folks to line up. Note where the edges of the frame are and put a little strip of tape on the floor (before the backdrop is o.k.) to show were they should group. Then purchase a RF trigger that will fire your camera (and flash of course) when you press the button. Then you can walk closer with the remote, and talk in a normal voice. You can even speak (very quietly ) which helps the children listen closer. Just keep to one side, watch the people's poses, and fire when ready. Occasionally (like during a break in the posing) verify that they are all still in the frame.

In my opinion, having the actual space in which to back up is something many photographers overlook in their planning, but if you have the space, then you are uptown. Long lenses are usually more flattering to portraiture, so don't get mad at the lens, just enjoy it.
 

tirediron

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One of the first rules of photography is: Don't buy gear unless you know WHY you need it, and how you will use, and why you can't achieve the same result with stuff you already have. You might be the first person I've ever heard of who doesn't get along with a 70-200, but I guess there has to be one! ;)

FWIW, I wouldn't be likely to use a 70-200 on a group of 9; to me that's 24-70 territory, probably around 55-60mm. I might stretch it out to the 85, but probably not. You should always be studying and practicing. I read books and spend time on 'sites like Creative Live frequently. If I get an idea that I want to try, I troll through Model Mayhem and get someone in for a TF* shoot to try my idea.

You would likely benefit from the posting of some of your work here from C&C; it might not do your ego much good, but your work is sure to improve.
 
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kitkatdubs

kitkatdubs

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One of the first rules of photography is: Don't buy gear unless you know WHY you need it, and how you will use, and why you can't achieve the same result with stuff you already have. You might be the first person I've ever heard of who doesn't get along with a 70-200, but I guess there has to be one! ;)
I bought a 70-2oomm lens but I am finding I really do not like it b/c I don't have enough room and I have to back up super far and yell loud at my clients. Am I being crazy?
Yes, long lenses mean the camera needs to be back a ways, but there are some things you could try:

Ok so here is a link to my pixieset. I took all these photos for free for practice over the last few months. I added a few photos from a shoot I did last night, which is the Johnson family. Feel free to provide some feedback! Thank you!

Kaitlyn Rose Photography
 

The_Traveler

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Your exposure and focus is generally pretty good but your inexperience shows big time.

This lack of experience shows in the website, the posing and the editing.

Because the website handles different shaped pictures in the same way, the pictures used in specific shapes for display are often cropped in an unappealing manner. This site doesn't allow the proper handling of photos for photographers; I would dump this provider.

There are many many pictures of the same subject, same clothes, different pose. That screams 'amateur' starting up.

The editing in too many of the pictures is very heavy handed and oversaturated - giving eyes the 'children of the damned' look. White balance is off in a good many.

Too many pictures of people lined up in a row and too many fake smiles.

It's my opinion that it is too early for you to be attempting to do shoots for money.
Start with getting some specific input on your processing so that the pictures are finished well.
Get some education on posing.
Learn to work with children - and adults - so that their expressions are genuine, rather than forced.
 

jcdeboever

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I think your pics look pretty darn good and you should be proud of them. As a husband and reading what yours said, reminded me of my wife's snide comments she makes. But not being there and hearing it, I will digress other than to say he could help you out and watch the kids when you go on an assignment.

People have different ideas on art in general. You appear to enjoy the family portrait arena. Nothing wrong with that, it is an important genre that brings great joy and fond memories for all that gather in front of your lens. There are other genres out their so I would encourage you to explore a little for yourself. This will get you out of a rut if your even in one.
 

wyogirl

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There are a good amount of photos that are poorly posed. Women with wide stances, shot straight on. Clothes that are bunched-- these are details but make a huge difference. Like The Traveler said, get some information on better posing. Pay attention to how clothes lay, if hair has fallen awry.

Another thing is that you could benefit from some fill light. If the background is bright, you need flash to balance the subject otherwise the subject is underexposed. Learning how to make your own light instead of relying on natural light is a huge step forward.

Good luck!
 
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kitkatdubs

kitkatdubs

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I really appreciate all the feedback. I have only been out taking pictures for friends for about 6 months so I really am still an amateur. BUT I will say, I am thoroughly enjoying learning the ropes.

Are there any online classes that talk about posing.

Also I am wondering about fill light for outdoor portraits. Would a speed light work to balance the light on the subjects when the background is blown out?

Also, the pictures of the people lined up is what the client asked for in the big group shot of the Johnsons. She had a specific look in mind and I wanted to honor her request. I am not done editing the session and won't be for a week but will post it all when I'm done. Thanks everyone~ appreciate all the constructive criticism. Hard pill to swallow, but definitely very helpful!
 

tirediron

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First and foremost, in addition to the above point about your 'sites handling of image size/shape, there doesn't appear to be a way to get back to the main page after you've scrolled through part of a gallery other than to step backward through all of the images in the gallery. This is inefficient and VERY annoying to someone who wants to scroll quickly through a few of your galleries to get an idea of what your work is like.

The Traveler and Wyogirl both raise some very good points about your work. One that they hadn't mentioned, but that jumped out at me, again yelling in a loud, clear, voice "lack of experience" is the number of images that aren't leveled. Learning to hold your camera level and plumb is a basic skill, but one that many, especially these days, don't seem overly concerned with. When you don't get it right in camera, make sure that you correct it in post!

In addition, many of your cropping choices are visually irritating; little bits of limbs cropped off, hands/feet/heads so near as to touch the edge of the frame, etc. Shoot loose and crop in post. Just looking at your galleries very, very few of the images seemed to be in standard print ratios...
 

wyogirl

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You can use speedlights anywhere because they run off batteries. But you need to get them off camera and if you are shooting groups of people then you will need more than one to cover the necessary area. For single person portraits, speedlights or a reflector will work. The hard part about either is that you need stands to hold them and usually weights to keep them from blowing away. If you have an assistant with you, that can be really helpful... Even if said assistant is your own 10 year old kid.
 

wyogirl

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If your client asks for a particular pose, do it.... But then do a better pose. 9 times out of 10-- they will order the better pose.
 

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