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29/08/2014 - 8:26 AM


SiohbanLooks like a group modelling session with the model looking at another camera. Not a bad thing per se although there is no connection to the viewer here for me. Also the lighting does look imbalanced with the lighting on the model a tad overpowered and not balanced to the daylight exposure.

The composition and sliding landscape works quite well creating converse diagonals between the angle of the model and the background.

24/08/2014 - 8:34 AM

Guarding or Snacking????

Guarding or Snacking????I really like the lines in this with the splash of dominant red. Have you tried cropping it to remove the orange brickwork? I've tried it with a paper on the iPad to come in on the right side to the white stone and take away the orange which I feel imbalances the image a little. Although the red is dominant and holds the eye I find the orange is there.

It makes for a thinner, tall image but the dimensions work quite well for me. Equally you can come up from the bottom a couple of steps to get a squatter rectangular composition.

Nonetheless an interesting scene

07/07/2014 - 8:32 AM


FruitLovely detail in the pear skin captured here.

I think it needs a little bit of cloning to render the backdrop completely black and take out the light speckling where the light has been picked up reflecting on it. Either that or bring that up a little more to set the pear against - its neither here nor there as it is, for me. Also a little play with levels or curves to lift the tonal range a little and a small adjustment to the colour balance - it appears to be a touch too yellow.

Ive spent a little time considering the framing here too. I quite like it sat central as is and I believe this is quite a square crop which works well if my assumption is correct. Being set on the black EPZ background however makes it appear as a large rectangular format.

A simple but appealing image.

20/06/2014 - 10:18 PM

Long climb to the top

Long climb to the topHi Andy

Interesting image and a slice of social reportage.

Good effort with the Photoshop conversion and this has plenty of tone and texture. The sunlight hitting the house top right has burnt out versus the rest of the image. This may have needed considering at the time of exposure to expose for the highlights and retain some detail in the file. Not a big deal but for me it does draw the eye. Perhaps a layer mask in Photoshop to selectively use curves or levels to lift up any detail if there is any in the file.

Otherwise this has good tonality in the rest of the image.

14/06/2014 - 7:39 PM


UnflinchingHi John

Agree with Moira that this needs a different crop to focus on the message it portrays. I've gone for a slightly different one to Moira in my mod but agree the nipples as lovely as they are do not add anything here in my mind Grin

Have cooled the skin tone and selectively lightened and sharpened the eyes.

A different take on the love is pain message and the life behind those intense eyes.

01/06/2014 - 7:30 AM

Refugee Child2:

Refugee Child2:Another fine piece of reportage portraiture from your travels.

This is a captivating image. The two boys sitting in a pool of light in a darkened room to study and read the Quran.

You have kept ISO low to maximise quality I assume and the wide aperture is considered to give enough depth of field to place some environment but isolate the subjects from the background. Shooting at 1/60s handheld at the focal length you used, should not cause any issues. That said, the boy to the left as we view, does appear ever so slightly soft as if there is the subtlest of movement here. If he was moving it may have been prudent to up the ISO to 400 to allow you a slightly faster 1/125s shutter speed.

I like to see the environment in a portrait study like this however I would go for a slightly tighter crop to the right side and top. Just to give a little more balance and centralise the boys in the frame. Not as tight as Ishan's modification for me and you will see that in the mod I've uploaded. I like that we can see some of the room and the pool of light the boys are sat in.

I would also selectively lighten the boys. They are a little too dark for me. A levels layer to increase the highlight slider toward the edge of the exposure curve and just painting in some brightness in the boys. This leaves the room and detail in the Quran's text as presented but lifts the boys from the scene.

A great shot overall with a little work in processing to hand finish.

31/05/2014 - 2:20 PM


BreadPretty decent first attempt. Lots of interest here from the shapes, tones and textures of the displayto the environment and the people in it.

I would crop the left edge just to the right side of the pole intersecting the frame. Also it is a shame we don't see a little more of the customer with their money out. They are too tight to the frame edge.

Nonetheless a nice scene and moment of modern life.

31/05/2014 - 8:16 AM

Nine girls

Nine girlsMorning.

Why not a fan of Photoshop? It is only digital processing and no different to days of old when you would produce a finished print from the darkroom. All the things that would be done in the darkroom can now be done without having to work in the dark and without smelly chemicals.

For me the processing side is finishing the visualised image. There is only so much that can be done in camera particularly when you need to account for differences in a scene in the dynamic range of the light recorded. This is the same as dodging and burning that used to be done in the darkroom.

I would describe the processing side in Photoshop like producing a hand finished print versus allowing the preset camera processing only to be like a machine print from your local chemist photo lab.

It is for me an important part of the creative process and has been worth every minute learning how to use digital editing to hand finish the images to meet what I visualised.

Here there is not too much you could do I. Processing to completely eradicate the reflections. You could spend time cloning to paint out some areas but that would be very diddly and time consuming. What I would do however is use a layers mask to selectively work on the contrast and highlights in the window to reduce the effect of the light reflection on the glass and balance the contrast and depth across the scene.

It is worth spending time learning how to use a good editing application. You will get so much more from your photography I think. Also you need good camera craft and a good eye for composition and an image as all the photoshopping in the world won't make a bad picture good. It can make a great picture excellent though.

31/05/2014 - 12:17 AM


BadgerHi Richard. This is a lovely scene and nicely composed.

There is a problem for me here in the processing/conversion. There are area's in the image that have pixellated and almost give a solarised effect. Evident in the clouds, parts of the reflection and water and on the thatch above the small window on the left side. It looks over sharpened.

Not sure what your process is but it is important to ensure that any sharpening to the image is done as the very last action. This comes after re-sizing the image for whatever output you intend. Here you would resize for EPZ to the longest side at 1000px at 72dpi. Then check the image sharpness and add if required.

I hope that helps. Otherwise you have the makings of a lovely and appealing image and mono is a worthwhile treatment to pull out and focus on the texture and tonality in the scene.

30/05/2014 - 6:01 AM


GoldfinchA magnificent little bird and you have caught it well here. The light was against you which gives a nice backlight to the Goldfinch but has made the exposure tricky. Not a lot you can do at the taking stage without perhaps a fill-in flash set up. Perhaps a tweak in processing to selectively lighten the front of the bird and bring up some more detail will give this a little more punch.

I'd also clone out the soft but bright yellow on the right edge of the frame as it is a little distracting.

Still a lovely capture Nathan. I've had Greenfinches in my garden but they area devil to photograph as they are quick moving little blighters Grin so I appreciate how well you have done here.

Good work.

29/05/2014 - 5:44 PM

cold spring

cold springHi Ulash

Venturing into a bit of portraiture now which is good to see. People are my favourite subjects whether posed formerly or caught candidly.

The best advice I can give is to ask yourself a couple of questions.

1. What differentiates a good portrait from a nice snap?
2. How do I want to show off my subject? What is the end in mind and how do I execute that visualisation?

Okay so that's three questions - I cheated by making two into three Grin

The answer to number one is the same really for any photograph as it starts with the light. Photography is all about light and how we as Photographers capture it.

With portraiture we also need to consider the subject. How do they want to be presented or we want to show them? What will the photograph tell of them?

This then brings into play the location we set them in and the pose and expression we direct. The best portraits come from having a relaxed subject and the interaction between Photographer and subject that gets the best out of the "sitting".

Here the location is fussy - the bright silvery curtain and the doorway edge distracts in a way that adds nothing.
The pose needs more work. Not far off but that right arm tucked in so tightly behind your subject looks awkward and almost deformed.
The light is flat and low and needs help. There are dark shadows under the eyes and needs some light pushing into the face to get a more flattering result. Perhaps some fill-in flash or use of a reflector to push light in where you need it.

You have an attractive model here and if she is patient and willing then a great subject to keep practising with.

Look at as much portrait work as you can and bookmark images and style you like. Then try to set up and emulate these images to practise posing and thinking about the light and how you recreate this too. You don't need fancy studio lights to do this although ultimately they can be useful kit to progress your portraiture and lighting skills with. Start with natural light from a window and use reflectors/diffusers to shape and model the light. Table lamps are another good source, particularly angle poise lamps that allow you to easily move the lamp head into position. Again use card to reflect or shade the light to shape it as you need to.

Select your background/location. Consider your choice of lens - ideally you want 35mm to 50mm for full length, 50mm to 80mm for half length and 70mm to 135mm for head and shoulders (Full Frame equivalent) to get the right perspective and maintain a good working distance between you and the subject.

Lots to consider. Ultimately keep in mind what it is you do to create an appealing portrait rather than a nice snapshot.

I've uploaded a mod just to demonstrate a better backdrop - rough but to give you an idea of keeping it simple and plain as possible in a portrait of this type. Also as per the comments from Willie on exposure I have lightened the image with a levels adjustment. I've also added a diffuse glow to soften the skin tones and lightened the eyes to soften the shadows.

Hope that helps.

29/05/2014 - 8:12 AM

A Long Eared Owl

A Long Eared OwlLove the composition here and the owl being central, framed between the V of the branches, with a slightly menacing stance as it warns you not to come any closer to take its dinner. Stands firm on top of the caught prey that lays lifeless and completes the story.

Great detail.

A fabulous shot.

27/05/2014 - 7:53 AM

Crazy Apple

Crazy AppleFun shot and nicely executed.

Watch those flash highlights and can be taken out in processing.

Nonetheless an appealing and nicely constructed image.

27/05/2014 - 7:43 AM


concernedVery appealing portrait and well executed. I love the shallow DoF and overall the lighting has been used to great effect. The eyes are captivating with the strong catchlights adding sparkle and the pov creating that upward look and those lovely white canoes in the eyes that add sensuality to a female portrait.

My only thoughts here and using natural light is to use reflectors, diffusers and card to help shape the light. Something I'm sure you are aware of. Here, I would want to take down the strength of the light hitting the back of the models left hand. It has burnt out a little too brightly for me and does pull the eye down from the subjects face. Using a carefully placed diffuser or dark card to cut down the light would enable this.

I hope that helps and this is a lovely image nonetheless.

27/05/2014 - 7:34 AM

Mandarin Drake

Mandarin DrakeStriking colours and an appealing capture. I would suggest cropping in just a little on the left edge and up from the bottom. Not much off either of these sides but just to help the balance and positioning of the subject in the frame.

Beautiful subject and nicely caught.

27/05/2014 - 6:59 AM


RakshaAn attractive lady with a beautiful smile and very naturally captured. An appealing portrait.

The eyes don't appear to be really pin sharp Robert. I wonder if this is more to do with resizing for upload. What process do you follow? If not already, sharpening needs to be the last action on the image and after re-sizing for the output, whether that be for print or for web. After re-sizing to 1000px at 72dpi for upload to EPZ then check sharpening and take action if required.

Apologies if you are aware of this but felt it was worth mentioning with this being a little soft.

A lovely portrait all the same.

27/05/2014 - 6:50 AM


ReedbedA very appealing image Nigel. Lovely colour of the Coot chick and those rippled reflections of the reeds add interest and shape.

I would consider cropping in tighter. I find that bright reed on the left hand vertical third a distraction and would bring the left edge frame to the right side of this reed to remove it. Then come up from the bottom edge to keep the chick close to the right vertical and upper horizontal third. This will retain the format but lose that highlight cutting across the frame.

I hope that makes sense and is helpful.

Nonetheless another lovely image from you WW trip.

26/05/2014 - 8:07 PM

tides out

tides outHi Andrew and welcome back to the CG

You have a nice scene from Bridlington Marina; I used to live down the road at Filey so know the area well.

This has stretched the camera sensor's dynamic range due to the extremes of the light. You can see the mottling in the sky as well as the colour bands radiating from the setting sun. Ideally this is where a Graduated filter on the camera at the time of shooting comes into its own to help balance the exposure.

I've uploaded a mod to demonstrate a few tweaks that lighten the foreground to bring up some detail, remove the colour banding and try to get a better balance. It has removed the tobacco colour in the sky and cooled it down somewhat but does lift the overall picture as a pleasant pictorial record of the Marina.

I used a levels layer in PS to lift the exposure followed with desaturating the red and yellow colour channels selectively for the Sky.

Changes the mood perhaps but gives an alternative take on the scene you saw before you.

I hope that helps - by the way do you still have the Colnago - I assume from the name that is where it was derived Grin A beautiful bike.

26/05/2014 - 3:00 PM

Brother & Sister

Brother & SisterA lovely and very natural portrait. Great point of view, coming down to ground level with your little ones.

I would crop tighter from the top to lose a good bulk of that white space. It will provide a better balance and keep the frame tighter to hold the viewer on the subjects. I would also clone out the out of focus shadow at the right edge of the frame. Again this provides a little bit of distraction in what is otherwise a clean white backdrop.

Nonetheless a beautiful portrait and one for you to treasure in the family album.

26/05/2014 - 9:40 AM


memoriesMatt - I quite like the olde worlde effect you have done here. It actually reminds me of some of the images I have from my Grandparents, taken in the 40's and 50's with that faded and speckled look. Hard to say what might be missing. For me the image stands up well and perhaps just a little more space on the left side for your subject to reflect into. The toes of the foot are close to the edge of the frame and I find myself following her gaze down her leg and then out off the edge of the shot. A little more space here I think helps hold and frame the subject.

The only other thing I think that may add to the effect is adding a dark vignetting to the edges before the faded edge. Looking at those Box Brownie type snaps of 50-60 yrs ago they tended to darken at the edges due to the lens quality and vignetting. Something to consider perhaps?

I've uploaded a mod to demonstrate my thoughts. Let me know what you think.