My first attempt at creative photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by classicaliberal, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. classicaliberal, Sep 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 30, 2012

    classicaliberal macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #1
    I recently purchased my first DSLR (not technically - it's actually a Panasonic GH2) and I've been experimenting with some creative photography (below). I'm about as far from an expert or a pro as you can get, so any advice, feedback, or tips you can provide would be most appreciated! I only have one lens so far - a 14mm-140mm. Planning on getting a 25mm (50mm equiv.) with f1.4 very soon for some portraits and thin depth of field very soon.

    Thanks for any feedback you have!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. fabian9 macrumors 65816

    fabian9

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #2
    Nice shots man, that night shot looks like a perfect spot to do some very long exposure experiments to get the stars to form circles behind the rock…

    Also love the toy solider, I've got a thing for shallow depth of field photos at the moment for some reason.
     
  3. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #3
    Thank you. That's actually a silo on a farm in the foreground of the night shot. Which is part of why I think this shot failed... it's hard to tell what it is. I was thinking maybe If I had shined my flashlight on the silo up and down for a few seconds during the shot it might have been more clear what the object was? That shot was a 60 second exposure - from what I gather, to get the really long star trails you really have to get software involved to patch together numerous shots. Like maybe 20-30 60 second shots. Still researching those possibilities.

    The toy soldier was a fun one. ;) The perspective certainly made the soldiers seem more 'real'.
     
  4. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #4
    Great shots and keep up the good work!

    One comment: On the shot with the wheat next to the barbed wire, your cropping cuts off the tip of the wheat and leaves and unsettling feeling for the viewer. When cropping or composing your shots, try not to cut off parts that are at the tips of things (like feet in a portrait that includes the knees)
     
  5. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #5
    Great advice, thank you... I can see what you mean. I will try to remember this rule.
     
  6. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #6
    All-in-all, you've got some good stuff here. There are some things with your framing and composition you might want to consider. If you do not know about the "rule of thirds" then it would be good to look it up. In short, if you divide your scene into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, those lines and their intersections are where you want to put the focus of your image. Your images use a lot of negative space. By itself, that it not bad but the negative space has to add something.

    I like the point of view in the first shot. I am bugged by the one tall blade of grass on the right. Also, the lighting is pretty flat. This would be better if shot on a sunny day rather than the overcast day you had.

    I would crop out some of the right hand side of the grasshopper image to remove some of the negative space and bring the grasshopper over just a bit.

    I agree with the comment about the wheat in the barbed wire photo. Also, there is way to much negative space. In fact, because your depth of field is so narrow, it is almost all negative space. I would take out a lot of the right hand side of the image. Also, the eye naturally wants to go up and to the right. In this image, that is away from your subject. This shot might look better in a mirror image.

    Same with the nail. Crop off a bit on the right.

    Any architectural or landscape picture should have one strong line (horizontal or vertical) that is parallel to the frame. There is no such line here. The right hand corner is close but....... It is not close enough and it is too far to the edge of the frame do the job.

    Toy soldiers. Again, too much negative space at the top of the frame.

    Star fish. I like the narrow depth of field. Too much negative space on the left.

    Night shot. As noted, need longer exposure.

    Woman. She should not be centered. Cropping on the left would be better than on the right. I would give this some more exposure or use just a little fill flash to bring out some detail in you subject. I would Photoshop out the boat on the left. If that is your child, congrats.

    I like the campfire picture as it is.

    There are some good books and articles on composition and exposure. Keep taking lots of shots and pay attention to what catches your eye in other people's images.
     
  7. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #7
    Thanks for the in-depth feedback!

    Very interesting... so true, most of these shots have tons of negative space. It must be something my eye is drawn to? How do you tell the difference between negative space that's 'adding something' and negative space that's adding nothing?



    It was actually really bright and sunny on that day... Maybe I could boost the contrast a bit to get a little more energy in the shot?


    I can see that. Thanks.


    I think in this situation the blade of grass/wheat really went much higher than it looks and it wouldn't have been practical to get it all in the image. I really like the idea of mirror imaging this photo on the right side though... should bring the viewer's attention from left to right right to the barb! Good idea.


    Seems to be a growing trend with my shots... it is a preference thing, or a right/wrong thing?



    Fascinating, I had never heard that before. So, should the photo be slightly rotated to that the siding and the corner of the building are parallel with the photo framing?



    Would the shot be better with the silo illuminated or left as a silhouette?



    Thanks for the congrats! We're very excited.



    Nice! One good one! ;)



    I think I'd definitely benefit from some reading up on these topics. Any specific recommendations?
     
  8. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #8
    The key thing is that you NEED to know the rule of thirds. It is what naturally looks "right." You can break the rule once you know it and why you are breaking it but for now almost all of your shots will look better with the rule of thirds applied. The key to the rule is deciding what the focus points should be but as you have it now, your focus points tend to be in the middle or in 1/4's which is not natural. Google it.

    However, you do have some very nice stuff going on.
     
  9. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #9
    Thanks for the in-depth feedback!

    You're welcome



    Very interesting... so true, most of these shots have tons of negative space. It must be something my eye is drawn to? How do you tell the difference between negative space that's 'adding something' and negative space that's adding nothing?

    There is no easy answer. Pay attention to the rule of thirds. It can be really hard to evaluate our own images. I will play with different cropping until I find what I like best. I also find it helpful to stare at the image and just let my eye go where it will. I know I have too much negative space when my eye goes in that direction. The very best way, however, might be to get feedback from others.





    It was actually really bright and sunny on that day... Maybe I could boost the contrast a bit to get a little more energy in the shot?

    Give it a go.




    Seems to be a growing trend with my shots... it is a preference thing, or a right/wrong thing?

    There is no "right" and "wrong." This is art. It is a question of what works. jbg232's comment about knowing the rule of thirds before breaking it is good advice.





    Fascinating, I had never heard that before. So, should the photo be slightly rotated to that the siding and the corner of the building are parallel with the photo framing?

    That is probably the best bet here, but I would play with it. The challenge is that rotating the image to change one line will also change the others. Sometimes that does not matter but sometimes it does. The best solution is to pay more attention to composition and framing in the viewfinder. I really struggle with this myself. If you want to learn more about this send a PM to Designer Dale.





    Would the shot be better with the silo illuminated or left as a silhouette?

    Either is worth a try. A longer exposure will light up everything and give you star tracks. The straight lines of the silo and the arcs of the tracks would make an interesting contrast. Lighting up the silo by light painting it or with a really good flash would make it jump out of the negative space. (This would also be a very deliberate us of the negative space. ;))




    Nice! One good one! ;)

    Actually, none of these are bad. You've got a good eye. There are a couple of fora here that you should participate in: Photo of the Day, Weekly Photo Contest, & Fortnightly Challenge.



    I think I'd definitely benefit from some reading up on these topics. Any specific recommendations?

    Just go to the bookstore and find what looks good to you.

     
  10. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #10
    I played around with your images for a total of 5 minutes and here's what I made up. Note that the house and black picture are beyond saving and that the starfish are already 1/3 cropped. Many of this picture are too zoomed in (the campfire) to make decent 1/3 crops.

    Also, please note that you DON'T have to crop them when composing the image necessarily, you can always crop them at home if you have enough of the image.

    Please note that this is NOT how I would necessarily crop them, this is just an example of the rule-of-thirds being applied.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. classicaliberal thread starter macrumors regular

    classicaliberal

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #11
    Thanks for all the advice regarding the 'rule of thirds' - I have been researching it since I read your post last night and it makes an awful amount of sense. I will definitely keep this in mind as I compose images in the future. Thank you as well for adjusting my shots to give me a better idea for the impact it would have on my images - really helps get the idea across. The only one I wasn't sure of was the barb/wheat photo. Can you explain why that was cropped the way it was and how that applies to the rule of thirds? Wouldn't the ROT suggest the meeting point of the barb/wheat be at the intersection of of one of the 4 points?



     
  12. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #12
    The only one I wasn't sure of was the barb/wheat photo. Can you explain why that was cropped the way it was and how that applies to the rule of thirds? Wouldn't the ROT suggest the meeting point of the barb/wheat be at the intersection of of one of the 4 points?

    No. This is art, not science. Not everything is going to fit the rule in a fomulaic way. In fact, most subjects will not. The task becomes finding a good balance and composition. There have been many times I am not sure what catches my eye until I get the image into the computer and start playing with it.

    jpg232's crop of the wire is good. The barb lies on the left hand vertical 1/3 line. The wheat starts in the corner, intersects the barb at the same line and carries the eye out of the frame at the right vertical 1/3 line. The wire mirrors and balances the wheat by starting at the bottom horizontal 1/3 line and carrying the eye out of the frame between the top horizontal 1/3 line and the corner. Because the depth of field is so narrow, the wire is not a focal point but it does influence the image.



    I suppose it could also change depending on what you plan on using the image for - like maybe the cropping for a competition would be different than the cropping for using it as a desktop wallpaper on a widescreen iMac?

    Of course, but weak composition does not work in any case.




    And this applies mostly to architectural photography?

    Designer Dale is really the pro on this one. He's a good guy and will gladly help. You can tell him I sent you.




    I think with my camera the exposure is limited to 60 seconds so I'm going to need some sort of software to combine shots after the fact in post production. I think I will definitely experiment with this in the future as well as lighting or not lighting the silo. I think it could end up being a great shot if I do it correctly.

    The camera also has a "bulb" setting, which lets you keep the shutter open until you choose to close it. The spec sheet on your camera says you have about a 2 minute bulb time. That will not be enough to get star tracks but it should get something out of the silo.




    Practice makes perfect I guess.

    WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is art. There is no right or wrong, and definitely no perfect. Also, don't fall into the trap of over analyzing. Go out and have fun. Remember that with digital your mistakes cost nothing.


    Thanks, just really experience-challenged at the moment. The contests might be a good way to do that. Thanks.[/QUOTE]

    CORRECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll see you on those fora.
     

Share This Page