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06/07/2011 - 11:46 AM

Fisher Kids

Fisher KidsI agree that the fish eye is very well used here. it crams a lot in the frame, but it all feels right. And despite the nice shallow dof, the bg still plays a part. Composition-wise I also find this quite strong. an inventive point of view, and having one subject up close while the others linger in the back, is something that often works very well with a wide angle. and this is no exception. still, composition-wise I changed a bit... cropped a slice off the top and off the rhs. but it doesn't make much difference. Also content-wise I very much like this photo. It's just kids goofing around, but it works here, in combination with the wide angle, and composition.
A few things let the photo down a bit though for me. lighting conditions seem to have been quite challenging. dark skinned subjects against a (very) bright bg (including the white boat). the boy in the fg is very well exposed I think, and allthough the kids in the bg could perhaps do with some facial dodging, they look fine too (well, their hair has become to black I thing, devoid of detail. this also could be improved in photoshop). some areas in the photo look overexposed though (the sidelines of the boat mostly). It's a bit of a shame, but it doesn't keep this from being a very good capture.
I'm not fond of the heavy sepia toning tbh. the mod shows - apart from the earlier mentioned re-crop - a much less toned photo.
My main problem is with the conversion. you really get a lot of 'double' outlines, halos around many parts of the photo (the kids in the bg, the foot of the boy in the fg, the roof of the boat. another good example is the small boat (?) in the middle of the water in the bg. It's more halo than boat.), something I find a bit off putting.
So again, a very good photo, that is let down a bit by certain things, mainly by the conversion method you used. It may perhaps be worthwhile to select certain areas of the photo, and work on them seperately, instead of converting the whole photo at once (which I assume you did here), to avoid these nasty side effects. The good thing is that you already have a good basic photo (congrats for that). And it only needs some more careful post processing to make it very good. Which I think is relatively easy to achieve.
05/07/2011 - 12:50 AM

thinker and the sitter

thinker and the sitterAt first I thought the color variant was "out of camera", so not really post processed. But I find the exif data so confusing. The noise really baffles me. As if the original was very much under exposed, after which you corrected the exposure in post processing, which then brought out the noise. or something in that line. Anyway, considering this was taken at 100 iso, I can't help thinking something went really wrong. And, consequently, I wonder why you felt it was necessary to take this photo at f/16.
Content-wise, I'm not that convinced either. It's a nice setting, and with the building and ship, something that I would see as an opportunity for a landscape/cityscape kind of photo in the first place. But for that to work, the people are a bit annoyingly in the way. You intended a go at a 'people' shot though, if the categories are anything to go by. But in that regard there is just too much 'randomness' going on. Sometimes this can work very well, like little pieces of different jigsaw puzzles, that, strangely enough connect with each other, and make for a new, interesting puzzle once put together.
But here you just end up with a lot of different pieces, that don't connect. In the end, you have a registration of what's going on at a harbor/dock/canal, but it's not really an interesting photo of what goes on. There are many people in the photo, yet none of them manages to hold my interest. And within this particular composition (where you included the top of the ship and the building), the lady in the front is a very distracting element. She's in the way. The pole with the buoy on the rhs also is strangely placed within the frame. You should have set up the camera like that, so that it was completely out of the picture, or include it completely.
despite the noise problem, I very much prefer the color version. I agree that the mono version has much more immediate impact, but, and excuse me if this sounds blunt (I merely will try to explain this by using a very strong ànd exaggerated comparison)... it is like the immediate impact a lavishly made up and dressed up drag queen would have on people, when standing beside the girl next door. Of course the former will have the immediate impact.
I think the mono conversion went way over the top. I saw in your pf that it is a style that you seem to like. But I wonder how you will look back on these conversions in say a year from now. the sky particular has a very unnatural, doomsday kind of feeling, with just clashes with the scene you capture. Besides, as you present this as a people's shot, it's maybe not the best idea to bring out the sky that much, as it will only pull the eye away from the people. And, when you go so much to the extreme with the sliders in post processing, you are bound to create flaws, such as the heavy pixellation in big parts of the sky. In this conversion, you seem to push the blacks a lot, and the whites as well. for the whites it shows very well in the t-shirt of the man in the back leaning against the railing. And you get a rather nasty 'cut out/pasted in' feeling on many of the people. Overall, the tonal 'balance' has disappeared. Of course if you really fancy this kind of conversion, then there is not much advice I can give, but in case you're still looking for a style, I can only advice you to stay away from such extremes when converting. Just convert the photo to a 'normal' greyscale, and, if by then the photo in that 'dull/flat' condition has nothing really interesting to offer/show, it is not really worthwhile pushing the conversion any further in my opinion. But if you do find something interesting within that flat/dull greyscale conversion of the photo, then don't push things so far that you basically make the interesting bit disappear under layers of heavy pp make up.
07/06/2011 - 1:50 PM

Untitled

Untitled+ love their 'poses'. a great mix of rawness and spontaneity. everything about it is very convincing
+ the use of flash (?), and the hard shadows that come with it, works very well for this kind of photo.
+ composition works very well for me


- that (big, black) framing is way too heavy handed and overpowering the image itself.
- not quite convinced by the choice to go slightly sepia for this. think i would prefer this in straight b&w.
- the shadow area is quite noisy. but it's not a fun stopper.

Overall love the idea. imagine these 2 girls to be two major stars from the music scene, imagine this photo of them on the cover of rolling stone... and idea wise it would be a fab cover.
02/06/2011 - 10:18 AM

Elvis + Alina

Elvis + Alinabeautiful pp work. especially like the colors. but, the crop doesn't work for me, not for a (posed) wedding pic like this one. the fact that the groom is clearly looking at the camera (= posing) after which his eyes get cropped out, doesn't help things. Maybe a crop like this works better in photos of a more impromptu nature. or, alternatively, if posed, then it might have worked better had the bride been leaning against his chest at a lower point, so you could lose all of his face. then it would have been more of a bride's portrait, with the body of the man playing a secondary part, rather then the double portrait it is now, with the face of the groom half cropped away
31/05/2011 - 11:53 AM

Scary Guy?

Scary Guy?the stark, holga like conversion works very well for this. You could have perhaps reduced the burn edges on the rhs a bit. the restaurant front is already very dark as it is, and I assume you added both vignette and burn edges in nik efex. On the rhs, and also a bit on top, this makes the blacks just too black. and you have to be careful with the sharpening this treatment renders to the image (quite a lot). Overall, it's okay here, just the wording on her apron has become oversharpened. It's not a big deal, but it's little things like that that give away that this is a 'digital' conversion, on a photo that you mean to give the appearance of an analogue shot photo. But again, overall the gritty conversion suits this very well.
It's a bit difficult to 'mod' this, as the current treatment is already quite extreme, so that leaves little/no room for alterations.
Content wise, I like this very much. in your last photo, people were walking/standing at a fair. here people are walking/standing on the sidewalk. the first one didn't really work for me, this one does.
guess in the end it's often a culmination of small things that make the difference. in the previous photo, things didn't culminate into something bigger. It just stayed a registration of people, with little more to offer. Here, little things make all the difference and add up to a strong mood piece, which wanders towards documentary. the combination of the hooded man, face partly seen (the fact that it seems like a 'rough', 'worn out' face certainly is an important factor), with the girl (that fag ! that glance!) really works. the girl could so easily have been an element that added little or nothing to the photo. but here, because she stands there the way she stands there, with that fag and glance on her face, she becomes a just as important character as the man. It gives the photo (in which regard your gritty conversion certainly helps) overall a 'mean streets'-feel. A down and out kind of place where no 'innocent' characters have a place.
I did do a mod, but I just cropped it a little, mainly to slightly emphasize the 'horizontal' character of the photo. So just to make it slightly more landscape-sized. and to lose the S in the upper left corner.
30/05/2011 - 8:52 PM

Fun at Adventure Land

Fun at Adventure Landquite like the overall composition. It's a chaotic scene, but all of the important elements are well placed within the frame. And the tilt is a positive imo, rather than a negative. it brings the scene more to life, renders it a certain dynamics that probably wouldn't be there had it been taken level.
what lacks a little for me is content. yes, it's a street capture, and yes, the element you point at in your description is there (kind of)... but it doesn't stand out. Just to give an example... had one of the blokes been wearing a spidey suit, there would have been some tension between fg and bg. Now it's too much just a registration of people at a playground. the difference between the fun of the playground and the seriousness of the people is a bit (too much) of a stretch, as it's not that apparent at all. I just see people casually strolling (and eating pizza Smile ) at a playground.
For me the strongest element in the photo can be seen in the mod. I believe it shows a bit more of that surrealism and wit that often makes street so special, and turns it into a real winner (assuming the original file allows for such a strong crop). here the emphasis shifts away from the people, towards the two stuffed animals, who have a surreal moment of intimacy/recognition/goodbye.
quite like the b&w conversion btw
25/04/2011 - 11:34 PM

The Actress

The ActressI quite like the 'pose' and the positioning within the frame.
It's not quite clear to me what you have done to the photo - would have been nice to see the original - so I'll have to make a few assumptions.
I also have some issues with the sharpening. In the fabric it's not so noticeable, but her face is a bit a mix of oversharpened areas, and 'smudged' areas. Is this a rather heavy crop of a bigger scene? Asking, because that is what the photo resolution, the sharpening mixed with blur areas, reminds me a bit of.
But perhaps my main niggle is how you tried to convert a documentary shot into a isolated portrait. As far as I can tell, that bg is added in postprocessing. Of course I'm assuming now, but I suppose that you found whatever the original bg showed to be distracting (which perhaps it was), and then went for this 'portrait ' instead (for which the pose and positioning work very well). But, for me this is a portrait without a bg. It's not really a black bg... it is no bg at all. like in the movies, when actors act in front of a blue or green screen, to which later a bg is added. You let them act in front of a blue screen, and then didn't add anything. even a portrait against a black canvas often shows shades, gradations, a hint of something in the bg. But here it's just total blackness. Furthermore, combined with the harsh sunlight on the lady's face, it makes for a very unnatural feeling portrait imo.
portraits of course work well with a quiet bg in which the subject is isolated. but here I don't see a bg. my advice... look for an angle, a place where you can achieve such a natural 'quiet' bg, rather than trying to 'fix' it in postprocessing with an unnatural feeling photo as a result. of course you'll miss a lot of shots. There will be frustration. but the ones you get right will look so much better and so much more powerfull. Or, if conditions permit, switch that 70-300 mm for a wide angle, get in real close, and just let the real bg play it's part in the photo.
16/03/2011 - 7:06 PM

Diana

Dianav2 is overall too yellow-ish I think. the color palette just feels more right in v1. the vignetting adds to it as well, although in the right bottom corner it takes away a bit too much detail (arm and table become one, at least on my screen) and brings out that bright outline around the pullover (even more). So that area needs a bit more work I think. Just to keep you busy Tongue
08/03/2011 - 7:21 PM

C L O S E C A L L

C L O S E C A L LV2 and V3 confuse me a bit regarding what exactly it is you want to show Ian. The good photo is V1, which works quite well as street photography. the light is very nice, but at the same time causes a problem, as the subjects are in the part the nice light doesn't reach anymore. Perhaps going there a bit earlier, will give better results light-wise.
The colorfull shops in the bg are a bit distracting for me, but I wouldn't convert this scene to b&w. I can see from v2 that it works very well for the man on the rhs, but you really need to keep the color to keep the juxtaposition between the man on the phone and the phonebooth. In mono, the booth just loses all its relevance, and the story, the beauty in the photo is in that odd juxtaposition between the man (on the phone) and the phonebooth. I also wouldn't consider selective coloring (desaturation). most of the time it just feels like filling a hole with a bigger hole.
In the end I must say I like the photo. It has one of those typical elements that defines street photography, in this case the aforementioned juxta position. It gives the photo that extra layer that makes it interesting, that takes it beyond a mere registration shot of a street/people in a street.
26/02/2011 - 5:21 PM

Cracked it

Cracked itit's definitely better Stewart compared to the last version. the banding is less noticeable, and its... rounder (in the previous version in the edges the banding lines went all crooked, where as here they remain nicely round, which bothers less), but it's still there I'm afraid. respect for keeping trying though. this must cost you a lot of time
28/09/2010 - 7:41 PM

H

Hhmmm... think you went a bridge too far with the birds Jo. for me it would look much better without them. it's not just that I don't entirely get why the birds are there, but technically this doesn't sit right either. they just feel pasted in
27/09/2010 - 3:36 PM

Life is a beach

Life is a beachsome good suggestions. the photo is very good as it is, but I find for example willie's first mod still an improvement. the conversion is good as it let's the folks pop out more, but... it also kind of ruined the sky, where I see an awful lot of banding/pixellation effects going on. It's something that often occurs when you have a large area with a very soft and gradual difference in tonality. I doubt it that the original shows this, but post processing often brings it out.
26/05/2010 - 6:32 PM

The Barber

The BarberThink Catherine basically said it. the scene most certainly is interesting, but you were pushing your luck with the contrasting light conditions.... from that distance. Obviously I don't know what was going on in your head, or all the circumstances surrounding the taking of the photo, but I have the feeling you were reluctant to go closer. If so, there was probably no ground for feeling reluctant. I suppose you also had the automatic mode on to assess the light. So your camera took the best possible middle road, which leaves you with a burned out sky, and an interior with the main subjects that is too dark (especially considering their already darker skin tone). And allthough - a bit surprisingly - they are not overly intrusive, the distance you kept also meant having the motorcycle mirrors in the picture. Again, not overly intrusive, but intrusive nonetheless. these things could have been easily avoided if you had gone in closer. You had that 18 mm lens, and even with the crop factor, it makes for a good wide angle. And, wide angles tend to make the viewer more connected with the subjects, as you really have the feeling to be in the middle of the scene. And in the process you would have avoided the problems the photo has now, with the overexposed sky, the underexposed subjects and the motorcycle that was in the way. I have a bit the impression though that you took this at somewhere between 70 and 105 mm.
I do rather like the b&w conversion btw. It's a decent photo, but I can't help thinking it could have been much better with a different approach. As things stand now, cropping, and then brightening the interior a tad is indeed the best way to go.
20/05/2010 - 8:57 PM

Inside Maternity

Inside MaternityI think you had a great idea with the shadow/silhouette, but I also think it worked out counterproductive. Somehow (for me) it becomes a bit a charicature, and makes her look huuuuge. A bit huger than she probably would want to be remembered. on the good side she has a lovely relaxed pose and she does make me think 'blimey, pregnant women can really look so pretty and healthy', but that is only when I disregard the 'amplifyer' the shadow is.
18/05/2010 - 11:10 PM

siiiii rehersal

siiiii rehersalthink it's rather good. the low angle works very well, as does the tilt. the dof with the focus on the sheet as well. allthough I'm not that sure about the composition. I mean, it's good, but my eyes aren't quite enough going towards the sheet. focus-wise it should go from the sheet to the band I think, but it's still the band that attacts my attention first, and the sheet only afterwards. So just wondering if it would have been that bit stronger with the sheet more towards the rhs. Not sure though
15/05/2010 - 5:03 PM

Courtney

Courtneydunno... not sure the texture adds much here. wouldn't mind seeing a before version. Also don't really think the grungy and almost glowing bg colors - which is an editing choice - go with the more natural look of the model. It's a bit too much of two conflicting styles in one picture. the texture still being on the model's legs just bothers (me) tbh.
It's quite eyecatching as a whole, so it should fare well, but I think it misses the mark
07/05/2010 - 12:03 PM

Defending

Defendingstrange shift in how this comes across, compared to that same viewpoint but in color. The color one had something cinematographic, whereas here it almost has something surreal, mainly because of the strong horizontal split screen feel you get. it almost makes it look like a dig.manip. image. very good again
29/04/2010 - 1:28 AM

Statue

Statuenot to sure about the texture merging with the model. it's a background texture and not an overlay (like scratches on a photo). in a sense it could be seen the merging of bg and model,oth in marble for example, but in that case the texture lacks depth. the bg becomes overlay, but not really on the skin of the model, just on the photo. apart from that it's top notch work
25/03/2010 - 11:04 PM

Smiler

Smilerfantastic photo. despite the modern cameras, there is something very much sixties about the scene; suppose that - apart from the suits - the cracking low viewpoint and the use of flash has something to do with it. And one doesn't really connotate it with a marriage. One rather expects this on the cover of time magazine with a large "The Kennedy's are in town" kind of headline. Even without the girl it's a good photo, with the girl it's outrageously good. Normally I should congratulate you for the HC, but I find this so good that the HC doesn't even do it credit.
03/11/2008 - 4:02 PM

Steam pilot

Steam pilotfor once I'm very disappointed by one of your photos. the medium version felt already a bit strange on that rhs outline of his face and with that (burned ?) streak behind him, but at least it feels more or less compact. Large just falls apart for me with the overall noise which I don't find pleasing looking at all here, particularly in his face. that outline still feels like a sloppy PS marking job and that brighter streak in the bg still very much bothers and just feels well... burned. and then there seems to be motion blur in his eyes.
The scene itself is great, but it seems to me you tried to salvage something that is beyond salvaging.