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17/12/2008 - 8:51 PM

Cool Kids

Cool KidsThis is a bit of a trciky one to critique in some ways as I actually quite like it ... love the poses of the kids, and the overall shot in many ways but whilst I can see what you were aiming for ... I feel the yellow acid face just fights a touch too much for attention.

It's not just the big splash of colour but also the composition here. If it were in the top right or left and had been used to create a diagonal across the frame then it might have been a touch more subtle. Also I'd have liked to have seen the top of the head of the girl in the centre not breaking the outline of the circle above her.

The expressions and fun displayed in the shot are great.

The other issue here is that the kids have different toned tops on .. not always an issue but when you are shooting balck tops onto black backgrounds there is the tendency to get blocks of black .. which doesn't look good generally. So ... a few tweaks and you would get a better shot but it's certainly not a disaster as it stands.

Hope that helps.

05/12/2008 - 3:34 PM



This one does need the crop to remove that top left but the lighting is pretty good. The flash to the right is a touch too high which has left the left (our) in shadow a touch more than desired. The detail on the jacket is excellent and the left flash positioned accurately.

Despite looking like 2 flash units this was 3 as I recall and that extra light has just given a bit more separation on the right shoulder which was needed.

I'd crop into the hair here land take a strip of the left to rmeove that bright patch without going to close to the eyes. Still worthy of a click as with a few tweaks it could be significantly improved.

17/11/2008 - 1:06 PM

Beautiful Bride

Beautiful BrideJust stumbled across this image and the comments above .. and just wanted to note that personally I liked the shot a lot. It has a really nice candid feel to it and although youve obviosuly had to boost the ISO it certainly hasnt harmed the shot.

The lost detail is of NO CONSEQUENCE ... its backlit and of course detail will be lost in shooting the correct exposure on the bride. To suggest otherwise is nonsense.

This is a style of photography I like and its the type of shot I would have taken myself. As for the age of the bride .. who cares .. she looks great. I dont find the neck 'ageing' either .. she clearly keeps herself in good shape and what James calls 'ageing' i call low body fat.

16/11/2008 - 10:59 PM


HartiganSidelights a touch further back .. don't want too much spill onto the nose and essentially a slimmer strip of light would make it a touch more 3D ... lower the fill output a dash too ... also might lower the height of the side lights slightly.

Other than that not bad Wink
04/08/2008 - 11:27 AM

Trash the Dress

Trash the DressThe idea is there but the execution isnt perfect for me. The angle just doesnt quite feel right ... I would have turned the bride a touch more to the camera too and just tilted the head back a bit more. I would rotate it a touch clockwise just to make her appear a little more 'balanced'

I do think this will work better as a mono ... I know people will jump on the band wagon and say how much they love the colours etc but the simplicity of the comp will suit mono very well.

It also looks like there has been a little diffuse glow added and I dont think it needs it. Either that or you were on the ale when you took the shot Wink

The diffuse glow is just pulling the highlights too right for me and losing that bit of detail and edge clarity that make this a good shot. Still going to give this a click as I do think the ideas there and it's not that far off the mark.

25/07/2008 - 2:03 PM

Grave Girl

Grave GirlRecognise the model but this shot doesnt do her any favours. The natural framing actually is a good idea and does fit well but her dark hair blends into the background too much. I am liking the splash of colour on the wrist ... it does take your eye to it but it could have been used better to bring about the direction of the eye. I'd have positioned the model in a different location to be honest as the light isn't right here ... technically its not that bad for where youve shot her but maybe a 1/3 stop under exposed ... (you could argue that as a goth style shot theres nothing wrong with this though). It just doesn't have enough impact to or mood to work as it is.

That crit probably sounds a bit harsh but hopefully there's a few useful comments in there ....

Think I got an email from you the other day on one of the model sites by the way about locations to shoot??

30/06/2008 - 9:09 AM


Reflections[quotejust experimenting which I should never do as I really don't know what I am doing]

Experimenting is EXACTLY what you should be doing and there's nothing wrong with uploading to get feedback. Not mentioning what you have done is also not a bad idea too ...

I had a feeling the shot was tone mapped from it's overall 'look' but wasn't totally sure. I have used this type of technique for a couple of years now .. layering over a tone mapped layer or even a full HDR shot and then masking and blending the opacity to suit.

The boat is the area that needs most work. As it has rendered 2D ... a new layer and then just using the eraser tool or a layers mask with to reveal the non tone mapped layer below would help here .. giving you the benefits of the tone mapping where you want it and less impact where you dont.

I usually do this with a soft brush set to about 20% opacity and keep working away until I have the area Im working on looking as it should.

Im sure that but including this type of technique you can improve the raw file (altho not all shots needs this element of processing of course) .... dont be put off tho!

One thing to watch with the tone mapping is that it often does make adjustments to the cast in the overall colours and can then make images look unusual.

Work the new layer with either channel mixer (to get the colours right) or convert the whole image to CMYK (in mode) ... play with the yellows, megentas etc making slight adjustments until you are happy then convert the whole file back to RGB when you think the file is looking 'right'.

20/06/2008 - 8:48 AM

Clumber Meadow

Clumber MeadowLet me throw a few pointers your way here Mark ... Wink

Don't worry about the burned highlights in shots like this .. it really isn't necessary! The facial areas is a little dark and spot metering correctly woudl have given you a better exposure ... im assuming this was on a walkabout so you probably had no other kit with you however a reflector would have bounced enough light back into the face and let you control its positioning too ... you may have been able to control the highlights better under those circumstances. I do think we need to get out of the habit of being concerned about blown highlights in shots tho ... ok for landscape work it matters but in a lot of other areas of photography burnt highlights can actually make a shot!

The conversion appears reasonably well done tho i might have made slightly more of the tones on the grass and reduced the contrast on your daughter a touch.

The outfit is clean and simple which counts in chlid photography but the real niggle for me is the positioning and pose .... she actually looks like shes squatting to wee a bit in this one ... i dont know if its the pose as much as the environment around her .. i.e longish grass ... the grass does therefore become a distraction in this case as its neither long enough to give you a lo9t of OOF foreground and equally theres too much of it and its too high to be 'just there'.

Moving your model around a bit and thinking about your own positioning and the models position in relation to the light will help you get better shots. Test out the effects of shooting into the sun and also with the sun behind you .. do you want a dreamy look etc and then work from there .... oh i like bare feet too in these situations if you can include them in the shot ...

20/06/2008 - 8:41 AM

South Uist Barn

South Uist BarnThe exposure is reasonably good however the composition is pretty shocking. Placing the barn centrally is always going to create some issues unless youve done it for a very specific reason. The main issue of course is leaning over the wall and including that big strip of it into the shot.

It just turns what could have been an acceptable landscape image into a snapshot from your hols. The cloud formation is interesting tho and you have made the most of that ... however if you had taken a bit of time to walk around you would have ended up with a cleaner and therefore better composition.

01/06/2008 - 5:15 PM

Young boys, big dreams!

Young boys, big dreams!Interestintg ... everyone has gone for the option of cloning the OOf people in the background out of the shot ... for me I actually like the addition of them.

Serves to mark this a something a little bit different and maybe adds a touch of that all important context which a good travel shot needs.

At the time of posing these kids I would have tried to move the boy on the left a bit further around to get ssome more even light across the faces and reduce the shadows. That one thing is probably the tweak that would improve the shot the most. The other thing that owuld help is just a touch more depth of field ... remember you can use your depth of field preview button to check how much depth of field you have at any aperture .. give your eyes a little bit of time to adjust if you have time.

The shot also needs a little sharpening too as its just a touch soft at the moment. If you have Photoshop CS2 or CS3 then a good way to do this is to duplicate the layer, set it to luminosity in the layers palette and then run smart sharpen against the new layer. Once this is done use the eraser tool to remove parts of that layer that dont need sharpening .. such as the OOF (out of focus) background.

Then flatten the layer and convert to srgb colour mode for web upload.

One good thing in this shot is how youve got some nice catchlights in the eyes.

Hope that helps.


PS I'd make a couple of tweaks to the sharpness and then post this in the main gallery to see how it does on votes btw ...
01/06/2008 - 5:04 PM

Abbey Sunset

Abbey SunsetThe HDR would explain why the file looks a bit flat too. I meant to mention that there were sections of the image that I felt would benefit from a tweak of contrast. Either with a curves adjustment or perhaps through some additional processing. The Abbey itself needs a slight tweak in this respect.

Is this a clean HDR or is it a HDR and straight shot layered? One of the advantages of layering the shots is that with the straight shot you can sometimes put a bit more punch into the areas that benefit ... such as the grasses in the water.

Out of the recent shots this isn't the darkest and is probably the best in my opinion. I would maybe entertain adding some local contrast and posting a variant ... pick out the grasses and reeds and the abbey and lift them slightly.

Also there is a ridge of light on the grass bank to the left that would benefit from the same treatment. Once again nice job with the HDR ... well controlled generally.

01/06/2008 - 2:50 PM

Worthing Pier

Worthing PierFor me theres a bit too much punch in the mod above and the framing looks a touch old fashioned ... the shot itself is ok but panos are difficult to compose at the best of times. this one lacks any real interest for me ... mainly because it is dark and doesnt show any real detali in the pier.

This type of image has to have plenty to look at or some element of human interest to make it zing. You could have made more of the reflections maybe by moving around to adjust the comp ... that certainly would have provided an added dimension ... alternatively using yourself as a model in the foreground ... maybe walking the dog, stood looking at the pier etc might help add interest ...

A good pano should link a number of elements together to leads the viewer along the shot and should provide enough detail to enjoy along that journey.

01/06/2008 - 2:47 PM


ChicaThe tones and exposure are spot on however I have to agree about the stomach area .... I too like real world models however there's still no excuse for not making them look their best and this type of pose is always going to crete folds on even the most toned model ..

That aside a few other issues arise from the pose ... the fact she is turned away from the camera and is looking away from the camera means you have to work hard to make the view feel involved. This one fails on that score for me.

It isn't posed to make you feel voyeuristic either ... so despite the nice processing it feels very much a snapshot taken in between serious shots on the shoot. If the hand/arm were not so prominent then this might not be such an issue but it does serve to distract.

I would like to see her turned slightly more towards the camera, lent back slightly making more of her face/breasts. I'd also like to see some more dramatic lighting as she does have great curves and it would be good to see those maximised.

The choise of props is good tho (the chair works well and is nicely designed with good shape and form).
01/06/2008 - 2:42 PM


MrsFor me this is one of those shots that you probably cant rescue. The issue is the mix of light and dark backgrounds and the placement of the figure in relation to this. It stands out as being distracting to be honest.

The shot does improve by cropping the distracting OOF (out of focus) element on the right of the shot but the background combined with the expression of the bride make this a no-no for me.

One of the main factors with shots such as this (drinking/bride) is that the shot has to focus the attention on the bride and the facial expression has to be light and open. That means either perfect timing or firing off a few shots machine gun style or alternatively posing the shot to get the best result.

Soft focus and playing with the DOF are all well and good but you have to have the right shot, with the right pose originally to pull it off.

Hope that helps.

25/05/2008 - 1:48 AM

Sunset Over Arran 3

Sunset Over Arran 3Hi.

You've basically got too much wasted space and as such an unbalanced composition. The mid areas are too flat and uninteresting and the comp lacks any forground interest.

Working with hills in the distance the obvious method would be to stand further back and compress the distance using a longer focal length. However if the area behind you rises too quickly you will find this difficult as you will be too high. As it stands you need to get loswer down to cut out some of that sea.

Working with the 10-22 you are going to further exagerate the distance between foreground and hills so try to make sure you will the foreground with something interesting as the background will fade into relative insignificance.

I'd personally try to shoot this with both the 10mm end of your 10-22mm and also with a longer focal length such as 100mm and see what the results are like. Challenging yourself to work the same scene with hugely different focal lengths is a very productive and effective way of improving your ability to 'see' a scene.

The exposure isnt so much of an issue with this to be honest and it appears there may be still some detail retained in those highlights. Choice of shutter speed is also a bit slow to retain detail and a bit fast to get milky water and stuck between the two niggles me a bit.

Hope that helps!

19/05/2008 - 1:43 PM


cornwallQuite like the pano crop mod too but would also look at a square crop. The main issue is that there was some very bright light when you took this shot which has resulted int he whites on the bouses being blown out .. just too bright and the cameras meter has been fooled.

Making adjustments for this would have given you a darker shot overall and kept detail in the highlights ... and would have given the image a lot more drama no matter what crop you opted for.

The colours and tones are great by the way though but its important to remember that with landscapes its quite often more about what you leave out than what you put in.

Oh and welcome to EPZ btw ...

19/05/2008 - 1:32 PM

Body beautiful

Body beautifulThere are few things in life better than a naked woman. Maybe just beer .... however the intention is right with your shot if the execution is lacking.

Im not going to read through all of the above crits but is safe to say some of thse points will have been mentioned. The background is pretty poor .. shooting indoors is rarely great unless you have a perfect spot or home studio. Keep the backgrounds simple ... get her on the bed and shoot from above with the light off and use daylight from a window ... rely on white or black or red sheets .. which are plain to keep your background simple.

Use reflectors ... a white towel might do the job but proper reflectors are better ... old bits of white packaging as big as you can get are also useful. The idea is to even out the shadows by bounching light back into darker areas of the body.

Generally try to steer clear of using on camera flash ... unless you have an external unit where you can bounce it and even then make sure you play with it to get the best effect as it can destroy mood.

Go and shoot outdoors .. find interesting locations ... i dont really post much model stuff on EPZ but there are some shots of my own girlfriend taken outdoors at various places ... always be on the lookout for interesting spots and make a note of them.

Think about light, think about the tmie of day and think about how you want the shot to look. Scribble some ideas down ... go through mags and see what shots you like and what you dont etc ... are you going for glamour, porn, fetish, fine art nude, beauty, fashion .... define what you want to achieve then work out how to do it instead of just point and shoot.

18/05/2008 - 1:04 AM

The Girl

The GirlLike this a lot. Have a staffy myself and they are the king of dogs ... (rotties too tho) ... however a couple of things would have made it better .. getting a bit lower so theres a bit more seperation with th dogs head and the sky would have improved things ... the fence going throught he dogs head does distract from what in terms of colour would be a great shot otherwise.

Another tip is to try to photograph the dog on the brow of a hlil .. so theres nothing in the background and just green grass and blue sky with the animal being the total focus of attention.

Just something worth thinking about for next time.

As it stands this is still well worthy of a click quite simply for the tongue alone ... !

17/05/2008 - 10:27 PM


PathCompositionally this is a good shot in many ways and the format you have chosen suits it well. I have to say I am not a fan of playing with DOF in PS however I ended up tweaking a recent shot myself ot make it more successful.

The effect you have created here works in part but is essentially spoiled by the inaccurate DOF blurring. The effect is unnatural and you can see that points in the image which should have the same level od DOF clearly dont.

In addition in the distant trunks you can see the DOF change dramatically as you go up the trunk .... this is where you have failed to blend the gaussian blur sufficiently.

To create an accurate DOF shot in PS you have to ensure even points of blurring which takes a bit more tmie and maybe some more accurate selectiosn with a lassoo tool You would also be wise to layer mask or work on a second layer and dont forget to experiment with feathering and use the soft eraser tool to remove parts of the layer where the effect is too obvious.

If you want to create a dreamlike effect then maybe a soft focus vignette would have been better with the point of sharpness the actual strongest point in the composition with sharpness falling off towards the edges. This would give an almost holga or lensbaby effect and might suit this nice.

I also think it needs a levels or curves adjustment to give it a bit more contrast and kick.

Hope that helps

17/05/2008 - 2:57 PM

dust galore

dust galoreThis has the basics to be an exceptionally good shot but at the moment isnt quite there for me. I'd like to see some of the blacks a bit deeper and a bit more tonal range without the loss of detail.

Obviously some of this could be done through using curves adjustments possible with soft light blending mode in photoshop. A little bit of selective dodging and burning might help too esp around the cab area.

Another option with this type of shot is duo or tri toning ... this can help give control over each colour using the curves adjustment options within the toning itself and by using one warmer tone you cuold probably give this a more desert orientated feel.