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Old Jul 11, 2009, 7:21 AM   #1
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Default Grandfather roughousing with Grandaughter

Hi all, my first upload on this site. I really want to learn about photography and thought I would include this picture for critique. For me there is something about the clouds in the sky that just don't sit right. I think they could be over exposed? What's your take?
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Old Jul 11, 2009, 8:31 AM   #2
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It's always a brave move to post your first shot in the C&T section but also a really good place to try to learn.

You are in a difficult, side/back lit situation so the important thing (as with 99.99% of shots) is to get the exposure correct on the faces. You are probably slightly underexposed but the camera hasn't done a bad job to get you in the right area.

The way to get around this situation is to use flash, you would need external to get the power to give a balanced exposure with the sky.

Here is an example from one of the weddings I covered recently. The sky was so bright in relation to the couple that if I had taken it without flash then the sky would have been almost 100% white with no detail so you can get a lot more detail in by doing this. It is not just as easy as putting a flash on the camera but learning to control the settings to get the effect you desire.



Another thing to check in all photos is the the horizon is level, if you can't clearly see the horizon then look at elements that should be vertical. The shot could do with a little rotation to the left.

Also look at what is adding to the shot and what is not, here you have a lot of space around that is pretty empty, so focus in on your subject and lose the space.

I've done a quick edit that will bring the focus to your subjects so it tells the story. Also it takes out a lot of the sky that you were concerned about.

Another thing that can add interest is to change your position from the usual standing shoot. When you shoot from a lower or higher angle than you would normally view a subject you get something that is often more pleasing to the eye is it is different. I like to shoot quite a bit from a very low angle when I get a chance. Not saying for this shot but just something else to add into your shooting. Basically look for the angles that you wouldn't normally see. I have been found in many strange positions to get something out of the ordinary.

Hope that helps a bit.

Mark
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Old Jul 12, 2009, 9:18 PM   #3
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Thanks for all the advice Mark. I will take it to heart. I hope to take a photography course in the near future as I'm a visual learner and not a book learner. I understand what you said about the flash but I'm trying really hard to see if I'm crooked and I can't see it, I don't doubt that it is, but I just don't see it. By the way I love the wedding picture, that is really nice.
So would it be fair to say as a general rule when people are your subject, you want to the frame to be as full as posible with the subject?

Thanks so much Mark

Steve
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 4:08 AM   #4
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I understand what you said about the flash but I'm trying really hard to see if I'm crooked and I can't see it, I don't doubt that it is, but I just don't see it.

Steve
It can be hard to see sometimes, after a while your eye naturally sees this sort of thing (although sometimes I've been certain a shot is out but when checking it is not). With your shot I've added some lines which go through elements that should most likely be vertical which are not. In this photo though there are elements that don't go with this which can make it confusing such as the post on the left which goes the other way. However when you get a majority that are all the same then you are pretty safe to rely on them.

I'm highlighted a fence post near the front, a post of the enclosure, a pole in the background, a couple of trees in the background, the house and the lady, all of which have a similar rotation from vertical.

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So would it be fair to say as a general rule when people are your subject, you want to the frame to be as full as possible with the subject?

Thanks so much Mark

Steve
If they are your only subject then yes it is often to get in close, it could be a full length shot, 3/4 length, upper body or head). If there is another subject as well that helps to tell the story then include that. Here we have another wedding where I was using the church to help tell the story so that is included.



Another thing is that you don't always want framing in the middle. Often having the subject off to the side (rule of thirds) can be much more pleasing. I've included a shot to show this as well. I don't think your shot would have wanted this, but wanted to show there are different ways of working in different situations which can make a photo more pleasing.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 7:13 AM   #5
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Again Mark thank for your help. The red lines really do help, you were being too kind when you stated the shot could use a little rotation to the left, man was I way off.LOL. One final question before I leave this picture alone. Would a filter help in regards to having a more pleasing horizon in this shot, if so which one? I'm generally hesitant to use filters , or post processing for that matter as I wan't to see things as I see them and not create something that wasn't real. This probably desn't make sense to most people but I'm funny that way. Also here are my camera settings, could I have done things differently to get a better shot besides tightening up on the subject?
Much thanks for your tutoring skills and patients.

Steve
File: DSC_0016.JPG
Date: 2009/05/30 16:52:51.5
World Time: UTC-5, DST:ON
Image Quality: Jpeg Fine (8-bit)
Image Size: L (3872 x 2592)
Image Comment:
Camera
Device: Nikon D60
Lens: VR 18-105mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 28mm
Focus Mode: AF-A
AF-Area Mode: Closest Subject
VR Control: ON
AF Fine Tune:
Exposure
Aperture: F/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/3200s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Comp.: 0EV
Exposure Tuning:
Metering Mode: Matrix
Sensitivity: ISO 400
Flash
Flash Sync Mode:
Flash Mode:
Flash Exposure Comp.:
Image Settings
White Balance: Auto, 0, 0
Color Space: sRGB
High ISO NR: OFF
Long Exposure NR: OFF
Active D-Lighting: Auto
Image Authentication:
Optimize Image
Optimize Image: Normal
Color Mode: Mode IIIa (sRGB)
Tone Comp.: Auto
Hue Adjustment: 0
Saturation: Auto
Sharpening: Auto
GPS
Latitude:
Longitude:
Altitude:
Direction of Image:
Time(UTC):
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 7:43 AM   #6
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One thing to consider is that the eye doesn't work the same as a camera so by doing nothing in PP or using a filter doesn't mean that we won't see a shot that looks like we see it.

For example your eye can see a lot more detail in both shadows and highlights.

Another thing, back in film days, even if you didn't develop the images yourself someone would be and they could adjust the results in the way it was done.

I don't personally use filters often. I do sometimes use a ND Grad which is dark at the top so helps to balance the sky exposure to the rest of the shot. These are good for landscapes but not great for day to day shots as you have to adjust it every time the horizon is moved, also you need different powers for varying conditions.

Also using a flash would create something that is not real, but again it looks more real if done right as it compensates for what your eye/brain do automatically when looking at a scene.

I do use a small amount of PP but as little as possible mainly as I'm not that skilled so it is enough to correct colour, contrast and sharpness..... apart from that I try to get it right straight from the camera.

Do feel free to ask questions about this or other photos as it is a good way to help you learn. Also though, be self critical, I think I do this too much to my own work as people are saying this and that are great but I wasn't happy with them. You will soon start to see where things can be improved, and then from there it is to take out with you and correct it in the future. I still don't do this enough, I find I learn too slowly, I can always see something wrong when I get back but not always through the camera.

So critique yourself, post for further ideas and practise, practise, practise.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 7:46 AM   #7
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Just to add on to Mark's excellent advice:
Don't be afraid to shoot in portrait orientation. The first thing that jumped out at me was all the empty space to either side PLUS the feet being cut off of grandpa. Shooting in portrait you could have gotten his feet in the shot and gotten rid of empty space. In my mind, the woman is too far away to make an interesting part of the photo. If she were closer and you could see an emotional reaction on her face, it would be different. So, I think you captured a fun snapshot here. But getting the faces exposed properly and eliminating distraction elements in the frame will help make it a stronger photograph next time.

Keep at it - and keep seeking feedback and you'll be amazed how quickly you improve. It's the people whose egos are too fragile to ask for honest critique that never get better.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 8:06 AM   #8
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It's the people whose egos are too fragile to ask for honest critique that never get better.
This is why John's shots never get any better LOL........... my mistake, it's probably that he already does a great job!!
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 8:22 AM   #9
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This is why John's shots never get any better LOL........... my mistake, it's probably that he already does a great job!!
Good one.
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Old Jul 13, 2009, 8:29 AM   #10
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Thanks so much Mark and John, I will definitely take all your advise and continue to practice. I love practicing and I have no ego to worry about. I love honest critique as this is the only way I'll get better.
Thanks so much. I will keep posting and hopefully learning.

Cheers
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