Anybody mind critiquing my very first batch of pictures?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mattcube64, Sep 30, 2009.

  1. mattcube64 macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Hi guys!

    I've been a loooooong time lurker here; and as some of you might know, I *finally* took the plunge into the DSLR realm. :D

    I got my Canon 40D and 18-55 IS lens late last week, and since then, I've taken about 500 or so pictures. Granted, most of them are complete junk (and I'm not saying these are much better :p ), but these are a few of my favorites.

    Please understand that I'm *VERY* new to this, and can admit I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.

    I did pick up "Understanding Exposure" that a lot of you rave about on here, so hopefully that'll help if I get some time to read it this weekend (this week has been the week from hell .... stupid tests!!).

    Anyway, I'm looking for comments, recommendations, critiques, direction, etc. Please feel free to be honest. If something sucks, it sucks... just be nice. :p





    And yes, I know that there's an actual art to doing B&W, but I figured I'd fool around...


  2. micol124 macrumors member


    May 29, 2008
    Milan, Italy
    I am a newbie myself, but I will give it a go! I like the first picture's composition, not common, but I don't think the focus is quite right, but I think it is a DOF problem.. maybe zoom in and stand a little further back? Same with the last one, it seems a little blurry.
    The second I might like more with the focus on something else... the screen maybe? Why do you want the audience to notice the pens?
    Love the third, and actually you might wanna try it so the square formed by the stairs is not parallel to the edge of the picture.. does that makes sense? I think it might look even more interesting if you rotate the camera to the left when taking the pict... but it might not! :D
    I am not crazy about the third picture... good job though! :D
  3. jake.f macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2008
    NSW, Australia
    The second and fourth one jump out at me, these two are great. The first macro one is ok but ive seen it a million times before if you know what i mean. One thing i learned is to not try black and white if you can't handle critiscism, but these are reasonably good.
    Keep in mind im no expert.
  4. Grasher macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2009
    1 and 4 are great - I particularly like the composition of 4; it really held my attention as I tried to figure out if the perspective was looking up or down at the stairs.
    2 and 3 didn't do much for me - there doesn't seem to be a distinct focal point or anything to really draw my interest. 2 has a pot of pens and 3 has a small pendant which is a little underexposed.
    The last one is good from a composition point of view, but lacks a little bit of sharpness for me. Having the eyes sharp is usually a pretty important point for portraiture.

    Overall pretty impressive! One tip would be to post some of the exif data (aperture, shutter speed and focal length). Seeing what exposure settings you used could help to understand some of the final image, and also helps others who might be trying to shoot something similar and like your work.
  5. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    The pictures are fine, I can see you're playing with depth of field nicely. But I'm more interested in what you want to do with photography.
  6. PeteB macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2008
    It looks as though you're getting a good grip of focus, aperture, and how that's effecting the depth of field. Producing lots of shots like these are key to you learning the technicalities of photography and what your camera/lenses are capable of at different settings.

    I'm not in any way being disparaging here, but I'd look on these photos as being learning examples and not really photos in their own right. Artists commonly create "studies", which are simple drawings to explore form (they'll draw lots of examples of dis-embodied hands, heads, eyes, etc. to learn what looks best, and to practice).

    Now you're getting to grips with the technicalities, it's time to look more at the compositional aspect of photography, which is (arguably) the hardest part of the art. Anyone can point a camera and twiddle a few knobs, but it takes vision to know what to take a photo of and how that should look to the viewer.

    Some people are more visual than other people, and ideas of good composition vary greatly from person to person, so don't take critique too harshly (it's just one person's opinion, after all). Concentrate on doing what you think looks good.

    To get ideas for composition, take a look at Bryan Peterson's "Learning to See Creatively" - it's a good companion to "Understanding Exposure".
  7. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    I like 1 and 4 are quite good. Good composition and reasonably well exposed, although 1 could be brighter.

    2. There are a few things with this. I think the picture would be more interesting if the focal point was the lady at the computer and not on the pen cup. Which, if were the case, would require you to put more light on her. Also, in the top left corner you can see the tassels (from the lamp?). Which you couldn't crop out because it would take off the top of the computer and lady's head.

    3. There isn't a shot there. If your subject is supposed to be the necklace and pendant you need to get closer, as close as your lens will allow. You also need much more light, it's way underexposed. The 18-55 lens you have will let you down in the lighting situation you have there, it's simply too slow. For the lighting you have there, you would need a lens that's at minimum f/2.0. Just something to keep in mind, but I see where you're going with that picture, it's just technique that needs work.

    4. I won't comment on it too much. It's good, I like it.

    5. Good idea, I would pull back a bit. I want to see more of her. It just feels like it's too close for that angle. Also, your background is brighter than her. It's distracting and draws me to the background instead of her eyes. Put some light on her face. Also, on viewing the photo large, it seems like you have camera shake going on (too slow shutter speed to hand hold). More light will help with that and get your shutter speed higher.
  8. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    I like number two and three, although the B&W could be alot sharper the stairs on the right are very soft so try closing your Aperture down abit. And then its just composition and exposure! But it looks like your making a good start!

    Best of luck and hope your enjoying it!
  9. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    For just playing around, I think #2 was interesting. It would have been a lot better of course if there was some more interesting or relevant foreground object that was the center of focus.

    I literally just took this photo the other day, and yours reminded me of it. ;)

    Oh, if you find yourself enjoying playing with DOF and available light, I recommend the Canon 50mm f/1.8 for around $100, sharper and faster than your kit zoom. With the Canon Rebel's high ISO performance and f/1.8 you will be good to go (no IS but I'd rather have a fast lens personally.) The 35mm f/2 is perhaps a better option after 1.6x crop factor, but it is more expensive.

    Attached Files:

  10. pprior macrumors 65816

    Aug 1, 2007
    1) nicely composed, using the rule of 1/3s, interesting contrast in color and saturation. Short DOF focusing attention to the "wrong" part of the flower however?? Best of the group.
    2) too much visual distraction. Yes it demonstrates DOF of your camera, but there is too much going on (i.e. the beads from the lamp, the lights on the right edge, the remote) that distract from the picture
    3) Way underexposed, and what is the point of this picture?
    4) Stairways are classic studies in photography. In general the ltd DOF however tends to look like an out of focus shot unless you REALLY open up to a very shallow DOF.
    5) underexposed, OOF, and not at all flattering to the woman in the picture.

    These are all over the place, and most are just snapshots (1 and 4 being the exceptions). Think of a picture as telling a visual story about something and try something that means something to you.

    Most of all enjoy and try to create something that means something to YOU, not necessarily to all of us armchair experts :)
  11. mattcube64 thread starter macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Thank you everyone for the comments, criticisms, and direction!

    I appreciate all the input, and I'll definitely take what's been said and try to use that in my shots from now on.

    I'd like to find a "niche" in photography, for sure. But right now, I'm just snapping pics of everything, hoping to get a good one every once in a while and have fun while I do it. What am I "trying to do with photography?" I dunno... honestly, right now I feel like my life is consumed with school and work. And when I'm free, I just tend to waste away hours on the internet browsing.... so, I suppose I'm trying to find something worthwhile to do with my time and get me outside.

    I do plan on picking up the nifty fifty in the next month or so. But for now, I'm trying not to drop much on accessories until I know what I need.

    I'm sure you guys will have another request from me in the next week or two. :p

    EDIT: Oh, and I will try to post the EXIF data late tonight or tomorrow.
  12. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    I like your BW shots.

    #2 BW looks a little soft, but for all I know, you did it for artistic reasons. ;)

    Great first shots!

    Keep taking pics!
  13. TheSVD macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    ahh, the ol' typical beginner shots :)
    not saying theyre bad, but i havent been doing photography for long, but im staring to come out of that beginner phase now! So lets have a lookie here :p

    The first picture is quite nice, i will agree that there is a bit of a DOF problem here ( i think) but i do love the great composition of the shot and how the centre is perfectly in focus - i like how the picture led my eyes around the petals, very nice colours :) Hell, to think of it, i like the focus here...

    The second picture is quite 'stock photo' looking, but when your a beginner this is what you tend to aim for because you want 'pro' looking pictures. Im assuming that your not use to being able to have such control over depth of field, i was obsessed with it when i first started.... nonetheless, i do like the soft lighting, its easy on the eye... but perhaps the person should be in focus? but i quite like how the confused look seems to look good when shes out of focus, and the eye is then drawn to the pen pot which is well lit, so i quite like it i guess :D

    If im totally honest, this photo seems a bit pointless, the main subject is under exposed and out of focus. not your best :)

    This one is definitely my favourite! the best of the lot, i really like how the b&w has changed the mood and its really quite artistic and totally pleasing to look at. See how the simplest of things are the best? This is a brilliant shot, i love it :D Lighting, focus, black and white, perfect. EDIT: having another look, this picture is brilliant, bus as mentioned, stop up to f7-11 for that sharper shot :)

    And the last picture, i can see what youve gone for here, and i like the background (especially cause of the b&w) but the person is a bit of of focus or theres some motion blur. Try re shoot and get a little more light on the fact too :)

    Im not brilliant myself, but theres my 2 cents. Welcome to the start of something you'll never stop, its fantastic.
  14. munkees macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    I like number 2, you want to look at the person, but then you get draw to the pens, nice, it deceives what you want to look at and to what you eyes get drawn too. clever.
  15. ihadmeavision macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2008
    As someone here also mentioned, the B&Ws are great. The subject matter and composition is nice. Just keep shooting, there's a book I think called "don't think, just shoot". In my film days if I got 1 shot out of a roll of 36 it was a good shoot. Digital just makes us shoot more so you should average 1 good shot for every 72 and consider that very good.
  16. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I hate it when people say 'nifty fifty', it makes me cringe.

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