View Full Version : Tips and advice please:)

08-07-2011, 07:20 PM
Still working on portraits, learning lots, but still have a long way to go, any advice would be greatly appreciated, for the most part, if you remember my first portraits i posted for critique, focus and exposure/lighting have improved alot, still looking on tips and advice in that area as well,

Thank you,

08-07-2011, 08:48 PM
Ok, I will take a stab at it. :) Overall, you have captured nice poses and expressions from your models. Focus looks good, etc. Photo #1 is a really pretty portrait, the eyes may be a bit dark but overall it is quite lovely. A reflector may help a bit to put some light back in the eyes. The one nit is the cut off foot. Photo #2, the main critique again being the missing feet on a full length portrait. #3 is my favourite of the set. The model has a nice expression, not a happy, smiley one but very pretty. She has a spark of light (highlights) in her eyes. My advice on the crop is going to be the opposite from the other photos. Since you partially cropped the head, I would advise more of a crop. Too little looks like an accident, more is artistic expression! :) I think I would also crop maybe 10% from the bottom of the photo as well. The next, #4, I don't mind the cropping so much but others may object to the hand being cropped. Again I would probably crop more from the bottom. I really like the expressions of the couple, but considering the sun is in their faces, or most likely because of it, their eyes seem quite dark. The overall colour may be just a tad on the warm side as well. That brings us to #5, I like the highlighting on the hair, but honestly, if it were mine, I would not use this photo. The model is a very attractive girl and I do not think the expression does her justice. The way her shoulders are positioned feels uncomfortable to me and the slight crop on the right, again looks careless as does the cropped hand on the left side of the frame.

Overall, a real nice effort with a few technical problems. Don't be discouraged, it is not easy and even the likes of Joe McNally will take some crappy looking photos. (I know, I know, he is god! Ha!) The difference is he has the experience to see and rectify his errors.

08-07-2011, 09:52 PM
thank you very much for all of your advice, as i progress i'm working on the tips people have given me thus far, lighting, especially natural, has gotten alot better but recognition of and patience with good natural light will continue to be a focus of mine, now i am going to focus on composition and subsequent cropping, kristy was an amazing good sport as we were swarmed by mosquitos that day and not one complaint by her, in fact in one shot, zoomed in to 100% there is a tack sharp image of a mosquito buzzing right on her cheek, and she didn't flinch at all from the requested pose, thank you and i will put your advice into practice while i continue to shoot :)


Mad Aussie
08-12-2011, 01:43 AM
I like the pose in #1 very much, and the perspective. Cutting the foot off isn't so good when it's the only part being cut. It makes it look like a mistake. I also think her placement in the frame is too far left. With the diagonal aspect of her body across the frame, she could have been centred for this one. Her eyes are perhaps a little dark also. Not sure how far away she was, but getting a bit of light into her face may have helped there. Lastly, the white balance looks wrong to me, making her skin very orange and her hair very yellow. Compare those with the next photo and you see what I mean.

#2 I quite like in most respects other than the actual composition itself. You obviously liked the cabin and green surroundings here but the photo is about her. I think you should have been in a bit closer and gotten less of the cabin, maybe getting more green in the photo to go with that blue dress. Take another shot if you want to remember the cabin but, in a portrait, it's about her.

#3 A sultry but tired looking expression on her face. Although there's nice catch-lighting in the eyes, it's still a bit dark around the eyes. Using a dodge tool could have bought those eyes up much brighter. The tiles and mortar aren't doing it for me either, I'd have pulled her away from the wall for this made sure it was well out of focus. Sharpness in the eyes appears ok to me and the white balance is good also.

#4 White balance seems to have gone astray again in this one. Looks like very strong light, which has cast shadows into the wrong areas here. Perhaps not the best light for a duel portrait shot like this. The photo seems to have a soft feel to it which screams I'm out of focus to me, even though some bits are sharp, or sharpened. The eyes are devoid of detail, and therefore have robbed the shot of life in my opinion. I love the composition and crop though.

#5 I don't like the composition and crop in this one much. The cut off shoulder has no reason for me, nether does the cut off hand. I also find the model to be too far to the left of the shot. I think this is a case of not being zoomed in close enough, or not being zoomed far enough back. The expression on her face doesn't work for me either in this one. Very nice exposure and colour balance though here.

Hope some of that helps you ... Keep it up :)

08-14-2011, 08:31 PM
Number one would be perfect, but if you have cropped the foot in the original, you will half to crop in even tighter to fix it.

Number three, in my mind is pretty good just how it is. Mad Aussie's points were all well-taken, but I guess art is subjective, and sometimes a pretty face is a pretty face, and that lady has one. I like the tiles, and I like the expression. I think she's just lovely as hell.

The others didn't do anything for me at all. Number two is just not a good pose, and I would trash it. Number four has too many issues for me to elaborate much, except that maybe there is processing you could do to save it. Number five I don't care for the pose or her expression. Mad Aussie has been more detailed about the technical issues than I will ever be; I tend to critique composition, poses and overall feel.

As I said, you have two real winners here, and you should remember my rule of portraiture: Shoot A LOT of photos. That's the best deal all around. I will take several of any pose, just in case a face looked different for one moment, etc. A photo is a frozen moment, and no two moments are the same. Now that we are all digital, I just shoot away!

Once you get more experienced, you can always shoot a little less, but I never will. I'm one of those guys that just shoots a freakin' movie, and saves the frames he likes.