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Step to the Left or Right and make your images go BOOM, POW, POP

Jared Polin July 7, 2014 Comments Off

Sometimes taking one step to the left or right will take your picture from bla to BOOOM. As you will see in this set of concert photos there are times where the lights behind the musician are clearly popping out from the side of a person. What I have found works out very well is when you use the musicians body to block the light, which in turn causes a really cool halo lighting effect.

How do you do this when you are shooting, simple. You can’t ask the band to move but you can situate yourself in such a way that puts the musician in the perfect position for this type of photo. These photos really create impact where the light off to the site becomes a distraction.

I picked this set because it had a nice cross section of a photo story with potential to get better. That is what I am looking for in a set. Images that I can look at and help the photographer see the full potential of their photos.
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Be More Creative: So you got the EXPOSURE right but the Image is Over Processed And Boring

Jared Polin June 19, 2014 Comments Off

First don’t be thrown off by the title and think I am ripping this photographer to shreds or trying to put them down. The facts are that their exposures seem to be pretty good which is a large part of photography. Where they fall short is in the subject matter and post processing.

You have to remember that just getting the exposure correct is not enough to make the image interesting. Just like processing alone can’t save an image that is out of focus or not interesting at all. It’s a combination of many things that make your images stand out.

When I selected this set to discuss I did not know it would go in the direction it would. I rarely know what my feelings are going to be before I sit down and record the videos. I think it’s best that I don’t study the images to heavily before I critique the images.

Like with most sets there are generally two to three images that I would consider solid all the way around. And I can pretty much guarantee that if the photographer was to come back to me in a few months with another 10 images that they would have taken some of the feedback I had given to make the set stronger.

There was a trend in this set where the images were just slightly off visually. What I mean by that is technically they may have been good but the subject matter was pretty boring and lacked creativity. The honest feeling is that they were snap shots more than photographs. Before I jump into what you can do to be more creative or to build a cohesive photo story let’s talk about the processing.

I noticed in a few images that there looked to be a lot of noise and grain though the ISO was at 100 or 200. This just should not be happening. There is no reason at such a low ISO that noise and grain should even play a part. What I think was going on was to much post processing to try and bring out certain parts of the image. So where I said the exposures were pretty spot on above, maybe they were close but the photographer wanted to brighten up or recover other areas.
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The Hardest Rapid Fire Critique I Have Ever Done: Photography

Jared Polin May 7, 2014 Comments Off

I get asked to critique a lot of peoples work and usually they are people I have never met. So, critiquing their work is not an emotional thing, meaning I don’t have a personal connection with them.

But when I get asked to critique a friends work I have to be very careful how I word things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t change the harshness level or let them slide on certain things. I simply try and watch my words and the message I am getting across.

My long time friend Taylor whos first introduction to a DSLR was when I handed her a D3000 with a 35 1.8 has come a long way in her photographic journey. Click Here to see the Seeing And Feeling Video. Since that time in 2011 she has continued to shoot, picking up different cameras and lenses but rarely asking me for my opinion.

The reason she never asked my opinion is she knows how opinionated I am. Plus she knew if she brought up a subpar lens that my answer would be swift and harsh.

Now she is out taking real paying jobs, she is shooting weddings, baby portraits, candids and pretty much anything that catches her eye.

I am not sure if she asked me for this critique or I asked to see her top 10. But I wanted to see her progression from 2011 until now.

When it comes to critiquing peoples work in my opinion it’s not about finding and ripping every small mistake. It’s about finding those issues but giving positive reinforcement to how they can be corrected or changed.

It makes zero sense to rip someone totally down to the point where they feel like they have failed as a photographer. This may work for some but that’s not how I like to learn nor how I want to critique others.

I chose not to look at any of her images before doing the critique. I wanted you all to see my honest reaction as soon as I saw the images.

What is great about having these sets on flickr is I can see the meta data. I can see what lens, what modes and a bunch of other data that helps me point someone in a direction.

Some people say that the gear, lenses and settings shouldn’t matter during a critique. I don’t agree with that at all. That may be the case with pros who are getting ripped apart but when it comes to someone who is learning, the only way to help them evolve is to see the settings.

I want to know were they in Manual or aperture priority or even in auto. What was the shutter speed, ISO and aperture. By knowing all of these things I can better understand the entire photo and help the photographer with some different ideas for settings.

Now that brings us to the critique of Taylors new work. It is not easy to critique the work of someone you are close with. I definitely watch my words and tone to make sure the perception was not that I am ripping her just to rip her.

I am not going to rehash all of the things I said in the video above but I do want to point out some thoughts. Her images are very very close throughout this set. What I mean by close is they are not far off in my opinion from all being keepers.

You have the simple shot of her daughter with the statues. With slight changes that image can go from “that’s nice” to “wow”. Don’t get me wrong, I understand when you are in the situation the images may change quickly and not allow you time to make certain changes. But by me mentioning different ideas and thoughts during a critique, that may resonate in the back of the mind on the next shoot.

Seeing shots of her daughters head from behind with the goggles strap on it is one of my least favorite images from the set. Like I explained in the critique, it needed more context. It possibly could work as part of a photo story but on its on it just didn’t.

You hear me talk about photo stories quite often. How an some images can stand on their own without anything surrounding them where others just don’t fit unless they have more context. When I am shooting I am always thinking about context, could this image stand on its own or does it need to be part of a story? If I shoot this tight will all context be lost but if I shoot it wide will it tell the entire story?

I used to love shooting everything extremely tight but I soon realized that the better images have more context and tend to be wide angles. One mistake people make when shooting with a wide angle is they don’t get close enough to their subject. Their subjects are there but they are very small. The key to a wide angle is filling the frame with your subject while keeping the defining parts of the scene intact.

Taylor asked to see my critique before she would agree to let me put it live. She was slightly worried with what my harshness level would be. But when she watched it she got it, she said it really helped her and was not to harsh. That’s exactly what it’s about, it’s about her coming back to me telling me that she took something from the critique.

Critiques are meant for one person to give their opinion. I am not looking to create a clone of my own work but simply interject my thoughts based off of what I think makes a solid image or photo story.

Keep up the great work Taylor.

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Is Close Good Enough For These Photos, I Think So? Rapid Fire Critique

Jared Polin April 16, 2014 Comments Off

Yes these photos are close, in fact they are very very close to being spot on. With a few small corrections this photographers future images have a better chance at being spot on.

I really liked the angle they were going for in their images. The Disneyland photos were so very close. The first one was just to far away from the main scene but I totally understand where they were going with it. I would love to see the fireworks in color but I will have to go with the photographers gut that the black and white looked better. I loved the way the fireworks lit up the front of the people standing around. The image is really right on, not much to change about it.

The food images on the other hand I think needed some softer light. It came across to me at least that it was way to harsh. That harshness became a distraction that lead my eyes away from the focus of the image.

What can we all learn from these critiques? I can tell you these critiques help me in my every day photos. You never can see to many images and that’s why you should consider following other peoples work. The more you see, the more you experiment, the better you will become.

If you would like to submit your images for a rapid fire critique please click the submit photos button above.

Click Here to see the photographers entire set on Flickr.

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Print Your Photos!

Adam Lerner April 15, 2014 Comments Off

We shoot tons of digital images. Mostly posting them on our websites, facebook, and instagram. Taking the time to make actual prints is so gratifying. There’s something about seeing your work printed. The color, the depth, the details. So much that you may disregard when glancing on screen.

I thought a lot about how I wanted to make these prints. You see, I spent an amazing week in Cuba last year and made a lot of images that I feel really connected to. Something really clicked in my brain about slowing down, and taking more time with my photos.

To resist the compulsion to shoot a ton of images in a new place and really think about the images, subjects, time of day, composition and common threads.

I’ve only ever printed on paper. In college while studying photography, I had my own darkroom where I processed and printed all my black and whites. There was something so amazing about being connected to the photos in a way that we take for granted today. However aside from seeing the processed negatives, making actual prints was where the magic happened. The way the tones appeared on the paper and all the subtleties.

I’d been toying with the idea of doing the aluminum prints. The few times I’ve seen other peoples aluminized prints, I thought they looked good, not great, however, it’s clear the technology has gotten way more refined over the years. I started the process by having Adoramapix print me a test print. Well, I ordered a small version of an image, 12” x 8”. I was stunned. I chose the white satin coating which gives beautiful color rendition on a matte finish. I love the look of matte and chose the white coating rather than silver because I wanted to be sure keep things from going too contrasty.

Being that I loved the look of that print, I ordered a bunch more. Two 24” x 36” and two 16” x 24”. The results are awesome. Know that I am not sponsored or endorsed by Adoramapix, but can say that they do a fine job and their pricing is very fair. I should also mention that not only did they print and ship quickly, but my prints were beautifully packed.

My message is that if you’ve been toying with the idea of making prints, do it. I’m not suggesting you do aluminized prints necessarily, but can say that the quality has gotten great. And the prints come with mounting already installed so they’re stand-alone prints that require no framing. I love the look of framed photos, but these aluminum prints look great on their own.

Please subscribe and leave your questions and comments below.

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These Sports Photos Are In Need of Some Help, So I Helped: AdoramaPIX Rapid Fire Critique

Jared Polin March 21, 2014 Comments Off

My first love in photography came in the way of photographing sports. I shot every event that my high school had, from football to baseball to attempting and failing and shooting volleyball.

Sports can be very difficult to shoot. Many people work on just freezing the action first before branching off into anything else. You may think that the only thing important about freezing the action is having a fast shutter speed. That is correct in some ways but if your aperture is to high or you are using slower glass you may freeze the action but the background becomes an issue.

I am going to create a video showing you that you can use a kit lens and still blow out the background but in the meantime take a look at this Rapid Fire Critique.

The photos I believe are from a schools photography program but that was all the information I had to go on.

This was a tough critique in my opinion knowing that the photos may have been taken by students. I never want to be to overly critical of someones work especially if they are a student. My goal was to give as many pointers as possible to take the images to the next level.

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This proves once again it’s not the Camera it’s the Photographer: Rapid Fire Critique

Jared Polin February 27, 2014 Comments Off

Time and time again people prove that it’s not the camera it’s the photographer. Don’t you love when someone says what camera is that, it takes fantastic pictures? It’s like saying wow that food was amazing what oven to you own?

People are always asking what do I look for when I am selecting sets for the rapid fire critique? I simply look for a set of images that has potential to give me a lot to teach. I don’t look at the settings or anything else other than a few of the images when I am deciding. The reason is the settings and camera don’t matter it comes down to the images first and foremost.

The images in this set were captured with the Nikon D40 a camera that was released somewhere around 2006. Like I have said a million times a lot of what you do comes down to having the proper settings as well as quality glass.

This set shows us that the photographer has an eye, a way to see the world and capture it no matter what camera is in their hands.

If you would like to submit your set of images for a critique please click the submit images tab above. Please keep in mind I do not get to everyones sets as I can only critique roughly 40 a year.

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The FIRST Rapid Fire Critique of the 2014: Please Submit Yours

Jared Polin January 22, 2014 Comments Off

Guess what is back, the AdoramaPIX Rapid Fire Critique.

The first critique of 2014 brings us a set shot entirely with the Nikon D3000. Keep in mind this is an entry level camera that goes back almost four years or more at this point. But I want you to always remember it is not the camera that makes the photo it’s the photographer. Oh yea and glass doesn’t hurt either.

There are many things I liked about this set. I liked the way the photographer brought out life in inanimate object. I liked how they composed the images and some of the processing.

On the flip side they were shooting in auto which I explained is not a bad thing when you are just starting out. When you watch the video I think you will start to see why it’s important to take control of your camera.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to check out AdoramaPIX.com for killer photo books, aluminized prints and regular prints.

Click Here to view the photographers set on FLickr.
Screen Shot 2014 01 22 at 11.24.35 AM 300x211 The FIRST Rapid Fire Critique of the 2014: Please Submit Yours

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If a Photographer can do THIS with an Entry Level Camera, What’s Your Excuse

Jared Polin December 18, 2013 Comments Off

How many times have you heard “my camera stinks” or “I need a better camera”? As I have said a million times it’s not about the camera as much as the lenses. And in many cases you can get better pictures with an entry level camera with a solid lens than the best pro camera with a crappy lens.

This set is another example of someone using an entry level Nikon D3200 and coming out with poppy vibrant color and black and white images. On top of that their composition is top notch and the subjects are interesting.

When I am looking at a set of 10 images and it contains 3-4 solid keepers you know you are on the right path.

Remember, it is what you do with the camera not what the camera does with you. You are smarter than it, you control it. If you think there is a problem with your camera it’s most likely human error.

Keep on shooting and let’s see some more of those sets of 10 images.

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NEW BIG ASS Aluminized Prints

Jared Polin March 31, 2013 Comments Off

15% OFF code pxjaredmtl Click Here to check out the prices on their site.

Now that AdoramaPIX offers aluminized prints up to 24×36 I knew I had to place an order. Ideally I would like them to be able to make them up to 40×60 for maximum impact but this will do for now.

When I first encountered the aluminized I was amazing at their quality. It turns out that the are not infused directly into the metal but first printed via dye sublimation then infused.

The quality, color, crispness of the images are truly amazing and worthy of your photos and art.

Here is what I like about these prints. I love the fact that they are rigid and ready to hang on my wall. I don’t need to worry about paying extra for a frame or having to spend extra money to do so. I can simply clean the metal print with a non abrasive cloth and its back to being clean.

I asked AdoramaPIX to give me a code to share with you that would last longer then a week or a month. They did without hesitation and offered 15% off all aluminized printed until the ned of 2013 when you use the code pxjaredmtl .

This means a you would save $28 on a 24×36 that sells for $189. That is like getting FREE shipping and then some.

Honestly you can not go wrong with testing out these prints. They start at 5×5 and go all the way up to the 24×36 that you see in this video.

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