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02/07/2013 - 10:23 PM

Cassie Jade

Cassie Jadehi,
firstly the important stuff, the model is beautiful , clearly knows her sense of body shape and expression and has been captured with a nice neutral flesh tone, good pose with a suggested diagonal and the whites in her skirt have been handled exceptionally well.

compositionally i actually like negative space and have no issue with the fact that she is well over to the right, she is facing the right way into shot which helps but i feel that the whole of the arm should have been included instead of breaking the right side of frame.

after this we have a few problems, some shadow blocking on the edge of face which looks really strange on my monitor and the background has really distracting and unattractive bokah top left of frame. the background is as important as the subject and woodland can be tricky to get an even drop. i am unsure of your metadata as its hidden but a very wide aperture may have thrown the bokah into better shapes and the greens could be desaturated slightly in hue and sat.

on a shoot like this ,its a good tip to test shot the backdrop at different settings and angles before bringing the model into frame

beautiful basis of a shot but i am unsure that the background does the model justice

best regards
Phil
21/06/2013 - 10:35 PM

Bosham II

Bosham IIi am sorry to be negative but this is a good scene probably well taken in nice sunset conditions and it has not benefited from the processing in my opinion.

hdr is a powerful tool when there is a large dynamic range but has left this image looking overcooked when a straight exposure with nd grads or a blending of two exposures (one for sky and one for water) would have given a much more natural and attractive look.

a base exposure like i describe can be further enhanced by layer multiplication and graduated layer masks to add drama without losing quality.

in this the saturation in the boats and the suns reflection in the water is excessive. if hdr is your thing and thats the way you like to go to dramatise the sky etc, then tune it down a bit by using finer settings, reducing the saturation a little and you could try blending the hdr version with an original version and using the opacity slider to reduce the effect slightly.

regards
Phil
21/06/2013 - 10:17 PM

Stormy Banks

Stormy Bankshi,
thats such a spectacular sky i am wondering if the all the foreground is adding anything overall to the image.
as a viewer i am constantly drawn back to the fantastic rays of light spilling across the loch so i think id suggest cropping into a pano format. the foreground detail is not strong enough to stand up top the strength of the top half or have sufficient link or lead to the mid distance to make it essential as an element.

i am not too sure how you processed the image but with the huge contrast range you have there, i suspect there may be an element of hdr or exposure blending and for my taste the foreground looks a little pushed in places/

stick with the sky and water, everything you need is there and its really nice

best regards
Phil
27/05/2013 - 11:02 PM

Desperate

Desperatehi
has possibilities i think.

i think maybe selecting the gaps at the top and where the canopy shows through on the horizon line and put in some other strong blue sky detail to lose the stark white areas . they are strong and competing with the main subject. then, go for a contrasty mono conversion and watch it pop then, start with the red channel and you should get something quite graphic. those roots are really quite strong as an element in a mono image but are not so graphic in dull brown tones of natural colour.

there just might be a belter in there trying to get out
regards

pHIL
01/05/2013 - 10:45 PM

Stone Statue

Stone Statueits a touching figure / statue but the lighting is a bit contrasty on the background and mid body areas leaving a lot of distractions to compete for attention with the main subject of the statue.

given the metadata of wide aperture and long lens i am perhaps confused as to why the background is at least as sharp as the statue. i am not sure of the circumstances and conditions to see how you could get separation but some differential focus so that the statue is sharp and the bg more diffused would have worked much better, i also think a little more space above may have been beneficial.

i think there is a good basis of a shot here and well worth pursuing the idea.

regards
Phil
01/05/2013 - 10:33 PM

Beauty of the Beast

Beauty of the Beastyep, its a bit deep this one, deep i can come to terms with if it works well and parts of this do and parts do not seem to for me.

i cant really say where to go with it because its pretty experimental but it looks more like an idea thats not been finalised somehow. id see it as a starting point to move on from.

i see a beauty inside, peering through the outer surface which presumably she is unhappy with.

the face bits are good, the hair looks way wrong as if its been stuck on top or badly layer masked and the patterned area under the chin too strong to allow the face to win through. the dress in stark mono dosnt seem to stack up with the rest.

i think id have tried to get the projection which is over the face more into the hair too at a lower opacity and reduced the effects under the chin and hand toned in the dress with an opaque colour brush. - maybe.

somethings there but not complete to my eyes. its all subjective, it may be your favourite ever, if so keep it as it is, its your call

Phil
01/05/2013 - 10:21 PM

Anna

Annahi and a warm welcome to epz.

this is a well taken picture with a 20s feel, there is some nice quality in this image, bits i like a lot and some nice "Harlow" treatment in the lighting. some really nice sharp areas too.

there is i think a bit of a purple or magenta caste in the skin tones and maybe the eyes are a little over white and the lips a little over saturated. they are easy to correct in photoshop.

i thought you might possibly have gone for a more desaturated (semi hand tinted look) to give that period feel and a small tip is not to shoot up at a lady because looking up into nostrils isnt always a good thing Wink

that apart its a super upload.
Phil
27/04/2013 - 10:25 PM

Body of Work

Body of Workthe ideas really good and so is the title, there are a few things happening like this on the salon circuit right now as the big hitters are looking for a new magic formula.

i have no negatives regarding tones and exposures but maybe the body parts aught to flow in a more positional way.

but the main thing i would suggest is the spacing. for this to work under scrutiny, the spacing needs tidy lines that intersect and with gaps that match between. ie typically the bottom left image needs to be slightly lower and across to the right to align with the right vertical edge of the shot above. the centre image needs to be central in the gap with its left edge in alignment with the bottom image and so on. if the geometry is good then there is only the subject to consider.

that said i think its a good image and a style that has a lot of potential. you could even try to overlap some of them for more effect. or place the abstracts over a desaturated image of the whole

Phil
23/04/2013 - 10:59 PM

Robins roost

Robins roosthi,

from your metadata, it looks as if you are using a zoom wide open and full stretch which will give you minimal depth of field, a iso setting that subject to your particular camera may be a quality compromise and it looks as if this has been heavily cropped which is also a shortcut to loss of quality.

there is no real need for the bird to be this large in frame and the closer you get the less depth of field you will achieve. better to back off slightly, and attempt to isolate the bird against a bg that will easily throw into out of focus to lose detail and distractions.

i do not like taking my d300s Nikon past 500 iso for birds and like to keep any zoom just short of its extremes and at least 1 to 2 stops down from wide open as most lens have a sweet area and its pretty much always not wide open at full reach.

your speed was ok at 400 and if supported you may have got away with a robin at slower but most small birds are pretty twitchy and its hard to freeze them. usually some quality light helps give some contrast in the feather detail and brings the picture more to life.

its no good pretending its easy to get sharp birds particularly all over but in general the beak and eye must be pin sharp. its no secret that serious birders generally invest in prime lenses as they perform much better and often have wider apertures than zooms that areactually usable.

also dont forget that direct from camera your picture may need some levels adjustment and sharpening to achieve a satisfactory upload.

best regards
Phil
16/04/2013 - 8:05 PM

Wier going wrong.....

Wier going wrong.....im a little torn on this one, i like the basis of the shot and i do think mono was the best way to go but like Willie i think overall the mono conversion is just a little harsh and high in contrast. that apart you did marvelously well to manage to retain the highlight detail in the central white water and even better to make an exposure hand held at 1/20 sec.

to be honest, i am not over keen on the overhanging branches, i like clean cut compositions without distractions and i think you may have struggled to keep them out of your composition. but it would have been so much better without.

would have been nice if you could retain the contrast in the white central band but reduce in the remaining darker tones. you could do this by blending two separate conversions with a layer mask

regards
Phil
Barrio de La Boca, Buenos Airesinteresting this, its the most obvious view to include the whole of the structure showing the faded elegance but would an abstract of a part of the image actually say more.

its a difficult decision but there will inevitably be difficulties in getting detail in the sky and building, (although here i think the whole exposure is slightly over and a reduction would have retained more sky detail.) We have some kind of column detail showing signs of distortion to the right side and its in a position where it may be difficult to correct.

id have either gone out wider to show the whole of the building within its surroundings or cropped in tighter to show the urban decay. i think inclusion of the figures was a good descision

its a really interesting subject and such a shame that magnificent buildings and residential areas in general are in such decline but its just the same in areas of the UK.

Phil
08/04/2013 - 8:32 PM

Hills over Spelga

Hills over Spelgahi,
i like the mid distance and distance and the recession in the hills. the leading line through the composition is helping to tie it all together.

for me, the foreground is doing nothing and isnt really sharp. also the contrast isnt there, you can see that if you look at the histogram the dark side (left) needs dragging inwards or as the mod i did with a curve, drag the black across and push the highlights up a tiny bit to bring things to life.

in the mod i increased the contrast, cropped the base and bottom right corner to get the line to spring from the bottom right corner and cut away the dam type structure which was pulling my eye away from the lead in line. the crop resulted in a more pano view which i hope you like.

best regards
Phil
25/03/2013 - 9:05 PM

Three

Threei love the subject and the textures are great but i wonder if the main interest is in the panel with the figures and if a stronger shot would have resulted from a tighter crop with vertical format on just that board. im finding the panel on the base distracting a little.

its a great idea but i think simple though it is it needed a considered approach to the composition
Phil
19/03/2013 - 10:20 PM

B & W Seascape

B & W Seascapehi,
great location and subject with a classic composition.

the ten stop effect is fine and the welding screen worked well but no matter how much the nd filter, the sky still needs holding back with nd grad filters as demonstrated here with the over exposed areas
in fact the sea also looks a little over exposed in parts.

when composing with graphic elements such as these, it helps if you can get really lower and get the rails to break the horizon into the sky zone which helps to link the foreground with the distance.

i think a trim off the base up to that first horizontal line would make the proportion of sea to sky more harmonious. certainly having a greater area of sky was right as the streaking is nice, shame it wasnt held back 3 stops or so.

its a nice arrangement and one to be proud of but i think if you have the raw id try and pull the highlights back a little
Phil
06/03/2013 - 10:10 PM

Missed flight

Missed flighthello,
this is really a nice bit of image seeing and a super mono conversion with a great range of contrast and tones. much more to be said by the abstact than the whole. i like the choice of depth of field too, just enough of the image is sharp yet the rest is interesting enough to make the tunnels between the seat legs interesting.

i wouldnt do much to it, maybe a slight crop off the top to the top of the seat to tighten the composition and lose the highlights of that bag strap top right corner, and clone out that highlight band centre between the feet.

love it as a subject, you could do a series of these from the same seat.

best regards
Phil
27/02/2013 - 10:21 PM

The Wall

The Wallso do i , it is a strong lead and has the added bonus of the snow. think there could be a little too much sky as its dragging me up there, its acting like two shots, one at the top and one at the bottom.

the more i look, the more im thinking a lower viewpoint on the wall an d a horizontal format may have worked too. as it is id takle the sky down to the top of the peak on the top right.

nice contitions , lovely scene and well exposed with a great depth of field control. also t was great touch framing the composition cleanly into the bottom right corner with the diagonal leading line.

Phil
27/02/2013 - 10:14 PM

Self portrait.

Self portrait.hi
i like the expression, great and moody, smiley faces are just happy snaps, this says more. especially with that super beard.

wish you had had worn a red or deep blue bandana or similar to hold the top down. the negative space out right side is good and also gives you the option of adding textures or even compositing a background in another version. ask Chase about this she is the business with this type of faffing. i like her mono conversion too but it would be nice to a have a smokey, or chalky texture to add another element. im keen to keep the shape of the shirt and shoulder though

if we are keeping things coloured id suggest going into "hue and saturation", select reds and reduce the saturation a little in the face, it is a bit over red as said above. also, exposure wise, if you are going to use flash and not low light, and there is no apparant reason to have limited depth of field from a creative pov (its a direct on portrait that needs eyes and beard to be sharp and the background is not one that needs throwing out of focus) , id suggest about f8 to f11 and put distance between you and the backdrop so as to get maximum detail in the face anbd beard and as little as poss in the bg.

just a minor minor touch, crop up the right so the sleeve springs direct from the corner. little detail but it all adds.

best regards
Phil
27/02/2013 - 9:57 PM

Portrait in the woods

Portrait in the woodshi,
nice modern approach to portraiture, its amazing how many are taken horizontally when just a few years ago they would have been a rarity and almost exclusively been vertical.

i dont mind negative space, in fact im a big advocate of it, but i do think you could have moved around slightly to include slightly more on the right side and just a little less on the left.

the decision to go mono was a good one, it can turn a family shot into a serious image done well.
i think some bits are a bit over contrasty, the hat and the face is quite bright but a little work could put these to rights. if all else fails you could selexctively paint here and there with a black soft edge brush at a low opacity, done on a duplicate layer you can then tune to suit. its probably worth trying a few different channel mixes for the conversion to see if this is the best one you can get.

the eyes are nice and sharp and i love the way the hat frames the face

best regards
Phil
24/02/2013 - 10:04 PM

Sea-motion

Sea-motionhello and welcome to epz.
the sea is a wonderful thing to photograph, constantly changing and moving, gives endless possibilities.

there are bits i really like about this shot, and bits im not so sure about so il try to explain.

banding the composition is fine, its difficult to do well direct facing the sea with no dioagonals what so ever but it can create contrast problems, the sky here being significantly brighter than the sea. the result is that the sky is brighter than it probabably looked at the time of taking, the best option with this is to use a neautral density graduated filter to hold back the brightness of the band of sky and even out the exposure to give you a better representation of what you see at the time.

given that you have this, i have to ask does it need the sky or could it be cropped off to concentrate on the sea.

using a foreground to link the front with the mid distance and into the distance is definately a good thing to do, but here the wet rocks with black tones and brightened by flecks of bright coloured seaweed are sinificantly more interesting than the dull rock on the base line and i wondered if you could have repositioned to use this black wet ridge more effectively.

although not a problem at all, the 55 mm focal length is an unusual choice for a sea scape, the wider end being used more often and easier to create the lead in lines which the wider angle tends to exagerate. similarly, the f22 setting is getting past the best zone or sweet spot of your lens and with a wider angle and a setting of f11 to f16 you may be happier with the results and in turn this permits a slightly faster speed if you are handholding which will make camera shake more avaoidable.

so i love the black wet rocks with sea weed, the spray breaking into threads above the rock, the rolling waves.

not so sure about the pale uneventful sky and the foreground rock

its not a bad shot, just showing you a different way to think it through

hope this helps.
Phil
19/02/2013 - 9:50 PM

In Memory of our Heroes

In Memory of our Heroeslooks like a serious departure from your usual genre and thats good, making a shot your own is always good. composite work is really intersting, im just getting into it myself and its a steep curve but worth the effort. can be frustrating too

if im being honest and without detracting from your efforts, maybe there is a bit too much going on in one image,
the flag bits good and well placed, the soldier and medals fit well in the opposite corner but the flowers, stars and text are all competing a bit for attention without one single element being dominant.
i think i may have subdued the background colours some, faded out the text with the opacity slider and either layer masked the hero to bring him to the front or extracted him and pasted him on top, blurred his edges to make the extraction less sharp and tied him into the rest with an overlayed simple texture.

if its among your first efforts then i think you are on the right track, have the right sort of ideas and it will come together for you, the more you do