Advice and critique?

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#1 Sasukeuzi on 5 years ago

Hi all, so I'm a newbie when it comes to photography, with only some second hand knowledge and a few tutorials read/watched online. I know I'm far off from calling myself a photographer and think of myself as a guy with a camera, because any monkey can take a picture with a camera and still not be a photographer, right?

Anyways, I took a few practice photos of my girlfriend, who cosplayed Hanayo from Love Live, in a park. The camera I used was a Canon T3i and the lens I used was the kit lens (18-55mm). After taking the photos, I edited some of them in Adobe Lightroom.

I wanted to receive some advice and critiques on this one photo to see what I can do better when it comes to shooting and editing.

Here's the original photo: [url][/url]

And here's the edited version: [url][/url]

One thing I do wish I had was bokeh, which is hard for me to do with a kit lens. I'm investing on a 50mm 1.8 lens, to see if that's any better.

#2 nathancarter on 5 years ago

Are you shooting in raw or jpeg?
Can you post the EXIF data - aperture, shutter speed, ISO? It seems that imgur strips it.

You've got a lot of color noise, which leads me to believe that you used a high ISO - but, you've got plenty of light in the scene, so you may have been able to get away with a lower ISO, a wider aperture, and a slower shutter speed.

You can somewhat increase the Color noise reduction without losing too much detail or letting things get "mushy." The Luminance noise reduction is a little more touchy.

This thread is a good read on noise reduction. It's written for the 7D but the T3i, T2i, 60D, and 7D all use the same sensor. He does use Noiseware a bit, but I don't think that plugin is necessary for most purposes. And Lightroom/ACR noise reduction has gotten much better since that thread was posted.

You don't have to apply noise reduction to a high-ISO image in such a way that ALL NOISE is eliminated - you'll start to lose crispness and detail. Just eliminate enough noise that it looks good when viewed at a normal size, that the noise is not distracting.


Semantics quibble: "bokeh" is the term to describe the look or quality of the out-of-focus areas; it's not quite correct to use that term to just quantify whether the background is out-of-focus or not.

You can increase your background blur or subject-to-background separation in a few ways:
1) Increased distance from subject to background, and decreased distance from camera to subject.
2) Longer focal length. (this contrasts with #1, because to use a longer focal length you must stand farther away to achieve the same subject framing)
3) Wider aperture.

I personally prefer a long focal length for portraits, though everyone has their own opinion.


As for the photo: The light on her face looks good, so that's definitely a good start.
When shooting an environmental portrait, make sure to look past your subject to make sure she is framed nicely in the background, there aren't any distracting elements. Use the lines of the environment if you can.

As for the edits:
The saturation is a bit much for my taste, but perhaps appropriate for this character.
The noise reduction is a bit heavy-handed, you're losing some detail in the hair and texture of the skin.

If you shot in raw and can let me have the file via Dropbox or Google Drive, I can try my hand at making an edit.

#3 Tigerpaws on 4 years ago

The retouching seems a little heavy handed. I thought the before photograph looked more natural. The saturation is too much.