View Full Version : Help!!! Critique Needed
Hi all, I had my first photo shoot, a family portrait. These shots are in my yard, early morning, shot with a Yashica Mat 124G (it has a self timer), with flash (exposure looks good to me). I am looking to improve. My quick opinion is that I need to raise the camera a little, and get closer. I scanned these two prints together with my flatbed. Note that my camera did not space the film correctly on the second shot (bummer).
Can you please provide any advise of how I can improve these shots.
Maybe I just need to crop them. I would hate to loose the corney dog's kicking leg to a tight shot.
I agree - closer, higher would be better.
It could be my monitor, but it looks very dark - your wife's clothing disappears into the foliage. (Again, it could be my monitor.)
You know the lay of the land there better than I would, but it looks like you had some nice light entering the scene on the right side, (reflections off the tree, bushes, etc.). Perhaps you could have taken advantage of that?
They're nice family shots though! I like the second shot - great, playful feel. With a little post-processing and cropping, it's a keeper.
I scanned it fast and darkened it in PS, so that is my fault. The light was more from behind than side. We were covered in shade, but all the leaves are off the trees now. I popped the flash to add some fill and even out the backlighting. Are you suggesting to move to allow for the side lighting?
either a full portrait or move in closer.
i wouldn't lean on the rock unless i was wearing jeans or something more casual.
you guys are kinda dressed up, especially your wife, so i think a 'not formal' but 'more formal' pose would be appropriate.
casual clothes=a more casual pose etc.
maybe it's the normal lens but i'm thinking something wider for an environmental shot or longer for a perspective that will seperate you from the background.
just my 2 cents.
cute family, anyway you shoot it.
Nice:) So that's you!
Since it's a flatbed scan, i suppose the shadow details ARE there on the prints . I have the same problem with scanning.
Due to the waist level finder, TLR's are tricky to rise to eye level for shooting. This is, i think, considered a typical problem that needs practice to avoid or use efficiently. Just like forgetting the lens cap on a rangefinder:D (ok, you can't use that efficinetly.)
One more thing, i prefer tighter framing - or loser (sorry...i mean less tight :rolleye:), here your feet seem to be cut off. But that's just me:)
Ok, no leaning with formal cloths. I was shooting for a 3/4 shot so I wanted to loose the feet, but closer would be better, I left it in a grey zone, not good.
I often find a location so that I can exclude the horizon line, that earth/sky division, (or I place the horizon very low in the frame and the people are against the sky.) Doing this focusses more attention onto the people as there is less distraction than when the horizon line is up around their heads. Also when the subject is in the shade you must be sure there is no sunlight falling on them as it creates a very distracting hot spot. Dappled shade may look pretty to the eye, but it is ruinous in a photo of people with white spots on them. Back lighting is good, and side lighting is okay if you strengthen the effect of the flash so the natural side lighting is not overpowering. I'm talking here about direct sidelighting, diffuse side lighting is much easier to deal with.
I agree with the common advices so far, I think that closer would be better, but I already like the poses, specially on the second one.
Another thing you can try is use color film and experiment later with converting to B&W using the adjustment layer method to try some effects of b&w filters.
I think I would try to take the picture with more separation of the subject from the background, because I think the background also being in focus is a little distracting.
Then if you used a large aperture like f4 or something your comparatively shallow DOF would make the subjects "pop out" a little from the background. If you could manage different brightness or contrast levels between subject/background the 3D effect might be even more pronounced.
Nice to see you though, rover! :)
Rover, I like both shots overall, but agree that you could crop in for a tighter composition. The skin tones look good. The dark areas are a bit murky but with a scan you can often bring out a lot of detail using Curves (or the Highlight/Shadows tool in PSCS or PSE3). I think these can be turned into quite good portraits.
Great comments guys, thank you. It is funny, when you open yourself up like this you learn a lot. Being a self portrait, I did miss the sunlight on my shoulder in the second shot. It wasn't in the viewfinder, but then again, I wasn't either. I did shoot at f5.6. Since the shutter would shoot 10 seconds or so after I pressed the release I figured a little more DOF would make up for any potential shifting of my son. The horizon line didn't even occur to me. I have another big rock which would mean the background will just be woods, need to move over to the other side of the yard. I am going to take and have the negatives scanned tomorrow. I think I will play a little tonight though.
Ok, I did a little work with the fast scans of the prints that I did. I am sure scans of the negatives will be much better, I just am not that into it tonight. So here we go for these shots. I will have to drag the wife outside again to do some more shots, probably Saturday after she goes for a haircut with my mom (they go every 5 weeks weather they need it or not).
Here is what I have so far.
Great crops, Rover! These look good!
Very good, especially the second one. In pictures of people, pay close attention to their hands as they can draw attention away from their faces. Picture 1 clearly demonstrates this. There are hands everywhere and your eye gets pulled around the picture by them. Of course this is more difficult to do when it's a self portrait using a timer!
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