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Old Jun 3, 2013, 01:59 PM   #26
vampyr
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To the OP...
I've dealt with the same questions as you. I even bought a Nikon D5100 to try to help take better pictures.

2 things I've found that have helped me..

1. start off with taking black and white photos. I've even set the camera to night mode (by accident) and taken some pictures of an old building and a wave crashing on a rock... and was so disappointed when they came out black and white. Sure enough... EVERYONE loved the way they look and thought they looked amazing.
Doing black and whites make it easier to NOT worry about color and focus first on the content, position, lighting etc... without worrying about the dullness of the colors.

2. Try to always take pictures with the sun behind you, or at least out of your FOV. I only say this as a beginning tip. This helped me get better contrast of colors because the light fell on the subject more.

From there, I started to play with settings on my camera to take pictures that took longer so that more light would saturate into the picture, just to see what they would look like. The hard part is holding your hand steady enough.

What you take pictures of definitely change the colors though.
I took a trip to Hawaii last year and took some pictures of flowers and various plants and the colors really POP out at you. Nothing like what I have back home.
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Old Jun 4, 2013, 07:33 PM   #27
kirsch92
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Hey, I'm just a SOOC jpeg guy right now, and having been the owner of a "real" camera for only a month or so, I have no actual advice to give you.

But in my quest to KNOW more, I found this 16 minute video on the Adorama website, which I think you may find helpful. He did the work in LR4, but I imagine any decent editor ought to be able to do the same.
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 01:55 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRy View Post
That's just the kind of thing I'm after. Looks like i'll need t start saving for CS6 now then.

I've had a play around with levels and contrast etc. to see what I can do with my images and I'm getting a different look to the out of camera images, which I'm a bit happier with. First attempts and all and I can only improve.

Attachment 414933

Attachment 414934
I also think one overlooked factor here is composition. It won't matter how much post processing skills you have, no amount of post can make an uninteresting photo interesting. In all of the photos you have chosen, I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to get the viewers to see. The sun or the wire? How is the back of a dog's head interesting? The guy playing the piano looked like it was taken by a point n shoot. Cameras don't make you a better photographer just as an expensive car won't make you a better driver, and CS6 certainly won't make your shots interesting and compelling. You really just need to go out and practice practice and practice.
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 03:43 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirsch92 View Post
Hey, I'm just a SOOC jpeg guy right now, and having been the owner of a "real" camera for only a month or so, I have no actual advice to give you.

But in my quest to KNOW more, I found this 16 minute video on the Adorama website, which I think you may find helpful. He did the work in LR4, but I imagine any decent editor ought to be able to do the same.
Thanks that was a really useful video and I've got the trial version of LR4 so I can give it a go.
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 03:46 PM   #30
maxosx
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How?

Study photography, practice, practice, practice

Before you know it you will reap the rewards of your efforts.
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 03:50 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Outrigger View Post
I also think one overlooked factor here is composition. It won't matter how much post processing skills you have, no amount of post can make an uninteresting photo interesting. In all of the photos you have chosen, I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to get the viewers to see. The sun or the wire? How is the back of a dog's head interesting? The guy playing the piano looked like it was taken by a point n shoot. Cameras don't make you a better photographer just as an expensive car won't make you a better driver, and CS6 certainly won't make your shots interesting and compelling. You really just need to go out and practice practice and practice.
Aside from the fact that your post came across as slightly rude I do appreciate that I need to think more about composition and it's something I'm trying to concentrate on.

The sunset photo was just a nice sunset to me, with some beautiful colours and I thought the fence in the foreground would add a bit of interest to the shot.

The back of the dog's head I thought made it look as though you was looking at my mum from the dog's perspective.

The guy at the piano needed a better crop like this:

Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByTapatalk1370461604.235547.jpg
Views:	50
Size:	232.5 KB
ID:	415354

Which kind of makes the moving legs the focal point as I was trying to capture the fact that this guy was in a little world of his own, playing a beautiful piece of classical music, in the middle of a busy train station during rush hour.

They all meant something to me but obviously not everyone else.

Like this rail. I just liked the look of it with the different colours and scars. Other people will probably look at it and think "Meh" but if I enjoy it then that's half my battle won.


Last edited by MacRy; Jun 5, 2013 at 04:25 PM.
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 04:52 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by MacRy View Post
Aside from the fact that your post came across as slightly rude I do appreciate that I need to think more about composition and it's something I'm trying to concentrate on.
Sorry, definitely did not mean to come across that way. I am no way a pro, however, the one defining message from many pros is that, what do you want your photos to convey, or where do you want your viewers to focus their eyes on when they see a photo of yours.
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 05:19 PM   #33
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Even if you don't have perfect lighting, any image can be improved in Photoshop.




Last edited by DUCKofD3ATH; Jun 5, 2013 at 05:30 PM. Reason: flickr trouble
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Old Jun 5, 2013, 06:18 PM   #34
DUCKofD3ATH
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Originally Posted by MacRy View Post
So living in the UK where it seems to be permanently overcast and raining is probably where I'm going wrong then!

I took this in some beautiful light but it still doesn't have that punchy, shiny look to it.

Image
"Shiny" can be achieved by changing contrast. Almost any photo can be improved by adjusting curves in P'shop.

In the sunset example, the foreground was uninteresting, so you could sacrifice those details to punch up the sky. In this case, the improvement is small, but noticeable.



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Old Jun 6, 2013, 04:23 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by MacRy View Post
The sunset photo was just a nice sunset to me, with some beautiful colours and I thought the fence in the foreground would add a bit of interest to the shot.
I get the impression that you're open to hearing constructive criticism, so I'll offer my advice (for it's worth) about the fence. Your instinct to look for foreground interest was a good one, but the features you found don't play well together in that sunset photo. Typically it's best in landscape scenes to create a compelling sense of depth from foreground to background. The types of foregrounds that are most effective in this regard are those with lines or receding patterns that lead the eye deeper into the frame. In the case of your fence, it does just the opposite, acting as a barrier to everything beyond the foreground. The eye stops at the fence, and we don't get that sense of having 'access' to the background, even though we can see back there.

Now imagine a fence line that is instead running into instead of across the frame. For example, here are a couple of shots I've randomly plucked out of a flickr search: Example 1. Example 2. The fences in those photos aren't exactly pretty either (let's face it, few fences are on their own), but at least each one is working with the photo compositionally instead of against it.

You actually have a similar problem with the photo of the pianist. His arms cut across the foreground like a barrier, and his head is turned away from us. There is little to grab our attention and draw it into the picture. The lines of the piano could combine for a good lead-in, but his hands actually disrupt those lines a bit, and they don't lead to any visual pay-off in the background anyway (we see some clutter back there instead).

I hope those observations help. Just keep at it, and keep posting photos for critique. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
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Old Jun 6, 2013, 02:28 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrasikleia View Post
I get the impression that you're open to hearing constructive criticism, so I'll offer my advice (for it's worth) about the fence. Your instinct to look for foreground interest was a good one, but the features you found don't play well together in that sunset photo. Typically it's best in landscape scenes to create a compelling sense of depth from foreground to background. The types of foregrounds that are most effective in this regard are those with lines or receding patterns that lead the eye deeper into the frame. In the case of your fence, it does just the opposite, acting as a barrier to everything beyond the foreground. The eye stops at the fence, and we don't get that sense of having 'access' to the background, even though we can see back there.

Now imagine a fence line that is instead running into instead of across the frame. For example, here are a couple of shots I've randomly plucked out of a flickr search: Example 1. Example 2. The fences in those photos aren't exactly pretty either (let's face it, few fences are on their own), but at least each one is working with the photo compositionally instead of against it.

You actually have a similar problem with the photo of the pianist. His arms cut across the foreground like a barrier, and his head is turned away from us. There is little to grab our attention and draw it into the picture. The lines of the piano could combine for a good lead-in, but his hands actually disrupt those lines a bit, and they don't lead to any visual pay-off in the background anyway (we see some clutter back there instead).

I hope those observations help. Just keep at it, and keep posting photos for critique. I look forward to seeing what you come up with next.
That's some really great advice and very helpful. Thank you for that. I can see how those fences in the pictures you linked to helped to draw the eye further into the shot rather than obscuring it. So much to think about when shooting rather than just going "Ooh purdy...sun!" And snapping away.

I'll keep posting pics. Have been stuck behind a laptop screen all day today and haven't had a chance to do anything but work....hence this shot

Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByTapatalk1370543295.578499.jpg
Views:	42
Size:	96.9 KB
ID:	415566

Edit: Found the garden...




Last edited by MacRy; Jun 6, 2013 at 04:19 PM.
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Old Jun 20, 2013, 08:11 PM   #37
Zaphyrus
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As a lot of people already stated, lighting is KEY. Understanding light ratios and how to effectively use your light sources (whether it's shooting strobes, ambient, or both) will get you there. Another thing that is overlooked is the retouching done to these images. Though this is subjective and dependent on the retouchers style, dodging and burning in Photoshop can help 'enhance' your image. I use enhance because this is only helps further your lighting. But knowing how far is too far is essential. It all starts with capturing the right light.
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