Login or Join Now

Upload your photos, chat, win prizes and much more

Remember Me

Can't Access your Account?

New to ePHOTOzine? Join ePHOTOzine for free!

Join Now

Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!

Get the new ON1 Photo 10 and Save $100 Today. Use Code: GetPhoto10 View Offer

Connect to User


Sooty_1's Gallery Comments

Sooty_1 > Sooty_1 Recent Activity > Sooty_1's Gallery Comments
Fisherwoman. by paulbroad


To me, this is summed up by the word "bleak".

I find it a decent record shot, but unless I had seen the title, I'd never have known she was anything to do with fish, and that's really the problem. There is little recognisable of context in the shot, though the mist does give it atmosphere. I also wish you'd included the top of the head!

The X-Trans sensors are good at recording detail in wide tonal ranges, and a little lift in the detail of the figure wouldn't hurt. I wonder if you tried a version with a blip of fill flash?


By: paulbroad

Hollie by markst33


Whilst I'm not averse to the shadow, I find the background unevenly lit around the periphery. There doesn't look like there is any deliberate vignetting, or any "spotlight" effect, so I'd expect it to be more even. With that in mind, I think it's a tiny bit underexposed, and a reflector to the left would add a little more light onto the nearer cheek (that is the shadow that stops this being a great shot, IMHO).
It would be easy to address this in PP.
The other stuff is mostly covered above, except that Hollie has a few skin blemishes which would benefit from a little cloning. Minor stuff, but unless blemishes/skin marks are a part of the model's look, they are better removed if possible.

Very nearly a great shot.


By: markst33

Fences by Relic01


Can't really add too much to what's been said, except that at the time of shooting, if you aren't sure what the exposure should be (or if it's a once only occasion) you can always take several exposures around the metered value: this is called "bracketing". If you take a shot at the metered value, then one a couple of stops under exposed and one a couple over exposed, you should have enough latitude to work with if your actual metered exposure isn't quite right for what you want.

Most cameras have an automatic bracketing function you can set, so with one press of the shutter it will take 3 or 5 shots at different exposure values over and under the camera's reading.

It's a good learning tool as well, as you get to see the effects of different exposures on a subject, and you can learn when and where particular adjustments are necessary, and it allows you to learn to control the exposure for what you want, rather than letting the camera make all the decisions.


By: Relic01

Early Morning Light by Metchick10

Early Morning Light

A nice idea to use detail to convey the atmosphere. I'd have liked to see the nettle entirely within the light area, so looking down slightly more from closer, and perhaps a small crop from either side to tidy the composition up a little. Having the one on the right draws the attention away from the centre.

It could be sharper, but that may be due to the resizing/uploading process, and the out of focus stems are still evident, though there isn't much you could do about them except get closer to them.

Another option was to find an angle where the plants are sidelit against a dark background. It's good to look for alternative angles though, and this wouldn't be immediately obvious to many.


By: Metchick10

Sizes! by paulbroad


Had to? Why?

I don't see the point of this one, sorry.

Technically fine, but what is the subject? Bottoms? Fat people? Markets? Maybe better aesthetically to isolate the two girls, but the subject matter may be construed as contentious if you're using their size as the subject.


By: paulbroad

Girls on a Train by pentaxpete

Girls on a Train

It was taken on a Leica, therefore you are free to ignore any and all criticism.

For me, it works better as a rectangle than a square. I find the square crop more static, though a tiny crop from both sides tightens it all up a little.
The fact is, there are two seats, as there are on large parts of most trains (tube or otherwise). You shoot what you see, not what you would like, and I like the contrasts between the two girls and their chosen reading methods.
A little more contrast is ok, but it's more about the observation of life, and perfection is subjective. As is, I'd say it was close to a "typical" Leica street shot.


Ps, when you're finished with the Summilux........Wink

By: pentaxpete

art of the selfy by youmightlikethis

art of the selfy

Personally, I don't think the second version works, as you need the context of the surroundings to make the most of the "tourist" look. It's too closely contained.

The first is ok, but very muted, due to the dull day. A lift of colour and contrast would help. What really jars though, is the text. I find it unnecessary as the image should stand for itself, but the letter spacing is all over the place. Have you tried justifying the text box to at least even it out?

Black and white would work too, as long as it wasn't over processed.


By: youmightlikethis

Red Arrows by billmyl

Red Arrows

As you have no doubt discovered, it's not as easy as it looks!

It shouldn't be hard, mostly a clean background, single subjects, predictive paths, yet nailing exposure is tricky, getting a good composition is hard, and making the aircraft look attractive can be hard too.

This is a little cluttered, though exposure and settings look ok. Shooting like this, it's usually better to add a little positive exposure composition, to compensate for the bright sky fooling the meter, though here you've got away with it due to the overcast. A brighter sky would give darker aircraft, even semi silhouettes. Also, with jet aircraft, you can use as fast a shutter speed as you need to freeze them, props and helicopters require a speed slower than the rotational speed of the blades to avoid freezing them and making them look static.

There are several pictures here, mostly smaller groups and single aircraft, as usually, the Reds are better photographed where the formation looks symmetrical or 'cleaner'. The crossing lines and partially obscured aircraft are a bit untidy, yet are images in themselves. Practice makes perfect! That and watching their display several times so you know what's coming next.


By: billmyl

It must be love, love love.... by markst33

It must be love, love love....

Yup, exactly what second shooter is expected to get, and well got!

I would also crop and clone out the sign upper left, but otherwise, great shot. Black and white treatment gives it a semi-timeless quality, and these are the type of shot people will still look at long after the day.
Formal shots are good, but the "behind the scenes" pictures are just as valid in telling the story of the day.


By: markst33

Boat House by the Loch. by Nigwel

Boat House by the Loch.

This has the appearance of quite a lot of tonemapping. Though I appeciate the scene is predominantly greens, they are a little overdone, and apart from the trunks either side, most of this image is around the same tone. It needs more tonal range and colour balance to make it more attractive.

It's also a very busy scene, and the abundance of fine detail close to the camera prevents me immediately seeing the main subject. There is also the green shed that vies for attention, despite it being largely hidden, and I wonder if there is another angle that would exclude it. I think there is too much fussy detail, and a clearer main subject would stand out more, perhaps if some of the sharp branches were cropped or blurred. Stepping back and using a longer focal length would have flattened the perspective slightly, allowing the subject to be bigger in the frame, yet keeping the trunks either side. It could even have been darkened around the edges to give the impression of peering through undergrowth at a brighter lit subject.

The main problem for me though, is the obvious HDR effect, which would be better if toned down a lot.


By: Nigwel

Beauty by paulbroad


I like it that the front model is engaging with the camera, and the haughty indifference of the other two. The mixed lighting spoils it for me, really.

Not a fan of figurines myself, but there is exquisite detail in these.


By: paulbroad

Sleeping in the sun by billmyl

Sleeping in the sun

1. You aren't taking advantage of them, but of the situation. If you were making money from the sale of the image, there may be slight qualms, but your first instinct was correct, as far as I'm concerned. Get the shot first, worry about the niceties afterwards.
2. Are they really homeless? Or are they just without accommodation while visiting the festival? People frequently arrive without planning first, hoping to find something there, only to find everywhere booked up. Sleeping rough is not unusual.
3. It's a decent grab shot....the couple on the bench are a subject in themselves, as is the guy in the background, perhaps a slight change of position right to isolate the separate subjects would result in two better pictures.
4. I can't help but see the angles of the bench and windows. Having got this shot, I would have moved to try to square it up; what with them sitting at one end of the bench, they would make a nice off centred composition and be framed by the background.
5. The monochrome treatment is fairly high contrast, but not too bad for the subject. You possibly didn't need the 1-stop under compensation, but there are a good range of tones to work with.


By: billmyl

KILLIN TIME THE COLOUR EDIT by youmightlikethis


Not a great deal wrong with it. It doesn't hold my interest for more than a few seconds though.

For me, good street photography is about more than just snapshots of people. It has to have a story, involvement, dynamism. These two are obviously looking at something, but we don't know what it is. There are no clues. Ie, what they're interacting with is outside the image.
They are obviously sitting in the street, but why? There is no environmental context.
The only thing tying them together are the cups, and I don't find enough interest to want to find out.

Sorry, but there's more to this scene than you have captured.


By: youmightlikethis

Shadow on the wall by billmyl

Shadow on the wall

I'd like to see a version without the two birds on the rail.

The minimalist feel and the starkness appeals: it emphasises the emptiness of the photo. You could even crop a little from the top and left to give the shadow more impact within the frame.

Otherwise, not much wrong with this at all.


By: billmyl

Kayla Sr. Pic by NatureMom

Kayla Sr. Pic

As a pose, it would have been better to lift her nearer leg and cross them, keeping her within the frame. You could also have shot looser to include her leg: you have a little space to play with above her head. As it is, it's a pleasant environmental portrait, and even with a crop you could keep some of the background as a neutral, natural setting.

Exposure and focus look fine, so it's nearly there.

ISO is a measure of how sensitive the cameras response is. Higher ISO boosts the signal in the sensor meaning you can shoot in lower light. The trade off is that you increase the noise the higher you go. In most cases, it's better to keep ISO as low as possible for best possible image quality.
Sometimes, the light is poor, you don't have a tripod and you need to get the shot, so you raise the iso and accept a small loss in image quality as a compromise for keeping the shutter speed up. It's all a compromise.

Here you didn't need quite such a high ISO, but this image is ok for it. You could have afforded to lower it to 400 or 200 and hand held at 1/250 or 1/125 sec easily. A guideline is keeping the shutter speed higher than the reciprocal of the focal length: so for a 50mm lens, try to keep the speed over 1/60 sec. You can use ISO along with shutter speed and aperture to control exposure level.


By: NatureMom

Beautiful wedding by nashphotography

Beautiful wedding

Quote: Stunning photos with a beautiful bride

Nothing like blowing your own trumpet!

What is it you want critique on?

I have to be honest, I'm not convinced about this as a montage. The colour and mono mix is a bit disjointed...I think it's better if there's a theme, not just in the subject, but also in appearance of the images. Better if they were all black and white, or all colour, but not with a random sepia.

The images themselves could benefit from a little frontal lighting. Good idea to shoot in the shade to avoid panda eyes and harsh shadows, but the couple are underexposed compared to the background, and a little fill flash would have worked wonders by brightening their faces. The shadows show a distinct blue cast as a result. The poses are perfectly competent, but the lighting needs a little work.

You could even have worked in the sunlight and used the flash to lift the shadows on the camera side of them.
The blue outer is also quite dominant, and perhaps a more subtle colour would have worked better, and perhaps arrangement and sizing of the pictures could do with a tweak. For instance, 5 images are butted up, but the car one is larger and over/underlaid, making it stand out. You need to find a consistent arrangement...all laid like on a scrapbook, all different sizes, all the same size, etc

I don't mean to sound completely negative, and I'm sure the couple were pleased with the images, but it goes to show the small differences that make or break good social photography.


By: nashphotography

PEREGRINE by olamii97


Once again, a manipulated abstract that is entirely unconnected with the words.
The images need to be clearer in their context unless you just want a series of abstracts.

It might be an idea if you asked us exactly what it is you wanted critiquing? It's almost impossible to critique a personal vision.

It is eye catching, but what do you want to achieve? Do you feel you have achieved it? What do you want help with? Or do you just want "nice picture" comments? Maybe these would be better in the main gallery for wider viewing. There is no evidence of improvement, just a set of disparate images you feel you have to explain.


By: olamii97

WHERE by olamii97


It reminds me of a Rorschach ink blot card.

Again, almost impossible to critique as a photograph, as it's a personal vision.

I'm sure the original, with the colours, had potential, but for me, the silhouettes included are too untidy (the CCTV on the lamppost, the crane fading into the dark cloud, the small blocks intruding into the left side etc). A much simpler composition would have been better, perhaps only one or two lampposts in the left half of the frame, cropping half the dark cloud off in the process.

As for the sentiment, it's largely unnecessary. Let the images do the talking, but make the messages clearer and simpler. Not sure what an abstract really says about your personal utopia, but does it really connect with the image?


By: olamii97

Amanda by pnkpnthr5231


For me, the following stand out:

1. The background is largely irrelevant as you've blurred it well, but the white box thing still intrudes into the shot. Creating distance between subject and background should lead to a cleaner outline.

2. Looks like you've used the on-camera flash, which is a bit harsh and has caused a hard edged shadow on her neck, plus the camera has seen her hand as the subject, exposed for that and the light fall off has rendered her face too dark. You need a larger (softer) light for shots like this, unless you want the "paparazzi caught you" kind of picture. A reflector to your right would have helped throw light back into her face, or diffused off camera flash out to that side.

3. I concur with not cutting off the tattoo. Either completely in or completely out.

4. As a purely aesthetic, personal thing, I'd prefer to have cleaned her nails first, and to see the pupil of her eye, as she's effectively looking at me.


By: pnkpnthr5231

Sunrise in Midland by Relic01

Sunrise in Midland

That depends on the effect you were looking for.

More positive compensation would have lightened the sky, probably losing any colour you have recorded, and the blown out sun would have been blown much more. On the other hand, you wouldn't have had to work so hard on the shadows. You can see a distinct halo round the post.

This is the kind of shot you need to pre-visualise what you want and get the camera to work for you, rather than taking shots and hoping for the best.

You can always use a bit of diffused flash to light the foreground without affecting the rest....I'm sure your camera will have a slow-sync mode, or a night portrait mode. Something where you can fire the flash and still have an exposure for the ambient light.


By: Relic01

OSUN by olamii97


If you see it, great. I'm afraid I'm not a big fan of this kind of image/text combo, nor those "inspirational messages" so often seen on social networks.

Willie has addressed the technical aspect of low contrast, but otherwise it's impossible to look at from a critique point of view as it's so personal.


By: olamii97

SHE SHOT by youmightlikethis


Good timing, well composed and well captured. Then over processed.

Sharp can be good, but overly sharp, especially with people, and even more with ladies over a certain age, is not sympathetic to the subject. The effect of over sharpening is evident where her hand is in front of her face, making it look like its stuck on. If you get any kind of artefact or halo, it's too much processing. I'd like to see a much more restrained go at this one.


By: youmightlikethis

Glee! by paulbroad


Nice, sharp, well exposed and with a well caught expression. Shame about the horrendous squint though....

I might be inclined to reduce the impact of the stretch lines on her neck.


By: paulbroad



I would suspect that if it was really taken on an Olympus OM 2, there won't be any exif data (it's a film camera)!!

It looks like a scanned slide, or a duplicated one, due to the richness of the colours and excessive contrast. If so, you need to lower the contrast as much as possible in the scanning process. This will give a very flat scan, but retain tonal information you can work with to add contrast later.

Often shot in contrasty light, the colours of these masks are superb, and this is a fairly standard shot. There is no extraneous detail to spoil it, it just lacks a little in the mid tones. If it is a scan, altering the workflow (or not relying on auto) for less contrast will give much more workable images.



A Sly Fag! by paulbroad

A Sly Fag!

I find a similar thing with many of these kind of shots....the depth of field. Separating your subject from the background is the difficult thing, whilst it gives context, it also adds clutter to what is effectively a candid portrait.

Whilst I know you're using f/8 to allow for small errors, a wider aperture will really help throw your subject into relief at these kind of ranges. Yes, you will have a lot of misses using your method, but the ones you nail will be more 3-dimensional. You can also use Fuji's face recognition feature to help pick the face out of the crowd, as long as it isn't moving too quickly. It isn't infallible, but it can help.


By: paulbroad

Fences by Relic01


One thing I think needs to be emphasised, is that there is not necessarily a "correct" exposure, only an exposure you want, that contains enough information for you to do what you want with the image.

Already this image has drawn a couple of different opinions of what the correct exposure is. As it stands, it's light, airy and conveys a bright summer afternoon. Willie says it is correctly exposed, because the histogram is well positioned and you haven't lost information off the edges. Tweaking it slightly will improve the blacks, but does every scene have to contain a full range of tones? No.

Ian considers it a little overexposed, and Robert has added contrast and "punch", effectively darkening some areas. I think the mono conversion has darkened the mood considerably, and is perhaps too heavy for the image, unless you want it changing to something brooding.

The question you need to ask yourself, is, "how do I want it to look?" Does it convey the scene you saw? There are a lot of very good images that are spoiled by overprocessing, and the diktat that "the histogram shall at all times remain between the lines, and the white and black points shall touch the bottom corners" does not have to be followed slavishly. As Willie says, it depends entirely on what you are shooting.

The whole point of taking control of the camera is to shoot what you want, how you want, and not have to accept the camera's opinion. By all means use the histogram as a guide (the in camera one should guide you as to the amount of exposure compensation you need, and screens aren't always accurate as a visual reference), but a bright sunny day doesn't have to look like a stormy one just because the histogram is a little out.

As far as this image is concerned, your first post looks fine on my screen. You aren't really close enough to make the most of the texture in the wood, and the composition tries to draw your eye off the right hand side, but as an exercise in learning manual exposure, it's pretty good. I didn't need the exif data to know it was a bright, sunny mid afternoon, but I might have struggled if I had seen the mods first.


By: Relic01

Hay Making 2015 by KymeWeb

Hay Making 2015

It is indeed clean, sharp, well exposed....and static.

Shooting anything from side on results in a record shot and little else. You only need to look at car/train/aircraft/farming etc magazines to see that every photo is taken from a more dynamic angle, usually with whatever it is coming towards you.

This may have been improved by having the machinery much smaller in the frame and including more field, giving an environmental context. This should have separated it from the background more too. But as it is, probably only of real interest to a tractor/baler spotter.


By: KymeWeb

At trails end by Relic01

At trails end

If you wish to learn how the various settings interact with each other, you need to get off any kind of preset mode, such as "Landscape", "Portrait", "Night" or any of the others. They all bias the jpg processing in camera and often mask what's happening.
Others to try not to use are things like "Intelligent Auto", "Auto ISO", or in camera settings like "Monochrome", "Vivid Colour" etc. these are fine for casual snappers, but if you aren't in control of the camera, then it is making decisions for you that you will struggle to correct later.

Of course, the best thing to do is shoot in RAW, so what you shoot is what you get and it's up to you to process it. If you must shoot jpg, I'd also suggest turning the saturation, sharpening and any dynamic range adjustments as low as they will go.

Then when you're more familiar with how it all fits together, you can experiment with other settings.

This image contains most of the things that make a decent photo: a good subject, a line to lead your eye around the frame and a pleasant setting. It naturally lends itself to colour, IMHO, with a touch of lightening to bring the colours up a little. I don't think the mono treatment really works in this instance, but I do like Dudler's square crop, and that in colour would be my preferred option.


Ps, converting to mono opens up a whole world of adjustments that someone struggling to get to grips with the basics doesn't really need to get into straight away. As you can see, it isn't just a case of desaturation, or a single click....tonal relationship adjustments are way more complex than that.

By: Relic01

The Shed by malcatch

The Shed

I think this arrangement would work much better if we could see the shed better. As it is, from here, it's mostly on the reverse slope and half hidden. There isn't the feel of mystery, so I'm left wondering exactly what the picture is saying.

We've all seen days like this. I like the natural sunlit vibrancy of the grass, countered by the brooding monochrome of the sky, but I'm not really sure about the shed. Better if it was right on top of a hill and we could see the base, perhaps also better if it was smaller (less than half the size).

I also can't see it as minimalist, as there is too much detail all over the frame. If this was covered in snow, it would be minimalist.


By: malcatch

Howth Harbour Lighthouse by ade123

Howth Harbour Lighthouse

I agree about the poor HDR treatment. It lowers the natural contrast and seems to add texture where there is none.
Nobody has mentioned the fact that it looks slightly off-vertical. The horizon appears to slope slightly (I know there is land there to affect the visual impression) and whilst nothing appears properly true due to the angles of all the surfaces, I appreciate the door and window frames are fine. I think it's due to looking slightly upwards with such a wide lens, but a tiny rotation makes it looks better.

I also think it better if the lighthouse leans slightly towards the sea rather than away from it, without exaggerating the tilt too much.
One other thing that would have improved this massively, would be to shoot it later in the day. The shadows and exif show it was not long after midday. By waiting till after 4-5 pm, the sun will move round and be much lower, which would then show much more modelling on the round tower, and bring out the brickwork detail much more. You would not need any artificial texture adding, and it would all look much more 3-dimensional.


By: ade123