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kallisti

macrumors 68000
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Apr 22, 2003
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Starting a new thread idea--so a work in progress.

The POTD thread is all about showcasing one's best work. The weekly photo contest is all about showcasing one's best work in relation to the specific contest subject. There might be a niche waiting to be filled regarding critique/advice/feedback on pics.

Wanted to start a thread specifically related to this potential deficit.

The idea being that this would be a monthly thread where people could post pics looking for help/advice. Photography is often a journey over years and helpful feedback can make the journey less painful.

While subject to change, my initial thoughts for this thread are to offer a place for people of all skill levels to post pics looking for helpful critique/advice related to specific images they've taken.

One post per calendar week (so a max of 4 images per month). Each post can contain multiple edits of an image. The limit of one post per week gives people a chance to comment on the images posted--one post per day seems excessive and overwhelming to me.

For people posting, the expectation would be that you are posting in good faith and open to criticism/advice. You don't have to take the advice, but understand that it was offered in good faith.

For people replying, the expectation would be that you are offering the advice in good faith with a view towards being helpful for the poster. Whether on the specific image or regarding general helpful advice that they might benefit from.

For posters, the more information you provide regarding your gear, your intent with the pic, what you like about it, what you don't like about it, where you think it fails, etc. will make it much easier for forum members to provide helpful feedback.

For people replying, to the extent possible try to take into account the apparent level of the poster regarding their photographic experience. The specific criticisms and advice need to be tailored to the poster when possible. The thread is intended to be *helpful* above all else.

Also be mindful that the intent of this thread is for critique coupled with helpful advice to the poster. It is not generally helpful to just say "I like this pic". More helpful is explaining some of the reasons why you like the pic. On the other side of things, it is *not* helpful in any way to say "I hate this pic" or "This pic sucks" or "Why did you even bother taking this pic". The expectation for this thread is that negative comments will be balanced with positive comments. All comments should come from a place of "how can my comments help the poster become a better photographer".

After all that, I'll share my example pic for the thread:

DSC_0962.jpg


Taken in 2008 on a trip to Hawaii. Nikon D300 with a Tokina 12-24/4 at 12mm and f/8. Recorded as a JPEG with saturation boosted to the max in camera settings.

The critique I would offer: The colors are *way* oversaturated, to the point that it looks cartoonish. Maybe in the future shoot in RAW (since on a Nikon, NEF). You could still achieve this look in post if that is what you want, but you would have other options if it was shot as a NEF that shooting in JPEG doesn't offer.

There are other very valid critiques that could be offered in relation to this image. I'm experienced enough at this point that I won't be offended by anything anyone says. But I would offer again that it will be important if this thread takes off for people to be mindful of the impact their comments may have on the poster. The point is to encourage photographers, not turn them off.
 
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MtLoin2020

macrumors 68030
May 30, 2018
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sunny florida
my quick thoughts
the photo does not look real, the perspective is leading the viewer away from the scene.
the metal fence takes away the life from the flowers and the scene itself- what are supposed to look at?
there is no certain direction in this photo.
the shadows are strong under the roof and loses the paneling

maybe cropping and tilting the photo?
DSC_0962 (1).jpg


this is just me- or an graphic design professor telling me what his thought are.

the photo has potential
 
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deep diver

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
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Philadelphia.
I know that you know what can be done with this pict. I am offering this to illustrate what we are trying to accomplish in this thread.

Yes, the colors are over saturated but you have captured the rich colors that we can find all over Hawaii. Everyone has different ideas about boosting saturation in the camera. I recommend decreasing the amount of saturation if that is your preference.
In addition to desaturating the colors, I would do the following:
1) This needs a good horizontal or vertical line. The natural line in this image would be the roof line. This is a very tight framing and you will lose a lot of the image after leveling it. Others will disagree with my approach, but I always try to shoot a bit wider than I want. I am notorious for crooked images. Shooting a little wide lets me make the correction without losing the scene I want.
2) I imagine there is a lot of interesting stuff lurking in the shadows. I would lighten the shadows in post processing.
3) Plan another trip to Hawaii and have fun.
 
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kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,699
6,099
my quick thoughts
the photo does not look real, the perspective is leading the viewer away from the scene.
the metal fence takes away the life from the flowers and the scene itself- what are supposed to look at?
there is no certain direction in this photo.
the shadows are strong under the roof and loses the paneling

maybe cropping and tilting the photo?
View attachment 1754674

this is just me- or an graphic design professor telling me what his thought are.

the photo has potential
Excellent feedback. Exactly what I was hoping for with this thread. Thank you.
 
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MtLoin2020

macrumors 68030
May 30, 2018
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sunny florida
Excellent feedback. Exactly what I was hoping for with this thread. Thank you.
whew!
thank you, i thought was going to get banned or who knows- hate bombs!

i accidentally cropped the sign were you can add that
i would just take out the fence, that ruins the scene.

do you post on the photo of the day on this site?
watching others helped me take better photos, and getting a better ssd card too!
even the great photographers need to be better!
 
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kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,699
6,099
I know that you know what can be done with this pict. I am offering this to illustrate what we are trying to accomplish in this thread.

Yes, the colors are over saturated but you have captured the rich colors that we can find all over Hawaii. Everyone has different ideas about boosting saturation in the camera. I recommend decreasing the amount of saturation if that is your preference.
I addition to desaturating the colors, I would do the following:
1) This needs a good horizontal or vertical line. The natural line in this image would be the roof line. This is a very tight framing and you will lose a lot of the image after leveling it. Others will disagree with my approach, but I always try to shoot a bit wider than I want. I am notorious for crooked images. Shooting a little wide lets me make the correction without losing the scene I want.
2) I imagine there is a lot of interesting stuff lurking in the shadows. I would lighten the shadows in post processing.
3) Plan another trip to Hawaii and have fun.
Another example of excellent feedback! Thank you! This is what I envision for this thread going forward.
 
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mollyc

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Aug 18, 2016
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I have long maintained that in order to become better yourself you need to learn how to give thoughtful critiques. And just because you are a beginner doesn’t mean you don’t have a valid opinion as to what draws you into a photo. If you can name what you like and dislike about a photo you can start to change your own photos and refine your voice.
 
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kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
1,699
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whew!
thank you, i thought was going to get banned or who knows- hate bombs!

i accidentally cropped the sign were you can add that
i would just take out the fence, that ruins the scene.

do you post on the photo of the day on this site?
watching others helped me take better photos, and getting a better ssd card too!
even the great photographers need to be better!
It’s all good. I intentionally chose an old image that has “issues” for my example. Your reply was excellent and I appreciate your comments.

My hope is that members of all skill levels will feel comfortable posting in this thread. And if it takes off, monthly versions of this thread.
 
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MtLoin2020

macrumors 68030
May 30, 2018
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sunny florida
this theme might be a smash or smash!
i get alot of how i have to "educate myself" over plain word usage and steve jobs.
hopefully our serious photo-contributors will be here.

i just viewed some of my photos and was thinking "hey. I'm out in nature were animals and birds are quick, watching a 70MPH train headed towards me or the cat jumped to quick, how can i critique these photos?
but i can post some here eventually.

my problem with photography is the non-autofocus and lens problem the Nikon is suffering from.
i thought I fixed that on boxing day.

i was an art director so I had to select and crop quite a few photos in my career.
well good nite, i need to rest my eyes!
 
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deep diver

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
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Everybody has something to add. It's a myth that a less experienced artist can't give good feedback to a more experienced artist. I imagine you saw that in the course of your career.
I looked at your MR media posts and you have some good stuff in there.
Be brave. Be bold. Put something out there.
My plan for the weekend is to find an image I just couldn't make work snd turn it over to the group.
 
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ForkHandles

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Jun 8, 2012
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For me it’s the framing. I’m still at the level of ‘rule of thirds’ there are three focal points to this picture, the middle palm, the sign and the left facade, none of which really jump out as the subject. Love the colours though, wonderful light
 
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OldMacs4Me

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May 4, 2018
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Wild Rose And Wind Belt
Recognizing that simply tilting and cropping was not going to work, I tried putting the Affinity single plane perspective tool to work.

Followed that with a slight reduction in saturation and a minor shadow adjustment. Then switched over to Preview and applied just a touch of sharpening. Result as shown. I'd probably also be tempted to crop out a bit more of the foreground, depends on how distracting you find the red leaf in the center to be.
Try2.jpg
 
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mollyc

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Here is my go. I think I'm one of the few people in this group who still uses PS. Were this my own image I would have done basic edits in LR first, but this was all done in PS. First I recropped it using the crop tool in PS with Content Aware chosen; this fills in gaps when you straighten and enlarge it. I had to do a little bit of cloning on the left side after cropping, and it still looks a bit cloned, but if this had been a full size image I'd have more detail to work with. On a full image I'd also have fixed the top of the Jesus sign to finish off the circle that was cropped out in the original, but not enough resolution here to fuss with that at this point.

Then I converted it for Smart Filters and opened it in camera raw and adjusted WB, contrast, shadows, blacks, and played the the color sliders a bit. The spirit of the original was to be colorful, but it was overly neon, so I focused on trying to make the greens and oranges realistic, while leaving the yellows brighter. In that full sun, the yellows probably were really that bright, but you still have to bring them in gamut.

DSC_0962 copy.jpg
 
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Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Coming in a bit late to the critiquing game here..... For me the photographic process begins with, why am I shooting this particular subject? What in the scene is of most interest to me, and why? Over the years I have found that the simpler the approach, the better. So, faced with this scene, my interest is immediately captured by that "Jesus Coming Soon" sign on the top of the building. The vivid colors throughout the scene (building, plantings, etc.) definitely are going to pop all by themselves, and then when you add in the HDR processing that so many cameras started including some years ago, that can quickly turn things from interestingly vivid to downright garish.

From the angle at which the scene was photographed, and what we can see with the fencing, the line of trees and what appears to be "caution" tape strung along the walkway and plantings that are next to the building, it is clear that there were restrictions on accessibility, so even the good old "foot zoom" technique may not be possible in terms of getting a different angle. Actually, IMHO the angle from which this is shot works really well, because it captures the sign without its being blocked by any of the palm trees, which nicely frame the building and the sign from this angle, and we also get a sense of the size and general configuration of the building itself. Is it a church? A meeting hall for a religion-based organization? The viewer wonders, gazing at this.

Assuming that the Tokina 12-24mm were the only lens in hand at the time, I probably would have experimented with zooming in a bit closer to the sign while still trying to retain as much of the building as possible while hopefully eliminating some of the extra elements in the scene. Without the benefit of a tilt-and-shift lens used in architectural photography, which can prevent or alleviate "keystoning" (that distinct slant and leaning of the building that we see) I would've tried different focal lengths within the capacity of that zoom lens that I actually had with me. I also would have been shooting in RAW rather than jpeg in order to have better control over the colors and saturation levels at the editing stage of this process. That said, though, in some ways choosing to use jpeg on a trip where one is undoubtedly shooting hundreds, even thousands of images, isn't a bad idea, actually, with the result of possibly reducing time spent at the computer doing post-processing later. So pros and cons on both sides of the coin.

Once home at the computer then there is the post-processing/editing stage.... Back in 2008 editing programs were sophisticated, but not quite as user-friendly and easy to work with as we have now, and in addition there were not as many choices. In today's post-processing world correction of perspective, colors, saturation, etc., are somewhat less problematic, even when working with images shot in jpeg. There have been a lot of improvements in editing software and also in in-camera processing (jpegs).

Since post-processing/editing is not really my strong suit I'm not going to address the editing of this image, as others have already done a thoughtful and thorough job of it. I'll just stick with the bottom line in all of this, which is getting the image into the camera in the first place and the importance of good strategy and technique from the get-go. Keeping it simple, paying attention to details before ever pressing the shutter button, thinking about what is compelling the photographer to shoot the scene in the first place and what interests him or her about this so that he or she wants to record it for posterity.....
 
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deep diver

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
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Philadelphia.
I'll go.

Here is the before and after of a shot I took at Cleveland's West Side Market. A friend whose photographic/artistic opinion I value likes this a lot. I think it's better than okay but I don't love it.

This was processed only with PSE.

DSC_7530 resize.JPG
Gottlieb - Westside Market - 07 sharpened resize.jpg
 
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Apple fanboy

macrumors Westmere
Feb 21, 2012
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Behind the Lens, UK
I'll go.

Here is the before and after of a shot I took at Cleveland's West Side Market. A friend whose photographic/artistic opinion I value likes this a lot. I think it's better than okay but I don't love it.

This was processed only with PSE.

View attachment 1754945 View attachment 1754946
For me the first image bothers me as the lady on the left looking on is on the edge of the frame. Cutting her out as in the second photo takes away the story aspect of her watching the kebabs being prepared. Also the knife and saw bother me more in the tight crop. If you could go back in time I'd take it just a bit wider than the first image and make the image about the three of them.
I do think you have done a good job with the colour. The multiple light sources can be challenging!

But then what do I know? I never shoot people (well not that anyone can prove!) ;)
 
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deep diver

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Jan 17, 2008
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For me the first image bothers me as the lady on the left looking on is on the edge of the frame. Cutting her out as in the second photo takes away the story aspect of her watching the kebabs being prepared. Also the knife and saw bother me more in the tight crop. If you could go back in time I'd take it just a bit wider than the first image and make the image about the three of them.
I do think you have done a good job with the colour. The multiple light sources can be challenging!

But then what do I know? I never shoot people (well not that anyone can prove!) ;)
Thank you. I understand the story you're most interested in. I'm not sure how much wider I could have shot this. I'm not able to check the EXIF info right now but I'm sure I shot this very wide. The aisles are very narrow and the place was busy, so I don't think I had much room behind me. Perhaps I could frame it more to the right and lose a little bit of the butcher shop context.

I will undoubtedly go back there. Sadly, vendors are leaving the Market for several reasons. I'm told that they have only 50% occupancy.
 
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mollyc

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Aug 18, 2016
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So I am a heavy editor. Not in the sense that I try to make a photo look different than what it should, but more that I try to edit it the way our eyeballs actually see things.

DSC_7530 resize.jpg


I liked the idea of cropping off the girl on the right. She is oddly cropped in the SOOC and she doesn't really add to the story, IMO. But I kept a wider crop than @deep diver's because I liked seeing the sign on the wall, and the sink and just the "stuff" that make up a butcher. I did straighten it a bit also from his crop. This is a tricky image with all the lines, but I used the back case and the upright pole behind the woman cutting as the reference point. Once those lines were straight, the angle of the cutting counters didn't bother me as much, and again, I think they add to the story and a bit of framing. I cropped to the rule of thirds putting the woman's hands cutting as the "action" to the bottom right third.

I also brushed some exposure on their faces as they are quite shaded being under the lights. I also thought the white balance was off in his edit and tried to play with that. Mixed lighting is hard, but I don't mind a slightly warmer image for this. I haven't figured out how to use the new color mixer in PS/LR yet so mostly just played with the actual WB and HSL panels in ACR (adobe camera raw).
 
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mollyc

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It's funny, when I'm not shooting macro, I actually prefer a bit of breathing space and a wider angle in images. I like wide or tight. The whole 50mm range often confuses me, and while I know this was shot with a wide angle, the crop of Deep's original seems too 50mm for me. 😉
 
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deep diver

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
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Philadelphia.
So I am a heavy editor. Not in the sense that I try to make a photo look different than what it should, but more that I try to edit it the way our eyeballs actually see things.

View attachment 1755072

I liked the idea of cropping off the girl on the right. She is oddly cropped in the SOOC and she doesn't really add to the story, IMO. But I kept a wider crop than @deep diver's because I liked seeing the sign on the wall, and the sink and just the "stuff" that make up a butcher. I did straighten it a bit also from his crop. This is a tricky image with all the lines, but I used the back case and the upright pole behind the woman cutting as the reference point. Once those lines were straight, the angle of the cutting counters didn't bother me as much, and again, I think they add to the story and a bit of framing. I cropped to the rule of thirds putting the woman's hands cutting as the "action" to the bottom right third.

I also brushed some exposure on their faces as they are quite shaded being under the lights. I also thought the white balance was off in his edit and tried to play with that. Mixed lighting is hard, but I don't mind a slightly warmer image for this. I haven't figured out how to use the new color mixer in PS/LR yet so mostly just played with the actual WB and HSL panels in ACR (adobe camera raw).

Thank you Molly. I like yours a lot better than mine. I was not using LR at the time. Were I doing this now, I think I would use that to address some of the color cast.
 
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kallisti

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 22, 2003
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Some really good replies both to my image and for the image from @deep diver.

The impetus for this thread came from another thread where a member commented that something like this could be helpful for them.

This thread isn’t limited to the “regulars” on the forum. It’s not limited to “real” photographers (whatever that means). Anyone of any skill level is encouraged to post a pic. Don’t feel shy. While the internet can be a brutal place, this thread won’t be (if people follow the rules I set out). Please post and take advantage of the knowledge and experience of forum members :).

You aren’t going to be laughed at or ridiculed. You aren’t going to be questioned as to why you took the pic in the first place. What you will receive is advice on how to make edits to your pic in post processing to make it as good as it can be or advice on what to change at the time of capture for future endeavors.
 
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deep diver

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
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Philadelphia.
Some really good replies both to my image and for the image from @deep diver.

The impetus for this thread came from another thread where a member commented that something like this could be helpful for them.

This thread isn’t limited to the “regulars” on the forum. It’s not limited to “real” photographers (whatever that means). Anyone of any skill level is encouraged to post a pic. Don’t feel shy. While the internet can be a brutal place, this thread won’t be (if people follow the rules I set out). Please post and take advantage of the knowledge and experience of forum members :).

I agree. This is a safe space for good feedback. Trust the group and trust the process.
 
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OldMacs4Me

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May 4, 2018
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Wild Rose And Wind Belt
So I chose to make the back of the meat cutter vertical. If I were willing to take a bit more time I would have skewed both of the upper corners in just a bit. Left just a bit of the girl in, then did an easy clone out to include a bit more of the counter. Auto levels, then pulled a bit more red, finally just a bit of playing with levels in PhotoShop Elements.
BTW I love seeing how different people approach the same problem.
Untitled-1.jpg
 
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deep diver

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
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Philadelphia.
So I chose to make the back of the meat cutter vertical. If I were willing to take a bit more time I would have skewed both of the upper corners in just a bit. Left just a bit of the girl in, then did an easy clone out to include a bit more of the counter. Auto levels, then pulled a bit more red, finally just a bit of playing with levels in PhotoShop Elements.
BTW I love seeing how different people approach the same problem.
View attachment 1755769

Thank you.

It is always remarkable to me how small things can make a big impact. You and Molly took very similar approaches but the final images are notably different. This exercise has forced me to look at the image more closely than I did before. (Perhaps that was part of my problem.)
 
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