Opinion on my Otakon 2014 Photos

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#1 on 5 years ago

So I did my second Otakon as both a Cosplayer and a Photographer this year. I HAD a 5.0 star rating until someone I never spoke to or worked with possibly out of spite of something decided to give me a 1 star rating without explanation. I'd like to have the opinion of my fellow Photographers on here to critique my private shoots from this Otakon and tell me if they are that "horrible" to give my page one star. My Cosplayers that have received their photos so far very much love the photos. In fact, the one gal was highly praising me during both of her shoots with me.

I also have non-Cosplay photos up in various albums from a maternity shoot to couple shoots as well as individuals, plants/nature, and insects.

To see ALL of my Cosplay photography use this link instead: [url]http://annarenee.wix.com/shecktorphotography#!cosplay-photography/cq1v[/url]


#2 ChilmarkGryphon on 5 years ago

I don't do cosplay photography, but I do figure photography, so I can offer some critiques.

- Take more shots so you can afford to throw away the ones that aren't crisp/have random pedestrians in the background/etc.
- Remind cosplayers to put their badges behind them/in a pocket for photoshoots.
- Avoid tangents in your compositions (for example, [URL="https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/10365790_536632763135098_6961654306713944475_n.jpg?oh=fc55ce99a531781ef955e0968fab0ede&oe=545FEC82"]blade fading into banister[/URL] or [URL="https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/v/t1.0-9/10613008_537523709712670_1487237862626776831_n.jpg?oh=0fb5defa83c9bbb6660c2172f8806c8d&oe=54635D85&__gda__=1415583321_f17a70ef30c44d2e192a5a8e63115619"]flags coming out of the Traveler's head[/URL]). [URL="http://emptyeasel.com/2008/11/18/avoiding-tangents-9-visual-blunders-every-artist-should-watch-out-for/"]This[/URL] site explains it better.

#3 nathancarter on 5 years ago

General opinion:

I wouldn't use the term "horrible." However, you've got a long way to go; most of it is amateur-with-a-DSLR quality.

Facebook strips the EXIF data, so I don't know what camera, lens, or settings you used, and therefore I can't give anything more than general advice on camera settings. [edit: I assume you're still using the Nikon that you posted; as i shoot Canon, I'm not familiar enough with Nikon to give specific instruction on changing settings]

Specific thoughts:
1) Many, many of your posted portraits are out-of-focus - that is, the camera automatically focused on something other than the subject. Nobody but you should ever see these. If you miss focus, the portrait is a failure, and should be deleted. If you let the camera choose what to focus on, it will choose the easiest subject which is not always the right subject.

There are a few techniques to improve your focus keeper rate. You don't have to manually focus the lens, but you DO need to tell the camera what focus point to use. If your subject is not on one of the camera's focus points, focus-recompose is a viable technique with all but the widest apertures.

2) In many of your sets, Auto White Balance (AWB) is working against you; the tint and temperature are all over the place through the set. Consistent and correct skin tones are one of the basics in proper portraiture, and AWB will just haphazardly choose something different in every shot. Look at your lighting, and manually set the white balance based on the light you're shooting in. OR, use a gray card to set a custom white balance in the camera. OR, shoot in raw, and correct it later based on a known neutral element in the image.

3) Cull without remorse. If you have two or three shots that are almost identical, pick the best and delete the rest. There's almost never any reason to deliver multiple near-duplicates. A set of 6 unique, well-composed, well-posed images is way better than a set of 30 with a bunch of boring duplicates.

4) Any time you frame an environmental portrait, look past the subject at the background. As noted above, if there are distracting background elements, the quality of the portrait is diminished. You can often minimize those distractions with a very slight change to your position, the subject's position, or the overall composition.

#4 StarsOfCassiopeia on 5 years ago

Lots of great comments above-- totally agree.

It might also help to play with angles too: a lot of your shots are from the standard eye level, of either just the torso or whole body. Ex, in your Fairy Tail sets, [URL="https://www.facebook.com/ShecktorPhotography/photos/pb.199689793496065.-2207520000.1408489908./537522139712827/?type=3&theater"]this shot[/URL] is far more interesting than [URL="https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/10561660_537522453046129_6955796243283002771_n.jpg?oh=b4f69cbfc3a7b3b8b40d2e8a084466ee&oe=546CF601&__gda__=1417346745_470b9cadc3a013757570ed99533e5278"]this one[/URL]. The first one feels more intimate, like you're sneaking up on something with the character, and you get a better sense of the character's personality. With the standard standing shot, I get very little feel for the character, except that she might be a little bit sassy, given by the hand on the hip. Is the character tough and fiery? Is the character shy and sweet? Is the character a hero, a villain? I have no idea.

Posing your models can help with this. Dynamic, overplayed motions can look really neat on camera, and add some life to your photos. Trying to shoot from different angles will also make less dramatic poses look drastically different shot to shot!

#5 jeproxshots on 5 years ago

I skimmed the comment above and they're pretty spot on, I really like what Nathan said but i go to reiterate: focal point... focal point, focal point... don't even post photos where the focal point is off unless intentional. If your shooting with about a f/4 aperture using a center focal point by aiming at the subjects eyes then readjusting for framing should work fine.

Be wary of the difference in the lighting between the subject and the background. If the background is brighter than the subject (unless intentional ie flash/hair rim light) This will take away from the subject/cosplayer and make the viewer uninterested in the photo/subject.

If your doing flash be very wary of direct flash straight flash off camera flashes or bouncing light will improve an image greatly. The simplest lighting technique would be Rembrandt lighting look up some videos on youtube. B&H channel has some good vids for this topic learn this and apply it to different light sources.

Over all your photos give me a sense of someone who just picked up the camera and started shooting. But I'm pretty sure most of use went through that phase and through Similar learning curves. If you're really striving to improve photography go to[URL="https://www.youtube.com/user/kelbymediagroup"] scott kellby's youtube page [/URL] and watch the photo critiques from his podcast "the Grid" even if their not your photos what he critiques can apply to you as well.

This is just my a small peeve of mine but i suggest using a single watermark and a 'cleaner' and smaller watermark if you're going to mark your photos, the solid opaque background around your main watermark potentially distracts from images. a nice small mark would be better.

#6 Vanilla11F on 5 years ago

SO [URL="http://heygirl16.storenvy.com/products"]Fairy Tail[/URL] is amazing.

#7 KVN on 5 years ago

At first I just assumed you were a beginner, but I see you've been shooting as early as 2009. Not to be harsh here, but simply based on how long you've been shooting and the quality of your current photos you may very well deserve that one star. Five years is a very long time and your photos should not look like they did 5 years ago. You should have long past the point of beginner photos.

#8 on 5 years ago

For anyone who's already commented: use this link because ALL of my Cosplay Photography are on this site.

And for those wondering, I use a Nikon D50 Auto settings minus the focus and standard lens.

#9 WonJohnSoup on 5 years ago

#10 jeproxshots on 5 years ago

Looked at your main page. comments still stands... @Your AOT shoot be warry of you background. you have alot going on in the back and that takes away from your subjects. Also be warry of your lighting. The waterfall shoots the waterfall was too distracting from your subjects cause of uneven lighting.

#11 on 5 years ago

[QUOTE=WonJohnSoup;4911111]I would suggest changing it away from Auto exposure. Not just because it tends to limit you on come of the compositional aspects, but also because I do feel Manual mode is a great way to teach folks the techniques and theory behind photography. Once you're quick with Manual (I mean, quick), that's when I'd go to Aperture priority as the default. It took me about probably 6-9 months to move to Aperture Priority from Manual.

For pure exercises in composition, I would suggest shooting toy figures as substitutes for real cosplayers. That would allow you to have full creative control without upsetting real people or feeling pressured with time. I shot a few figures in the dark of my room and on my desk. Basically, a mini studio. I used a handheld flash light for my lighting. It taught me A LOT about lighting and angles. I was able to implement a lot of the techniques I read in books this way. That would be the final thing. Just check out some how-to books at the local bookstore or library. The new ones from the last 8 years and on are ridiculously good and I feel like this generation has gotten decent at photography way faster than past generations, just due to the power of digital review and access to information.

Good luck! =)[/QUOTE]

The only problem I have with going off of auto is that my Cosplayers don't ever stay in the same position long enough if the shutter speed is slower and the photo needs more time to process. When it takes longer and the person moves, the photo just comes out white. I've gone off of auto plenty of times to see how long each setting takes to process the photo and they're generally all long exposures. I've even changed WB settings as well.

#12 WonJohnSoup on 5 years ago

#13 on 5 years ago

@WonJohnSoup thank you so much for explaining all of that to me. I'll have to start experimenting with my other settings and ISO setting until I get the hang of it. You have been a huge help. :)

#14 ~Curiosity~ on 5 years ago

I don't have anything else to add to what people have said, but remember one thing: Don't let one bad review define you or get to you too much. Yes, you should try to improve, but don't beat yourself up about it! Sometimes you can't please everybody. :/

#15 on 5 years ago

[QUOTE=~Curiosity~;4912614]I don't have anything else to add to what people have said, but remember one thing: Don't let one bad review define you or get to you too much. Yes, you should try to improve, but don't beat yourself up about it! Sometimes you can't please everybody. :/[/QUOTE]

Thanks. My one client and friend had told the guy off and I noticed I was back up at 5 stars. Apparently the guy had deleted his rating XD.

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