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By Steviefawcett      

Wasnt 100% with this image, so comments and criticism welcome Smile

Tags: Black and white Portraits and people

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


johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2011 10:44AM

Yeah, I hope you don't mind me giving some info and feedback on this.....none of it meant as criticism, I hope you can see I am just hopefully am trying to help Smile I am no expert, but there are a few things that could be done with this....

Firstly, the light seems very flat. And looks quite hard shadow too. If you are going to use hard light, then you need to angle this away from your model a touch, but not too much, to allow that depth from the hard light and its shadows to show. At the moment, the light is very straight on, which, with a large softbox, is a good thing, but the shadow is right behind her, making it look like she is basically in a room with a normal light on, rather than being lit correctly.

Also, the framing of it is not quite right either. I can see what you have tried to achieve, but the crop is neither here or there. The legs have been chopped a little, whereas if you moved out from the frame, more of them would be in the shot, making it a more pleasing and full, rather than truncated image. Secondly, the framing is a touch too much to the left. The white space to our right is a little distracting and a touch overpowering. Thirdly, superfluous props, such as the knife, should have a purpose with the shot. At the moment, I have no idea what it is doing there and doesn't really need to be. The shot should be one thing or the other. And the last thing is the eye contact, although I can see what you are trying to do, doesn't quite work in this instance. The whites of the eyes, in pretty much every case in a photo, is not the most attractive thing. If you wanted to avoid eye contact (and there is no reason to not do, it can be very effective), I think you should have got her to move her whole head to look in that direction, rather than just moving her eyes and opening them up a touch too much. At the moment, it makes her look like a snap has been taken while she is looking at something or someone just outside the frame. A little unflattering. I might also have moved her right hand to make that a little less bunched within the dress and moved it so its outstretched to be more appealling.

A bit more contrast wouldn't go amiss, but this may be difficult because of the flat-ish lighting. It looks a touch washed out. But with harsh lighting, the contrast may not be there to bring this out. It really does have to be defined or you won't get a sharp image. A run through a touch of sharpening might also help the overall feel of this.

I really do hope you don't see this as total criticism. I hope I have been constructive. Its a good attempt and can totally see what you were trying to achieve and it is not for me to impose my own imagination and thoughts on the concept of a shot. If you know what you want to do, go for it. Just think that some of these adjustments won't take away from the shot at all, but will help along the way to getting the improvement you want yourself. Hope that makes sense?

Keem 'em coming!


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16 Mar 2011 11:40AM
Thanks for the comment John. The legs were taken "as shot", and only the top was cropped. We thought turning it into a murder scene, but i agree the knife looks a bit odd. We used a bed side lamp to light the i havent yet been able to afford proper lighting and a softbox :/

I have other shots where her whole body is in the frame, so maybe id be better editing them too?

Thanks, Stevie Smile
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2011 11:53AM
Please. loose that logo! It really is very very insistent. Otherwise, with most of the above. Technically needs better conversion to mono, more contrast and a wider tonal range. The story, whatever it is, does not come over, meaning the pose seems very strange and contrived.

An attempt at something different, and that must be applauded and a good attempt with limited lighting.

johnnyboy114 9 231 106 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2011 12:45PM
Ahhhh the dreaded table lamp Smile Have been there, done it the right circumstances, can work very well. In most cases, doesn't. I would look to maybe invest in a second hand flash gun, a cheap eBay stand, cheap eBay softbox and cheap triggers to get some flash work going. Wont' cost you an arm and a leg and gives you a very, very good learning ground on how to use light. You could probably kit yourself out with a single, smallish softbox, a stand, small, second hand or cheapy chinese flash, as well as triggers for no more than 100, if that probably. Its the start of the "strobist" route for flash and is WAY cheaper than monoblocks etc etc, but it gets you on the ladder to off camera flash and with the right amount of study, practice and imagination, you can get some SERIOUSLY stunning results. Check out Strobist 101 on the strobist blogspot....will be a very good place to start. But, if you have a few coins in loose change, get yourself on eBay and start searching! Will change your photographic outlook on light completely!

Good luck!
16 Mar 2011 12:46PM
I'm not normally a fan of Black & Whites but this shot is really impressive as a result of it being in Black and White.
I think mainly because of the shadowing effect that adds mood to this. Mood is very important to portraits in my opinion.
Many levels of Black and White, nicely done.
Interesting pose of the model, adds value.
Use of the rule of thirds, too...great.
Most important, viewers eyes are drawn to the subject immediately, no noise and there is a story in this shot.
Personally, I wouldn't change a thing.
Thanks for sharing.
16 Mar 2011 3:25PM
Thanks for your comments guys, I may be having another go at this later, if not, il definately have to consider re-editing. Yes, i agree with the watermark..this isnt really the best place to show it off :/

Looks like il be saving my pennies, and il try make it a little more convincing next time..

Ohh well, suppose we all learn something new everyday!

Thanks Smile

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