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Local Graffiti

By austinallenatl
Took this photo in Atlanta. Some minor tweaks in Lightroom but I'm trying to get some critiques. One of my concerns is whether or not the graffiti itself is sufficient for a subject or should I have included something else such as a person or object? Also I am unsure about how I should color grade this or whether or not it is too saturated. Thanks

Tags: Critique Street Beginner Graffiti Abstract Atlanta

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Vambomarbleye 5 153 14 Scotland
6 Oct 2017 6:33AM
Great image, nice colours, well exposed. As a record shot of the mural it does the job well.
I understand, however your concern about "sufficient subject"
There have been a great many shots of murals and sculptures etc posted recently and I think that a lot of them are just that, A record of the work of another artist, which, and this is only my personal opinion, does not necessarily make a great photograph. Abstract...I visit the Louvre and take a photo of The Mona Lisa. That's all it is, a record of another (Great) artist.
I think, and again, personal opinion, to make the work your own, you have to include "something" else. Doesn't need to be a physical object, it could be lighting or processing etc.
Again, just my humble opinion.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.3k 2536 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2017 8:54AM
Hi Austin, welcome to ePHOTOzine, I see that you have just joined us. I hope you'll enjoy it here, and find it useful, it's a very friendly site and a good place to learn.

You ticked the critique box, which disables votes and awards but invites more in-depth commenting. Thanks for letting us know your thoughts and queries about the image, I wish more people would do that! Looking at a couple of points you make:

Quote:One of my concerns is whether or not the graffiti itself is sufficient for a subject or should I have included something else such as a person or object?

There's no single answer. I love street art when it's good, creative, vibrant, wen it adds something to the urban environment. And I love photographing it, which is a separate matter. When photographing artwork - sculpture, street art, architecture - I see it as being about creating your own image, that's still faithful to the spirit of the original.

The joy of public art - graffiti, sculpture etc - is that the public can relate to it, and often interact, without being aware of doing so. Watch people adopting the same pose as a sculpture or painted figure, it happens a lot... So yes, including people in an image can be good. But it's not essential. A few other things to consider:

Look for a composition that you can isolate from the 'bigger picture'. Something that creates an image in its own right, that you would frame and hang on your wall.

Decide whether to include context, such as the bottom of the wall and pavement, or not.

Consider your focal length. You used your widest angle here, I don't think that works unless it would genuinely be dangerous to step backwards. Move back, extend your lens, look close rather than wide.

I shall try a couple of cropped modifications to illustrate, they will appear in a little while under the blue Modifications button below your image, click on that button and then on the number to view.

Quote:Also I am unsure about how I should color grade this or whether or not it is too saturated

It does look oversaturated to me. Could you upload the original please? Again go to the blue Modifications button, then Upload a modification.

And now I'm off to see what I can do...
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.3k 2536 United Kingdom
6 Oct 2017 9:11AM
OK, back again. I've uploaded five modifications - NB, I uploaded your original as well, ignore that one...

I lightened shadows slightly and knocked back saturation by 10%. I also dodged the scrap of litter on the ground - if it's going to appear, let people see it. Then just crops...

I was trying to get inside the artwork, rather than standing back and looking at it from a distance. Does that make sense?

Consider using portrait for something like this, it draws the eye upwards whereas landscape draws the eye sideways. I only used landscape for the last crop, and there because of the 'horizon' effect at the top.

Also consider using a square crop for any abstract subject. Square creates its own space and allows the eye to explore more freely, it doesn't instruct us to view up and down or side to side.

I hope we'll see some more from you!
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1947 England
6 Oct 2017 9:55AM
And welcome from me, too, Austin.

Moira's said most of what I want to say - my only addition is about the composition, which Moira's sort of addressed in her mods.

Having a great subject (which this is) isn't enough for a great picture. You need to fill the frame in a way that allows the viewer to take a journey of discovery around the image. There needs to be soem sort of a visual story, and this often works better with a telling detail, rather than 'getting it all in' - this is so often the way with landscapes, where a long lens can show much more character in a place than a wideangle does.

I'd go for that face myself - but Moira's shown a variety of different ways to view the scene in her mods.

As this is yoru first upload, I can't refer to your other pictures to see if there's a general way of seeing in them: nor have you said what level your photography is at - beginner? Experienced? That sort of information will help us give appropriate feedback, without either confusing with too much deep technical detail - or teaching grandmother to suck eggs!
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1947 England
6 Oct 2017 10:43AM
I've added two mods - one simply cropped, and one with the colours messed around a bit - not natural, but possibly suitable for the image?
banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4314 Canada
6 Oct 2017 3:04PM

You have some good feedback already. Ill try to add something different.

The technical quality here is good; love the small details like peeling paint. Im a big fan of graffiti, and photos of it.

There are some things to consider. Context and content; including more of where the art is can be a good idea (I know you were likely in a narrow alley here?); look at the art; its often a series of images, or panels, and there may be words that could be included in their entirety; seems theres something on the left that cut off.

With a long piece like this, think about shooting it from the side so you have converging lines going away from the camera; its the graffiti, but your version of it.

In this I notice a lot of interesting stuff in the foreground, - a spring, piece of wood, etc that can be a bit brighter; to ne it places the art in a particular environment, so consider that. Again, its about making it your version rather than a copy.

Finally, and for me important. Always consider mono. Though its not at all obvious, graffiti cal look terrific in mono.

The mods I uploaded, - just the two, colour and mono are croped to appear wider; theres more foreground detail; exposure is a little brighter.

See what you think, - click the blue modification button under your image to see them.

Enjoy the site


Vambomarbleye 5 153 14 Scotland
6 Oct 2017 7:19PM
Can only agree one hundred percent with all that's been said here, it's about putting something of yourself into the image. Cut, chop, crop, whatever, it's your photograph. Mono, most definitely an option.
Also, think time of day, golden hour, blue hour, midnight with gelled flash.
Have fun,
Wow thanks everyone for the valuable info! It is very refreshing to find a website that offers quick and VERY informative advice. I will be using this website a lot and recommending it to my friends.
That being said I take some quick pictures in the same place today with the critiques you guys gave me. I included some subjects and took the picture from a few different angles. Hopefully I got something that is an improvement from my last. ll upload them when im done with them.

I am still learning how to use this website so If I missed anything or if there is anything I can do to rate the advice you guys gave me. Please let me know. Thanks!
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.3k 2536 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2017 7:18AM
Thanks for your feedback, it's always good when we hear back from people and it's particularly gratifying if we have helped you to go out and try ideas! I'm looking forward to seeing more.

It's a very big site, allocate a time when you're not in a rush to do anything and explore it. There are articles, reviews, tips, specialist groups, forums, members' blogs, competitions... Loads to explore.
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.3k 2536 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2017 8:02AM
PS I forgot to mention the Galleries! I've learnt as much from looking at photography here as from reading.

Here's a suggestion - go to the Photos menu at the top of the page and select Galleries. Then click on the little Filter button, and enter Street art in the Enter a tag box, then click on Apply. You'll see a lot of related images.
paulbroad Plus
15 131 1294 United Kingdom
7 Oct 2017 4:01PM
This is good but, as presented is a pictorial record. After any technical issues any image becomes subjective and depends on what the viewer likes or dislikes. There is interest here but no strength in the composition. For me, you are right, it needs that figure walking across - probably on the left third moving to the right.

This is as good a site as any that I know if you want to learn or test out new ideas and images on people. Just always remember, much comment is opinion and you must analyse comment for useful content. It also depends what you want your work for - to please yourself, competition, exhibition or sale. ll have different requirements.


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