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Lady of the Manor

By col.campbell
Taken at the Creative Scotland event in Eglinton Park on Sunday (with thanks to Duncan Holmes), this was one of the first shots I took, on my first ever attempt at directing a model! More to come.

Model: Edmee Sierts
Clothes: Jane Faye

Thanks to everyone I met, especially the patient models and kind photographers who passed on tips and advice.

As for the photo itself, I know I got a bit excited at the shoot and started snapping away without thinking about it too much - in the first series of shots, using the lens wide open (f/1.8) hence it's a bit soft. Any other advice and tips is always greatfully received.

Tags: Fashion Product photography Portraits and people Edmee Sierts Jane Faye

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


TRUEX 11 218 10
20 Sep 2011 11:35AM
As no one else has had a go I will. Hope it helps.

Overall it's not good, firstly it's not flattering to the model with her head (the point of interest in my opinion if I'm shooting people) is stuck way up at the top of the shot and we are left with a load of dress and wall to look at. Try getting more level with your subject in this case.

The single arm is bad because having to support herself her arm is tensing and looking bigger than it should, the other arm should have been straight down so we can see it's there.

A better pose would have been sat on the step, then work on some variations of the rule of thirds as you look through the viewfinder, inc some head shots and wider shots, if you do some more model shoots try taking a few 'tear sheets' from magazines of pose's you like and concentrate on trying to acheive the shot.

Don't be afraid to move around your subject while shooting, don't stay on the same spot, do keep reviewing your shots as you go along, inc the histogram, this only takes seconds and will result in better work.

Hope my crit hasn't put you off shooting models

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paulbroad 10 123 1249 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2011 1:40PM
Basically you must master your camera. Check settings before you start and think what is best. f1.8 is far too wide for this sort of thing - you needed f8 at least. The girl needs to be nearer the right of the frame looking into space and a bit less exposure I think with focus on her eyes.

less exposure means even darker shadows and you will see most pros (And GOOD wedding photographers) using a burst of flash fill in this type of image. The on camera gun is quite good enough, but an external unit is better.

col.campbell 14 1.2k 4 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2011 6:08PM
Thanks for taking the time, guys.

I should have said, the point of the shoot was product photography, the product being the clothes. So the tendency on the day was for full-length shots attempting to showcase the clothes. I took a few close-ups to highlight specific details, but I doubt I'll upload any of those.

Of course, that's not to take away from the advice offered. Tear sheets, rule of thirds, advice on the pose and camera settings, all greatfully received. I deliberately went for a fairly cold white balance, thought it suited the models and the clothes and created a 'moody' vibe. Have I missed the mark there too?

All of the models were quite pale-skinned, and one was wearing makeup which made her even paler. I experimented with warming them up for a more flattering skin tone but then the colour of the dress (in this example) began to look dodgy. Is it relevant that most shots were taken in the shade, or is it just my post processing that's letting me down?

Thanks again.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2011 11:37AM

the choice of 1.8 was a bad one. firstly its usefull when you want really limited depth of field such as sharp eyes and nothing else and secondly its the last thing you want when you wish to display both a model sharp together with the clothes she is wearing. i concurr that 5.6 min or better f8 would have been significantly better and fill in flash would certainly have improved the rendering of the clothes and facial modeling.

the principle reason for fill in would be that here your models hair is in nice semi backlight with the face over bright yet this has left the remaining areas of body, particularly the legs and ankles in deep shadow pushed to underexposure.

the pose too is awkward. one arm cut off altogether and the one in view twisted at a strange uncomfortable angle . the main line of the body is near the left side of frame with negative space to the rear. better with space in front to look into.

the lighting is coming in from the rear, leaving her in semi shade and this can be nice around the hair etc but is working against you and you may have been better placed around the other side.

hope this helps
col.campbell 14 1.2k 4 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2011 8:16PM
Thanks Phil. I did use flash later on in the shoot, but that's something I've definitely yet to master.

Now, other than getting out there and trying it, I can see that flash would have helped with the clothes and feet, but wouldn't it have overexposed the model's face to the point of burning-out? Or can a situation like this be handled with flash if used sparingly? (Sorry if the question seems silly, I'm a complete novice at both portraiture and flash)
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2011 10:14PM
the models face is on the edge of overexposure, but then you have no light source from this side. technically you have overexposed yet left dark areas in shadow. if the exposure was adjusted for fill in flash to suit the flesh tones, the light source would be directional and affect the whole of the scene. the clothes would still be darker but would catch some light. at the moment, its the meter reading attempting to turn the whole thing 18% grey , in doing so its chosen to overexpose skin tones in an attempt to lighten the darker clothes. a spot meter reading off the face would be more accurate and then use the flash set to fill in . this is not intended to overpower the exposure, but just to blip a a level of light in there (less than the base exposure) to simply add light to the shadows.

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