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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Critique Corner 
Thread started 06 Apr 2014 (Sunday) 09:58
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rwphotography
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Apr 06, 2014 09:58 |  #1

Please give me any criticism to better the shots. Im somewhat new and still learning.


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jefzor
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Apr 06, 2014 10:13 |  #2

You have the boat in the background, but aren't using it effective. In the first shot, the antenna's are growing out of his head. It's better in the second one, but it's still more of a distraction than an addition.


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Apr 06, 2014 11:13 |  #3

I think the posing, exposure, focus, and depth of field are good. Agree with jefzor about the placement of the ship. In #1, I would have skipped the vignetting and tried to get more light on the man's face.


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catclaw
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Apr 07, 2014 14:10 |  #4
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My opinion is that the first image is way over vignetted. I wouldn't have vignetted at all. I also wouldn't center the guy in the middle of the picture.


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PhotoHols
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Apr 07, 2014 16:33 |  #5

I definitely agree with the others about the vignetting on #1. I would also say that the background is a good idea but needs to be done better - I'd go with a much narrower DOF to help with the cluttered feel, but this will mean getting a better position so that we can some sense of where we are... The other thing I'd say is that while the light on the body is very good - the eyes are a bit dead, especially on the first one where they are in shadow, I'd try to get a bit of light into them. It's a great concept though!


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kfreels
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Apr 07, 2014 23:47 |  #6

Don't vignette skies. They almost always look weird.
It would be nice to pick an angle so that the ship fills the frame in the background. Not sure of that was possible here.
The second shot look like "Hey, look, I can hop on one leg!". His arms are dangling weird and his left foot is up for some odd reason.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Apr 08, 2014 01:33 |  #7

catclaw wrote in post #16816423 (external link)
My opinion is that the first image is way over vignetted. I wouldn't have vignetted at all. I also wouldn't center the guy in the middle of the picture.

Just want to get some clarification of centering the guy.

It's probably just a coincidence, but in the past week I've been hearing a lot of comments about centering. There was another recent thread here where people complained about a road getting centered. Recently a photographer (who is FAR better and more accomplished than me) looked at some of my work and mentioned my use of the rule of thirds. And here it's like, the guy is centered.

So, while I agree that the centering here doesn't work, I have to give my two cents here. I don't have any problem with taking subjects and centering them. I've seen lots and lots of AWESOME photographs where the subject was centered just like this.

But it's not working here. I'm not sure why, someone feel free to chime in on that. But I think it's not working here because the rest of the photograph is too busy. When I think about what centering the subject DOES, I think it often serves to place all of the attention on the center. A textbook example of this would be Richard Avedon's signature style. Like him or hate him (and I know plenty who hate his work), his stuff is simple and effective. His images are ALL about the model, to the point where he erased their context by shooting them in front of boring white backgrounds. It's not about the model's relationship to the environment, it's about the model. And placing the model dead center like that works.

This appears to have a similar thing going on, but I think the problem here isn't the centering, it's largely the background. The ship introduces context and makes the image more complex, and that complexity needs to work or else it just looks sort of weird. Now it's not just about the model, it's about his relationship to that environment. Why a ship? What is the connection? It's not that it can't work, it's that it DOESN'T work because the complex design elements in the background aren't matching up with the centered model in the foreground, and we end up with a mental disconnect. The background and foreground are competing with each other, I think that's the real problem. Some people touched on this earlier when they mentioned the antennae growing out of his head. Centering the guy probably COULD work, but the stuff going on in the background is hurting the image.




  
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kfreels
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Apr 08, 2014 01:50 as a reply to  @ Clean Gene's post |  #8

I think you're overthinking it. The centering is fine. When you shoot a portrait, and not an editorial image, you don't move your subject off center. But the rule of thirds does still apply somewhat. The head falls in the top 3rd.
But what you'll find on a lot of portraits is that the body is turned slightly at an angle to the camera where in these, the body is flat facing the camera. This is a subtle change that makes a huge difference and it may be that which is bothering you. Also, the framing is odd since it is cutting them off just above the feet. Generally you would cut someone off at the pelvis or waist, or chest, or go for a full length shot including the feet.
The busy background doesn't help but I suspect the problem you're having is more related to these other things.


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Clean ­ Gene
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Apr 08, 2014 03:29 |  #9

kfreels wrote in post #16817931 (external link)
I think you're overthinking it. The centering is fine. When you shoot a portrait, and not an editorial image, you don't move your subject off center. But the rule of thirds does still apply somewhat. The head falls in the top 3rd.
But what you'll find on a lot of portraits is that the body is turned slightly at an angle to the camera where in these, the body is flat facing the camera. This is a subtle change that makes a huge difference and it may be that which is bothering you. Also, the framing is odd since it is cutting them off just above the feet. Generally you would cut someone off at the pelvis or waist, or chest, or go for a full length shot including the feet.
The busy background doesn't help but I suspect the problem you're having is more related to these other things.

I don't think the angle is necessarily the problem. Could be angled or font facing, but I've seen it work well in both cases, with centered models. I don't think that's an image-killer, it just depends on what else is happening in the photograph and how the model relates to it.

I also don't agree with "don't move your subject off center." Arnold Newman immediately comes to mind, and he has made some absolutely incerdible portraits in which the subject was WAY off-center.

Which sort of again brings me to the rule of thirds. I've always felt like this was just a rule in the same vein of "center your model when shooting portraits." Sure, it often works. But if it works, it's because of how the space is utilized rather than it being something that you do "just because". Saying "it's good because it follows the rule of thirds" has always seemed to me to be this very weird thing because I've never heard a sufficient explanation of WHY it has to be done. You or I might make a great image and then people praise us for following the rule of thirds, but that doesn't tell us how the objects and the negative spaces relate to each other. It's just saying that we followed a rule.

And I don't know, man. I see the point of talking about such rules because such rules exist for a good reason: they often make photographs better. But that stuff also bothers me deeply, because it comes off as "you have to do this just because". And that sort of bothers me due to the fact that so much interesting art has been the result of people doing things that "you just don't do, just because". That's not to saying that breaking rules works, it probably usually doesn't. But if it doesn't work, then it has to be because of a more substantial reason than that the rule got broken. The rule of thirds might be a useful guideline, but it has always come off to me as something that contributes nothing to UNDERSTANDING. Every image is going to be unique, every image is going to have unique parts that relate to each other in some way, so what exactly enables us to boil down every portrait (regardless of the unique traits of that portrait) and state that the head should fall in the top third? There are enough famous counter-examples to demonstrate that it isn't nearly that simple.




  
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rwphotography
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Apr 08, 2014 08:16 |  #10

thank you everyone.




  
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kfreels
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Apr 08, 2014 12:36 |  #11

Clean Gene wrote in post #16818017 (external link)
Every image is going to be unique, every image is going to have unique parts that relate to each other in some way, so what exactly enables us to boil down every portrait (regardless of the unique traits of that portrait) and state that the head should fall in the top third? There are enough famous counter-examples to demonstrate that it isn't nearly that simple.

Nothing does. I think I did a poor job explaining. The rule of thirds is simply a guideline and its use is meant to get your brain to really thinking about how the space in an image is used. A lot of it has to do with the way the eye naturally moves around when viewing an image. It's about balance, negative space, and leading the eye around the image so that it lingers within the image longer.
Following the rule of thirds is the easiest way in most cases to accomplish those goals, but if you know how to do that with a certain subject and you can do it without following the rule, then of course you will still pull off a great photo.
But even when you do break the rule, you'll find that our eye still seeks out those same intersection points created by making a grid using the rule of thirds. You may be moving from one eye to the next on a close-up of a face, or you may have an off-center bug in a macro shot close to a point looking in the direction of the opposite intersecting point and just the direction the bug is looking is enough to send your eye that direction and back around in the photo. You can place other things in the thirds such as background highlights and "negative space" which still contribute to keeping the eyes moving in the same manner despite there not being and "subject" in those spots.
So the rule of thirds is actually in play even when you break the rule. It's just not obvious. That's because the rule is based on the way the eye moves around in the image and even when you break that rule, if you have a great photo, it's great because you managed to keep the eye moving the same way within the image.
If you want to discuss this further, feel free to post some great images that "break" the rule and I'll explain where the hidden rule of thirds elements are.


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Apr 08, 2014 13:16 |  #12

kfreels wrote in post #16819062 (external link)
If you want to discuss this further, feel free to post some great images that "break" the rule and I'll explain where the hidden rule of thirds elements are.

I believe it warrants further discussion, but Gen'l Photography Talk would be a more suitable place. There's already a composition thread.


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