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Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-17-2005, 02:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I finally got a chance to make some photos [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]
My very first post for critique, boy am I excited.

Guys, the lady in the photos is a friend, so go easy on her, and for me, well...you can really rip into me. Please let me know what I did right and wrong and how I can improve. The one thing that I did notice when I was looking at the photos afterwards was that I forgot to tell her to remove the jewellery.

This photoshoot was the least of things that I was expecting when she called me up and told me she was in town. She knew I would be with my trusty point n shoot camera (which is all I own by the way). So, when I got to the little B&B that she was staying at I only had that little camera, no reflectors or lighting for that matter.

I was getting horrible exposures, between 1/6 sec and 1/13 sec at 200 ISO. I used the back of the chair as a tripodand decided to take a few shots anyway. Hoping that I could try and salvage something post process.

Lighting was natural light coming through a window from camera left and a 60 watt bulb at camera right that was coated in some sort of yellow stuff to give it some diffusion. I chose not to use the on-camera flash because when I took a few test shots first it was washing out the yellow glow from the lightsource, which I kinda liked.

By the way, the DOF is fake. I also removed as much of the noise as I could. Theres some gaussian blur and sharpening after saving for the web. There was quite a bit of photoshopping done to get the colour out. The cropping was done on camera and I left it that way so that you could tell me how I can improve for future shoots.

Camera was a 3.2 megapixel Pentax Optio 30.











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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-17-2005, 04:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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One thing very right is a pretty and cooperative model. Another - maybe the most important - is shooting. Everything else comes with practice, lots of practice - or so I'm told.

When shooting in small spaces, one tends to use wider angles - but that results in apparent distortion of relative sizes. I think that's what's happening in the first image, b/c her hips are emphasized in an unflattering fashion. Also, when models relax on their backs, unless they are rail thin, they frequently appear broader than is desired. Lovely color, and a very pretty face. I like the overall composition, except as mentioned.

Second pose is quite nice - warm, intimate feeling. Problem is that hand. Not sure how to deal with it in that pose - you want it in frame, but relaxed. As is is a bit awkward, don't you think? While I really like your composition, I would have probably moved back a bit and allowed the hand to rest on the mattress, kind of wrapping the elbow, and still kept it in frame. Not entirely satisfying, even as I picture it, but best I can imagine right now. The light here is a bit harsh on her face - looks like she's getting some from your right, but also getting some from your left at her right eye, blowing out her right temple area. Gotta watch lighting when model changes pose, and not get too caught up in photographing to forget to adjust the lights for the new angles.

I gotta run, but let me say that you did an excellent job with the fake depth of field. I got try that - I've using an Olympus C-700UZ when I shoot these days.

Nice work.



My few Mb
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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-17-2005, 06:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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JFord, thanks a million for taking the time out to give me a critique.

I get what you are saying with regards to her hip looking distorted. I was as you mentioned shooting in a very tight space.

Hmmmm...never thought about the hand, but now that you mention it, it's also beginning to bug me. I really need to be more observant when shooting. I was shooting in such poor light that I did not see that the light from camera left was blowing out her temple region. As I'm typing I'm making mental notes to keep a keen eye out for that. I think I should slow down a bit and take some extra time to really look before pressing the shutter.

Once again thanks for your honest critique. If you have the time I'd really appreciate it if you could critique the other photos as well.
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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-17-2005, 07:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Pesky job. Keeps demanding my attention.

The third image has a pretty sensual feel, but that's a hard pose to pull off - flat against the mattress. The head tends to look pretty awkward relative to the shoulder. Here, it's also a touch dark, too. I'm afraid I can't offer advice about reclining poses - I rarely get one I like myself.

I can make the general comment that you should try to reduce the range of light intensity - the contrast range - a touch. Digital sensors have a lower dynamic range than film, and glamour photography in particular tends to use lower light ratios, which are generally considered more flattering.

It's just my opinion, but I've never seen a model in that fourth pose - on bed, head over the edge of the bed - that I liked, as far as I can recall.

The last image has some serious flaws - the flare, the contrast range - her face is half-obscured in dark - but I LIKE that shot. What a warm, intimate, relaxed portrait! She's a bit tense in her shoulders and expression - but still, that looks to me to be an excellent portrait.

I can't be sure if it would work here, but using lens hoods helps control flare. A polarizer can help too, but you need a circular polarizer for modern cameras. And a reflector would help bounce some light back onto the darker side.

Again, these are really an excellent start. She's quite lovely - I hope you can wokr with her again. I always found (find?) it hard to control my excitement while shooting and to watch details. Christian, an amazing talent who sometimes posts here, preaches that nearly every critique he makes - watch the details, watch the details, watch the details. Force yourself to go more slowly. And read the commentary here and study the images. I think (imagine?) that I've learned quite a bit looking at posts and reading other's comments.

PS - I, for one, am not big on the "absolutely no jewerly rule." In #5, here, for example, it looks quite natural and doesn't (IMO) detract from the image.
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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-18-2005, 12:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Lol, sorry for demanding you to complete the crit, but I really need all the advice and help that I can get. I do appreciate tou taking the time out to fulfill my request.

With regards to lighting ratios, how does one work out lighting ratios and secondly what is considered to be a good ratio in terms of glamour?

With regards to the last image, I see what you are saying and agree 100%. I'm going to take your advice and suggestions, hopefully she likes the way these came out and will agree to another session.

Thank you so much for your time.
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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-18-2005, 03:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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By lighting ratios, I'm refering to the intensity of light on the "lit" side of the image to that on the "unlit" side, or roughly, the ratio of the main light to the fill light. If the ratio is too great, the image becomes dark on one side, even black. OK if that's what you're after, but not usually suited to glamour. This should be a link to a photo by Kurt Gearheart - that has a rather extreme lighting ratio. Check out some of Paul Ferrara's responses for some excellent examples of narrow ranges.

I don't want to try to lay out "use a 1 stop ratio" concept. You should be aware of the idea, look for the depth of the shadows on the side opposite your main (stronger) light source - but go with what pleases you. Watch that your lighting generates pleasing shadows, particularly if there's more than one light source - one of your current images (the second?) shows several light sources and mixed shadows, on the face, the worst place (IMO) for it to happen.

You might want to do some reading here, too.

Good luck, Ajay. Have fun. Shoot early, shoot often. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]


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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-19-2005, 01:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Good effort. Watch your backgrounds. Eyeball the entire frame before shooting (you have the time). Interact with the model, get to know your camera so its operation becomes second nature. all that said, the models expressions are almost all the same. Talk, cajole or what ever it takes to make the facial muscles move.
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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-20-2005, 03:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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rmartinas, thank you for the critique.

I do agree with you with regards to the backgrounds, but being a total newbie it only began to bug me when I was looking at the photos later. I will take your advice and slow down and look at what's happening in the entire frame. Yes, I definitely gotta work on getting a variety of expressions from the model.

I appreciate your commentary, once again thank you.
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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-21-2005, 09:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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your biggest problem with most of these images, IMO, is the mixing of color temperatures. you've got a fair amount of ambient daylight mixing in with incandescent. i think you said the incadescent bulb was tinted yellow? hmmmmm.... that's compounding the problem. obviously, i wasn't there so i don't know how much daylight was in the room. but if there was enough, you could have used some white foamcore or a silver or white reflector to bounce back some daylight fill on your subject (after turning off the incandescent lamp.) btw, your camera's flash would have produced a color temperature much closer to daylight, but it's tough with a point-and-shoot as, i'm figuring, you can't redirect the flash and bounce it in for a subtler light source.

the best framing is probly image #2, altho her left hand is positioned weird.

its' difficult to get great images from a point-and-shoot because you are so limited. it's not really the resolution that's the problem. (altho i'll admit i'm unfamiliar with the camera you're using, so maybe it has more options than i'm aware of.)

in images 1, 3, and 4, its like you're trying too hard to find interesting or unusual angles and/or poses. don't try to "force" creativity into your shots. its a process. your own style will emerge as you master the technical stuff, lighting, posing, etc., and become less consciously concerned with it.

try to evoke more emotions from your subject. she may not be a pro model, but like everyone, she's a professional human being and she has many many emotions to call up.... you're job, as the shooter, it to relax her (altho she looks relaxed) and help bring what's inside her out to the surface... or at least closer to the surface where the camera begins to register it. image #5 is the only one where something is beginning to register on her face other than the same look--which says almost nothing--from the other images.

all i can tell you is this whole thing is a process of learning. and in photography, you learn a lot by shooting often. it's like writing: most writers will tell you that good writing is the process of re-writing. well, good photography is the process of continuously practicing photography. there's no one on this forum who is not still climbing the "learning" moutain. and guys who have done it the longest and who do it the best will often admit that they're always learning new things, new ways to to "bend the light" in a sense.

don't know if any of this helps.







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Re: Very First Post for Critique (multiple images)
Old 02-22-2005, 02:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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JimmyD, thank you for the crit. I agree that I got to learn how to get a variety of emotions out of the model, and I'll also admit that it is one hurdle I'm very desperate to get over. Thank you for the advice too, I appreciate it. I will continue to shoot every chance I get and I know I will get better, especially with the help of you and the entire GG family.
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