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Image & Video Galleries => Black & White => Topic started by: sandymandy on April 06, 2012, 04:39:52 AM

Title: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 06, 2012, 04:39:52 AM
Hi,

id like to get some critique whats crappy and whats maybe not so crappy about my photo.
Id also especially like to know if its over exposed or sth, since i dont got a good PC screen for digital image processing.
Im in week 4 now of doing photography ever in my life :3
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: rwmson on April 06, 2012, 07:42:12 AM
I like it!
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: AnselA on April 06, 2012, 02:41:55 PM
very nice - you might consider putting a vignette on all sides (especially the top left) to focus the eye on the affect of the two principals.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 07, 2012, 05:36:39 AM
I submitted it for the 1xdotcom gallery but it wasnt selected. Since i cant post in the critique forum on that site (u gotta write some serious posts first to be able to post ur own photos for critique) i tohught i just post it here and ask for some advice =)
I think this is my best shot so far and its not even staged.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: KeithR on April 07, 2012, 06:38:26 AM
Assuming you want an honest critique, and speaking as someone who doesn't take pictures like this (so I'm an objective sounding board, rather than someone who's easy to please "because it looks like my pictures") to my eyes it's just an unflattering, unoriginal, uninspired, rather charmless snapshot - I really can't see much at all to recommend it.

The b&w conversion really adds nothing, either: it, and other gimmicks like vignetting, won't make up for the complete lack of an emotional connection I feel to the picture. This is the problem with a lot of stuff out there these days: a mediocre image, so throw random PP effects at it in the hope that somehow it'll turn into something "good".

Sorry, but you asked.

Perhaps you can say what it is you like about it?
 
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: smirkypants on April 07, 2012, 06:51:52 AM
I think it's a very nice shot. I don't think it's a great shot. If you draw an imaginary line between the two subjects, it is precisely centered, dividing our attention equally between them and not giving our eyes any natural place to focus upon. The Rule of Thirds, though not hard and fast, would suggest that you move this line to between 1/3 and 2/3 and allow for a slightly less dissonant look.

But what the hell do I know. Others will disagree.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: candyman on April 07, 2012, 07:32:44 AM
I don't look at it in a technical way.  I can't say if this picture is worth for publishing. BUT.....


I think it is a great shot expressing the moment of love between the woman and child. And THAT is an important capture for those in the picture when they will look back at it. So I like it


Can it be improved? Always but you are already on the right way. Continue to experiment with positions and lighting


 
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JR on April 07, 2012, 08:01:41 AM
Hi,

id like to get some critique whats crappy and whats maybe not so crappy about my photo.
Id also especially like to know if its over exposed or sth, since i dont got a good PC screen for digital image processing.
Im in week 4 now of doing photography ever in my life :3

Sandy, what I like about your picture is that you actually captured a special moment there and this is ahwt photography is all about.  Can it be improved, am sure it can, but the whole point for me is to capture the moment which you did.  I will let other more competent comments on lighting, shot composition and all that stuff.

Well done mate...
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 07, 2012, 08:27:27 AM
The Rule of Thirds, though not hard and fast, would suggest that you move this line to between 1/3 and 2/3 and allow for a slightly less dissonant look.

+1 ... I'm attending a photo group of amateurs and pros where pictures are discussed (and, most of the time, stomped into the ground). Thus, I know that "no emotional content" is really very personal and only matters if you want to sell something - then only the paying customers matter.

There are great shots with symmetrical framing, and it's not like golden cut and rule of thirds is carved in stone. But a symmetrical framing always seems *static* to me, while you picture has spatial movement (the heads will part the next second) and emotional movement as well. Thus, a little more movement in the framing might underline this. And, as written above, center-weighted pictures always have something "snapshot" about them.

And remember: photogs are just like lawyers - "two lawyers, three opinions" :-)
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: gmrza on April 07, 2012, 08:44:40 AM
The Rule of Thirds, though not hard and fast, would suggest that you move this line to between 1/3 and 2/3 and allow for a slightly less dissonant look.

+1 ... I'm attending a photo group of amateurs and pros where pictures are discussed (and, most of the time, stomped into the ground). Thus, I know that "no emotional content" is really very personal and only matters if you want to sell something - then only the paying customers matter.

There are great shots with symmetrical framing, and it's not like golden cut and rule of thirds is carved in stone. But a symmetrical framing always seems *static* to me, while you picture has spatial movement (the heads will part the next second) and emotional movement as well. Thus, a little more movement in the framing might underline this. And, as written above, center-weighted pictures always have something "snapshot" about them.

And remember: photogs are just like lawyers - "two lawyers, three opinions" :-)

I think what I find is that the mother's ear is positioned in a way where it is too strong a visual anchor - the top right and bottom right especially tend to be places where a person's gaze comes to rest when viewing an image.  The ear does not convey emotion, whereas eyes do.  (That's my opinion, though.)

It sometimes helps to play around with the crop a little.  I felt that this crop worked a little better for me.  But, to bring in another opinion, I am sure it is possible to argue that the hand is now too dominant in this crop...

Again, this is my opinion, and it may not work for you.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 07, 2012, 08:49:00 AM
Thanks for ur comments. Im somewhat confused at the moment what i should think of my photo now. I think i need some days to sort my feelings and thoughts. I also wonder now WHY i even want it to be published on a website.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: gmrza on April 07, 2012, 08:56:52 AM
Thanks for ur comments. Im somewhat confused at the moment what i should think of my photo now. I think i need some days to sort my feelings and thoughts. I also wonder now WHY i even want it to be published on a website.

Maybe I should add that at least in my view, I would not expect this kind of photo of someone who has been taking photos for 4 weeks.  I certainly could not have taken anything like that four weeks after first holding a camera.

Please don't get disheartened.  I think what you did is brave.  The critiques you receive may well point you to investigate areas of composition (for instance) much sooner than you might have, had you not posted your photo on this forum.

Well done!
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: smirkypants on April 07, 2012, 08:57:39 AM
It sometimes helps to play around with the crop a little.  I felt that this crop worked a little better for me.  But, to bring in another opinion, I am sure it is possible to argue that the hand is now too dominant in this crop...

Again, this is my opinion, and it may not work for you.
The framing is definitely too tight with the crop now and starts to highlight certain unflattering aspects of the subjects. It doesn't look like it's shot at range, so if you have the megapixels to play with, and unless you're sure about the framing, I'd suggest shooting the photo with a bit of extra space around the subjects so that you can work with framing in post.

You definitely need to do something about that hand. The shadows in it make it look manly. You can soften it a little with an adjustment brush set to negative clarity.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: seekn on April 07, 2012, 09:07:58 AM
Assuming you want an honest critique, and speaking as someone who doesn't take pictures like this (so I'm an objective sounding board, rather than someone who's easy to please "because it looks like my pictures") to my eyes it's just an unflattering, unoriginal, uninspired, rather charmless snapshot - I really can't see much at all to recommend it.

The b&w conversion really adds nothing, either: it, and other gimmicks like vignetting, won't make up for the complete lack of an emotional connection I feel to the picture. This is the problem with a lot of stuff out there these days: a mediocre image, so throw random PP effects at it in the hope that somehow it'll turn into something "good".

Sorry, but you asked.

Perhaps you can say what it is you like about it?
Sorry but this "critique" pisses me off.  How in any way is this constructive criticism?  When the OP is asking for what he may have done wrong or could do better the best you can come up with is to say the picture sucks in 5 different ways without explaining why? Not only that but your personal lack of connection to this picture may be a reflection on you rather than the photograph.  Granted it is not a professional piece that should be published but to call it "uninspired" and "charmless" is ridiculous.  I would bet that this mother? and daughter would beg to differ.  Black and white is also not "gimmicky" as you call it.  Obviously the OP was trying to remove any distractions so that the viewers could focus on the emotion of the kiss.  The loving kiss of the mom and the adoring look of the daughter.  There are millions of wedding photos that are posed, taken and processed in the same way - unoriginal does not make a bad picture.  It is the message in the photograph that is important not having to find an original angle or light source every time.  Honestly at this stage what hasn't been done? 
I personally think that after 4 weeks this is a very admirable result.  The OP achieved fairly good focus and sharpness on the focal point.  I too do not care for the symmetry of the picture but which of us when we started did not use the center focal point and just shoot?  I also agree with another poster who said the girl is a bit too heavily shadowed.  My critique to the OP would be to try to think what message your photo is trying to communicate and any PP that is done should be to complement this message.  This is a touching moment - having too much contrast and shadows can sometimes be a bit too harsh.  Just my two cents - but overall, very nice result.  I think you should be VERY proud of it and filter out the critiques intelligently.  Having said that, I also think that 1 year from now you will look back at this photo and see what you could have done better and also see that maybe it wasnt as spectacular as you once thought it was! It happens to all of us and it shows how much you have grown as a photographer.  Best of luck.
edit: sandy you may also want to check this forum
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/ (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/)
I find that CR forums can be unnecessarily harsh.  This forum has an area where you can upload your photos to the proper gallery for feedback and I find the members are a little more easy going.  Also, I think its great that you are uploading pictures for critiques.  This is a great way for you to improve your skills.  Dont get discouraged!  Photography is so rewarding and the more you learn the more it pays off.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: gmrza on April 07, 2012, 09:26:23 AM

You definitely need to do something about that hand. The shadows in it make it look manly. You can soften it a little with an adjustment brush set to negative clarity.

You made me think with your comment about the hand.  One thing that took me back to is a comment by a photographer how on his first job his supervisor often told him to make sure people's hands were in the shot. - That was because hands tell us a lot about people, and how they live their lives.  In this instance, the hand tells us that the mother is someone who is not accustomed to life's luxuries.  If anything, it possibly tells a tale of hardship.  This leads to the juxtaposition of tenderness and joy against the hardships of life.  The hand is certainly not flattering.  I don't feel that is a problem however, because that unflattering aspect adds to the story the image tells.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: smirkypants on April 07, 2012, 09:31:55 AM
You made me think with your comment about the hand.  One thing that took me back to is a comment by a photographer how on his first job his supervisor often told him to make sure people's hands were in the shot. - That was because hands tell us a lot about people, and how they live their lives.  In this instance, the hand tells us that the mother is someone who is not accustomed to life's luxuries.  If anything, it possibly tells a tale of hardship.  This leads to the juxtaposition of tenderness and joy against the hardships of life.  The hand is certainly not flattering.  I don't feel that is a problem however, because that unflattering aspect adds to the story the image tells.
I once was involved in an artistic project that involved photographing women athletes in various non-athletic venues. There is a tension between what YOU want as a photographer and what the subjects might want. I was extremely pleased with a lot of the shots but the thing is that the women athletes were more interested in looking pretty. It caused some tension.

So... do you want this photo for an exhibit or do you want it for your client. Lots of people in Richard Avedon's shots weren't particularly happy with the way they were presented.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 07, 2012, 09:41:17 AM
Thanks for ur comments. Im somewhat confused at the moment what i should think of my photo now.

Confusion is good, because it makes you think. There is no need to think anything globally about your photo, most important is that you have some inspiration what to do and try next. Criticism, mixed at least with a bit of what exactly is regarded as having room for improvement, is the best thing that can happen to you. Imagine everybody said "hey, nice picture" but somehow nobody would like to buy or use it.  What would you do then :-p ?

Imho one important thing about reviewing pictures is to be able to separate things that can be done in postprocessing even years after the shot (adjusting the crop or aspect ratio (try square, 16:9)) and the things you have to remember while shooting.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Orangutan on April 07, 2012, 11:11:22 AM
Here's yet another take, from a non-pro.

General advice.

1. From your writing I'd guess you're pretty young.  If so, this is a very good start.  You have not "nailed it" yet, but you are, creatively speaking, "asking the right questions" with this photo.  Advice #1: keep at it, but don't expect immediate success.  Be prepared to make joyful thousands of mistakes as you learn your craft.

2. From what you've already read here, different people like different types of photos, as is true with any art.  For example, I think Andy Warhol's work is a waste of canvas and gallery space, but others disagree.  You will not please everyone.  Advice #2: Know your intended viewership, and your first viewer is YOU.  When you're learning, do stuff that you like.  If you become a working pro you may need to do what the client expects; until then, take photos for yourself.

3. As suggested above, there are many styles of photography, and your work will evolve over your lifetime.  Advice #3: study and replicate the styles of others.  Don't do it because it will produce "good" photos, but because it will cause you to think deeply about how and why the photographer chose that style.  This will help you develop your styles.

4. Review your personal photo history every year or so; your opinion of your old photos will change: some you liked will lose their appeal.  Others you didn't care for may find new value.


For this particular photo:

I agree with others that the framing is off.  It's either too tight (for a larger photo) or too wide, for a very small photo.   For a small photo, the faces are the main subject, and you could crop by 1/3 or more (I might try to crop the sides to change it from landscape to a very small portrait.  For a larger photo (again, as others have said) it's so close as to be unflattering.  The outer areas are also a problem: there are large "dead" areas in the upper-left and lower-right of the photo that don't really contribute to the photo.  The girl's head-covering pattern contrasts with the smooth texture of the rest of the photo; though this is not inherently a problem, I found it distracting.  If you frame out further, for a larger photo, you could potentially include context that would add more textures to the photo so the head-covering doesn't distract, and possibly add value to the message of the photo.

This is a very good start for a young photographer, do not be dissuaded by criticism.   Remember to take photos for your own enjoyment, not merely to please a particular type of viewer.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: nikkito on April 07, 2012, 12:30:15 PM
Assuming you want an honest critique, and speaking as someone who doesn't take pictures like this (so I'm an objective sounding board, rather than someone who's easy to please "because it looks like my pictures") to my eyes it's just an unflattering, unoriginal, uninspired, rather charmless snapshot - I really can't see much at all to recommend it.

The b&w conversion really adds nothing, either: it, and other gimmicks like vignetting, won't make up for the complete lack of an emotional connection I feel to the picture. This is the problem with a lot of stuff out there these days: a mediocre image, so throw random PP effects at it in the hope that somehow it'll turn into something "good".

Sorry, but you asked.

Perhaps you can say what it is you like about it?

This is not a honest critique, this is you being an a**hole. I'm dying to see your wonderful shots, you might be an awesome photographer.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 07, 2012, 12:43:58 PM
Dear SandyMandy,

This picture has a lot going for it and if it's any indication, you show real promise.  It carries strong feeling.  The skin textures, in my opinion, are beautiful.  The balance you can experiment with endlessly, and you will -- the search for it never ends.  I know what it's like to be be rejected by 1x and suggest you don't give it a moment's thought -- they reject most submissions, they favor expensive technical standards (in some ways it's an equipment site in drag) and a great % of what they do accept is boring (the macro though is excellent there).  I think you've been offered a lot of good advice in answer to your query here and your challenge is to sift it out.

I do have one suggestion.  I gather this was taken with available light.  More light on the baby's face would have heightened attention there, just as I imagine you would have wanted.   You can achieve this with reflector or remote flash -- yes, flash, I'm discovering (late!) that flash is an essential and almost miraculous tool even in spontaneous photography.  Use it right and no one will ever know a flash was there.

And another thing -- black and white is unbeatable for many photographic purposes, and the question ought to be: does color in any particular photo contribute enough to merit retention?  -- I'm talking about non-commercial life.  Usually it's merely clutter.    B&W draws attention to compositional structure and, very often,  to what supposedly makes a picture worth looking at in the first place.   There's a lot there in that greyscale brother -- or is it sister?
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 07, 2012, 12:51:49 PM
You can achieve this with reflector or remote flash -- yes, flash, I'm discovering (late!) that flash is an essential and almost miraculous tool even in spontaneous photography.  Use it right and no one will ever know a flash was there.

Indeed - luckily, I discovered the importance of a flash sooner than later myself and I'm frequently using my built-in flash for fill and a remote external one for bounce. Remember: There's only one thing better than a flash - two flashes!
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 07, 2012, 01:01:10 PM
Thanks again. Yes, im a guy. Im 27 years old but in my head im not grown up a lot. Does any1 have a good  weblink about cropping photos? I think its a very powerful tool but i just feel insecure when im using it. Also, I dont wanna crop around without a clue and just get a good result by accident.

@External Flash. I got a Canon 1100D i dont know if it supports external flashes. I mean, i know i can put a Speedlite on it, but i read only the 600D and higher support wireless flashing? confused me. I just like being kinda simplistic, having a prime lense and just available light. Sutdio portraits dont give me much.
I remember i was always fascinated by the world press photo awards. I think those are the greatest photos. So real and full of emotions.

okay i feel more motivated now again and will try to take some more photos 2morrow on the easter brunch
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 07, 2012, 01:23:28 PM
Cropping:  "Pictorial Composition, An Introduction" by Henry Rankin Poore.  This was intended for aspiring painters but the author had photographers in mind as well when he wrote it more than 100 years ago.  This advice is golden.  Don't tell anybody else, promise?  There's a cheap Dover reprint of a 1967 edition you can find on-line.  It's only 94 pages but you may need to re-read it many times -- at least I did.  This is the river you have embarked on.  "Cropping" doesn't exist in isolation.   As far as the dooing of it -- DPP has a very good cropping tool. 

Speedlights are indeed external flashes.  So far as triggering, ETTL metering and the rest of it -- welcome to a world of complication, confusion and expense!  You'll have to sort it out, according to what you have and can afford.  There are many good on-line tutorials.  You can take a look at SylArena.com I think it is, but remember that he's a Canon salesman and you can achieve similar results at a fraction of the cost with other brands -- at a small fraction if you're not under time pressure.   I'm not partial to his results but if he gives you an overview of a range of uses.

Primes: good. 

Yes don't stop.  The more you take the better you'll get, it's almost inevitable.   Take a good long stare at the results afterwards on the computer.  Always shoot RAW.  Exercise every day and get plenty of rest. 
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 07, 2012, 02:08:50 PM
PS: Don't overlook the value of a piece of glossy white card.  For the photo in question, holding this with your free hand might have solved the problem.   

Every kind of light can be yours to bend, you don't have to take a scene as you find it -- the photojournalists you admire so much often don't -- and directing light can be at least as useful a tool in directing the viewer's eye as the shallow DoF that draws us to large sensors.  Don't be put off by Arena's pictures -- they're all about artificial.  Instead imagine just a taste of "speed-light" blending with the local; you can work up from there.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: peederj on April 07, 2012, 02:21:35 PM
To me the main missed opportunity with the shot is it's taken from too tall a pov. I would have wanted it taken from the child's height, because one of the objectives of photography is showing people something they usually can't see but would like to, and the world through the eyes of a child is certainly that.

I agree that you photoshop that hand to "pretty" and the shot drains off all power. I can't imagine the woman is hiring a photographer but this is a candid and should be edited for photographic merit and not client vanity.

The crop wasn't perfect but I don't like the suggestion of cropping in more. Cropping out more would have possibly been better.

The look is very old school iron curtain, the shot could've been taken 50 years ago in Bulgaria or something from my American perspective. I am not a retro fan for its own sake as we already have plenty of the originals to look at if we want an older look. The fact that in this time of general luxury (viz. your having a fancy camera) there are still people with those careworn hands was the news here, and the old look dilutes that impact away.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: aldvan on April 07, 2012, 02:36:43 PM
My 5 cents advice...
Never ask for a judgement in this way, even less in an Internet forum. And don't be bothered if a picture (text, architecture, painting etc...) submitted to a magazine or a competition will be not appreciated. In my work (architect) I always have to submit my projects to competition jury. They will judge tens of projects in few days, Opinions are conditionated by a lot of personal factors and, specially today, the general quality is quite high, since the circulation of ideas is very large. Everybody, today, has great access to a lot of good examples and it is very difficult to break the mold with something really original and outstanding. Furthermore we are witnessing the largest complexity of points of view, trends, schools etc ever. What can seem a technical mistake for one, is regarded as a great technique by another.
I would like to quote the great physicist and philosopher Ernest Rutherford: "There is only one person who can take away one's good name, and that is oneself"... With a small grain of salt, humbleness, objectivity, and looking around for the huge selection of good examples at our disposal, we are the best judge of ourselves...
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 07, 2012, 02:49:40 PM
Be careful what you say about Bulgaria, @peederj, because it turns out Bulgaria is full of about the most soulful photographers on planet earth.  Fifty years ago they may have been restricted to pin-hole cameras I don't know, but today they have metal gear with little wires just like we do.  What do you think of this?

http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375 (http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375)

Yes?  Then I could also show you, right away, 100 more, in every style and on every subject carrying as much or more impact -- Bulgaria!  Add in Russia, Belorus, Ukraine, Turkey, even Moldova and you have a feast that just never ends.  5dMkii is popular in those regions among professionals but you will see astonishing results from less rarified kit and every kind of junk, pin-holes too I kid you not.

What is the "American perspective," anyway?  Is whatever's left over Socialist Realism?
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: kdsand on April 07, 2012, 03:17:05 PM
Be careful what you say about Bulgaria, @peederj, because it turns out Bulgaria is full of about the most soulful photographers on planet earth.  Fifty years ago they may have been restricted to pin-hole cameras I don't know, but today they have metal gear with little wires just like we do.  What do you think of this?

http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375 (http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375)

Yes?  Then I could also show you, right away, 100 more, in every style and on every subject carrying as much or more impact -- Bulgaria!  Add in Russia, Belorus, Ukraine, Turkey, even Moldova and you have a feast that just never ends.  5dMkii is popular in those regions among professionals but you will see astonishing results from less rarified kit and every kind of junk, pin-holes too I kid you not.

What is the "American perspective," anyway?  Is whatever's left over Socialist Realism?

I'm not going to go all surgical on this photo example.
Its darn nice and kinda sweet (so says this manly man)!
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 07, 2012, 03:23:44 PM
@External Flash. I got a Canon 1100D i dont know if it supports external flashes. I mean, i know i can put a Speedlite on it, but i read only the 600D and higher support wireless flashing? confused me.

Well, at least this question has a definite answer with Canon tech: with your body (unlike 60d, 600d, ... thanks, Canon!) you need a "master" speedlite to control other remote "slave" speedlites. You can get either a 580ex2 for the "old" infrared remote, or the new 600ex for the bleeding edge radio remote that works better outdoors at at long distances. But considering the prices of these, you might be better off upgrading to a 60d and then using a 480ex2 slave flash like me. I don't know about non-Canon tech though.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: peederj on April 07, 2012, 05:06:56 PM
Be careful about flying off the handle overinterpreting a comment, JerryBruck! I was clearly commenting on the look of the image, not making generalizations about the skill of Bulgarian photographers (of which I have little knowledge).

Be careful what you say about Bulgaria, @peederj, because it turns out Bulgaria is full of about the most soulful photographers on planet earth.  Fifty years ago they may have been restricted to pin-hole cameras I don't know, but today they have metal gear with little wires just like we do.  What do you think of this?

http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375 (http://photomoment.bg/photo/82375)

Yes?  Then I could also show you, right away, 100 more, in every style and on every subject carrying as much or more impact -- Bulgaria!  Add in Russia, Belorus, Ukraine, Turkey, even Moldova and you have a feast that just never ends.  5dMkii is popular in those regions among professionals but you will see astonishing results from less rarified kit and every kind of junk, pin-holes too I kid you not.

What is the "American perspective," anyway?  Is whatever's left over Socialist Realism?
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Kamera Obscura on April 07, 2012, 06:19:00 PM
SandyMandy,

Your picture is fine considering how little experience you have.

I hear some complaints about PP. Remember the good old days in the Dark room, were the artistic juices could flow and you could be really creative. Like putting a Ladies nylon stocking over the light. Well today, it applies as well. The idea that PP could somehow be considered cheating or not pure, is very anal.

Be creative from start to Final image. Use all tool available to your disposal.

Best,
dario.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: smirkypants on April 07, 2012, 06:29:34 PM
The idea that PP could somehow be considered cheating or not pure, is very anal.

Be creative from start to Final image. Use all tool available to your disposal.
The vast majority of people who use "photoshop" as a pejorative are very similar to people who hate math or 19th-century English textile artisans who destroyed mechanized looms.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: AJ on April 07, 2012, 06:39:57 PM
Hi there,

I'm a photog who's written many hundreds of critiques on photosig.com  With that said, here's my $0.02

I think it's a charming photo that really shows the love between mother and daughter.  I think composition is good.  The hands, lips, and woman's ear are all on a diagonal, and this works well.  The photo looks a tad underexposed and the blackpoint is very heavy.  I'd like to see some rich dark shades rather than solid black.

The region of the child's lips is very dark.  It seems to get lost in the photo, and yet this is the part that makes the photo charming.  It's hard to see the child smiling.  I suggest trying some dodging here to brighten this area and to draw more attention to it.  The same holds true for the child's eye.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 08, 2012, 02:55:07 AM
I'm a photog who's written many hundreds of critiques on photosig.com  With that said, here's my $0.02

I didn't know photosig, but it looks interesting. But looking at this thread, I am doubtful how valuable getting your pictures reviewed online might be - you end up with tons of contradicting opinions, and I wouldn't know what to make of it because I don't see the people face2face and cannot decide what the person's personality and background is. What's your take on online photo reviews?
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 08, 2012, 04:57:33 AM
@Marsu42: PhotoSig is a website -- mainly for what seem to be beginners -- whose business plan is the volunteer coaching of all by all.  Non-paying members must write critiques (with minimum word-counts) in order to post their own photos, so everyone's a critic.  I won't attempt to describe the atmosphere there -- go visit.

I thought that sandymandy got some good and useful advice here in answer to his query, plus encouragement, plus a preview of some of the vibes that often go along with photography these days.  Of course he'll have to sort it out, it's in the nature of things that there's no single answer to his sort of question, isn't that so?
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Marsu42 on April 08, 2012, 05:12:49 AM
I won't attempt to describe the atmosphere there -- go visit.

... pity, might have saved my some time :-o

I won't attempt to Of course he'll have to sort it out, it's in the nature of things that there's no single answer to his sort of question, isn't that so?

The problem is: How to sort it out? If I'm attending a face2face group review session, everybody brings one picture and all get reviewed by everyone. I can see the people, get a better idea of their personality and match this with their opinions. When looking at online opinions for non-tech issues (unlike "is the 24L sharper than the 35L" etc) I'm rather lost, but maybe I'm just lacking practice here.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 08, 2012, 05:59:09 AM
The problem is: How to sort it out?
[/quote]

Well that is the problem.  Was it Picasso who said that genius is knowing whose advice to take?  I suppose a beginner can sign up for school or attach themselves to a guru or just take from here & there...  For me the personality of a teacher wouldn't matter, nor the quality of their talk -- only their photos would. 

I think you can make good progress from staring at the kind of work you like and trying to match it, trial and error, the long way, true, but also the way of lucky accidents.  And there's nothing wrong with sandymandy's approach of throwing out an appeal for advice -- so long as you don't expect The Answer.   The answering babble will harbor leads, for him in particular and his to find. 
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: KeithR on April 08, 2012, 11:07:12 AM
The vast majority of people who use "photoshop" as a pejorative are very similar to people who hate math or 19th-century English textile artisans who destroyed mechanized looms.

I've said before that I use PS as much as anyone: but it's not a replacement for good photography.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: KeithR on April 08, 2012, 11:08:39 AM
This is not a honest critique, this is you being an a**hole. I'm dying to see your wonderful shots, you might be an awesome photographer.

Don't talk such whiny crap.

And here you are - my website: www.capture-the-moment.co.uk (http://www.capture-the-moment.co.uk)
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: RLPhoto on April 08, 2012, 06:07:45 PM
I don't care for the B&W processing. The only time I use black and white is if the color in the photo is drawing the viewer out of photograph or color weakens the underlying primary composition. Idk what color looks like here though.

Id like to see it in color and perhaps a tighter shot with the ear not in the frame.

Id give it a 8/10. Good effort but little things like that add up to a weaker image.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: AE on April 10, 2012, 02:04:50 AM
Hi.  Just looked at the photo and had the thought that the real interest is in the middle third, sort of centering on the diamond created by the child's hat, the adult's index finger, the adult's hairline and scarf.  On the left I would crop just left of the diamond (just a little bit to the left of where the scarf and index finger meet, doing without most of the finger), on the right left before (just left of) the hair that drop vertically, doing without the ear.  I think the 'message' is in this area.  Just an idea.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Hillsilly on April 10, 2012, 03:18:29 AM
I think its a good shot and I like it.  But, it is a photo of people I don't know. If it was my wife and child, I'd be delighted.  I'd frame it and putting it on wall.  But would I put your photo on my wall?  No.

With close up photos of people, it is difficult to gain widespread acceptance unless it is a photo of someone famous (or unless you are famous).  While people can appreciate it is a good photo, it only has relevance to those pictured and close family members.

I wouldn't take the rejection too personally.  The fact that the judges didn't accept it doesn't detract from it being a good photo.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 10, 2012, 08:01:51 AM
okay, thank yall. Sadly my mission of taking photos on the easter brunch event didnt work out at all. Most people didnt want shots to be taken so i just gave up and enjoyed the brunch instead :P
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: RLPhoto on April 10, 2012, 09:36:31 AM
If you want the proof is in the pudding critique. Try out pixoto.com. It will put your image against other images in a duel and one will win and one will lose. You receive and average score to show you a real life critique of your photos.

It's sweet and I use it to judge my work against real world photographers.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: haqyourlegs on April 10, 2012, 09:42:04 AM
Hi,

id like to get some critique whats crappy and whats maybe not so crappy about my photo.
Id also especially like to know if its over exposed or sth, since i dont got a good PC screen for digital image processing.
Im in week 4 now of doing photography ever in my life :3

Hey, sandymandy! First off, I love the concept of the shot. The fact that you are able to catch a moment in time that shows the love between two people is wonderful. Contrary to the earlier comment about the hand being "too manly", I have to disagree and say that the hand, for me, is one of the most beautiful aspects of the photo. I agree that having too much of the mother's face detracts from the impact of the image, but this is what photography is about: learning what works and what doesn't, and how you can improve. I would have tried maybe a bit of a different angle, focusing on the child's eyes a bit more, and if I used colour I would have created an image that was a little less saturated.

I do not think it is over-exposed, but when picturing people you have to be careful that their faces don't get lost in when you adjust the contrast. I am a big fan of high-contrast pictures, but usually when dealing with architecture or other still-life... when photographing people, try to have less harsh contrasts. Other than that, and agreeing with some others over here, it is a good shot for your first month. As you go along you will discover new ways of showcasing emotion and creating moving images. That is not to say that you should strive for perfection of emotion each time. Sometimes, it's just not there, and you have to work with what you have (especially if you plan on wedding photography and tensions are running high, achieving images that are lovey-dovey and perfect can be a hassle).

Anyway, I like it, but try not to get stuck in the "black-and-white-photos-are-art" mentality, because it's not true. Experiment with a lot of different things. One great website that has helped me a LOT with composition and other tips is: http://digital-photography-school.com/ (http://digital-photography-school.com/) ... it has weekly challenges that help you push yourself and see a lot of different types of work. I find that I am not 100% in line with some of the composition rules that the owner of the website uses, but it is a great place to get some inspiration and try a lot of different things.

Good luck, and keep clicking!
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: EYEONE on April 10, 2012, 09:51:18 AM
...The photo looks a tad underexposed and the blackpoint is very heavy.  I'd like to see some rich dark shades rather than solid black.

The region of the child's lips is very dark.  It seems to get lost in the photo, and yet this is the part that makes the photo charming.  It's hard to see the child smiling.  I suggest trying some dodging here to brighten this area and to draw more attention to it.  The same holds true for the child's eye.
+1.  I was thinking most of this but did not communicate it well in my prior post.

I agree. It's a wonderful frozen moment but perhaps a tad underexposed. I'd pull back on the blacks, that alone might be enough but if not you could just brighten it up a tad.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Canihaspicture on April 10, 2012, 10:29:41 AM
There's a lot of feedback from everyone so you probably don't need mine... I agree with the dodging and burning... My eye is drawn immediately to the bright white hat and stays there. It should have been a darker hat and if the little girl's hair were covered just a bit more you could have played the "little bald girl with cancer" angle.

When post processing pay attention to where your eyes jump to (1st, 2nd, 3rd etc) make it tell a story and don't forget to play on human emotions.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: rhommel on April 10, 2012, 10:33:14 AM
hello,

first of all, your photo does not suck. go here http://youarenotaphotographer.com/ (http://youarenotaphotographer.com/) and I know you'll feel better about your photo. :)

ask the woman in the photo what she thinks of it.  if she hates it, then ask her why, if she loves it, then you've done your job as a photographer

p.s i am sure that woman in the photo will like/love your photo, no doubt

Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: bp on April 10, 2012, 12:23:55 PM
Who cares what anyone here thinks of it?  Do you like it?   Shoot for yourself first and foremost, develop your own style and to heck with anyone else's opinion

If you want to start trying to charge people to shoot portraits, you'll have to learn how to shoot to please the client, but beyond that, just shoot to please yourself.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: preppyak on April 10, 2012, 01:48:22 PM
I agree. It's a wonderful frozen moment but perhaps a tad underexposed. I'd pull back on the blacks, that alone might be enough but if not you could just brighten it up a tad.
Yep, had the same thought. If I could make out the babies eyes more, it'd have an even stronger emotional pull. And pulling back on the blacks would still leave the texture of the woman's hand without making it the focal point.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 11, 2012, 02:34:07 AM
go here http://youarenotaphotographer.com/ (http://youarenotaphotographer.com/) and I know you'll feel better about your photo. :)


This website is really funny! Thanks :)

Ill never do wedding photography i think. Im such a really slow photographer. U can call me slowpoke!
Oh and its not a "baby" in my photo :P She is 4 years old.
Heres the original resized. I think i should have used a more closed aperture.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 11, 2012, 06:30:23 AM
@sandymandy:  You've figured it out.  Everybody here except the newcomers, is enrolled in a stand-up comedy class and this website was created for us to try out new material on you guys.  It certainly took us long enough to get you smiling, but at least now we should pass the course. 
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 12, 2012, 07:37:30 AM
Im confused. Is ur comment sarcastic about something i wrote? Or is it just meant to be funny. Im feeling a bit retarded because im not sure what u really mean. Or did u write that cuz i said "this website is funny" ? I mean the website in the link i got.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: entertainer on April 12, 2012, 07:56:03 AM
my eyes are attracted to the hands more than anything else, but I think your emphasis should be on the kiss. :)
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 12, 2012, 10:14:57 AM
@sandymandy:  meant to be funny!  I was wondering how you (or anyone new) would react to the avalanche of advice and bickering that your straightforward query elicited.  This website IS funny,  (of course there may be some who don't see it yet),  not to worry. 

Maybe the time has come for you to take another picture...
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 12, 2012, 10:18:13 AM
Just noticed my mistake -- this must be the quoting-ist forum ever heard of!
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: sandymandy on April 12, 2012, 12:53:02 PM
Well, one of my weaknesses is that im having a really hard time abandoning something or someone even if its not important objectivly. So no matter what i will check back here many times per day. But i think i shouldnt try to read here when my brain is not fully awake :P
I will post more pics in about 2 weeks so let the gaaames begiiiin.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JerryBruck on April 12, 2012, 01:00:46 PM
@sandymandy  That's the spirit.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: mjardeen on April 15, 2012, 02:04:18 PM
For me the best way to respond is to recrop and slightly reprocess your image. I do think there is an emotional connection in the image that gives it worth beyond simply those who know the two people in the image. I see the love of a mother/grandmother for her child. I do think that going B&W is a good way to go so that the distracting colors are removed from the essential content of the image. I toned the image as I think it gives the image a more emotional feel. I used to never tone my images and then started at first with more subtle ones and now go bold. The tone I used here is one that replicates the Silver Gelatin look.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Narcolepsy on April 15, 2012, 04:04:45 PM
For me the best way to respond is to recrop and slightly reprocess your image. I do think there is an emotional connection in the image that gives it worth beyond simply those who know the two people in the image. I see the love of a mother/grandmother for her child. I do think that going B&W is a good way to go so that the distracting colors are removed from the essential content of the image. I toned the image as I think it gives the image a more emotional feel. I used to never tone my images and then started at first with more subtle ones and now go bold. The tone I used here is one that replicates the Silver Gelatin look.
I really like how you've reprocessed, cropped and toned this shot.... However - perhaps the reprocess has also really highlighted the hand - which was perhaps a little problematic already - lightening the hand might help?
I also agree that there was already a good emotional connection in the original
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: mjardeen on April 17, 2012, 11:17:20 AM
Here's another take that removes fine detail and crops out the distracting ear and most of the hand. I did this quickly just to make the point that there are millions of ways to change the image -- this one is meant to focus in on the main point of the image, the connection between the two subjects.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Daniel Flather on April 17, 2012, 05:12:49 PM
I also wonder now WHY i even want it to be published on a website.

Exactly, who cares what others think.  If you like my photos, fine, if not, that's fine too.  Why does everyone want to conform?

Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: JR on April 17, 2012, 07:31:39 PM
Here's another take that removes fine detail and crops out the distracting ear and most of the hand. I did this quickly just to make the point that there are millions of ways to change the image -- this one is meant to focus in on the main point of the image, the connection between the two subjects.

Really like what you have done here buddy!  Really nice.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Hulk on April 17, 2012, 07:43:02 PM
I like the picture, I find it good, and emotional.

But...

Maybe I've seen too many Nachtwey shots, and maybe because it is B&W, but for me it feels like being taken just a moment before the Haters or the serbs (in Bosnia) come and shoot everybody.
Then, it becomes a painful shot.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: FreManga on April 17, 2012, 07:48:23 PM
I really like how you've reprocessed, cropped and toned this shot.... However - perhaps the reprocess has also really highlighted the hand - which was perhaps a little problematic already - lightening the hand might help?
I also agree that there was already a good emotional connection in the original

I'd say if there's a lot of attention being focussed on the hand, then that's the part of the photo that has the most merit in it. A tighter crop on the hand and child's face admittedly loses the kiss, but maintains the the loving touch while bringing a bit of ambiguity into the shot, making it more interesting. It takes it from being a hallmark moment to something a bit more open to interpretation - an therefore involves the viewer. There's a lovely contrast in textures in this section of the image which is highlighted with this crop.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: jdramirez on April 17, 2012, 10:37:00 PM
I really like how you've reprocessed, cropped and toned this shot.... However - perhaps the reprocess has also really highlighted the hand - which was perhaps a little problematic already - lightening the hand might help?
I also agree that there was already a good emotional connection in the original

I'd say if there's a lot of attention being focussed on the hand, then that's the part of the photo that has the most merit in it. A tighter crop on the hand and child's face admittedly loses the kiss, but maintains the the loving touch while bringing a bit of ambiguity into the shot, making it more interesting. It takes it from being a hallmark moment to something a bit more open to interpretation - an therefore involves the viewer. There's a lovely contrast in textures in this section of the image which is highlighted with this crop.

I like the texture of the hand... but I really don't like what you did with the shot. 
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Canihaspicture on April 18, 2012, 12:03:09 AM
IMHO after looking at the pic some more the very best you can do with this picture is use it as a learning experience... and toss it in the don't do this pile. It's one thing if it's candid and that's all you could get, but that hand is too difficult to remove and the framing is dead center which is normally a big no no. At the end of the day you could Photoshop it to death and it still won't make it a great shot simply due to composition and the visual distraction. I have a great many shots like this myself and I just try to see what I did wrong and try to improve on the next one or simply don't hit that shutter until it's perfect (even if it means missing the moment).
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: mjardeen on April 18, 2012, 01:00:27 AM
IMHO after looking at the pic some more the very best you can do with this picture is use it as a learning experience... and toss it in the don't do this pile. It's one thing if it's candid and that's all you could get, but that hand is too difficult to remove and the framing is dead center which is normally a big no no. At the end of the day you could Photoshop it to death and it still won't make it a great shot simply due to composition and the visual distraction. I have a great many shots like this myself and I just try to see what I did wrong and try to improve on the next one or simply don't hit that shutter until it's perfect (even if it means missing the moment).

IMHO the goal of this should be to look at all the ways you can see an image, recrop, and reprocess to get it closer to your idea of a better image. Below is an original image, it's a piece of crap, but I think the final processing changes it into something that hits my vision of what the images ideal is.

The amusing part is that it was taken with my first digital camera which was a 1mp. To me it shows that vision, composition, and processing all add up to creating the image in your minds eye. Mind you that I do not think this is some fantastic image, but I do remember it as being the image that got me thinking that I could goo all digital and I did when 5mp became common. My inspiration for precessing always goes back to Ansel Adams taking more than 20 years of work to get the print he had always seen for Moonrise over Hernandez NM.
Title: Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
Post by: Alan J on October 28, 2013, 04:16:57 AM
I'm not bothered about other peoples opinions in regard to my photography. I take photographs because I see something worth saving so it can be revisited time and time again.

I'm perfectly able to be critical of my photographs. Only I know what it was in the shot that made me want to capture it. If I succeeded I'll be content, if not I'll try again till I get it right.