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Sooty_1's Activity

Sooty_1 > Sooty_1's Activity

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Photos:13
Forum Topics:2
Forum Comments:1196
Photo Comments:1171
Competition Entries: 0
Modification Uploaded: 143
Pants are Overrated

Pants are Overrated by nicholeh

For me, the problem lies with the lighting initially. There isn't enough of it. I'm guessing the lights are quite a way from the subject, causing uneven illumination (hotspots on the child's head) and lack of wrap round (blotchy skin tones), plus a dull grey backdrop. The camera is compensating for the white background, so if you can use spot metering, it will be more accurate as long as you use a mid-toned target, eg the babygro here.

You need to get the light with the softbox much closer, and just above the child. Use the other light to blast light on the background, to make it 2 -2.5 stops brighter than the child if you can, to make it pure white. Use a reflector to bounce light back under the child's chin, though the white paper will help if you get the key light close...ie just out of shot. A good place for the softbox is directly above the camera, centrally or slightly off to one side.

Dark skin is harder to photograph, but even illumination will help, as babies skin is usually pretty smooth and takes soft light well. You might also consider giving the child something to do or hold, or change the position, as it looks uncomfortable and bored, plus a nappy bulge isn't very flattering!
A pile of white towels, or cushions, covered by a sheet gives a softer seat and potential for more interesting poses.

You're right, it is flat, and the explanation above will help, but more light is a must, otherwise you're trying to bring back an image without all the information you need, and quality will suffer as a result. Plus, more light will allow a faster shutter speed to capture fleeting moments better.

Nick

Ibiza Lighthouse

Ibiza Lighthouse by TOMMYBOY

Welcome.

Modern (professional) photography is about so much more than taking the picture, and even if you don't edit the final versions yourself, you need to know how to get a shot that contains the information needed to bring out the best image.
Aperture should allow you to get on the road, and it's a pretty decent package.

This shot shows an eye for composition, but the weather looks pretty flat and dull. You have to ask yourself why convert it to b&w? Just converting to monochrome won't help poor light....so many people think b&w is a fall back for lousy conditions and all you get is a dull monochrome picture instead of a dull colour one.

What you need for black and white landscapes/seascapes is good, directional light, that will bring out the textures of the rocks, give you a full range of tones and give the scene depth. The flat grey here does you no favours, and while I accept holiday shots are often taken on a limited timescale, you would have been better off coming back when the light was better, preferably with the sun fairly low in the sky.

That said, the construction is pretty good, and the brooding feel suits the mood, but I think you would have more to work with if you added a little more exposure. Some of the shadows are quite blocky on my screen, and you could increase contrast a lot if it was lighter. It's often a good idea to shoot at different exposures if you aren't going to get another opportunity, as it increases your chances later on of getting the best out of the image. Better to try differences at the time of shooting, than realise later you didn't nail that once in a lifetime shot.

The settings you used aren't bad, but at 18mm you don't need such a small aperture for front to back sharpness, especially as nothing here is critically close to the camera...f/8 would have been fine, you could have added a stop of exposure and still gone up to 1/250 sec for easier handholding, though a tripod would have been even better. Bracketing under and over the indicated exposure increases your chances, and here would have meant getting a lighter picture to play with.

Keep shooting though, you will keep learning if you pay heed to good critique (not just family and friends saying "nice picture"). The most important thing though, is to be self-critical. Learn to see your work objectively and find the faults for yourself (wonky horizons, under and over exposure, unsharpness and so on) before others find them. As you develop the skill, you will filter out mistakes and see them as you make them, allowing corrective or preventative action earlier.

Nick

Brick Lane

Brick Lane by LouiseElizabeth

I would have preferred not to see the human element at all.
The geometry is good, and I don't think it needs cropping, but you could perhaps lighten the horse slightly to bring it out of the gloom of the stable. Maybe just a levels or curves adjustment would be enough, but selective dodging would also work.

I also think that this shot is a moment, you grab it, then consider how to improve it from there. If it disappears, or the various elements change, at least you will have one "in the can", but you must get the first one.

....and if you feel you must add a signature/logo, at least make it small and unobtrusive. This just draws the eye from the subject and spoils the image.

Nick

In the pinky

In the pinky by LouiseTopp

I'm guessing they're some sort of antirrhinum (commonly, snapdragon).

The picture shows you were more concerned with the subjects than with the background, unfortunately, it's an integral part of the image. Here, it's a bit messy, and the subject doesn't really stand out as such. It would have been better to concentrate one one flower head, and adjust your position to place it against a plain background...ie preferably just shade (so the sunlit flower stands out) or failing that, plain grass. You might also have used a larger aperture to try to blur the background, keeping the subject sharp. Either or both, you need to concentrate attention on just your subject, without giving the viewer distractions to look at.

Nick

PLEASE HELP!!!!

PLEASE HELP!!!! by MyOwnWonderland

The photographer makes the picture, the camera just facilitates the capture.

Your camera should be perfectly adequate for what you want to do, you need to learn to get the best out of it. Buying new equipment won't make you a better photographer.

I thought the picture was a composite at first glance, because the model and background look like they are lit from different angles, but the main problem is that the background is fairly well defined and competes with the model. It needs to be more blurred for the model to stand out from it.
The model herself is quite nicely lit, though a few crops spring to mind to tweak the 'feel' of the image, explored by others above.

Theres some promise in images like this, when executed well.

Nick

Rotting Time

Rotting Time by Roselyn

I agree...there is no sense of context, just a shot of a bin with stuff in it.

As far as the image is concerned, I'm afraid the whites look completely textureless, the wire of the bin is distracting, and the blur vignette is pretty awful. The conversion hasn't really worked out very well and it doesn't look particularly sharp.

I'm sure there is mileage in the concept, and there could well be pictures here, but this isn't one, and why black and white? I would have thought he best way to show decaying flowers would be by their muted colours contrasting with the green grass. Perhaps there is a perception the black and white is more "artistic", or that it deals with "serious" subjects better, but I think colour would be much better, maybe giving more clue to the concept. You need to show some of the graveyard if you want it to set the bin in that context.

Sorry.

Nick

My Mates Dad

My Mates Dad by paddyeds

In film days, we would have used a blue filter to really bring out the contrast and weathered lines in the subject's face. I think this just needs the same thing, digitally. The subject is great, plenty sharp enough and there is no extraneous detail, it just needs tweaking as it's a little flat, tonally.

It would certainly be interesting to see the original.

Nick

Street Darkness

Street Darkness by DiegoSuarezP

I feel this ought to tell a story, but somehow it just doesn't come out. I can't even make out what is behind the fence in the recess, and that is attracting my attention more than the whole picture.
If your intention was to show a dirty, rubbish filled, run down street, the mystery of the figure detracts from that. Why are they looking at it? Why sit there? Why is it so untidy? Mild mystery perhaps, questions but no explanations.

The flat conversion could really do with some drama adding... Dramatic light and higher contrast conversion would help give it some "oomph", but I'm not sure colour wouldn't be better for this one, perhaps muted a bit to give a slightly seedy, gritty feel. As it is, nothing stands out as a definite subject.
Settings?...I'm guessing it was pretty dark....I'm also guessing you wanted it darker than this though, but it has exposed as if it was daylight, rather than the dark of the title. Everything else is just about covered above, re composition etc.

I think for this picture to succeed, you need to bring something more out of it. The figure, the hole in the wall, or the environment, one of them needs more emphasis depending on what you are trying to say, and needs giving more prominence in the frame.

Nick

Shadows.

Shadows. by paulbroad

I'd probably crop it just above the tyres and exclude all the grass. It's a real shame the rest of the park is there behind.

Nick

beach sunset

beach sunset by bestefforts

By using HDR, you are compressing the tonal range, rather than extending it, so if your previous lacked depth, an HDR version will lack more. It allows more colours to be seen, at the expense of making them all similar brightness, and thus more flat-looking.

I think this would have looked much better half an hour later, as the suns brightness is what kills the shadow detail. Below the horizon, it would light the sky and define the clouds, without being a bright, blown highlight. On the other hand, there is no other real subject, but put your finger over the sun and see how it changes the image balance.

Nick

River Whitewater near Dreywell, England

River Whitewater near Dreywell, England by Sulco

This is the best scenario for the use of a polarising filter. It would intensify the colours and get rid of most of the reflections on the water, from this angle. It would give the image a lot more "bite".
Cutting out most of the sky is a good idea, and I might have been inclined to angle the camera down more, at a wider angle setting, which would have made the stones more prominent.

What you have, is effectively a set of radiant lines from the centre of the frame, drawing you in. The stones could be better defined....they are masked by the reflections...but without a polariser, there's not much more you could do. It might be an idea to try moving the vanishing point of the river around the frame, to see the changing effect, but otherwise, a pleasant summery rural scene.

Nick

Historical Hall

Historical Hall by hosak

It's a step up from a record shot. You've obviously thought about how you are going to process it, and how you want it to appear, and the HDR is competently done, but not overdone like so many others.

Just a personal thing really, I don't like it being "just out" of square. Either square it up in post processing, or make it obviously distorted. Another way, is to get further away if possible to get the camera back vertical, but you may not have had room in there.

Here, with a classic view of the window, I think it deserves to be righted. Someone will come along with a mod before I get to it, but otherwise a pretty good shot.

Nick

Hatton Locks

Hatton Locks by AndS

As Paul says, a decent record shot. Not overly exciting, and while the black and white treatment removes any dating clues, I'm not sure it suits the subject particularly well here, as there isn't much hard definition, or anything else, to give it a "wow" factor.
I'm guessing the green of the trees, and the greenly/brown water would stand out better against the grey and white of the stonework (which could be enhanced somewhat).
also, the half-bollard on the left shouldn't cut the frame edge.

All in all though, pleasant enough, and timeless, without being a "wow" picture. Different light may transform this though, depending on its orientation to the sun.

Nick

From the old and new age of steam

From the old and new age of steam by LouiseTopp

I think you might be limited by your software.

I can see your intent, but just having a blob of colour doesn't really work for me, plus I'm sure the loco would look better in colour (green?). Making the dayglo vests bright and the rest mono, makes the vests look like the main subject my eyes are drawn to them.
Perhaps if you want to make it look aged, you could fade the colours, or make it all mono with a sepia tone.

Unfortunately, the mono conversion isn't great either, and it really needs some localised tone control to bring out the details. Not sure if you can do this with your software?

Also, it doesn't look overly sharp, but that may be your uploading/resizing/resharpening process.

It's a nicely balanced shot though, and the small figures counter the size and power of the engine, but I think there's a better shot in here.

Nick

Silky way

Silky way by hosak

Whatever your intentions with the sky, I'm afraid it just looks overexposed, and as a result, somewhat dull and uninteresting. The peak would look more imposing if it was exposed better, and most of this is due to the flat lighting. There is no real drama, nor majesty in it, and looking at your exif, the overexposure isn't deliberate, more a byproduct of the high dynamic range between the sky and the shadows.

This isn't 'high key'...for that you would need to lighten everything, including the shadows, making the scene predominantly pale and reducing the dynamic range. By making the grass dark and the sky white, you are effectively increasing the dynamic range, ie the opposite.

The foreground also looks so much sharper, if you wanted the peak to be the main subject, you'd be better making it the sharpest thing in the frame, unless the filter effect has affected it. I'd be wary of using effects for the sake of it, as they rarely improve an image unless you want a specific look.

Sorry, but I can't think of many occasions when a featureless white sky would look good in a landscape, and the person's shadow looks more like a mistake than deliberate. As above, a more recognisable shape would be better , but this scene would look so much better in more dramatic light.

Nick

Colours of the rainbow

Colours of the rainbow by k2

The colours are caused by the stresses in the perspex material of the window, and slight polarisation of the light. You can exaggerate it by using a polariser, but I don't think it was caused by one here. You can see the effects much more clearly by using cross-polarisation with clear plastic objects, and by flexing them which causes the patterns to change.

Unfortunately, there are millions of pictures taken like this, it's not a special effect, nor unusual, and it really doesn't have a subject or anything very interesting to keep the attention. More a memory for you of the flight than anything else, it's really hard to get good pictures from an aircraft window. You need something to grab the attention....

Nick

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