Critique Needed

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by taptic, May 6, 2014.

  1. taptic macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #1
    Hi guys, I need a bit of critique here. I think something's weird with the clouds in the picture. I added some contrast to them in LR with the paintbrush and added 40 sharpening and 70 softening to the general image... I shot in RAW btw... what do you think?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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  3. taptic thread starter macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #3
    Oh! xD That's what is is! No, but seriously... does it look a little grainy, or is it just me? and if so, is that just a part of B&W?
     
  4. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #4
    Things like this are hard to shoot in black and white. There isn't a real good black point to give it depth and the tonal difference between the brightest and darkest points is to narrow. In other words, it's flat.

    Polarizers help on days like this. Use them on the camera, not in software.

    Dale
     
  5. taptic thread starter macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #5
    Okay, thanks. Is that what's causing the weird clouds?
     
  6. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #6
    And more importantly, the brightest tones of the frame (which most attract the eye) offer the least in the way of visual interest in this shot. The B&W conversion is not doing this shot any favors.

    As for the artifacts that you're seeing in the sky, that sort of thing can be caused by using a high ISO and/or by pushing the clarity or contrast too far. A push in sharpening will just exacerbate the problem.

    Since you asked for critique, I'll comment on the composition as well: in short, it lacks hierarchy and balance. There is no feature in the frame that stands out as the primary point of visual interest, so the picture does little to hold attention. The tall tree at the left stands out the most (because it is the tallest), but it offers little in the way of excitement or interesting detail, and it's marginalized in the frame by being so close to the edge. That heaviness on the left is not balanced by anything on the right, which makes the composition seem quite unresolved.
     
  7. taptic thread starter macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #7
    Thanks guys, that helps.

    I know excuses aren't the best, but just so you know, it was an HDR after sunset so the lighting wasn't the best and even then, the color looked somewhat sickly so I tried B&W...

    :eek:
     
  8. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #8
    Why'd you take the photo, then? Did you think you could rescue it in post? If so, have you ever heard of any photo - ever - being turned into a masterpiece in post?

    Take fewer photos: http://mfphotography.ca/blog/2014/4/10/basic-statistics-for-photographers
     
  9. taptic, May 6, 2014
    Last edited: May 6, 2014

    taptic thread starter macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #9
    Um, that seemed a bit more like criticism than constructive criticism, but I'll try and take it as the latter.. :/

    Anyway, I'm not a pro, I take photos because I like to and the surprise of getting a good picture out of something I wasn't sure of is fun. This one didn't turn out so well, but others have... That doesn't mean I just snap away at whatever, I do try and get better pictures and learn more, that's why I asked what was wrong with this one.
     
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    You said the light was bad.

    There's your answer.

    My constructive criticism is to stop taking photographs that you KNOW will be lacking because of bad light/subject/composition/etc.

    This photo doesn't work because the light is boring, the B&W conversion is drab, and the composition is messy.

    The photo should never have been taken if you KNEW it would be substandard (which you did, by your own admission).
     
  11. Meister Suspended

    Meister

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    #11
    The critique given so far is spot on.
    I might add that I think it would look a bit better in color.
    I personally dislike b/w and I think its over- and missused a lot in general.
    Seems like this was turned b/w to save the shot.
     
  12. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #12
    I get where you are coming from with trying to make the best of the situation. I am by no means a pro, and only have limited time to shoot. Usually just once a week. If things are less than perfect but you are on location, sometimes you have to make the best of a bad lot.
    Perhaps showing more of the landscape (in colour) and less of the sky might work?
     
  13. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

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    #13
    it isn't a striking image.

    It looks like it could be decent and maybe I'd say nice. but you asked for critique so looking at it more and, yeah, it could have been a really nice shot. Could be the light as you said, or conversion to B&W.

    from my side of the lens...I will sometimes take a shot in less than stellar light, not because I HOPE to make it a decent shot, but I am there-at the moment- and want something to see later to bring back memories.

    Not EVERY shot has to be a masterpiece. When I shot my son's first few soccer tryouts in RAW format (and Manual) I was just trying to get better at the exposure. but looking back some are neat as they 'tell a story' of children being kids and running about. not fabulous. hardly a spectacular image but a few turned out nicely and part of that was in post-processing.

    Another time i shot a yellow flower at a Garden...it was just OK. so I switched to B&W and pushed and pulled and came out with a nice image. I figured before tossing, let's see what happens.
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #14
    It's constructive if you take it that way. I've driven hundreds of miles to a spot to photograph and not taken a single image because the shot wasn't there. The better you get, the less you hit the shutter. You shouldn't be surprised when you get a good picture- your critical eye when observing a potential scene should know if the shot's going to work or not. But don't waste a lot of time processing images that don't work, learn from them and move on. I've said for years that the difference between a good photographer and a great photographer is the shots the great photographer doesn't take.

    Paul
     
  15. taptic thread starter macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #15
    Ok, that makes sense, thanks everybody. This was helpful. :)
     
  16. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #16
    this!!!!!
     
  17. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

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    #17
    Might I add that sometimes the perception of how good a photographer you are can be manipulated by not publishing anything below a certain level, and setting that level pretty high. At first, you take lots of photos but display very few of them publicly. Then you begin to wonder, why are you shooting all the crap that you're going to delete anyway? Then you start shooting less and hopefully, better. ;) Not necessarily in that order.
     
  18. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    #18
    I guess I fall into a different camp here.

    There is nothing wrong with taking lackluster images if you can get some utility out of them. In this case, you learn a bit about exposure and post processing as well as what makes for a dynamic (or not) image. This is how people learn so keep shooting and don't fret if you think the subject in the frame is mediocre as again, you can use it as a learning tool.

    Consider - learning to see for the camera/image
    Consider - challenges of exposure (what settings on your camera)
    Consider - post processing techniques

    As for shooting colour vs b/w on your image, I'll just say that colour might "look better" because it is a distraction from some basic issues of your image. I have shot some subject matter (film days) that created very different reactions and intensity of reaction when presented in colour and in b/w. I'll just say I am a bit old school where right and left brain are the best assets for photo imaging and you have to know the rules before you break them.
     
  19. taptic thread starter macrumors 65816

    taptic

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    #19
    Yeah, this was mainly for practice. I knew it probably wouldn't be stellar. I don't usually do B&W unless I'm trying to get a certain effect, but as some of you realized, it was to save the image this time. In my opinion, the color version was sickly.

    Just so you guys can see what it looked like, here is the medium shot of the three used in the HDRs:

    [​IMG]

    and here is the HDR version of the three.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #20
    I think there's a middle ground here between "take the shot regardless" and "don't take the shot if you know it's not great". I am a professional, and have been for over twenty years. I tend to take fewer and fewer photos at a time now because I'm picky about my composition and my lighting.

    However… I recommend new photographers to take lots and lots of photos. That's how they learn. But instead of focussing (ha!) on the entire package - lighting, composition, etc - I suggest that they pay attention to a particular aspect and practice that regardless of whether the rest of it is coming together. For instance, if they are learning to control depth-of-field then I want them to be taking lots and lots of photos where DoF is important. If the rest of the composition and lighting is less than stellar… then that's OK… as long as it is acknowledged. Their request for feedback then needs to be specific. They need to ask about whether their subject is sufficiently separated from the background - and not ask the general "Is it a good photo?". It may be a bad photo with a great DoF effect however.

    Of course new photographers need to take their newly learned skills and try to put them to use in a "good photo".

    In DShap5's case I'd have to ask why they took the photograph in the first place. That is to say… what was it about the scene that intrigued them in the first place? And then ask whether their photo answered that question. Often - for some people at least - it's identifying the 'thing' that you saw that caught your eye in the first place. If you can identify what that is… then you either need to get to work to use all your skills to capture it or to recognize that - at least for today - it is not worth the waste of pixels and effort.

    imho only, of course….
     
  21. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

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    #21
    I'd suggest researching and following a few composition techniques and going out to shoot with those in mind. In particular for this image, "Near, Middle Far," "leading lines" and "The rule of thirds" come into play (the symmetry just doesn't work here, and there's nothing of interest in the foreground or middle of the picture and everything in the back lacks detail.) You could probably add the old adage that if a picture's boring you're not close enough too. With no leading lines and as was already pointed out, nothing interesting in terms of subject or tonality, it's best to start shooting using standard compositional "rules" until you've got them down handily enough that you know when to break them. Starting out, distance, the central focus point and horizontal framing are all your enemy much of the time.

    Paul
     

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