critique of photos/ a bit of digital style?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by TK2K, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. TK2K macrumors 6502

    TK2K

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    Jun 4, 2006
    #1
    Hey guys,
    I guess I just kinda want some feedback on my photos. A lot of you work in the industry or do this professionally, and i'm just looking for a bit of feedback. I've been shooting for a while now, and while I took some film classes in high school that was more about developing than actually.. learning.

    My online stuff is kinda a mix, ignore the gallery titles :p

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/redquoll


    Thanks
     
  2. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #2
    Yep

    I realllllly like your light painting images! They are very well executed and are original.

    Those aside, a lot of them look over saturated and overly contrasty.

    All in all, I like though. Keep it up
     
  3. sosaysiburke macrumors member

    sosaysiburke

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    Mar 30, 2009
    #3
    i think only one had to much contrast and i like the saturation and the expired film kinda thing
     
  4. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #4
    Overall, I like them; they are very creative and I like a lot of your PP. The light painting is great!

    The only nit I'll pick is say that in the first shot ('Smile like you mean it'), it looks like the snow has fooled your meter and is rendered as 18% grey. Remember, when snow (or anything that is pure white) fills a large portion of the scene, you need to overexpose (likewise, when the scene is filled with black, you need to underexpose). This is one of my photo pet peeves; others may not be as bothered by this.

    Great job!
     
  5. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

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    #5
    Thanks for that tip, really good to know :)
     
  6. stagi macrumors 65816

    stagi

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    #6
    you have some great B&W shots in there, Untitled and Venice on Earth were a few of my fav's
     
  7. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #7
    Yeah, a camera meter is a pretty dumb thing; it sees the world as 18% grey, and that's it.

    This is what makes it so difficult to photograph a bride wearing a white dress and a groom wearing a black tux; independently, you'd just give the bride an extra 1/2 stop of exposure or so or take 1/2 stop away from the groom, but put them together and it becomes very difficult to not end up with a grey dress and an off-black tux.
     
  8. TK2K thread starter macrumors 6502

    TK2K

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    #8
    so, just out of curiosity (not that I'm going to be shooting weddings) how do you compensate for that?
     
  9. mahood macrumors member

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    #9
    (I'm not a wedding photographer either, this is just what I've picked up from talking to them).

    Bear in mind it's easier to find "lost" shadow detail in digital than it is to recover blown highlights, so if in doubt make sure the bride's dress is *just* about to wash out, as you can get some details back in the groom's tux later - get it the other way around, and she'll look like a pink face above a white blur!

    You can tweak your exposure until you start seeing the detail in the dress wash out, then go back down a little - but this takes a few photos to 'dial in'.

    The easiest way is to meter on something else - green foliage works out at 18% grey, so meter off the trees, ivy or grass, which there's often a lot of at a wedding reception. Either lock your exposure on that, or go to manual and set it right. Bear in mind if you move around in and out of shade, things will change though. Check regularly on the back of the camera, that you've not blown highlights or lost shadow!

    Or the palm of a person's hand is 18% grey too (this is apparently true regardless of skin colour) so get them to do the 'talk to the hand' pose first and meter on that :)

    Or of course you can use a light meter, grey card, etc - but if you're snapping for friends without any kit then the first two should help.

    And if you really can't get them both right - get the bride right! Everyone who will see the pictures will be looking at her, and it's her day ;)

    Mark
     
  10. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #10
    One way would be to fix it in post. Take the single original RAW and make two versions: one underexposed for the dress and one overexposed for the tux. Take the two files and open them as layers in PS, and then blend using layer masks.

    Probably the best way to do it would be to use an incident light meter. Your camera's meter is a reflected light meter, which measures the amount of light coming off the subject. Reflected light meters take an "average" of the scene, and if something (like a dress) is very reflective, the meter will see more light reflected, and consequently will produce an underexposed scene.

    With an incident light meter, you measure the light falling onto the subject; it's independent of the reflectiveness of the subject.

    Also note that reflective light meters can fool your ETTL flash metering; if the subject is highly reflective, you run into the same problem. This is a HUGE reason why manual flash is preferable unless you're dealing with a scene that constantly changes and need the convenience of ETTL.

    Bottom line: get an incident light meter or make two exposures in your RAW editor and then merge in PS using layer masks.
     
  11. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #11
    A simpler way to get the most out of a single exposure on a DSLR is to shoot in Raw using UniWB and by "exposing to the right." UniWB will give you an accurate on-camera histogram so you won't lose any highlight details. Exposing to the right will give you the most latitude in processing your images.

    I started exposing this way for difficult situations and was so happy with the results that I now do it almost exclusively.

    I think the advice that you should underexpose for dark scenes is probably relevant only for film. With digital, you want to minimize noise in the shadows by exposing to the right, and this is all the more important if a scene is full of dark areas. You can read more about it here.
     
  12. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #12
    Exposing to the right is independent of the problem I'm describing. I agree with expose to the right, when you have a single dominant element in a scene.

    A reflected light meter takes the light from the scene and gives you an exposure based on making the dominant element in the scene 18% grey. So if you've got snow or a wedding dress as a dominant relective element, the meter will tell you to underexpose the scene, relative to proper exposure. You therefore have to add exposure back to make the snow or dress white.

    If you have white and black in the same scene and need both exposed properly, you have four options:

    1. Expose as per your reflected meter reading; in this case, neither the dress nor the tux will be properly exposed, though in practice, the tux will be pretty close because the white dress reflectance will likely swamp the meter with light.

    2. Overexpose relative to your meter reading; you'll get a grey tux, but you can always take exposure out in PP and blend the exposures in PS. This is probably the best method, barring the purchase of an incident light meter (see #4), since taking exposure away does not decrease the S/N ratio.

    3. Underexpose relative to your meter reading; you'll get a grey dress, but you can always add exposure later. Might not be a great way to do things because adding exposure decreases the S/N ratio, and this MAY be unacceptable, depending on the ISO you're using.

    4. Buy an incident light meter so that you're measuring the light falling on the subjects, rather than the light coming off the subjects. This is the best solution of all; no PP needed to fix either the dress OR the tux, exposure is dead-on, and is based on the illumination of the scene. This is also preferable when using flash; ETTL can be easily fooled by highly reflective objects, leading to underexposure.

    Incident light/flash meter = your best friend (for portrait/wedding photography)
     
  13. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    #13
    I suppose this is all good advice if you're shooting JPEG. However, if you're willing to shoot Raw and can accept that post-processing a bit is necessary for best results, then you can't do any better than exposing to the right--in any situation. That will give you the most latitude in post--the most your sensor has to offer. Then you can make your precise exposure decisions in the comfort of your favorite task chair...and change them at will at any point in the future.
     

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