Back Modifications (5)
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Trevor Rollings

By SamanthaDonPhotography
Camera Maker ~ Sony
Camera Model ~ NEX3
F-stop ~ f/5.6
Exsposure time ~ 1/2000 sec
ISO Speed ~ ISO-200

This was my first attempt at using raw before I figured out you could also use Lightroom to edit your photographs lol Would greatly appreciate any feed back about how I can improve my photography

Tags: Photography Photograph Close-up and macro Candid image 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.


danbrann Plus
13 637 17
28 Apr 2014 7:03PM
I think I would check out my background as well as my subject but if that is not possible I would try to straighten the verticals on the background.

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Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2014 7:33PM
Hi Samantha and welcome to EPZ and the critique gallery.

Ticking critique in the upload section places it here and you will find at least one of the Critique Team will come along and aim to give some comment and critique that may help you in your future photography. It's useful to give as much detail as possible, as you have on exposure detail that may help when critique is being sought. The site will pick up the EXIF data automatically unless you have used the size for web action in editing which discards this data in the process.

You have a pleasant portrait here. The exposure detail suggests you have considered your aperture to minimise depth of field and as you have added candid in the Tags I make the assumption you were not in a position to place and pose your subject. Had you been able to do so I would suggest as danbrann points out that the background is always a consideration to avoid possible distractions.

Here you have placed the subject very centrally in the frame. I would suggest an alternative crop and as the subject is not looking to camera but across to the left of the frame I would place him on the right hand third and leave a larger space on the left for him to look across into.

Otherwise this is a well balanced image. You have caught the subject under soft lighting with a little highlight crossing the face and catching the nose. This is controlled as it retains detail and is not causing any undue problem. Again assuming this is a candid there is little here you could have done. If you could have posed him this is another one to watch out for. Our eyes compensate for these variations in light but they stick out when we view a photograph particularly when the dynamic range is stretched.

I hope that helps. I will upload a mod to demonstrate the change in crop which you will be able to view under the description above by clicking on the blue modifications tab.

Thank you for your comments it is greatly appreciated. Coast I don't seem to be seeing your modification...could u perhaps link me to it?
Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2014 8:21PM
Hi Samantha.

Under the picture above there are two tabs. One is description where you have your exposure details noted and the other in blue says Modifications (1) where the 1 refers to the number of mods currently there. Click on the tab. It will open a small thumbnail of the mod. Click the thumbnail to see larger. Click view large when this opens up to open in a separate window at full size.

I hope that makes sense.

Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2014 8:37PM
It will say Modifications (2) now as I have uploaded a mono conversion for you.

mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2014 8:38PM
Hi Samantha, and a warm welcome from me too!

First off, regarding composition and content. As uploaded, it's work in progress but it has the makings of an effective portrait - so much comes down to your choice of frame and the placement of the subject within that frame.

Placing a subject centrally in the frame can look strong and commanding; or it can look static and boring. It definitely works against you here. When you have a 3/4 face as here it needs space to look into; while space behind a head is generally wasted space and reduces the impact of the face.

Your subject is looking towards our left. That tends to give a down-beat, even regretful feel - looking toward the right indicates progress toward the future, here we are looking back.

F5.6 distinguishes the subject nicely from a soft background, and while the wooden lattice-work isn't a bad background the white sky on the right really is a distraction.

But having plenty of space gives the option to crop later. Paul's crop works on a number of different counts. It moves the head off-centre, gets rid of the distracting space on the right, gives space for him to look into.

Don't be afraid to crop, and to try different possibilities. It can be the making of an image.

The light and colour look natural but a bit flat. I would like to try boosting mid and darker tones a bit. I may add a Modification in a little while if I can get something that I like.

I hope that you will enjoy the site, it's a good place to share and to learn. Can I just reinforce something that Paul has said - it helps in the Critique Gallery if you give us as much relevant information as you can; about the circumstances - was this planned? Was it impromptu? And also about how you see the image, what you intended it to convey.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
28 Apr 2014 8:50PM
I've added a quick Modification - here's what I did.

I rotated and cropped - a very similar result to Paul's Mod. Then I isolated the background using the quick selection tool and reduced contrast and brightness. Then I worked on the face, I added brightness and made a Levels adjustment, to boost the darker tones a bit. I think this looks more 'alive'. See what you think.
banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3881 Canada
28 Apr 2014 9:01PM
Hi Samantha.

Ireland and Toronto, same as me. Left Dublin in 1982, live in Oshawa.

When you export from LR, make sure you dont remove metadata, - it strips the exif information, which the site will pick up automatically.

The lens, focal length, white balance setting, and shooting mode are all missing, and they are helpful for us.

I also uploaded a quick mod, - its all been said above; it does need a little sharpening, - when you re size for the site, open the smaller image, check sharpness and adjust before you upload. You can lose details with compression. View all mods large when you have that option.

Enjoy the site,


dudler Plus
14 702 1341 England
29 Apr 2014 1:06AM
And welcome from me, too - you now have at least half the Critique Team commenting on this upload!

I don't have much to add: this is a lovely soft portrait, especially as the light looks like direct sun. You've chosen well, though, to have Trevor facing away from the sun: it avoids scrunched-up eyes and harsh shadows on the face.

The background isn't ideal, as there's a distracting pattern even in the darker part: if you can move round the subject to get a dark and plain background, that's great.

I've gone a bit OTT with a mod, cloning out the light parts of hte fence, and then (heavily and crudely) burning in the background. This could all be done more subtly, if you want to spend the time - but it mainly shows how much better the subject stands out if hte background is dark...
Oh wow I'm so touched that you all took the time to comment and do mods for me. All your feed back is greatly appreciated. Ok so here is a confession. I call my self a semi pro because I have been doing this for 2 years and I have worked hard to get to the level I am. However, I am self taught lol I wasn't sure what details you wanted me to include but I have them all somewhere lol The circumstances behind this picture are rather touching. This is actually my 'cousin'. Well he is my step mothers nephew so not really related to me at all. Him and his two brothers have taken me into their whacky family with open arms and have treated me like a utter princess. Like seriously I love these guys so much but I hardly get to see them. So when we do get together we are all pretty hyper and goofy lol Trevor in particular is very very goofy and is always goofing off lol However, he has just split with his girlfriend and was a little upset about it. This picture cheered him up tho lol I hope that helps put it in to perspective. He knew I had my camera. Infact we had just done a family portrait but I doubt he knew I was actually taking his pic lol Again thanks for your time and help in this matter
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1929 United Kingdom
29 Apr 2014 7:46AM
Thanks for your feedback. We are all learning, all the time.

Quote: he has just split with his girlfriend and was a little upset about it.

I wrote:

Quote:Your subject is looking towards our left. That tends to give a down-beat, even regretful feel - looking toward the right indicates progress toward the future, here we are looking back.

Sometimes a picture really can say a thousand words!
I hope you will enjoy the site and that we'll see more from you.
paulbroad 10 123 1245 United Kingdom
29 Apr 2014 8:28AM
Are you making money at your photography. If so, you may be a semi pro. If not, you are an enthusiast. Professional does not mean proficient, it means trying to make a living from.....

know several professionals who would not make decent enthusiasts!.

However, this is quite a decent effort. You camera, if it is your only one, does not indicate pro, by the way. A good camera, but enthusiast level.

Two main points. Male portraits need to be very sharp, and his face is a little off here. The focal plane is further back on his head. Your attempt to use wide aperture to blur the background has backfired with minimal depth of field. If you use this technique, your focusing must be spot on.

The head is too near the middle. I like landscape format portraits, but his hesd should have been placed to the right of the frame.

mrswoolybill that is very interesting lol I will have to remember that in the future Smile I find the psychology behind things rather amusing as most people aren't even aware of what they are doing through their body language. paulbroad thank you for explanation of pros and enthusiasts. I do make money from my photography but as of yet not much lol I'm rather luck as my father is into photography/videography as well so I get to use a lot of his kit. So no this isn't the only camera I use but it is the one I'm most comfortable with. Thanks for your input Smile

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