Critique please

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by isianto, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. isianto macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Indonesia
    #1
    Hi guys, I'm a newbie, and the last photo I got an advice from Acsom (great advice), and I tried to post a new photos. Please critique me as honest as possible, so I can advance. Appreciate it.

    On the first photo, I photographed my daughter (third kid from the right, she's just finished crying). It was her school show.

    And on the second photo, again my daughter seeing her teacher bringing santa clause (I missed that scene with such interest, I kind of miss the the right side of the scene, I'm still learning about the composition).
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #2
    It's good that you got down a bit to be closer to the level of the children, but you probably could have been even lower. More importantly, these photos do not have a strong focal point or subject separation, especially in the first one. There are a lot of lines, gestures, and people to draw the eye away from the subject and out of the frame. Group shots are very difficult to get right, since you have so many elements to organize. You either have to direct the people in the frame or else get very lucky. Another way to go would be to use very shallow depth of field to isolate your daughter from the rest of the children.
     
  3. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #3
    Well, I'm not exactly sure what you want critiqued, these are snapshots to me. They are okay for snapshots.

    Look into flash diffusion for better scene lighting. In a pinch when I didn't have time, I used a baby wipe once! I put the wipe over the flip-up flash and adjusted the exposure to overexpose by two stops. It works.

    Composition takes time and preparation. Look around the scene to best prepare your shots. Sometime you have to take what you can get. I understand that.

    Here are a few tips off the top of my head.

    • Get closer to your subject
    • Use/identify angles or lines
    • Get down to a childs level, literally
    • Try to shoot without a flash and use ambient
    • Boost ISO if ambient light isn't enough
     
  4. isianto thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Indonesia
    #4
    Thanks Phrasikleia, I'll use very shallow depth of field next time, I'll remember it. do I need to use that too on the second photo?

    thanks leandroc76, actually you're right, it's a snapshot, I want to improve my composition, because I can't direct them, even if I can direct them, I don't think I have the knowledge yet. I did use the diffuser (the plastic thing attached to the flash) and point the flash head the way up to bounce it. I mean I didn't point the flash head directly to the children. you're right, I did not try using ambient light. Don't take offence, I'm not good expressing myself in english, and I have a question, those pictures were the closest I could get at the moment, If I zoom to full 200mm, isn't it it will just take my daughter only as a subject? without any other scene?
     
  5. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #5
    Yes, you are correct, of course that's subjective. If you are standing 300 feet away, more would be in the frame.

    I have a little one too, she's 14 months. Fun as heck. Asians can be very photogenic in the right lighting. My daughter is half asian half white, me being the asian! Here's a few things I think about when it comes to photographing people at events.

    What kind of pictures do I want? Are they of just my daughter? Do I want certain things included in these pictures?

    Sometimes I don't care where she is, I just want a picture of her doing her thing!

    Is she in the mood for pictures? For example, the following picture is a shot of my daughter. It is the very first picture I took, every other one subsequent to this shot she was whining. This shot is acually her BEGINNING to whine. It looks like a smile so we used it for our Christmas card!:D
     

    Attached Files:

  6. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #6
    In addition to what's already been said, you should reduce the flash power, I'd start at -2/3rds of a stop.
     
  7. Acsom macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2009
    #7
    Remember, again, that I'm not an expert or a teacher. And that all criticism is subjective.

    I like the second one, a lot. I like two things specifically: I like the way that the children are looking all over the place; it captures that restless, distracted manner that groups of children can have. And I like the tunnel of depth that goes off toward the right background. It makes the scene feel bigger and deeper than the frame. I personally like the choice to have a large depth of field; isolating your daughter would have made a less interesting photograph (for me).

    Is it a photograph of world-changing importance? Of course not. But it's a nice shot. If all your family snapshots looked like this, then someone perusing your albums would understand that you put some care into them.

    The first one? Eh. Nothing there, photographically speaking. A body cut off, someone in the background distracting, uneven lighting, no theme. Not a keeper. But understand, even the best photographers will shoot dozens of these type of shots for every one that gets kept. And most of us will shoot more like a hundred.
     
  8. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #8
    This just needs some more distance between the subject and the background.
     
  9. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #9
    Dozens? Methinks our definitions of "best" differ quite significantly. If your keeper ratio is really 100:1, I'd suggest that you're shooting too quickly and not paying attention to the scene in a way that makes for good photographs. I've always said you can tell a good photographer more by the shots they *don't* take than by the ones they do. If you're just hitting the shutter button and firing off shots, then it's time to learn to slow down. Medium or large format film is still the best way to do that, but if you've got the discipline, just artificially limiting yourself to 5 shots of any similarity, then making yourself go back and reshoot once you've analyzed the results should get your keeper ratio up significantly. Optionally, spend some time taking a workshop, class or getting a good informative DVD series that'll help you compose the shots instead of trying to randomly get good results. I recommend the full DVD set of Ron Reznick's "Sure Shot" system- he's a dry speaker, but you'll probably get better at almost all aspects of digital photography for the small amount of money and time you'll spend on it.

    Paul
     
  10. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #10
    Thank you!
     
  11. isianto thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Indonesia
    #11
    She's very cute and I like the photo, and thanks for the critique leandroc76.
    Compuwar, I would like to ask you a question, I know that you can tell from my picture that I need to reduce to 2/3 stop of my flash, but I'm still a beginner, how can I know that? (I mean, if I have more experience and more knowledgeable, probably I can know it too, hopefully ^_^) but for the meantime which books or ways do you suggest me to do to know it?
    (sorry for my english).

    Acsom, you're really help me, and please be patience with me. Probably I will open a new thread, since I'm starting reading the Photographic eye, if it's ok for you, then I can discuss some points that I still no idea.

    Phrasikleia, thanks for the critique.
     
  12. DAMNiatx macrumors 6502a

    DAMNiatx

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    #12
    woooaaa, i don't know, if Macrumors user's very helpful.
    this is great guys :D
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    Your English is great, don't apologize because there's an old saying that I think applies here- What do you call someone who speaks three languages? Trilingual! What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual! What do you call someone who speaks one language? American! ;)

    2/3rds is just a starting point- but it's probably in the right ballpark-
    You should know from basic exposure (I've heard Understanding Exposure by Patterson recommended a lot- but haven't actually read it) that each stop of light is either halving or doubling the amount of light hitting the film plane or sensor- so for instance going from 1/250th to 1/500th of a second halves the amount of light because the shutter is open for half as much time, or going from f/4 to f/5.6 halves the amount of light, which is why you can get a valid exposure for f/4 at 1/500th and f/5.6 at 1/250th- each value for ISO, aperture and shutter speed move the exposure the same amount (1/3rd of a stop on most camera's smallest settings, 1 stop on "full" stop values.)

    If we look at your shot, we can see in the white outfits that there's not a lot of fabric detail, generally that indicates that the shot is overexposed- so we could simply adjust the *exposure compensation* 1/3 to 2/3rds of a stop downwards and get some more detail in your daughter's shirt (the second shot is less over-exposed, so we can see more detail in the white clothing.) But if we look at the background that the low-powered flash didn't reach well (and remember that light is half or twice as bright as a function of distance, so there's stops involved there too) we can sort of estimate that if the background were say twice as bright, it would look much less like a flash scene and you'd be what's called "dragging the shutter" if you changed your exposure values to allow more "ambient" light- that is the light that's not from your flash. In this case, the difference in light adds to the depth of the image and helps to isolate your subjects, but you've got hotspots on their faces near the eyes where the light's reflecting, so the best thing to do (and heck it's a rule of thumb- anytime you're using fill flash, just dial the *flash compensation* down at least 1/3 of a stop) is to decrease the flash power and take the shot again. Since it's easy to do, you can try different values- but you have to remember that the distance and overall scene brightness is going to affect how much power you're going to want to dial down- you'll come up with a general "rule of thumb" value for your camera and flash (I'm almost always at -2/3rds indoors or outside on a cloudy day and -1/3 outside in sunshine if I'm letting the camera/flash do the calculations with a single flash.)

    For reading, I highly recommend "Light, Science and Magic." It's one of the flat-out best photo books I've read.

    In the first shot, I'd probably adjust both the flash and exposure compensation downwards, but the flash is the main thing. In the second I'd adjust just the flash.

    Really though, it's experience- so just find out where the flash and exposure compensation settings are for your camera and try them out, take several pictures and take notes about what you changed- distance, exposure, flash, any two, all three- up, down and how much- then you'll learn how it changes your pictures and what "look" you like- you may not like things the same way that I do- so it's best to experiment.

    Paul
     
  14. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #14
    It's a great concept- when I'm dealing with a white background there are a few things I do- the first is to clamp the heck out of it with a bunch of plastic clamps that you can get in a bag at any home improvement store. The second is to spray the background with water, and let it dry- to help minimize the wrinkles. The third is to put a light on the background behind the subject to try to just barely blow it out texture-wise. The last is to put as much distance between my subject and the background as possible. I shoot most of my studio shots at f/8, it's not depth of field that gives you a pleasing background- but at least this is relatively easy to fix in Photoshop if you want to turn it into a near-perfect image- and it's certainly worth the effort.

    Paul
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #15
    Update: Ron says that the DVDs are no longer commercially available. He's got a few sets left. I really hope I can get a second copy from him to make sure I'll always have a good set.

    I'm hoping he has the legal stuff in place and the gumption to re-release them, but it sounds like his partners on the deal screwed him over badly. It's a shame, because they are the most comprehensive digital photography and workflow tutorials that I've ever encountered.
     
  16. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    51st State of America
    #16
    Back in the days of film, the ratio was 36:1. If you could get one great shot from each roll then that was pretty good.

    I shoot digital but all my work is in multiples of 36.
     
  17. Chappers macrumors 68020

    Chappers

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2003
    Location:
    At home
    #17
    Personally -I think you worry to much about these picture which are and always will be snaps to remember the moment - I have been there and my shots are very similar although I was further away and in rubbish lighting.

    I have thousands of pics of my son - some great - the majority - snaps - no problem.

    Keep taking photos - learn enjoy
     
  18. isianto thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Indonesia
    #18
    Thanks alot, I learn alot, but to make sure I understand correctly, because in the first photo, the shirt is overexposed, so by letting the background light brighter and setting the flash compensation down, it will look more even lightning. Am I correct?
     
  19. isianto thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2007
    Location:
    Indonesia
    #19
    Macrumors user's indeed are very helpful, I learned alot in the photography section and the mac section. Thanks all. It's the best site ever.
     
  20. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #20
    Awesome info ther compuwar! My space was limited, not that I knew to create more space between the backdrop and the subject, but limited nonetheless!:D

    I created a foil reflector for this shot to get some fill on her right side. I only have one SB600 with a Fong Dome attached, which was my main source of light. I had to stop down my on-board flash to 1/64 to get rid of the shadows it was creating. The flip flash needs to be up in order to command the SB600 on a D200. I need some more light!
     
  21. kallisti macrumors 65816

    kallisti

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #21
    There should be a setting buried in menus (in the flash section) that allows you to choose whether you want the pop-up flash to fire or not when used in commander mode with slave flashes. I know the D300 and D700 have this and assume the D200 does as well. So you can decide whether you want the pop up to only fire the slave(s) or whether you want it to fire as well and contribute to the lighting of the scene.
     
  22. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #22
    It will make the lighting more even, just try some shots and you can see the differences, which is much, much better than trying to memorize information- the best thing about digital is you can see the results on the camera screen and immediately shoot another shot and go back and forth between them on the screen so the differences are obvious!
     
  23. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #23
    Foil is good, but will bring out texture a bit- it's supposed to be great for pet shots- but I like a piece of plain white foamcore board. It's reflective- you can cut it and duct tape it to make it stand up and it's cheap. That much foil is crinkly and hard to control hotspots from in some situations, where the foamcore is a nice an even surface. Try both and check out the difference in the light.

    Make sure your model's day rate is taken care of in candy or snacks and you should get some more great shots!
     
  24. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #24
    I tried that, but I still needed light sourced from the pop-up, just not much more than the 1/64 power!
     
  25. leandroc76 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    #25
    Nice! She's expensive enough as it is!

    My exposures are so much better when I borrow my friends SB600 or my sisters SB800. These were taken with two SB600's as a slaves last Christmas. The back light was window light pretty much blown-out.

    edit: FYI: 50mm, f2.0. ISO100
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page