You got my attention........


TPF Noob!
Jan 11, 2012
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United States, IL
Can others edit my Photos
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I came into this forum with expectations of pats on the back or "good work" I was cut down so fast!!! This is a VERY tough group...... so I surrender myself again. You have peeked my curiosity. I am no longer looking at my photos with pride but a more critical eye now and after today I can "see" the issues in so many of my photos, but I have to submit again because I just need to know what YOU see that I don't...... I want to start really seeing my work for what it is so here I go again.
There are the photos that I would consider my "better" photos.



1 - is a cool Idea, but the color is way off. Also I think it needs a tighter crop.

2 -3 are in serious need of some fill light.. 3 more so than 2.
....... You have peeked my curiosity.
Sometimes I hate myself. I believe you meant PIQUED.

These photos are better than the other thread showing that you have a knack for capturing emotion in your images. This is a good thing. Concentrate on the fundamentals of lighting, exposure and composition. I've made this suggestion (from personal experience) to take an inanimate object and run through the paces of aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings. Keep good notes on what has worked and what has failed. When you are confused on why certain settings yield poor results, certainly post and ask. But TBH, you should set aside many hours of lonely and boring practice until these results become second nature. If you snap off a shot and see the bad blinkies or your histogram is off the charts, then you should then be able to make a few adjustments to get it back within reason. It won't happen next week or next month, but before you know it it WILL happen with perseverance on your part.

Thanks for sharing.
^^^ What he said!
It appears you know little about photographic lighting, or the guidelines for the use of light when making visual images.

In #1, the kids cast no shadows, and the light on them doesn't match the scene they were apparently cut and pasted into. It looks very fake.

The little girl in #2 has what is known as 'raccoon eyes' (dark eye sockets). A person's eye's are usually considered an important part of a portrait type photograph - You know, "windows to the soul". I would also suggest #2 would have been stronger shot with the camera in the vertical (portrait) orientation rather than the horizontal (landscape) orientation.

In #3 the girl is extremely under exposed. A precept of the visual arts stems from the understanding that human nature is such that our eyes go first to the brightest part of an image. In #3 that is the foliage in the background, not her. We can't see into her dark eye sockets at all.
So the precept is - "light advances, dark receeds". She should be brighter (advance) than the background (receeds).

#4 is to dark, backs of heads are not to compelling, and all the dappled sunlight makes the image very busy. The intended main subjects have insufficient visual weight in the frame. I would crop #4 from it's current 3:2 aspect ratio to a 1:1 aspect ratio (square).
Book = Understanding Exposure - by Bryan Peterson
Available in most book stores or anywhere on the web
1. I absolutely LOVE the concept. I think getting a little lower and moving a little bit to the right would help the composition. I think this is a good one to have a little on the "warm" side, but maybe not quite so much.

3. Cute headshot of a sweet face!

3. You really captured the moment with this one. Her face is hidden in the shadows though.

4. Eh, the other three are better ;)
You have serious lighting issues.
I can't help you fix them, because...well, because *I* have serious lighting issues. But I've at least come to recognize that it's the major thing I need to work on (currently waiting for that durn contract check so I can buy a flash to use off camera!). Look at similar photos from some real pros, and you'll begin to see how yours differ. You have underexposed areas, shadows on faces and under their eyes, all issues that could be fixed with the right lighting.
Pay attention to KmH (I can't believe I just said that, lol!!) when it comes to lighting...or lightspeed, or a number of others that post regularly on here. And if you're serious about getting photos like this correctly exposed, read's Lighting 101 and pick out your off-camera flash (if you don't have one already).

I do like the composition in most of these though--particularly #1 and 3.
Oh, and that little kid in #2? TOO. CUTE. Looks like me when I was that age, with that bright red hair.
First and foremost-step away from the editing program until you get calibrated. Your colors are all over the place and the EXTREME contrast is giving you huge black blobs that will suck your eye into them.

1. I fail to see where the kids look cut and pasted here. I love the scene. I think that maybe the original had the potential to be a beautiful shot. Get rid of the stop sign and the street sign too. They are incredible eye suckers as well as the black blobs in the children. The color COULD work if it were a little more subtle.
2. needs fill flash. her eyes are black holes for the most part. Again, I think the original has some potential, but your color thing is really killing it badly. It also looks like you put a soft focus on it because the bow was in focus and not the eyes
3. Might have the potential to be a great moment capture, but as it is her face is so dark with no light to the eyes so she's all mouth. She's also very GLOWING orange.
4. is 85% blacks to the point that you have a black hole at the end of the path and you can barely make out the second child which is blending into the blacks at the right. The color is extremely warm.

I suspect you do not see the glowing orange. Monitors out of the box tend to be very cool in color so you think that your images are blue or cool when they are not. You must calibrate before you will be able to actually even see your images properly, let alone edit.
@ Elizabeth30: The first book that Keith has referenced is one that he recommended to me some time ago, and I have purchased it and have been working my way through it. Very, very good explanation of how light is used to give dimension and depth to any subject. As I told Keith, the examples in the book will take me several months to work through, but to the credit of the authors, they are very clear both in their explanations, and in the setup of each set of shots, so I (and you) can try to replicate their methods to get the results illustrated.

As for your photos, my comments are as follows:

#1 – The lack of shadow detail in the children bothers me, as does the slanted horizon. I don’t like the blown sky, and while I appreciate that the couple in mid-ground needs to be somewhat out of focus for the image to work, their placement in the middle of the blown sky overshadows them. From a compositional point-of-view, there is a virtual line between the children and the couple, and that line kinda clashes with the rest of the lines of the picture. I think the concept has promise, but it needs to be developed further.

#2 – I really like her expression and the overall composition, but I find the eyes too dark. Some reflector fill from the left side would have brightened up the shadows. Of course, if this shot was taken “on-the-fly”, as an opportunity grab, then it’s understandable, but at the same time if it was posed, then that situation could really use some additional fill light.

#3 – Another one where I wish someone was on your left with a large reflector, aimed at her face. The body is getting enough reflected light, but not the face.

#4 – This image shows the perils of having strong light with hard shadows. The child on the right disappears into the shadow, while the backside of the girl is almost overexposed. Again, I think the concept you were shooting has promise. Compositionally, I would have preferred to see them closer to the right side (not centered), walking into the picture along the path. As it is, the space to the right side of the children has very little pictorial value.

A photographer who I know personally and who has photographed many fashion and travel shoots all over the world for some well-known magazines, told me that just because the image may look spontaneous, doesn’t mean that it is. In her workshops she has shown me (and several members of our photo club) how much effort goes into preparing the light, the props, the “actors”, and if outside, choosing the right time of the day, to ensure that all parts of the image are properly exposed, with the right amount of detail. Then, the direction of the actors generates the “spontaneous” feeling, but this is after the rest of the prep work has been done.
I don't think #1 looks cut & pasted at all. The light looks very normal to me.

As for everything else... +1
Elizabeth, look at the bright side, all the help these people are giving you is making the rest of us make better photos. I don't mean this as a slight to you but when people post photos that need work, all the info that comes out helps us all become better photographers.

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