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26/04/2012 - 10:25 AM

All my bags are packed

All my bags are packedAnother good image, can I ask what software you use to create this, photomatix? How many exposures (if any)?

With HDR you always need to take particular care with strong highlights such as the sky as they tend to blow out easily if you're not careful. They also get this effect if you try to push the effect a little to much. If you look at my earlier work you can see that I've done the same as this (the edges of the sky) and when you're just getting into HDR you tend not to notice the common problems that come with processing. I always got frustrated that I wasn't getting enough out of it and it was a result in pushing it too hard.

The processing with this is nice, but I do feel that it's a little over-worked, particularly on the smoothing. When you take that smoothing slider right down you begin to lose edges (lighting) and the image becomes quite flat - the edges seem to get missed like the rest when darkening. You could try using this lightly - a medium or high setting when smoothing or move that slider gradually until that halo effect isn't visible. Luminosity also plays a part and does the same with this.

The way I do it is to go through each setting and adjust things gradually, then go through them again, and then a third time to make finer adjustments (not strictly but as a basis), and I make sure that the smoothing and luminosity aren't too over done.

As I've said, it's a good image and I'm probably being fussy again but I just find myself being drawn towards the sky around those trees so I thought I'd give a little advice! It's difficult to give exact guidelines just because it's always a matter of playing with each setting to see what you get as each image is different.

Hope it helps in some way!

All the best,

18/04/2012 - 8:06 PM

Blonde girl

Blonde girlHi,

You've got a nice composition with a good direction from the light source but the overall lighting for this shot just isn't strong enough, which is why you've had to alter your camera settings so drastically to compensate - especially your shutter speed which is why you've got slight motion blur to the shot. To make up for the lack of light and still get a good result you could use a tripod, but you really want to be shooting with a higher shutter speed when you have subjects that can move. Using light from a window is perfect on a budget and you can get hold of light reflectors online from next to nothing to use to fill shadows (if desired) in these situations. Maybe the time of day wasn't right as your ISO is also boosted quite a lot. Depending on camera models, picture quality can begin to suffer when you start going beyond 1600 so you really want to be keeping that low too, after all it is only a digital brightness boost so the lower this is the better.

50mm is a great lens to use on a 600D for this type of photography as it's near enough an 85mm lens on a full frame camera after you work out the difference (50mm x 1.6 = 80mm) which is used very often for shooting models like this because the depth of field achieved is very attractive for the main reason.

Looking at this image again, you've got a lot of light on the subject anyway and you could actually get away with adjusting those settings a little, faster shutter speed and bring the ISO down a little too even if you feel the image is underexposed. It's always better to have an underexposed image than to have an overexposed image.

I hope some of this info helps.

18/04/2012 - 1:21 PM

first dance live

first dance liveThis is fantastic and to me it comes with a powerful narrative. You've captured such an atmosphere here and I love how the couple are dancing away and are very happy, but the singer seems to be singing with such passion and emotion that can tell a whole new story. The distance between him and the couple is great too, and as weddings are always all about the couple I'd like to think that this image is all about the singer.

In technical terms, you've utilised the lighting on both subjects perfectly and the overall lighting is not too dark, details can still be seen in the shadows too which makes this really interesting. Just from the things I talk about with the singer, I might have created something slightly different here, I might have blurred the couple slightly to create more of an illusion of isolation for the singer and a greater narrative. But not too much though as I'd still like to show the couple smiling, and this would focus more attention to him too. The couple being blurred slightly would also give the impression that actually in this instance, they are not the important ones.

It's a great image and there are so many stories that could be told.

16/04/2012 - 4:44 PM

Reflections on a Penny

Reflections on a PennyGreat work and creativity, very interesting. Macro work is certainly very interesting and if you wanted to start off as cheaply as possible then buy yourself macro extension tubes which should only cost you about 7 on amazon or ebay. That's what I've got and I use my 50mm lens with them. You can get some great results but you have to be looking straight onto something or you'll get massive blurring as you can't control aperture, sometimes it's a great effect to have that amount of blur but it's to your taste. My pocket watch and spider were both taken using those hollow tubes.

13/04/2012 - 12:40 PM

Newport Railway Sataion

Newport Railway SataionNice image, as the guy was moving around I might have been tempted to take a quick shot of this scene again straight after the 10 second exposure, with a fast shutter speed to capture the man again then cut him out from that and place him into the scene covering up the ghosting of him. But then you might have wanted this effect on him too! Either way it works for me.