Can I pester you for some guidance/feedback?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by ijohn.8.80, Aug 25, 2012.

  1. ijohn.8.80, Aug 25, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2012

    ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #1
    Howdy All,

    I have a slightly cheeky (enthusiastic newb) request of you all if you don't mind. I'd really love some (brutally) honest feedback and suggestions for the following shots. Particularly tips on composition, points of focus, tweaks in Photoshop/Lightroom.

    The Otter shot I like, even if it's a bit gruesome for some. Just a pity I think that the background is the same colour as the subject, in parts of the shot.

    The dove shot I'm quite pleased with the proportions of the shot and the intensity of colour there, but please let me know your thoughts on how it can be improved. I am a total newb after all. :)

    I listened to Doylems comment about wanting to take upright subjects and make them widescreen, then tried it with the shot of the meerkat, and I actually like it more than some of the other meerkat shots I took that day, which are the predictable closeup shot. There's a lot more interest there.

    The Blue & Gold Macaw in flight is my first ever moving subject shot. Well, moving at speed, anyway. I know it's not great or anything, but would love some pointers on what to do to achieve that sort of shot properly and competently.

    I had difficulty with the shot of the Orangutan, where she is back-lit quite intensively by the sun, and am unsure how to make that work for me. I tried exposure bracketing 3 shots with a difference of 1 between them, and this was the best of the 3. :confused:

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer me.

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  2. steveash macrumors 6502

    steveash

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    OK, first off you will get all kinds of comments online. Don't take them to hear too much as the majority will be from outspoken people who want to show off how much they know (or think they do). You will also get the Flickr-like comments which are always flattering but rarely informative.

    I make a living from photography and graphic design but most of my work is studio based or on selected locations. I am not by any means a nature photographer but these are my personal thoughts.

    The Otter shot is nice. Composition sticks nicely to the rule of thirds. The lighting is quite hard which you might be able to adjust a little in Lightroom or PS. Just pulling back the highlights a bit particularly around is tongue which is almost not noticeable against the pale fish. You could perhaps do a little dodge and burn to bring it out better but don't get carried away!

    Again the Dove composition is good. It looks a little under exposed and although it is nice to get contrast against the lighter background both could accept being a little brighter.

    I personally feel the Meerkat looks more of a snapshot than the others (sorry). It is stuck in the middle of the frame and the surroundings don't do much for it. I would have avoided the fence behind it which clearly show that it is in a zoo rather than its natural environment. The leaves next to it help the composition and if you were to crop the shot to a square with the leaves on the left and the Meerkat on the right the shot is greatly improved to my eye and the fence is less obvious.

    i like the Macaw shot but would suggest you crop it down to remove the empty top of frame and the half child on the left. To get a fast moving panning shot sharp takes practice and luck as well as the right balance of shutter speed. The further the background is from the subject the more blurred it will be allowing use of a faster shutter speed and a higher chance of getting it sharp.

    The lighting for the Orangutan is just plain difficult. I also feel the rope gets in the way of the shot. Being a commercial shooter I would have solved this with either a big scrim to block some of the light or fill flash to bring out its face. I'm sure you had neither option! You may be able to improve things in Lightroom or PS or you could have waited for the lumbering beast to move to better light! Waving some bananas around may have helped - it would have been nice to have got eye contact too or interactivity with other animals.

    Hope that is some help. Generally I think you are doing very well and are clearly putting some thought into what you want to achieve.
     
  3. ijohn.8.80 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #3
    Steveash, thank you very much for your honesty and suggestions, they are all appreciated. It's thanks to feedback like yours that I'm starting to get a basic handle on composition. Backgrounds are something I have difficulty remembering to take into account before I press the trigger! :)
     
  4. 725032 Guest

    725032

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    #4
    These all seem very good to me... Appear very professional
     
  5. twiggy0, Aug 26, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012

    twiggy0 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    #5
    For the Meerkat, I think if you would have left out the leaves on the side, and taken it from a slightly lower angle so as to remove the fence (like a previous post said), as well as make sure you followed the 1/3rd rule, on both horizontal and vertical axis, (meaning his head would be at the 1/3 horizontal line starting from the top) it would look amazing. I'm not professional either, but I have decent work.

    Oh and also, since he's looking to the right, you'd want to position him on the 1/3 vertical line starting from the left so as to create 2/3 of space in which he's looking in the general direction of.

    I think all the other pictures are average to be honest. I don't like the parrot shot, the blur just doesn't work, especially not with people there. The orangutan, the lighting messed you up. You would have needed a flash (like another post said). The dove has potential, but you need to post edit it, make sure you bring up brightness and possibly a slight contrast and/or clarity to make it pop a bit more. And the first picture is alright, I just don't find anything interesting when looking at it. (That's just me)
     
  6. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
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    #6
    We may see ‘subject’ - what interests us - and ‘background’ - what’s left. But the camera records everything within the viewfinder’s rectangle with equal weight. So the ‘background’ is an integral part of any composition... even if it’s out of focus. The best background may be relatively neutral - ie no odd shapes or jarring colours that might distract the viewer’s eye...
     
  7. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #7
    The otter and the dove are very nice shots. Well composed.
    The meerkat, I agree that it does look like a snapshot. Maybe a portrait composition can help, but that would mean cropping and reducing resolution. If you're okay with that, experiment with it a bit.
    The panning macaw is okay. The bird is well in focus, but I think your shutter speed wasn't high enough to prevent motion blur on the two people. The blur was very distracting; at first I thought the image was just a blurry mistake then I saw the macaw and what you were trying to do. It's a nice attempt, but don't be afraid to bump the ISO up a bit to get that shutter speed you need.
    As for the orangutan, it's a tad bit overexposed; tone it down a bit in post and crop the right vignetted edge and it'll be perfect.
     
  8. ijohn.8.80 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #8
    twiggy0, Doylem, and Prodo123. Thanks for the feedback, it's truly appreciated. I think I'll leave motion photography alone for a while yet. I need to read up on composition, the rules of thirds and zones so as to assimilate that into an automatic reflex.
     
  9. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
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    #9
    That’s a great way of looking at the nuts ‘n’ bolts of photography: make a study of composition, design, light, tone, colour, etc, and let it sink in... to the point where taking a picture is a bit like driving a car (the unconscious mind making the dozens of tiny adjustments required to turn across the flow of traffic into another road). Less thought = more looking = better pix... :)
     
  10. a.jfred macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #10
    The first thing I notice in the otter picture & the orangutan picture are that the hilights are blown out; as stated in the first comment, some tweaking in <insert photo editor of choice here> may be able to help that.

    The Dove is a very nice composition - starting the branch in the bottom corner and drawing the eye up works beautifully, and you have your subject faily well isolated from the background; it's a good example of simplicity. There's nothing else in the photo to distract you. I'm going to echo the comment about the subject being underexposed, however I think you've almost nailed the background (just that little bit of flare to the right of your subject draws my eye more than the subject). That said, it's my favorite of the ones you posted.

    The Meerkat photo seems too busy - you have the leaves to the left, the meerkat stuck dead in the center of the photo, and an almost-blown out sky right above him. I'd have pulled back a bit, if possible, or tried for a different angle.

    Composition on the orangutan photo is good. The rope & the blown out lighting is a bit distracting. Perhaps you can adjust the contrast on the back-lit area down, while adjusting the exposure on face up some - I'd love to see that sweet expression!
     
  11. ijohn.8.80 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #11
    a.jfred, thanks for your assistance too. Some good tips and suggestions there.

    Any tips on how to avoid blowing out hilights when taking a shot. Just take the exposure up a bit? Or is there some other thing that needs to be done also or instead?

    Sorry for the newb level queries, I'm about to start a photography course next week, which I'm sure will assist with these sorts of things. :eek:
     
  12. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #12
    Hehe, not really a critique but I like the pan shot. The girl looks absolutely terrified of the Macaw. :)
     
  13. zombiecakes, Aug 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012

    zombiecakes macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    #13
    Orangutan just needs to be cropped, cut out the bright highlights on the top left and make the face the focal point. Leave a corner of the rope to frame it with the highlight on the right.

    for the meercat crop out the fence and burn the background so it pops out more

    The bird and background are under the same lighting, properly exposing it wouldnt have helped much, it would still be flat. You can try using curves to blow out the background to near white. A flash would have made a big difference to give the bird a different light source.
     
  14. ijohn.8.80 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #14
    Thanks zombiecakes, I've only just received my flash, and am waiting for its external battery pack and remote triggers to arrive. I got my hands on a video about using the speedlite flashes, so hopefully that will assist me a bit.
     
  15. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #15
    Strobist
     
  16. ijohn.8.80 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
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    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #16
    Laird Knox, thanks heaps for the link, much appreciated. :)
     
  17. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 21, 2012
    #17
    Great work!!! keep shooting and don't be afraid to think outside the box, you'll be amazed with the images you get.
     
  18. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #18
    Heartily seconding this advice. A beginning photographer can expect to entertain himself for a long while (i.e. years) exploring the fundamentals of visual dynamics: how elements in a photo work with or against each other and how and why certain 'formulas' create visual interest. A large part of this process happens while reviewing photos you have already taken and while viewing the photos of other people. You can get a good handle on the basics in a year or two, but it's a process of discovery that continues with each photo a photographer creates or encounters.

    Eventually you will develop an 'approach' that will work in the background of your mind while you're responding to visual stimuli, and you can get great results while coasting in a sort of auto-pilot mode of your very own. Yet, if you have spent time thinking analytically about your photos, you can always 'call up' that experience in a very conscious way when you're faced with a challenging situation. If ever you feel a bit overwhelmed (which can happen easily when a scene presents you with a lot of options), you can tame your impulses with a bit of structure. The end result will be a nice level of confidence and intention when you're behind the camera, and it will show in your photos.
     
  19. ijohn.8.80 thread starter macrumors 65816

    ijohn.8.80

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    #19
    Phrasikleia, thank you for such sage advice. I feel like I just had Yoda speak to me! :) (in a good way, that is)
     
  20. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

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    #20
    Phrasikleia <-- The photo is strong in this one. :D
     
  21. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #21
    LOL. Much to learn, you still have, Padawan. You must unlearn what you have learned. ;) :cool:
     

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