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Author Topic: So..what sucks about this shot?  (Read 25033 times)

smirkypants

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #15 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.

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2012, 09:31:55 AM »

Marsu42

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #16 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.

Orangutan

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #17 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.

nikkito

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #18 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.
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JerryBruck

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #19 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?

Marsu42

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #20 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!

sandymandy

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #21 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

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2012, 01:01:10 PM »

JerryBruck

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #22 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. 

JerryBruck

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #23 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.

peederj

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #24 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.

aldvan

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #25 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...

JerryBruck

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #26 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

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?

kdsand

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #27 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

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)!
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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2012, 03:17:05 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #28 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.

peederj

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #29 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

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?

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Re: So..what sucks about this shot?
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2012, 05:06:56 PM »