comprehensive photo critique

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#1 NaughtsApproach on 4 years ago

My sister would like a critique on her photos that she has taken over the last year.
so since she does not have a computer to post from, i will post them for her :)

These are a few of the photos from the shoots she has done over the last year
She has not fancy equipment, just the camera, no photo editing softer save a bit of what windows photo gallery offers.

please give her your opinions.

#2 DiaX3 on 4 years ago

They're descent photos but they could be a lot more dynamic! The shadows all look the same and flatten the model. The poses are lack luster and would be better if the model did something like the 4th photo but with a wider stance and her fists pointing away from her body and more towards the camera. The focus seems to be a little off as well. Make sure the focus is on the face and mostly on the eyes! It's a descent group of photos but they could use more energy!

#3 nathancarter on 4 years ago

The good:
The basics look good. Exposure, focus, and white balance are all appropriate. The skin appears to be exposed properly even in moderately difficult lighting: Direct sun is a very unforgiving shooting environment, and the camera's meter is often fooled into underexposing the subject so that the average of the whole image is approximately in the middle.

The bad:
Composition and framing are very inconsistent.

Advice 1: Three out of the five are cropped right through body parts. For instance, in #0295 the bottom edge of the frame cuts right through the toes of the right foot and the shin of the other foot. If you're doing a full-length portrait, don't chop off those body parts; if you're doing a 3/4-length portrait, then crop in at about mid-to-low thighs. Similarly, in #0309 the right hand is chopped off at the wrist and the left hand is chopped off at the knuckle. Framing a little tighter or a little looser would clean that up.

Sometimes you can't help but have a weird crop, but this should be the rare exception.

Advice 2: To expound on the above: If you're having trouble with chopping off fingers and toes, then make a mindful effort to shoot loose in the camera, and crop for composition and framing in post. If you frame it pretty loose in camera, you can always crop in a little tighter in even the most rudimentary of editing programs; but, if you framed it too tight in the camera and accidentally chop off fingers and toes, it's very difficult to go back and add them in.

Furthermore, with a loose shot you can later crop it for a variety of needs: the native 3:2 aspect of the camera's sensor, or 8x10 or 5x7 prints which are more square-shaped than the camera sensor, or 1:1 square composition for things like Facebook profile photos.

Advice 3: When setting up an environmental portrait, pay as much attention to the background as to the model. MOVE YOUR FEET to change the perspective and composition, until the background elements are complementary instead of competing with the subject.
This thread is specifically about a photo of a car, but the concepts are the same: move your feet and change perspective until the background is nice:

If you stand close and use a wide lens, you see a LOT of background. I personally like to stand a bit farther away, use a longer focal length and zoom in. This changes the perspective of the image, so you see less of the background in relation to the subject. It also reduces perspective distortion on the subject's body parts, and can potentially give you more background blur even with the same aperture.

Advice 4: The subject doesn't always have to be posing "with" or "on" something. Unless it suits the character, don't just stand next to a tree because it's there. Note, with novice models you'll often have to coax them and coach them a bit - people will be naturally inclined to pose with their backs against something (tree, wall, railing, whatever) ... but you're not taking mugshots, so they don't always have to do that.

Additionally, I'd like to see more variety in facial expressions. All five of these have the exact same "not really interested" face.

#0295 is my favorite of the set, despite the too-tight framing and slightly-cluttered background - it's a dynamic pose, the colors are good, and it's just interesting to look at.

#0089 is second - it could use a little editing or retouching to really make it pop; right now it's a bit lacking in contrast and interest, and the background competes with the subject.

#0745 is my least favorite: it's in-focus and properly exposed (no important highlights clipped on the white dress), but there's not much else going for it. The haphazard framing, the "are we done yet" facial expression, and the "lean-against-random-tree-for-no-reason" pose simply do nothing for me.