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honest Critique wanted

Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 9:55AM
I hope I'm not breaking any rules here by posting my website again?

What I'd like to ask for rather then feedback to my website, is feedback to the wedding photo's on there, the website won't be active for much longer as it's just a free trial but I'd really like to know how to improve my wedding photography.

I'm going to try and take up someone's suggestion to me to try and get a mock wedding shoot together i.e get some friends to be models and then beg the vicar at my local playgroup to lend me his church but I want to be fully prepared before I do this, i.e know where I'm going wrong etc, so if you don't mind could you please be blunt and give me your honest critique on my images.

the link is my website

thanks in advance

meercat 12 278 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 10:18AM
Hi Debbie, I'm no expert (and have never taken pics at a wedding) but if you want some honesty, here goes:

In some of your images the whites seem blown out (there is no detail in the sky in some or the white clothes in others).
The white balance in a couple seems too green to my eyes, the pic of the two boys with the balloon shows this quite well, but is a really well framed image, and I like the shot other than the green colour cast.
And there is some heavy noise in the second to last shot of the couple.

I like the framing in most of the shots apart from the one of the couple with the church in the background as the little bit of sky in the top right really distracts me.

Anyway, keep up practicing and I hope I haven't offended you in anyway Grin
Toonman 14 1.4k 2 England
19 Mar 2010 10:25AM
Hi Debbie.

What Meerkat says about blown highlights is correct. Weddings are very difficult to get correct exposure in as the wedding dress is usually brilliant white whith the rest of the picture in the dark tones. The camera often over compensates for the darker tones and over exposes for the dress. Try to spot meter on the dress or dial in some negative compensation. The wedding dress is the most important item to get right.

jimthistle73 17 2.4k 1 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 10:36AM
Didn't notice the colour cast issue but might if I went back for another look Smile

(Edit - just had another look and can't see any green-ness, but haven't calibrated my laptop for a year or so....)

I did notice some softness on a few of the images though - especially the portrait of the little girl - have a look at her eyes. That's pretty basic. Agree also with the noise thing - some of those last few are very noisy, and not in a 'good grain' kind of a way.

Timing is everything - there's one group pic which quite honestly, seems to be a picture of nothing at all - there's nowhere for the eye to settle - no point of focus.

The blown out dress isn't necessarily a problem if it's done deliberately (seems to be a popular look now, for better or for worse) but it needs to be part of a consistent, processed look and I don't think it is here.

Honestly? I really tried hard to find a picture about which I could say something positive. I wouldn't reccomend the mock up a wedding idea - better to spend a year or so accompanying a pro - perhaps in the next county to your own - and learning how to use your kit effectively. Then you can think about learning about the business side of things.

Sorry - I had similar critique when I first started - it was a bit like being punched hard in the stomach, but it was honest and made me have a good, long, hard look at my photography, and that was after four years of studying it at college and uni.
cameracat 17 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
19 Mar 2010 10:39AM
As both Adam & Ashley have pointed out " Blown Highlights " seems to be an area of concern.

Areas to help with that are, " Metering " using different parts of the scene to evaulaute the light, Then a certain amount of experience to perhaps dial in some " Under Exposure " to compensate, As mentioned.

Another way is to actually take more direction to ensure that for example, If its a horribly bright ( Sun High in the sky, Little or no cloud ) day, You position your subjects in a more favourable location, ie: Take charge of the show....!

Keep an eye open for what is in the background that may help or hinder the shot, Maximize use of " Apertures " to either blur out the background or include it, Dependant on situation, ie: In bright light conditions you seem to use a small aperture, Fine but that means you also include in some detail a lot of background distractions.....Something to bare in mind all the time your shooting.

Finally, You really do have to master the use of flash, It may not be your first choice for a shot, But if the situation demands it will be your best friend.....OR your worst enemy if you do not have full contorl over it......Wink

Concure with Jim....Some image are a tad soft, You really need some better lens......!!!
newfocus 15 647 2 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 10:42AM
I think you'd improve these by concentrating on making more use of the creative potential of an SLR. In particular, there were some distracting backgrounds that could be lessened by shorter depth of field and one or two where the focus point didn't seem to have been controlled to best effect (e.g. shot of baby where the focus was on the hand rather than the eyes).

It might be worth practising some short DOF portrait work in aperture priority with manual focus. Learning to pick the right autofocus point quickly and keeping it on the critical point of the shot while composing the rest of the frame around it can really make a difference too.

Some of the shots (e.g. people with hats) lacked catchlights in the eyes. Firing a little bit of flash would help with this and is an easy addition to the shot which adds some life.

I'm not a wedding photographer either BTW so if any wedding pros disagree - take their advice instead Wink
ripleysalien 14 1.2k 11 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 10:47AM
All I can add is watch your back grounds, look then look again for distractions.
stevenb Plus
17 281 7 England
19 Mar 2010 11:00AM
Hello Debbie
Sorry if my way of expressing things comes out a bit blunt but hear goes.
First composition , in some images you are in to close , eg you've cropped off the top of the Bouquet as the bride throws her flowers over her shoulder. I like your different view point in an other similar where you can see who's going to catch the flowers but maybe it should be a female catching them . ( think that the idea}
Check for expressions , eyes closed, also the image where the brides going to kiss the groom her chin looks uncomfortable.
In your portraits of children I'd try if possible get down to their eye level
Once again Debbie hope this may of helped , I'm not very good a putting everything into written words & you understand where I'm coming from .
Wishing all the success

arhb 13 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 11:14AM
I think it's all been said above really, so what I would add is to do a workshop in wedding photography - it will give you some great ideas and boost your confidence.
Lovegrove have a very good reputation, and I'm sure there are others, which are worth investigating.
Debbiee 14 136 6 United Kingdom
19 Mar 2010 12:54PM
Thank you so much, these are the kind of answers I was hoping for, I need to know where I am going wrong in order to improve, and I am in no way offended by any of your answers they are honest views and thats what I need, I don't want to put myself out there and get a reputation for being a rubbish/average photographer, when I feel ready to jump I want people to say wow, and by coming to you lot (photographers) I am showcasing my work to probably the harshest of critiques and when I get to that level where I believe photographers on this are are honestly going to say wow thats when I'll feel ready (maybe never then lol).

I've just dragged my son out to try a few of the techniques mentioned here i.e low dof, fill in flash and spot metering, ignoring compositional aspects as he isn't the easiest of kids to pose (being only 18 months) could you let me know what you think sorry to keep asking but I really want to improve my techniques

Thanks again

cameracat 17 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
19 Mar 2010 1:11PM

Quote:to probably the harshest of critiques

To true, So its a brave move in a good and positive direction, Though most will agree we tend to be our own worst critics......Sad

A course such as Andrew has mentioned could pay dividends, You'll not only learn some technique, But aslo pick up some great ideas on composition etc etc.

My last piece of advise would be to train a decent assistant to work with you, Someone to do the running around arranging group shots, Holding reflectors etc etc, A decent assistant is a great bonus as it helps take some pressure of you, Leaving you time to concentrate on the job in hand.

The thing with weddings is, Its all to easy to get caught up in the fracas of the day, You need to be focussed, Have a plan to work to, And be a bit bossy if needs be....Smile

Whatever, You have the right attitude, If its whats you want to do, Go for it.....!!!

Good luck......Wink
ade_mcfade 17 15.2k 216 England
19 Mar 2010 1:43PM
1 - you've got the subject right at the edge in many shots, try to give them a bit more room than that, on or around the 1/3 line being best

2 - go easy on the zoom, you can always crop a wider shot, you can't do a right lot when you've zoomed in too much

have fun Smile
f8 17 9.2k 22 England
19 Mar 2010 4:12PM
Echo ade's comments.

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