View Full Version : Street Photography and B&W

05-26-2010, 01:30 AM
Here are a couple of my recent more "serious" B&W efforts. All critiques are welcome.

I'm a longtime listener of the podcast and have heard great things of the "friendly bunch". I've uploaded some images to Flickr but for some reason I haven't really gotten much feedback there, I hope I do here! I'm all about learning.

This is in Monterrey, Mexico, by the way.

05-26-2010, 01:44 AM
Cool shots, Fs! It looks like a real interesting area to photograph. As far as flickr goes, you have to accumulate a group of followers and be a follower yourself to get comments. If you add your flickr link to your signature here we can add you as a contact.
Welcome to the forum!

05-26-2010, 02:35 AM
Hi! Welcome to the forum. :)

Since you've posted your shots in the critiques section, I'll be going out of my way to give you some criticism you hopefully can use. So please don't start off by thinking I don't like your work. ;) Here we go...

First shot.
Somehow, I get the feeling it is out of balance. The left buildings lean very heavy on the shot and is giving me the feeling it's tilted. Maybe a little rotation can fix this. Maybe it's just me being silly.
You've done some great work with the lines here. Everything seems to be pointing towards the horizon. Too bad there's nothing to see there. It would be really great if there was something there to look at.
I can see you've done some manipulation. If you look closely at the sky, you can see some halo's around the edge of the buildings etc. It's not bad, but if you look longer to the picture you'll notice it. Also, I'd probably tuned up the brightness just a little here.

Second shot.
I'm not sure what you want to show us here. I see a lamp and a damaged wall. Which makes me wonder what caught your eye here. Why did you think this scene is worthy of making a picture off? I'm not being negative here, just really wondering. Maybe if you tell me, I see it too. :) Otherwise, maybe I can give some advise here. Technically, this shot works perfectly for me. Nothing to add...

Third shot.
That beetle is a real eye catcher here. It's nice and sharp and the background isn't distracting at all. I quite like it! However, you've left it some space, but at the back of the car. I'd rather have a little more space at the front of the car than at the back. But I wasn't there, so I don't know what's in front of it... :)

As for the B/W conversion, I'm a big fan of very contrasty B/W photo's. Don't be afraid to tune the contrast up more than you're used to. Most of the time, it looks quite nice. But that's just my taste... ;)

Matt K.
05-26-2010, 03:19 AM
I have to concur with Fortytwo; the first image sends my head tilting to the right - the buildings on the left side are overpowering and seem to want you 'duck' for cover. Have you tired to straighten the image?

The second image id confusing for me. You have several things showing: the broken palster, the lamp and the top of the gate. I am sure that each one of these objects would have made a great image on their own, but combined it really leaves you wondering what is is you want to express. And yes, it is composition more so than any technical critizism.

Love the bug. Would have like to see more in front of it, or do you want to draw attention to the archtecture more so than the vehicle? If the beetle is your subject, then putting it more into the center would have helped. If you want to show the doorways, differnt story. Then the VW is actually in the way.

Technically the shots are very good . It's more the composition I question. Keep it up!:thumbup:

05-26-2010, 09:14 AM
Hi fsendel - thx for the comments!

I would agree with the above critiques.

I'd also like to add that overall these shots are not that 'exciting' to me.

The excitement does not need to come from 'action', it could come from mood, tonality, angularity, dramatic light, contrast, perspective, selective focus, a story etc.

shot 1 is the strongest here for me as I like the repeating elements and lines. To improve it, imo, more has to be going on for this particular view. We see the backside of a man and a dog in the distance, but everything is too far from the viewer. The closest thing to us are the window grates on the left side and for me, they lack interest shot at this angle.

Hope that helped somewhat,

Thx - Marko

05-26-2010, 02:09 PM
I think a different crop would make this first image much stonger IMO....the elements of a great image are there. it there it just needs stronger composition which i think you can accomplish with a different crop.
What I would do (and it's just my opinion so feel free to take it or leave it as after all it is your photo) is a left vertical crop to eliminate the first window grate. Next, I would crop the bottom up about 1.5cm to get it in line with the second window (which would then be the first after the left crop) and bring the man closer to the foreground. Eliminate the top of the shot with the distracting lamp post. I think a square crop would be the result here which I think IMO would make for a much stronger story.
Also throw in a few tonal adjustments to whiten the whites, darken the darks and bring out the cloud detail I think you might have a winner. :fingerscr

That's my thoughts on it anyhow. Hope it helps. :)

05-27-2010, 12:48 AM
Thanks to everyone for your comments, I'm not sure if this is common practice, but now I'd like to comment on your comments.

Fortytwo: (I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan btw!), regarding the first shot, I have taken your advice and part of casil403s, and Matt Ks, and have tried to do some corrections. I straightened and cropped. You are right about the halo near the building's edge, I just couldn't get rid of it after trying to recover the near blown out sky.

Second shot: Well, I'm not exactly sure what caught my eye. I guess it was mostly the lamp and the decaying plaster, but you are right. It's not terribly exciting. I probably thought it could convey some of the area's mood, somewhat old and partly falling apart.

Third shot: I couldn't have shot the front of the car, and I didn't want to center it too much and tried to vaguely use the rule of thirds. I'll try to increase the contrast, but I was afraid of losing some of the detail, especially where you can see the VWs shadows.

Marko, thanks for your comments too. I'm a big fan of the podcast but only now have started participating. After all this feedback I'll definitely posto a lot more! I have learned a lot. As to the lack of excitement you refer to, I think I get it but I'm not 100% sure. I'll try to work on it for my next post.

I'm including a new version of the first shot, hopefully its better:


This is my flickr stream by the way:
Flickr: fsendel's Photostream (http://www.flickr.com/photos/65337134@N00/)

05-27-2010, 02:46 AM
That works much better. Stick with the forum and you will learn lots. And its free!

Here are three basic points to remember when taking a photo;

1. What is my subject?

2. How can I focus attention on my subject? (i.e. Leading lines, rule of thirds, framing, DOF, etc.)

3. Simplify. Is there anything in the photo that is taking attention away from the subject? Any distracting elements?

05-27-2010, 03:22 AM
Hi fsendel, It looks a lot better now! Photoshop has some neat perspective tools as well that can help combat leaning buildings and architecture.

Photoshop Box Tutorials - Fix Perspective (http://www.photoshopbox.com/photo-retouch/fix-perspective.html)

05-27-2010, 04:36 AM
Do please reply to my comments! The more feedback, the better! ;)

Oh, that new version is much better. Feels much more balanced to me. Nice job! Halo's can be really troublesome, and considering the other option is a blown out sky, I'd pick this as well. It doesn't bother me that much...

About the third shot, I was afraid that wasn't possible. In that case, it's good you've left some room at the back. Otherwise it'd be really crammed in the frame... :)

05-27-2010, 02:20 PM
Thanks a lot to everyone. This was all very useful. I'll be posting more as soon as a I can.