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November 12, 2012


Replies: 20

Help from a seasoned/professional photographer on improving my images

An-Epitaph-To-Truth Nov 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Note that I'M NOT FISHING FOR FAVS etc. What I'd really like is some insightful and thoughtful critique on my work; what do I need to do to improve as a photographer? Are my photos too 'samey'? I've been behind the camera for about 6 months so I am still quite green in terms of experience.

Much appreciated if you guys could give me some help/advice.


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Devious Comments


1. You have pretty girls in great locations and you shoot their faces? Back off a little and shoot them in context with their environments. From what I can see, nearly all of their poses are practically screaming for full-length shots.
2. Your models are obviously amateurs, and there is nothing wrong with that -- IF you can direct them and don't mind putting in a lot of work. Until you know what you are doing though, this is going to be extremely difficult for you. I'd advise you to hire a pro model or two who knows what she's doing and can show you what a good pose looks like. Then you can go back to using amateurs again and you'll have a better idea of how to direct them. The sullen look can work, in certain situations, but those situations don't come up often and almost never in head and shoulders portraits.
3. For god's sake ask them to smile! If they won't smile, have them scream in horror or give you something, anything, other than a blank stare.
4. If you really want to shoot head-and-shoulders portraits, you need a longer lens. 75mm, 80mm or 85mm if you are shooting small format digital, the classic 135mm portrait lens if you are shooting 35mm film.

Natural photography:

You need to look up the floral photography of a guy named Maplethorp. I don't care much for his other photos, but his floral stuff is excellent. I think it will be an epiphany for you.

Urban Photography:

1. That's architectural photography, not urban.
2. Not enough there really to do much of a critique, other than to say that you always seem to be either too close or too far away for the kinds of photos you are taking. If you are going to get that close, USE the distortion you are going to get from a 50mm lens. Stand a little in front of the doorway of that church and shoot up, at the crennelations. The foreshortening effect will make for a much more impressive photo. Stand just far enough back that you get a good impression of height. The foreshortening effect will make it seem exaggerated. You might even lie down on your back to shoot it. The photo of the window would be more effective with a bit of the wall as a border.
An-Epitaph-To-Truth Nov 19, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for all of your advice, that's helped me a lot
I don't see very many close up shots. Even if you end up cropping out part of a person's face, sometimes those are the best shots. Also try to get the person laughing, smiling, doing something, anything at all. Most of the portrait pics I saw she just looked sad or emotionless. Experiment with different angles. Straight on is not always the best. Also read up on portrait composition. Having someone in the center is not always the best. Look up the rule of thirds.

Here is an excellent article on composition that helped me a lot: [link]

And this is an excellent article that will help you to see the difference between an ok shot and a freaking amazing shot. Be sure to read all the way through all the pages: [link]

Hope this helps!
An-Epitaph-To-Truth Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you so much, those links were very helpful :) I'm actually shooting with a girl who's applying to be a model this Sunday, so I'll be putting these techniques into practice.
No problem. The other thing I do is I go out for a set period of time (usually an hour) and take pictures in every spot I can in one location. It will help you learn about using the environment you have to take amazing photos, using depth of field etc to blur out an unappealing background, and will help you learn about taking photos against different textures scenery's in the same place.
photomark Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Firstly you need some one who can at least try to model , the young lady on the first few shots of your home page realy does nothing at all and only makes the photos look like snap shots.
Your models are attractive but the posing is awful and this is as much your fault as it is the models , you need to direct the model a lot more.
As advised it would be better for you to try to do some work with an experienced model. this will give you a better idea of posing etc.
Working with inexperienced or non models takes a lot of communication and even more skill from the photographer.

Lighting is a major let down , it is very lack luster , it is dull and is has a colour cast on it that is rather distracting and the contrast is way to flat. This is all about your technique and skill and it will improve with practice.

For out door shooting you need a few things to do it right , first you need some reflectors to bounce some light onto places where there is none , these are not expensive things to get but they are a MUST have item for any out door shooting.

A good flash unit for fill light and a Polarizer filter to get your colours nice and rich and nice blue sky's.

Learning to shoot models or anything for that matter just takes practice and time :)
An-Epitaph-To-Truth Nov 13, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I am desperately trying to scrape together funds for the items you've mentioned. Unfortunately I'm a student and I can barely afford to feed myself :worry:
photomark Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Yes I know how you feel , I am a student my self :)

Improvise! You can use many things as a reflector and only spend a few dollars and it will lift your images 200%
An-Epitaph-To-Truth Nov 16, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Many thanks for your help :)
Shurakai-Stock Nov 14, 2012  Professional Photographer
Alternatives for a reflector: $4 sheet of white foam core (used it on these shots); white pillowcase stapled/taped/clamped to a cheap second-hand photo frame; a nearby white wall (harder to use, since you have to take into account time of day as well as the direction of the wall, but it can be done); a white sheet held up by one or two (or three, or four) friends. People may laugh at you for your knocked-together DIY light modifiers, but they’ll stop laughing once they see the result (assuming you get it right; it might take you a bit of practice).
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