What's wrong with these senior pictures?

kovet

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What am I doing wrong? I'm doing senior photos and I like this setting but I can't make the pictures look "professional". What do you recommend me changing? I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel xsi camera(with an 18-55mm lens) without the flash and I used a silver reflector. I took these at around 3 p.m. This was a senior picture and I really want it to look more professional next time. What should I change next photoshoot?

Thanks!
 

radiorickm

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Well, here are SOME of my thoughts....
#1 Is the goat or the girl the subject? What I am saying is there is NO clear subject to begin with. And then, the goat is more in focus than the girl.

#2 Eliminate distractions, and things that don't add to the story. It's a busy photo. The wood pile, the fencing material on the left. Just too many distractions.

#3 There is no separation between her and the background. Could have been isolated by depth of field, or by rim lighting her to get her to pop out.

Good luck and keep shooting.
 
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DGMPhotography

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What am I doing wrong? I'm doing senior photos and I like this setting but I can't make the pictures look "professional". What do you recommend me changing? I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel xsi camera(with an 18-55mm lens) without the flash and I used a silver reflector. I took these at around 3 p.m. This was a senior picture and I really want it to look more professional next time. What should I change next photoshoot?

Thanks!

I definitely believe you need a shallower dof. I've wondered the same thing, but after getting my 50mm prime f/1.8 I've been able to get a much shallower dof, and more "professional" looking image. My recommendation is to get some new glass!
 

DanOstergren

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In the first image I feel that the goat pulls too much focus; it takes up more physical space in the frame than your senior does, and it's directly in front of her. In the second shot the goat doesn't take so much focus, however I feel that the lighting is really harsh. Your focus should be on the senior, and a goat just pulls too much focus. In the future I would recommend not using distracting props and just focusing on the senior. It also looks as if the light from the reflector is coming from the same direction that the lens is being aimed from. If you can get an assistant I would have them hold the reflector for you, but have them reflect the light from camera left or right rather than from where the lens is being aimed from. Doing this will add depth to your light rather than giving you flat lighting. I would also recommend shooting a little later in the day if possible that way your natural ambient light is warmer and less harsh. Also, the fact that you are using a kit lens is going to play a part in your photos not looking professional. If you want professional quality photos, you need professional quality glass, and a kit lens just isn't going to cut it. I would recommend upgrading to an 85mm prime lens. This will help your photos by giving you a more shallow depth of field and sharper focus on your subjects.
 
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amolitor

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Your lens should open up wider than you're using it, I think. Just a little, maybe, but it's worth trying.

Your use of the reflector wasn't great, especially in the second one where you have achieved a sort of horror movie lighting-from-below. Light from higher up, whether using a strobe or a reflector.

The first one's actually quite nice. The goat is a bit much, but whatever. I don't mind the goat. I would have tried to find a less busy background, and I'd have posed her a bit off center.
 

The_Traveler

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In addition to what they are saying, never (or rarely) pose a dark skinned person against this kind of bright blown out background. Viewers' eyes go to the brightness rather than the subject and so the picture is unsatisfactory because their eyes never can settle on the subject.

9434166854_0f14e8a2d8_ollll.jpg~original
 

radiorickm

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I am a Canon shooter, so I am going to say sorry to Canon.....but I don't know that always recommending to run out and get new gear is always necessary. I agree that a 85mm 1.8/1.4 lens is the ideal (well, it's a crop body) lens and would do a beautiful job (Of course then they will need a 5D Mark iii to put it on). But, we all can't always run out and buy a new lens every time we want to take a picture of something new.

I think the wiser approach is suggesting to learn how to use the equipment they have. Learn how to take pictures. Learn the rules of composition, and framing, and lighting, and posing. Once they have the 10,000 other things learned, then move on to more advanced equipment. Until they learn all of these things, having the 85mm will not help them in the slightest.

Good luck OP on your photographic journey
 

Juga

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A gold reflector would have also given a much warmer look which would have been pleasing. Just my thoughts but I am no professional.
 

DGMPhotography

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I am a Canon shooter, so I am going to say sorry to Canon.....but I don't know that always recommending to run out and get new gear is always necessary. I agree that a 85mm 1.8/1.4 lens is the ideal (well, it's a crop body) lens and would do a beautiful job (Of course then they will need a 5D Mark iii to put it on). But, we all can't always run out and buy a new lens every time we want to take a picture of something new.

I think the wiser approach is suggesting to learn how to use the equipment they have. Learn how to take pictures. Learn the rules of composition, and framing, and lighting, and posing. Once they have the 10,000 other things learned, then move on to more advanced equipment. Until they learn all of these things, having the 85mm will not help them in the slightest.

Good luck OP on your photographic journey

I agree with you, mostly. I think having a more capable lens will enable a more complex and visible learning of aperture control. Since I got my nifty fifty f/1.8 I've taken aperture much more into consideration and have realized better what difference it makes in photos. But to each his own, people learn different ways.
 

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What am I doing wrong? I'm doing senior photos and I like this setting but I can't make the pictures look "professional". What do you recommend me changing? I'm using a Canon EOS Rebel xsi camera(with an 18-55mm lens) without the flash and I used a silver reflector. I took these at around 3 p.m. This was a senior picture and I really want it to look more professional next time. What should I change next photoshoot?

Thanks!
Avoid dappled sunlight. Use open shade instead.
Place your subject just inside the shade so the reflector can be out in the sunshine.
You need a bigger reflector too.
Off camera flash is also used by pro high school senior photographers. Master Guide for Photographing High School Seniors
Direction & Quality of Light: Your Key to Better Portrait Photography Anywhere
flash photography techniques - Neil vN - tangents
Strobist: Lighting 101

A basic tenet of visual art is - Light advances, dark recedes - which means you generally want the background to have less light on it than your intended main subject. In photography that is called 'separating your subject from the background, or 'pop'. Depth of Field (DoF) is also used to separate a subject from a background.
Understanding Depth of Field in Photography

Learn more about the fundamentals of posing. Posing for Portrait Photography: A Head-to-Toe Guide for Digital Photographers
 

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