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Old Aug 11, 2011, 1:51 AM   #1
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Default Tough Critique

Id appreciate a tough critique on this please.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 7:04 AM   #2
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Hi Bynx

The idea is great. Masterful potential here!

I'm not sure if you're gonna hate me for saying this... but the initial impression of this was a 'poor homeless guy lighting up a cigarette to keep warm'. I think that's because the greyness and noise in the foreground & background (at least that's what it looks like to me) - and the 'ragged' look and lack of eye-contact.

To me, it's a shame the face isn't so well in focus. It appears the front of the nose is out of focus, and to a lesser degree, also the eyes. Some rear sections of the beard and hair are more in focus. What appears to be most in focus is the fleece/ jumper. That's quite distracting to me, because my eyes are attracted to that sharpness compared to the 'more blurred / fuzzy' face (which I guess should be the focus).

The composition is good... I'd have included a bit more of the lower parts of the hands... and if possible some more contrast between the top of the head and the background (not sure what you used as a background / how you got that effect). I think some more distinction between the actual person and the background would actually add to it more... at this stage it blends just a bit to much in.

Finally, the fingers in the foreground have what appears to be a white "sheen" to them... almost like they've been dusted with flour (is that other ambient lighting or post processing?) I think if they were not slightly more coloured AND yet about the same exposure ie dark, yet without the 'white', it would be better.

The idea and the power of such a 'simple' photo is very telling. I especially like the left thumb that is letting a bit of light along it and out to the side. Little detail like that is great.

Have I been tough enough a critic in critique?

Paul

Last edited by pj1974; Aug 11, 2011 at 7:05 AM. Reason: typo
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 8:33 AM   #3
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Paul you are the best. Your critique is right on the ball and makes me know I have to shoot it again. But what you saw is what I wanted. The shot is me standing in my bathroom doorway. Since I dont smoke the cigarette is a ball point pen. My match was a small white Xmas light. The background was down the hall with light only from the television on in the other room. The only light source was the small Xmas light. When shooting yourself its hard to be exactly in focus. Especially when shooting in the dark and auto focus doesnt work too well. I overprocessed it to give that beaten weathered look and the noisy background. Sometimes I feel like one of those homeless guys and wanted to get that look. Im glad it worked. I tried this kind of shot before and opening the fingers a bit letting the light through slightly to shine on the fingers looked good and I did it again here but it seems only my thumb got lit. I was also holding the wireless remote to click the picture so my hands are really in an awkward position that doesnt show since its so dark. Glad you picked up on that dusty look. Thats just poor processing. I overdid the shadow/highlight to get the details in my hair and hands. Thanks again.

Whole different processing here. Any better?
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Last edited by Bynx; Aug 11, 2011 at 8:49 AM.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 8:56 AM   #4
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Bynx,

Well, you beat me to the punch.

My comments were going to be that the cigarette looked a little too white (I thought you had cleaned that up in PP) and the colour temperature of the light seemed a little too neutral / cool. (Which you could either put an orange filter over the light source or correct in PP.)

I was going to ask if you were trying to go for a detail of the face (more of a study of a face) vs. trying to tell a story. If going for a study of a face, then its great! The light in the hands is genius! Great directional lighting! If trying to tell a story, I was going to suggest going a bit more wide to capture a bit more of the environment. Maybe use the lit face off center in the composition.

For focusing, you could set your camera to manual focus and then keep running back and forth between the camera and your sitting pose and snap shots until you're happy with the focus. (I've done that before) Or get a wired remote and a flash light. Hold the flash light up to your face, press the trigger halfway on the remote for it to focus, then turn off the flash light. And then when you're ready to shoot, press the shutter the rest of the way.

And to not have to click the remote (if it is awkward to hold) you could use the self-timer.

As for this capture, I'd suggest making the background a bit more dark. Like Paul said, to separate you from the background. Keep the focus on your face. But then to also make it look a bit more mysterious.

I love the idea and the detail!

Take care, Glen
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 9:13 AM   #5
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Thanks Glen. I tried this shot a while back with my little Fuji P&S. Here is the results of that I tried to duplicate, but with a more grungy dramatic look.

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Old Aug 11, 2011, 9:17 AM   #6
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I really like this one!
And the colour too.
This one is like a study of a face in a sea of darkness.
[EDIT: Or darkness trying to overtake everything, but the light is protecting you. <grin>]
Take care, Glen

Last edited by tacticdesigns; Aug 11, 2011 at 9:20 AM.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 9:29 AM   #7
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In this case the 'cigarette' was a rolled up piece of paper. It looks more like a doobie than a Marlboro. Thanks for your sensitive take on this Glen.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 11:35 AM   #8
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Bynx, Once again you have a really cool concept here. I totally agree with Paul's comments on the first pic. The second shot seems to be a bit to "clean" for what I think you are going for. If you could ad a small catch light to separate the background from your hair and then process somewhere in between the first and second shot, you would have a masterpiece.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 12:35 PM   #9
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Thanks Mugmar. You have given me some food for thought and something to do right now.
Ok its done. Is this what you had in mind?
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Last edited by Bynx; Aug 11, 2011 at 1:01 PM.
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Old Aug 11, 2011, 3:44 PM   #10
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Hi, Paul. My only critique is your pictures of you look nothing like you. You are much more amicable in person!

(My other critique is to quit smoking but I see you were lighting up a pen. I used to do that when I was little, that is, light up the pen's tip when the ink dries and it stops writing, but I don't put the pen in my mouth.)

Photography-wise, I think it's spot-on, but it's not really a critique.
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