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.
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.
One of the most important aspects in my opinion to a photography is getting your lines and angles straight. You all have seen images that look like a person is falling down a hill or that somehow objects defy gravity. But what’s really going on is the lines and horizons are not straight.
I am aware that you can make these corrections and fixes sometimes after the fact in post but that starts to introduce other issues. When you straighten your lines in lightroom you are actually cropping some of the image. For some this is not a big deal but depending on the image and how much noise and grain you have you may be causing yourself some issues with the final images.
More than anything, when you look at an image where the angles or lines are off it really stands out to you. It gives you some kind of feeling that something is amiss in the image.
Here are some tips for getting your lines straight. Find the horizon line and visually make sure in the viewfinder that it is straight. Some cameras have built in levels but honestly I find that I am much better just eyeing it up. Make sure you don’t have a bag over your shoulder that is weighting you down on one side. This sometimes translates into having lines that are not straight. And finally just look at your images, learn from them, if you find that you have to straighten your lines all the time in post you might be doing something wrong.
Try to learn from the images you have always taken, there has to be something that is causing you not to see the lines properly when you are shooting. Use something in the image to help you figure out what a straight line might be.
Now lets talk about this critique. I think the photographer is on to something with the 10 images selected. My breakdown is that 3 of the 10 are solid keepers with 2 or 3 more being close and the rest miss for a few various reasons. But like I have said a million times, if you send me a set to critique and I see 3 or 4 keepers, you are on the right path.
Critiques are all about helping you mold your portfolio and bring out the best images. Please remember that critiques are just one persons opinion and you should take it any way you choose. Just because I say I don’t like not straight lines doesn’t mean that I am right. This is all in my opinion of course and I critique the work as if I were looking at my own images.
In the end it comes down to you, what do you like in your images, what do you want to showcase and what makes you happy with your images.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
As I continue with this AdoramaPIX Rapid Fire Critiques I cam across this set of only five images. As you know I generally critique 10 images but something caught my eye with this set.
What caught my eye was the way the images were edited. It seems most of the editing is fine and the images are not bad at all. But the major issue is the fact that the peoples skin look so fake. That includes the images of the little kids whos skin is already perfect.
I have been seeing this more and more where people feel like they have to touch up peoples skin so much that it looks fake. Kids do not need their skin touched up to make it look smooth and silky. For that matter I don’t really think peoples skin should be touched up pretty much at all. I am a fan of this is who you are so be secure with that.
Here is a way to know if you have taken your skin editing to far. If you have to pull back on the clarity passed -5 or so you’ve gone to far. If it looks fake to you it’s going to look even more fake to everyone else.Read More »