Photo Critique - Still Image Newbie

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tri3limited, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. tri3limited macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    Hi, I've recently decided that as I own a reasonable DSLR (D40) that it's worth taking a few pictures with it!

    I know my video, such as lighting and framing but photography has always baffled me.

    I am just interested in some opinions and advice for someone doing odd jobs photography wise.

    I've attached a couple of my recent images that i touched briefly with Aperture. The one with the white background stands out (still not sure how i achieved it with a boisterous dog!) where as I feel the other image is a little cluttered. Would it be right to cheat and use Photoshop for background removal etc? Also any tips for the future would be great!

    Attached Files:

  2. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    The cleaner image on the right is definitely a better photo, especially seeing because the one on the left has what looks like a garbage bag in the background. I wouldn't say it's cheating to get rid of it, but it's always a good idea to evaluate exactly what's in your frame from edge to edge (quickly, of course) before you snap the shutter.
  3. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Dec 23, 2006
    In my imagination
    I agree since my choices are limited.

    The one with the better framing is the one I could pull more out of.

    Video and Photo framing is the exact same thing. Principles go hand and hand with both. De-clutter your frame.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I think it was Stanly Kubrick who had the cinematographic theory where he said that every frame in a movie should be composed such that it could be printed and made into something you'd want to hang on the wall of a gallery. That's hard to do with a camera that exposes 24 frames per second. You have to plan out the motion so that good composition remains in place throughout the shot.

    By comparison still photographers have it easy. Except that they only get one frame in which to tell their story.

    So there is the difference. With video an actor's expression can change over a few seconds, the audience will catch the peak themselves. But in a still photo you have to choose which instant is the best. Framing, lights and composition is (or should be if you believe Kubrick) the same. With still shots milliseconds matter. You want to catch the basketball player at the top of his jump not on the way up or down, of lot of other things along those lines

    As for Photoshopping the dog. I think the white background makes the image look "cartoonish" or maybe the product of a graphic artist designing a dog food box or for the web. It's not a portrait. What you are trying to do here is correctting for poor (or hasty) in-camera work. Had you had more time you would have controlled the lighting to darken the background or reduced the depth of field by using a faster f-stop to blur it out. When I photoshop an image like this I try and duplicate what I should have done in-camera. Well, in addition to blur and darkening I will many time slightly desaturate the background but draw the line when the image begins to look "Photoshopped". A pure white background crosses way over that line from photography into what I consider "graphic arts".
  5. jhamerphoto macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2007
    It's a completely different picture, as he explained, and as you can tell by looking closely at composition details.
  6. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    The one on the right is better…*less clutter, and the dog's nose is slightly lower. Even better would be to see it drop another 1/2 inch and get more eyes.

    Also, the colors on the right are by far better.

    Good job of focusing on the eyes, not the nose, which is a common mistake.

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