Back Modifications (2)
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corinne after school

By timpics  
black and white portait of niece on sofa, watching t.v

Tags: Bracelet School uniform Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Carabosse 14 41.0k 269 England
17 Jun 2008 12:54AM
A good character study of a tired, slightly bored child!

It works well in B/W. The highlight on the face is somewhat bleached out. Also a bit of cropping from the left could help here. I've uploaded a mod for you to consider.

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zarquon 10 47 55 England
17 Jun 2008 7:26AM
This informal portrait was created with manual exposure, 55mm, f/4.8 and ISO 2500 and you list yourself as semi-pro. The tonal range is compressed to the extent that this image has clipped shadow details and it has not made use of 75 points of available detail in the highlights. (see histogram image) The resulting image has a surfeit of dark and heavy shadow detail that is not usually associated with female humans, unless portraying gothic, horror or theatrical scenes. The shadow details are merging with each other and it is difficult to discern where Corinne's clothing ends and sofa cushions and background begin. The hair is also not well separated from the background.

The highlight detail is burnt out on the brightly lit side of Corrine's face, to which you can attribute the loss of skin texture and detail. The high ISO setting has produce a noisy image that may have worked well with a carefully placed set of tonal values. Look at the shadow detail by your subject's ear and the noise is apparent. Having an ear that is not really visibly attached to the face it belongs to is something that does not belong in portraiture of children. The shadow extends from the ear onto the side of her face just below her cheekbone and leaves a diagonal line of darker shadow that looks very odd and suggests a lot of fat is hanging off her face. It is probably not the case but it looks rather unflattering.

Anyone with children will recognise the 'leave me alone' look of young people who are growing rapidly and hard to please. It is likely that when Corrine is grown up, she will not want to show this image to any other person because it does not portray her as an interesting person. Apparently bored and fed-up, she almost certainly did not want to have this image created.

The lighting is a bit of a puzzle in this image but given the location of a room with a TV, it is difficult to believe the light is natural. If the highlight was caused by sunlight then the strength of the light needed to burn out the highlights on one side of the face, should have produced very heavy shadows on the other side of the face. If one was watching TV, I don't think they would want to sit with direct sunlight on their face, to this extent. The double catch-lights, in the closest eye, suggest that artificial light was used here. It could account for the shadow detail on the nearest side of the nose being too light for the apparent strength of light on the burnt out side of the face. The notion is supported by the manual exposure, which is far easier to manage with artificial lighting.

The bracelet looks a bit odd and rather incongruous... almost as if it does not belong in this image. The dark line that is bordering the bracelet on its near side, the angle from the point where it changes direction and along the top, strongly suggests that it has been added afterwards because the line does not vary in density. The furthest portion of the bracelet appears to be too sharply defined against the clothing. It may just be a trick of the lighting you have here. The bracelet is rather obvious and does not look like the sort of jewellery that would be permitted at a school that has a uniform. Did Corrine put the bracelet on after returning from school just before settling down to watch TV? The bracelet ought to be casting some sort of shadow (given the shadow devolving from the first piece of ruffled sleeve on Corrine's arm) and yet, it doesn't.

All in all, the image is a bit of a puzzle. On its own, it is an image that Corrine wont thank you for creating. It can do with some additional attention to the technical details. Tighter control over the lighting and the choice of tonal range is likely to produce images that attract other people. If the observer does not know the subject, the image is unlikely to encourage a second look. This image could be greatly improved by separating the subject from the background. I am very careful not to depict people in this type of faux reportage style because it is a form of snooping and we have more than enough CCTV presence in the UK. As a single image, this one does not do anything for me. If it was part of a series of images that documented say... a week in Corrine's life then it would have a place as a composition but not on technical merit.

Your portfolio shows that you have an eye for an image and the technical ability to produce what you want. The Coniston image shows restraint, good graphic design awareness and a keen sense of colour. I look forward to seeing more of your images at that technical level.


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