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Old Aug 17, 2005, 3:10 AM   #1
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This is the only usable shot I got in a portrait attempt.I shot this indoors, at night, with only a ceiling lamp and a flash.

Portraits are the hardest to do imo.

I de-nooised, sharpened, and then converted to B&W.

Any advice (other than not to shoot indoors with no other lighting than a ceiling lamp)
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 9:47 AM   #2
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A couple of things stand out here. 1st, you have cropped her right arm out of the picture at the shoulder. It is usually not a good idea to crop at joints (elbows, wrists, knees ets). This leads to an unbalanced composition, and far too much uninteresting space to the right of the frame. The pose is also does not seem very natural.

2nd the catchlights are straight on as a result of the direct flash. In portaits I find it better to get the flash off the camera to provide more directional lighting.

Finally, your model doesn't seem too happy!! Get her to smile:-).
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 5:03 PM   #3
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its a tad on the soft side too, i think you missed the focus on this one..

also just to add to what rjseeney said.. when photographing portraits get your subjects away from the wall, this will prevent those ugly shadows you see right behind her and will allow you to blur the background so we are not distracted by details i the wall.. you also need to work on the contrast in your mono conversions, this one is quite flat..

keep trying, practice makes perfect, or makes you better at least..
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 3:13 AM   #4
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I did no cropping on this shot. I did play with it a while, but cropping only made it worse. This was also shot with an S2IS, so its a built in flash. Not ideal I know, but I'm tired of useing the "my equipment is not good enough" excuse for doing nothing.
I think I should stick to outside photography, as this should help with a lot of the issues here.
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 7:58 AM   #5
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All of the comments made in the previous 2 critiques apply to outdoor photography as well. Moving your subject outdoors will not magically solve composition, focusand lighting errors present in this image. In fact, I find it a little easier to do portaits indoors as I can control most of the variables (lighting, background etc).

As Hards said, practice makes perfect, or at the very least makes you a little better.
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 1:59 PM   #6
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If it were me I would think about all the comments, study the shot again, and reshoot, and repost. Best regards,

KennethD
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 3:31 PM   #7
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Carrots - the point about cropping is not that you cropped the shot after you took it, but that by pointing the camera where you did you cut her off at the shoulder on the left and very close to the wrist on the right.

If there is one golden rule in portraits it's that you shouldn't "crop" at the joints. Of course there may be the occasional exception - but you should never do it by accident.

On-camera flash against the wall is a harsh way of shooting - you could make it kinda cute by asking her to hold a name board in front of her and getting a profile. This isn't meant to be cruel, it's just that we have a strong visual expectation with the subject against the wall with harsh on-camera flash for something like that. You could play with the viewer by recognising that that is what he might expect to see, but varying the context to be amusing. But that kind of shot is never going to be flattering.

On the plus side you've got a nice model and plenty of time to practice. :-)
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Old Aug 19, 2005, 3:56 AM   #8
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What I meant with "I did no cropping on this shot", was that I cant fix it now. I tried cropping a little tighter, but that did not work out well.

I realise that this shot is a lost cause, but here is my best attempt to fix it. I cant fix the focus, or the crappy crop however, but I think I did a reasonable job with the BW conversion (If you think otherwise, please tell me).

The bit about outside photography...

I think that shadows would be less pronouced with all that abient light out there, and that solves the problem of the built in flash. Also, I do not have any lighting inddors that I can control, except a ceiling lamp. Although when shooting outside I have to worry about the sun burning the detail out of everything.

Also, if there is anough light, the camera will focus easier. (I know I should make sure of the focus and not rely wholy on the AF, but this way it will be easier.)

Shooting outside will not magically fix all my problems, but it will make it easier to get some of the things right I think.

The problem is that I dont have as much time for this asIwould like to have. I only see the sun in the morning when I leave for work, and on weekends. My girlfriend (model) also lives 300km away, so I dont see her very often. Hopefully that will change in the near future.

Thanks for all the comments. I appreciate every bit of it.
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