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Thread started 25 Apr 2015 (Saturday) 07:27
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Senior portrait first attempt

 
marlexop
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Apr 25, 2015 07:27 |  #1

My sister in law asked if I could take some photos of my nephew he is graduating this year,, this is my first attempt at this everyone loves them but I'm not to excited about them any help or comments appreciated,, thank you in advance




  
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marlexop
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Apr 25, 2015 07:29 |  #2


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mamaof2
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Apr 25, 2015 11:59 |  #3

Glad they are happy with them!

For me the pictures seems flat and the sky is blown out. Also looks like you missed focus on his face.


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marlexop
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Apr 25, 2015 12:53 as a reply to  @ mamaof2's post |  #4

Ya the sky killed me,, as for the focus I didn't notice that, thank you,,




  
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Alveric
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Apr 25, 2015 12:58 |  #5
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I'd rate it as a snapshot. It's not really a good photograph.

Sky blown out. Subject dead in the centre. Horizon dead in the middle. Too many no-no's all in one picture.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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marlexop
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Apr 25, 2015 19:19 as a reply to  @ Alveric's post |  #6

Ouch,, but thank you very much,, but could any one help with some pointers also




  
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NManuel01
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Apr 25, 2015 19:25 |  #7

What did you shoot with? Flash?


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marlexop
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Apr 25, 2015 19:29 as a reply to  @ NManuel01's post |  #8

Canon t3 50mm pancake I talked my self out of the flash,, the sky seemed perfect until we got to the spot, the break water is about a mile long granite pier into our harbor,, when I had the light hit his face way to many shadows,, I wasn't happy with them but thought they were better then a "snap shot"




  
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marlexop
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Apr 25, 2015 19:45 |  #9

Here's another


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Alveric
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Post edited over 6 years ago by Alveric. (3 edits in all)
     
Apr 25, 2015 21:37 |  #10
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The pose is better on that last one. Yet, the sky is still blown out and the colours are too saturated; moreover, your white balance, based on the unnatural skin tones, is quite off.

It's not my intention to mop the floor with you here, but do bear in mind that if the 'clients' say they're loving them it might be because: 1) they have an emotional connexion to the subject (when you love someone, pictures of that person are treasured, even if they're bad); or, 2) they don't wanna hurt your feelings; or a combination or both. There might be other reasons, but since I don't know, I don't want to judge nor do I want to ruthlessly put you down.

As for pointers:

In order to get away from the snapshot paradigm, you need to begin mastering the main areas of photography: composition, exposure, and lighting. Basically, you need never to do what most people do when armed with a camera. Placing the subject dead in the centre and firing, is one of those things. There are others.

1) Composition-wise: Follow the Rule of Thirds for starters. Look for leading lines. Know your lenses' unique point of view. There's no 'portraiture lens', you can get excellent photos with a fisheye even –but you need to know how a particular lens sees the world so that you can compose properly with it.

2) Exposure- and Lighting-wise: Fact of photo life: Unless you're shooting in fully overcast conditions, your dynamic range will always be rather high outdoors, and the sky is practically guaranteed to blow out. What to do? You can either use flash as fill, or as a main light –underexposing the background and lighting your subject with it**; or you can choose a different location –viz, the shade or a building or a tree, or not including the sky in the photo at all.

Of course, these are just general pointers. It's nigh impossible to give you a complete crash course in this one thread, but if you're really interested in becoming a better photographer do get these books:

http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1430014​767&sr=1-1 (external link)
http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1430014​852&sr=1-1 (external link) (the chapter on composition alone is worth the cost of this book)
http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1430014​914&sr=1-7 (external link)

There are of course tons of videos on the 'Net, but caveat emptor: since nowadays pretty much everyone and his brother is a videographer, there's also a vast amount of garbage out there not really worth your time watching, and separating the wheat from the chaff wouldn't be an easy task for a beginner. Thus, I'd turn to the tutorial videos produced by equipment manufacturers, such as Sekonic, Broncolor, Profoto, and others for advice that is more consistent with good photography. Yes, they are trying to get you to like their stuff so that you'll buy it, but you'll still pick up good info and, most importantly, good photographic habits by watching the real pros perform.

_______________
**On the issue of flash: yes, I do encourage you to master flash as soon as you're able, but I'm not prompting you to rush out and buy a full set of flashguns and radio triggers. Start with that free, 1.7×10^17 J point light source in the sky first; and to further that end, here's another pointer: whilst the sun is usually dissed because it gives you very hard shadows, 'racoon eyes' and makes your subjects squint, it has directionality too! Wait till late in the afternoon (not talking about the Golden Hour here) or earlier in the morning, and you can have it at a 45-degree angle with respect to your subject's face; then, just rotate your subject around to make the sun give you the traditional portrait patterns (Rembrandt, open loop, &c), and shoot away. Just avoid shooting when it's straight overhead so that you don't have 'racoon eyes' on your models.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

  
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Grayman
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Apr 26, 2015 02:08 |  #11

Alveric wrote in post #17532617 (external link)
The pose is better on that last one. Yet, the sky is still blown out and the colours are too saturated; moreover, your white balance, based on the unnatural skin tones, is quite off.

It's not my intention to mop the floor with you here, but do bear in mind that if the 'clients' say they're loving them it might be because: 1) they have an emotional connexion to the subject (when you love someone, pictures of that person are treasured, even if they're bad); or, 2) they don't wanna hurt your feelings; or a combination or both. There might be other reasons, but since I don't know, I don't want to judge nor do I want to ruthlessly put you down.

As for pointers:

In order to get away from the snapshot paradigm, you need to begin mastering the main areas of photography: composition, exposure, and lighting. Basically, you need never to do what most people do when armed with a camera. Placing the subject dead in the centre and firing, is one of those things. There are others.

1) Composition-wise: Follow the Rule of Thirds for starters. Look for leading lines. Know your lenses' unique point of view. There's no 'portraiture lens', you can get excellent photos with a fisheye even –but you need to know how a particular lens sees the world so that you can compose properly with it.

2) Exposure- and Lighting-wise: Fact of photo life: Unless you're shooting in fully overcast conditions, your dynamic range will always be rather high outdoors, and the sky is practically guaranteed to blow out. What to do? You can either use flash as fill, or as a main light –underexposing the background and lighting your subject with it**; or you can choose a different location –viz, the shade or a building or a tree, or not including the sky in the photo at all.

Of course, these are just general pointers. It's nigh impossible to give you a complete crash course in this one thread, but if you're really interested in becoming a better photographer do get these books:

http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1430014​767&sr=1-1 (external link)
http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1430014​852&sr=1-1 (external link) (the chapter on composition alone is worth the cost of this book)
http://www.amazon.com …TF8&qid=1430014​914&sr=1-7 (external link)

There are of course tons of videos on the 'Net, but caveat emptor: since nowadays pretty much everyone and his brother is a videographer, there's also a vast amount of garbage out there not really worth your time watching, and separating the wheat from the chaff wouldn't be an easy task for a beginner. Thus, I'd turn to the tutorial videos produced by equipment manufacturers, such as Sekonic, Broncolor, Profoto, and others for advice that is more consistent with good photography. Yes, they are trying to get you to like their stuff so that you'll buy it, but you'll still pick up good info and, most importantly, good photographic habits by watching the real pros perform.

_______________
**On the issue of flash: yes, I do encourage you to master flash as soon as you're able, but I'm not prompting you to rush out and buy a full set of flashguns and radio triggers. Start with that free, 1.7×10^17 J point light source in the sky first; and to further that end, here's another pointer: whilst the sun is usually dissed because it gives you very hard shadows, 'racoon eyes' and makes your subjects squint, it has directionality too! Wait till late in the afternoon (not talking about the Golden Hour here) or earlier in the morning, and you can have it at a 45-degree angle with respect to your subject's face; then, just rotate your subject around to make the sun give you the traditional portrait patterns (Rembrandt, open loop, &c), and shoot away. Just avoid shooting when it's straight overhead so that you don't have 'racoon eyes' on your models.

Probably one of the best helpful posts I've seen on the forum yet! Good advice.


5d MKiii, 40D, Canon 24-70 f2.8, Canon 24-105L f4, Canon 70-200 f4, Canon 580exii

  
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losangelino
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Apr 26, 2015 03:08 |  #12

Just curious. Did you do anything to them in post? The wb and saturation is odd.



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marlexop
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Apr 26, 2015 08:00 as a reply to  @ Alveric's post |  #13

Thank you so much for the advise,, I will take all of that and learn from it,, and yes info want to become a really good photographer,, and will keep trying,, as for post process I did not to do much cause my sister in law just wanted them asap which was a pain,, and I could tell sky was blown out and the whole thing was just off,, but like you said they were emotionally attached,, I will give it another shot, and go to a different location,, thanks again so much, and once I take another crack at it I'll post them,,




  
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marlexop
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Apr 26, 2015 08:32 as a reply to  @ losangelino's post |  #14

Very little adjusted shadows and contrast, didn't touch saturation




  
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ksbal
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Apr 26, 2015 08:52 |  #15

Marlexop, the difference between 'snap shot' and a good picture has many elements, including - exposure, focus, composition, whitebalance, and - very high on the professional vs amateur is - control of Light.

How many of these elements did you take control of? Composition is all about how you frame the picture, and that is in your control. How many of the others did you do or did the camera do? I'm asking this rhetorically- I don't need to know, I'm only trying to show the different elements needed to turn a snapshot into a very professional looking photo. Learning how to control all of the above is how you reach the next level - Been there myself.. I only kind of understood composition, and somewhat exposure - 10 yrs ago.

Putting your work out there for critique is a HUGE first step, and KUDOS to you for doing it! I'm going to post a few from my latest senior session, please feel free to leave any and all feedback.. I'm always amazed at how obvious something is after someone points it out for you... my forehead is flat from too many 'Doh!' moments of my own.


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Senior portrait first attempt
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