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A sinking feeling


Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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A sinking feeling

26 Jul 2021 8:56AM   Views : 395 Unique : 263


As a member of a model and photographer networking website, I often look at the portfolios of people who have liked one of my pictures. And sometimes itís a dispiriting experience: there are quite a lot of people who have never got past either flash on the camera or a pair of nicely balanced softboxes on either side of the camera. This is often coupled with a camera level thatís a couple of inches above the modelís eyeline and a wide angle lens so that the model perches a large head on a tapering body and tiny feet.

However inventive the pose, however lovely the models, the photographer seems to take the same picture over and over again. And the trouble is that itís never a terribly good picture. I keep wondering how to tell them that they could easily improve their pictures. But Iím not sure that that actually is a way.

Now, I know perfectly well that my own pictures rely on a number of tried and tested setups, technical tricks, and types of processing. In a sense, the only differences are but I have several of these, and that I avoid the basic mistake of shooting everything from the same viewpoint.

I keep meaning to shoot an example or two, but itís so ingrained in my mind to avoid doing thatÖ Similarly, itís thoroughly ingrained that I should avoid terribly even lighting on subjects and background, in the way that I see in so many of these shots. A couple of nice shadows on either side of the subject completes the picture, and itís not a very pretty one.

So my suggestion for the day is to look at what you did in your last set of pictures, and see if there is something that you just do too often and without thinking.


dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1950 England
26 Jul 2021 8:58AM
It's just not my day... That deliberately-distorted view of Simone H was right way up last time I viewed it.

And my attempt to distort a shot of Simone H taken from around the right height with the Nik Perspective tool hasn't been entirely successful - the feet are foreshortened, but not smaller than they 'ought' to be...
26 Jul 2021 12:27PM
Hi John,
I admit to shooting pretty much always with a 85mm lensÖand occasionally with a 55mm
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1950 England
26 Jul 2021 1:42PM
Tim -

I know. And you play with light, too - both are absent from one or two portfolios on that other site, as I'm sure you've noticed...
Robert51 13 11 129 United Kingdom
27 Jul 2021 8:26AM
I think the main thing here John is to challenge yourself. Most people will shoot portraits with an 85mm or 50mm on a 4/3rds camera and if you want to be safe a great choice. Much like shooting from tried and tested POV. I can understand if it's work and you have to produce or if you have a model and don't want to waste her or his time.
If this not the case why not after you have got the shots you want plays around a little. Try 10-20mm which can produce some wonderful looks with arms and legs of a zoom which can move that background right up behind the subject. If you can shout why not try a much longer lense like 200,300 or 400mm. Also a very valid point is the POV being careful as you get older if you go low you can get back up again.
If you starting to feel that most of your images are starting to look the same some of these things may help. You do not a model to try them out on, friends and family are a good start...

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