Please evaluate

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by tmhutter, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. tmhutter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #1
    Here are some picutres I took this afternoon. These are from my canon 18-55IS lens. I would like to know how they are compared to professional grade... its ok to be critical.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #2
    I LOVE this shot as far as composition but it is way too soft. Needs better focus.
     
  3. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #3
    as for the "focus" part of the picture. .is that because of the position i have the camera, the lens, the subject?
     
  4. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #4
    i got some more shrunk.. feedback positive or neg. is welcome.. can only get better if i know what i am doing wrong!
     

    Attached Files:

    • 042.jpg
      042.jpg
      File size:
      46.8 KB
      Views:
      41
    • 031.jpg
      031.jpg
      File size:
      143.6 KB
      Views:
      36
    • 038.jpg
      038.jpg
      File size:
      127.4 KB
      Views:
      32
  5. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #5
    very nice shot! however you son has a tree coming out of his head :eek:
     
  6. Tanto macrumors member

    Tanto

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #6
    With the shot of your son with the tree directly behind him, the tree detracts from your subject (your son) so perhaps you could remove it (PS) or at least blur it to look like the background.

    I think that effective use of blur is really nice on photos of children because you're not trying to draw the eye to much of anything else IMHO.
     
  7. mtnbikemama macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    Location:
    Northern CA
    #7
    I like the one of the boy sitting, however, I feel you are too much "above" him. Try getting right down to his level. The lens should be at his eye level. When my son was this age I asked him he could see a train coming out of the "tunnel" (lens). He thought that was so funny. I got some of the best shots that way. He doesn't fall for it anymore, though (he's 9)! Also, pose next to a tree if you must, never in front of a tree, or a bush, lamppost, etc... or anything that will appear to be sprouting from your subjects head.
     
  8. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #8
    Evaluating pix you took this afternoon?? I need to 'live' with pix for months before I decide whether they're 'professional' quality, or not (and if I have to think about it... they're not ;))...
     
  9. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #9
    Photography is just a hobby of mine but I am looking to make it more serious by converting one of my garages to a studio and going from there. That is why I came to this board. I was looking for advice on my pictures to make the quality the best that it can be.. whether its the lens that needs improving, its me or whatever else it may be. I only asked "professional quality" because that is a goal of mine. I know some people on this board have many years of experience which is why I was reaching out for help and imput on pictures I have shot.
     
  10. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Location:
    Wherever I hang my hat...
    #10
    C'mon... you're asking people on a public forum to give you advice on how you can progress from snapshot quality to 'professional'. It takes years! I've known a couple of people who had a 'natural talent' for photography, an eye for a picture... but for most of us it's hard work, honing our skills to the point where we can look at a pic and think "you know, that's not bad"... only to look at the same pic a year later and realise it wasn't much good after all. ;)

    Part of being professional is developing self-motivation, which extents to being your own critic. Keep shooting, keep learning, keep evaluating, and don't try to take any short cuts. :)
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #11
    Your first image is nowhere near sharp, as Jessica pointed out. If you can't see that, then there's little hope of you gaining a critical eye. None of your images are well-lit- if portraiture is to be your business, then lighting is going to be key. If you expect to earn money, you are going to have to learn skills which aren't even visible in your images other than your ability to get one subject to pose-- it may be that you're a better salesperson than photographer, and that's often more necessary to succede than photography skills, however I know a few portrait photographers, and I doubt any of them would produce anything like these admittedly cute snapshots as examples of anything. In other words, you are going to have to be able to produce much better images of many more subjects if you expect to make any money. What are the classic poses? What lighting styles work for what subjects? What ratios work for what looks? What props work for what clients? What color background sells the most prints?

    Finally, home studios are not normally successful, as people don't tend to want to take their kids to some stranger's house. If you're going to specialize in portraiture, you need an actual studio in commercial space, along with all the insurance and a solid business/marketing plan. Would you have taken your newborn son to some stranger's garage? Would you allow your 16yr old daughter to be photographed at some stranger's house? Will your homeowner's insurance take care of a kid falling off a stool?

    Learn to light. Learn to shoot uncooperative kids you don't know. Learn to shoot uncomfortable and shy people you don't know. Then come up with a business plan.

    Good portraiture can be profitable, but unless you're confident that you'll get people giving you $300-$1200 in sales by coming to sit in your garage, your expectations and approach are more likely to fail than not, and if you CAN meet that expectation, then you should easily be able to get good commercial space and do much better. Have you done the math? How much do you need to earn for "success?"

    Be wary of falling for the "I'll work my way into it" strategy-- how many clients are going to spend $1500-$2500 for senior portraits when last month you were shooting for $20 and giving away high resolution files for Facebook for free?

    Lest you think I'm just picking an easy target, two of the most profitable portraiture lines are infants and senior portraits. After that come groups, which offer steady, but not as profitable sales. But it's getting difficult for even very good portraiture photographers to build sales in many markets because there are lots of parents with DSLRs, and lots of talented amateurs who will undercut anyone because they don't pay for insurance, business licenses, etc. If you want to make money, and by that I mean good money you have to know how to deal with it all- peeing babies, a broken strobe, obese, acne-laden teen girls... Half a dozen images of a single child have little bearing on the likelihood of success.

    Here's my challenge-

    Go out and get six strangers to let you take their children's pictures- boys and girls, infant through teen. Get them all to sign a modeling release. The technical quality of the images matters little- if you can do that in a week, you may be able to achieve your goals, if not the time spent learning that portion will take you much further than the rest, though you'll want to learn that too.

    Paul
     
  12. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #12
    Paul and Doylem are giving you great advice.

    Glad I'm not the only one. It can take me a month to go through a small set of my own pics and decide which ones are good/bad/fixable. One of the hardest things I've learned as a total amateur is how to throw pictures away. I have a very small set (~50 out of thousands taken) of my pictures posted publicly and I'm constantly going over them and throwing some away because as I learn more I realize they suck too :)

    Then I talk to a friend of mine who is a very good professional photographer and I realize how far away I am from really being good. He can put an entire shot together in his head with lighting, backdrops, cameras, etc... while I'm still in more of a experiment and see what happens stage.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, just that you have a long way to go. Another friend of mine now does portraits on the weekends and is doing pretty well at it. She started photographing her friends and families kids on the weekends while taking photography classes at night. As she has learned and refined her technique other people see the pictures she has taken and by word of mouth she has built a decent little side business. Keep mind that she works all day and then has some sort of photography class most nights of the week. It's a lot of work and practice to get even to a 'good enough' level for people to trust you taking their money for pictures.
     
  13. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #13
    You bring up a very good point that I sadly neglected. I started out predominately as a nature photographer, and I like to think of it as "found art." It takes some skill to get to the right place at the right time with the right gear, and not scare the subject off. But it's a much, much simpler thing than taking a concept and turning it into reality, and even easier than thinking of the concept in the first place. That's making art. It's a very difficult skill-set from landscape/nature/street photography. That again is different from say product photography.

    If these were not posed, then you've got even further to go-- in a studio setting you're not likely to get the cute looks the first time around without a lot of work.

    It's easy to bang away pictures of an adult who'll sit still for minutes or even in some cases hours as you learn what lighting ratios work, how which shadows fall where, how to cancel out shadows, how to deal with reflections, what catchlights look good where compared to what poses... Kids are much more difficult, especially young ones who don't seem to be able to sit still for seconds at a time.

    It's also relatively boring work most of the time. Same ratios, same angles, same studio... You can change props, you can change backgrounds, but it's not the same as say getting out with a senior into a park with some strobes.

    How do you balance the art with the boring? Can you? Do you want to?

    How do you deal with mothers who think that your picture makes their portly son look "too fat" when they're obviously not going to look svelte under any circumstances? How do you compete with Wal-Mart's 17 year old kid banging out images with the lighting set up for them? How much post processing do you do for acne? For fat? For bloodshot eyes? Yellow teeth? How does PP factor into your pricing?

    Anyone with 3-4 strobes, a background and half a brain can make passable portraits. Not everyone can make excellent portraits or develop repeat customers. Annie Leibovitz is regarded by many to be one of the best people photographers ever. Personally, when I went to see an exhibit of her work, I found three great images, a couple of good ones and lots of technically mediocre work that didn't connect me to the subject one bit. She's made a lot of money though, which just goes to show that your photography doesn't have to be great (or possibly that my eye isn't that good, but I'm not a fan of that theory.)

    Paul
     
  14. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #14
    Yikes.. I guess when someone thinks they do "ok" and then ask a public board you can really see where you stand and how far you have to go to be where you want to be. Feel like I have gone from being "ok" to completely sucky!! But I am thankful for the Constructive criticism but maybe photography isnt in my near future!!
     
  15. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #15
    You asked for a comparison to professional work and criticism. If you aren't up to that, then I'd say that the first time you have to deal with an unhappy customer isn't going to be pleasant. Your composition isn't bad, other than a few things, but it's not up to what I'd consider professional standards.

    The kid is amazingly cute. But you asked to be compared to professional standards. Sorry, but there are too many issues with these images to think of them as work that someone should be charging money for.

    Can you show me where the first image contains any sharpness at all? We're not talking about "I added some Gaussian Blur to make the skin look nice." We're not even talking "The autofocus missed a bit and hit on the contrast of his eyebrow." That was the first image you presented. It's certainly not the best of the four, and if that's what you're going to lead with, then it says you're not ready or you haven't yet learned to evaluate your images critically. How many parents will pay money for an out-of-focus image of their kid? Would you? If someone showed you an image of their kid where the kid wasn't in focus anywhere in the image, would you ask to be referred to the photographer?

    The other images are too small to evaluate well, but here are a few quick issues:

    First image:

    No catchlights in the eyes. This means the viewer can't connect with the subject. This is the death knell of a portrait.
    Hair's all over the place.
    Collar is over-exposed, distracting from the subject.
    Subject's eyes are squinting.
    Image is soft.

    Second image:

    No catchlights in the eyes.
    Hair's all over the place.
    Collar is over-exposed, distracting from the subject.
    Chopped off subject's foot.
    Image is soft.
    Shirt is too wrinkled.
    Pose/collar makes subject look neckless.

    Third image:

    Hair's all over the place.
    Subject has a tree growing out of the top of his head.
    Subject's fly appears to be open.
    Hand position detracts from subject.
    Subject's face is in shadow
    Image is soft, however it doesn't kill this image as badly as the others- especially the first crop.
    Off-center shirt opening makes it look like "pin the head on the kid."

    Now, sure -- we often soften up portraits- Gaussian Blur, Stockings over lenses, Defocus lenses-- but it's on purpose and these days often more selective (sharpen the eyelashes, blur the pores and watch them drool.) This blur doesn't look intentional. Is it technique, or is it equipment? Is it a combination? Should someone who's charging money for their work know what causes their faults?

    It also looks like the white balacne is off, though that could just be brighteners from detergent. White's a terrible color for portraits, your eye is drawn to the brightness, but it isn't the subject's face.

    Overall, they wouldn't be bad if they were in focus, but by the same token, they wouldn't be something I'd expect out of someone who was a professional.

    Paul
     
  16. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #16
    No need to be down on yourself, just realize that you asked for a comparison versus a professional. Check out my friends site

    http://www.rlmorris.com/

    and then look at your pictures. You should clearly see the distance you have to travel. It's not that it can't be done, but realize that snapping some pics in the backyard is a long ways from becoming a professional.
     
  17. funkboy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    elsewhere
    #17
    If you want to do more portraiture, I suggest starting with a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. They cost about $100 new and will blur the background much more than your kit lens. The background blur ("bokeh") will also be more pleasing. It also happens to be the smallest & lightest autofocus lens for the Canon EF mount.

    Other suggestions: the bright background and not-so-bright subject leads the eye to the background first. Try to fill the frame more with your subject, and try to place the key part of your subject (i.e. his eyes) at a classical composition point.

    And of course as others have mentioned here, your son has a tree coming out of his head :).
     
  18. tmhutter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2010
    #18
     
  19. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #19
    3 AB800s, 3 stands, 1 grid, 2 shoot-through/reflective umbrellas, 1 background stand and 3 muslins- black, white and mottled blue and a copy of Light: Science and Magic. If you don't ever expect to go outside, then AB400s will work just fine. You can add a couple of pieces of white and black foam core for reflectors/flags if you want.

    Paul
     
  20. funkboy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2008
    Location:
    elsewhere
    #20
    Great news on the 50mm. Just keep plugging away at it. Personally I find fixed-focal lenses liberating as it's just one less thing to mess with.

    Lighting is a whole other ball of wax. Most folks will point you to the Strobist, which is a great resource for learning how to use flashes as creative tools.

    Personally, I suggest that you read the EOS beginner flash FAQ and, if you have time & really want to understand how the whole mess works, the whole flash FAQ.

    The new Canon flashes are spiffy & optimized for digital & everything, but personally I find a lightly used 550EX to be a great value. I've bought two of them used for under 200€ with a warranty, and seen several more at that price. The important things it has that flashes like the 430EX don't are:

    - tons of power
    - above all, it can remotely control other Canon flashes.

    I use a long E-TTL II cord I got off eBay to control one 550EX on a lightstand + umbrella, and this "master" controls the other 550EX "slave" on the other lightstand. I originally tried my old 420ex as a slave, but getting the power balance right between two different power flashes was enough of a pain that I went out & got the 2nd 550EX after the first time I tried it.
     

Share This Page