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monosodium's Activity

monosodium > monosodium's Activity

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Forum Topics:1
Forum Comments:8
Photo Comments:23
Competition Entries: 0
Modification Uploaded: 8

Nichole by Pete

Nice work, keep it up. Composition and placement are excellent and the background matte choice is tasteful and adds a little story / context without distracting from the subject.

To give you something to work on though... Beyond the initial hit of composition any critique turns tehnical and for me this is where attention to minute detail is essential. I feel some of the edges could be sharper between the model and background - I think that's caused by the blur/feather/brush on the mask being too broad. Depending on the shot the model came from originally there may be scope to drop in the background using another blending mode and/or by investigating the sliders in the blending options. Also I feel the lighting is quite different between the two layers - the warmth of the background doesn't match the subject which exposes that the image has been 'shopped rather than being straight.


Listening by pablo69

For me the shot is great, I don't mind the slightly overcooked contrast (it's certainly fashionable right now) and the look and eye contact from the model is nice. I'd like to see something done to just emphasize her lips a little more - a little less red in the mono conversion would just take care of that.

Where the light parts of the image join the border there is quite bad pixellation / tearing which detracts from the smooth curves of the subject. At the top and right edge where the border joins a dark region you have a brighter line which I find a little distracting. It's a minor thing though and as I say, what's inside the border works well.

Grace 2

Grace 2 by Philo

FT pretty much hit on most of what I was going to mention.

Going for a 'tight crop' is a brave decision and you have to be bold and think differently. In many ways the way you crop might have to change... Most people I know look at the picture from the outside-in, asking "what do / can I lose?" but it's almost the other way - the question becomes "what MUST I keep?"

* stay tuned for mods... *

Fashion series 1

Fashion series 1 by nicola20

Overall I like this image and it looks like your initial capture was good, model pose is right for the type of image you wanted to capture. I agree with the comment about the right arm and maintaining the line through from the left but it's a small thing.

There are a couple of other niggles for me - everything looks a bit purple, if you intended this then fair enough; but if you didn't mean to then you might want to take the white balance from the background instead of the dress. When you do that the eye make-up really starts to stand out too.

Also, and probably the bigger thing for me is that something looks odd about her left forearm. At first I thought it was the pose but out of interest, did you do any sculpting of her arm with the liquify / distortion tools?

Josh And Jenny

Josh And Jenny by ReflectivePhotography

I like this - the shooting conditions look a bit harsh and the bright skylight has washed over the image - that said the effect works well and it creates a warm feeling. Generally the colour is really punchy without going overboard.

For me I find that people tend to gurn a bit when they're kissing and it's often quite unappealing to look at in images. I'd try getting them into (very) close proximity without actually kissing. Touching noses, playing kiss-chase or whatever you can get them to do and if it seems silly then they laugh and that's a great shot too!

Great work!


FLORENTINA by kobayashi

Quote: my camera makes no square pictures, why cropping when you can compose? isn'it easier and cheaper shooting someway then adjusting someway?

That is very much in line with Cartier-Bresson's way of thinking... it is admirable, but comes with the caveat that framing the image has to be 100% exactly perfect in-camera.

From both the mod's presented, some feel you have created 2 images with a clear boundary in your composition and alternatives were presented to make the model more dominant as she should be as she is both good looking and was well captured.

The thing that really changed in my (the 2nd) mod was the *composition* of the image... Compare the position of the model in the mod with the original. Aside from the crop, she has been moved relative to the background and is now clearly breaking the boundary between the two halves of the image... This change of composition could have been done easily when the image was taken but was not the composition presented to us.


chipmunk by Hapi

If the lens is "hunting" back & forth and won't settle on a subject that's often because there isn't enough contrast in the target area to lock on to.

That could be because the polarizer has eaten a big chunk of the available light or because the AF system is trying to target an area of limited contrast. Possibly a combination of the two.

Manually selecting your AF points and using the focus & recompose technique may help you . By focus & recompose we mean you find a sharp point or edge detail of the subject or something at the same distance, half-press to focus, keep the button at half while you realign the shot to what you wanted and then fully depress the shutter release.

There may be some Canon specific behaviour happening too which I'd have no idea about - maybe that model's AF system is a little twitchy? I know some systems do say a polarizer can cripple the AF capability but I've never actually seen it happen.

Fire and Iron

Fire and Iron by ppastorin

I like the aged feel of this image, which the lens flare and the glow bring to it. I think a really good addition would be a film-grain effect to just finish it off nicely and just punch up the contrast a little.

Nice work!

cobble songs

cobble songs by youmightlikethis

This shot is a great exercise in storytelling, you can get a feel of what it's like to be there from this image.

Like QuinnyA I also find the sign to be very intrusive but I'm not sure there's a clear way to deal with it. I don't feel that you can crop it out as that area is necessary to keep the buskers as the centre of interest, retain the flow of the kerb to the bottom right and the wall / doorway behind the buskers which gives them more context. Differential focus would have just turned the sign to a light blob, so again that's not viable. Moving to another shooting position would have got you noticed and lost you the smoking dad and man exiting on the right (both anchoring the edges of the image nicely as well as adding more life). The only remaining option for me would be some pretty heavy lifting in post production to clone in the details from another source which is not something I'd attempt lightly.

The ideal option would be sending your trusty assistant to move the offending sign the 3 or 4 feet you needed to get it out of shot, without being noticed naturally... On second thoughts maybe that's not so practical either!

Great image overall, in terms of edits - the 'spot colour' version is by far my favourite.

Engine Driver

Engine Driver by Gavin_Duxbury

Hi Gavin,

I like the way you've captured the subject, and the look of concentration on what we assume to be a signal ahead works well as part of the storytelling in this image. Although the peak of his cap is blown out, I'm not finding it all that distracting. If you have this in RAW you might be able to claw a bit more detail out of that. The top of his cap will come up with a little burning.

I felt that the framing of the window was a little tight - if you have another version with a bit more breathing space around the window then I think it might convey the frame within a frame idea more effectively. Or, going the other way, a tight crop retaining the array of gauges, cap & cloth would give more weight to the context of the image.

I have a mod for you where I've cropped and done a little burning on his cap and arm (way too much on his arm to be honest)... It's quite a different image but I hope you like it.


not so innocent!

not so innocent! by Jodes

Nice composition (cute little girl too and if she's anything like mine uses it to her maximum advantage!) her expression is really great and natural which is hard to capture with child portraits. Those are all things that are hard to learn.

The catchlights (reflection in the eyes) look good and bright and clear which is nice too.

This image has been shot in strong and nearly oblique sunlight which has caused some problems. Mostly because of the huge difference in level between shadow and highlight you've lost detail at both ends (bleaching turning her pink top white and brown hair going black).

(If you actually shot the image in raw, not jpg) then some information may still be present - changing the camera settings (I'm thinking the the D-Lighting HS option and the shadow protection slider) in ViewNX's picture adjustment panel might recover a lot.

If you're in the situation again, one option to help correct the balance between highlight and shadow by brightening the shadows with your flash.

The choice of crop is effective losing the top of the head in favour of the neckline was a good move to concentrate on her expression.

I've done a mod which shows the effect of a little dodging to recover some detail in her eyes, and also some burning to try and recover her hair in the top left (which has affected the border a bit). Talking of borders; I'm not a fan of them but this one is sympathetic to the image and competently executed.

Senior Portrait II

Senior Portrait II by NNS

I am loving the relaxed look of this portrait and the angle - this was absolutely the right angle to go for with this subject, I don't think getting level with her would have worked in the same way.

You did a very good job with your choice of subject too.

Given the choice of colour v mono - I think mono wins hands down, the colour one looks a little unnatural.

There are a handful of little elements in this image that I find distracting - mostly because of the eye's natural tendency to concentrate on bright areas.

First are her eyes, her pupils and irises which are over sharpened (producing a really nice effect by the way) are swamped by the extreme whites. At end of her hair there is quite a bright patch set against the delicate floral patterns in her dress.

Finally there is her dress strap right on the edge... I'm in two minds as to how I would go about dealing with the strap if the image were mine. I'd try a crop and see if I lose some of the hair detail at the top, or clone it away which could end up being more visible if not done well.

Overall I like it though - very good work!

So.Cal set

So.Cal set by i_man

I'm enjoying this shot, I think this image is really two seperate images - one at the horizon and another at the shoreline and that neither one is particularly dominant as it is presented.

The image might benefit from heavy cropping to keep only the top 1/3rd and with a careful application of a little burning / contrast to bring out the industrial buildings on the opposite coastline because to me they make the image.

If this is somewhere you visit regularly (and you don't mind getting sandy) then I'd be tempted to see what the shot looked like from beach level. Right down on your belly the shoreline may then work as a lead-in to the horizon, the waves might seem more imposing and the midground where little is happening would be compressed.

It definitely paints a picture of a nice place to go for a walk though!


Rachael by StarRaider2000

Hi - I'm new too! I think I have a handle on the critique guidelines but don't flame me if I'm missing something!

The mod seems vaguely reminiscent of a Calotype, certainly some kind of vintage shot, which I'm quite enjoying but is a very different image to the original.

Many of the comments have been on post-process, but I think maybe the better area to comment may be shooting. So I'll concentrate there.

The scene is well lit with natural light (going by the reflections in the eyes) which is 90% of the battle in getting a good portraiture setup - especially if you're new to it. You have that down so you ought to be able to replicate it, and the consistency is good for product shots. That natural light seems nicely diffused which is working very much in your favour.

The highlights are bleached out, a switch to spot metering would take care of that end of the exposure. (this may not be appropriate should you follow Robert51's excellent advice of getting in close to the tiara.)

If you are planning on re-shooting then I'd suggest pulling the subject away from the background (a couple of feet) to soften the background while keeping the hairline sharp. Using a longer zoom setting with a step back further yourself would add to that effect.

I think I'd also like to see either the camera lining up with Rachael's eye level OR getting further up and really looking down on her (either looking at camera or looking ahead).

(This is my first critique so a critique of my critiquing may not go amiss!)

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