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By youmightlikethis
people pictures how can i improve them do i have to have eye contact for impact

Tags: Photo journalism General Black and white 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.


mikejmb 10 2 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2014 6:57PM
Great portrait, lighting perfect as is composition.


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alistairfarrugia 5 164 88 Malta
14 Mar 2014 8:15PM
Hi there. You ask how you can improve this, and I think I can offer a few pointers for you to consider.

V1 - It looks a bit flat to me, it's a "grey" image, as opposed to being black and white - it needs a bit more blacks and a bit more white to have more contrast and punch. You can easily fix that with some dodging/burning of some areas or by using preset "contrast" effects if you don't want to take a lot of time. I also feel like the eyes look a bit "dead" without a catchlight. A bit of fill-in flash would have probably helped here but I don't know for sure if this was a posed, "candid-style" shot or a properly candid shot. If the latter case, I think the flash would have "alerted" the person of the picture and you would have risked being told off or something.

V2 - I like this but once again the lady's eyes look a bit flat, again due to the absence of some light in them. I also find the other legs on that drum to be distracting. I wonder what they lead up to and that distracts from the woman, whom I presume was your subject. I also find that maybe a composition that was a bit wider would have given the image more context, as it is, I find it too tightly composed. I also wonder what she's holding in her arms, is that another photo? Of what? Maybe changing your angle and including a bit more of the image would give more story - and that (story) is what documentary / reportage shots are typically about. In this one, there are more questions than storyline for me.

V3 - I love this the most. The colour popping works for me here isolating the subject from the rest of the crowd, with the exception of the man behind him - why didn't you desaturate that figure as well? I think selecting only the man in the yellow top would have worked better. Also, I would either give more space up above the wording "BUCHANAN STREET" or clone the wording out. It attracts attention away from the subject, but if you want to retain it for context purposes, I'd give it just a bit more space rather than keeping it very tight against the edge. Finally, I like the range in this - there's detail in the shadows, mid-tones and the highlights here. I like that.


Hope you find the critique helpful and keep them coming. Thanks for uploading to the critique gallery.


thanks for crits
dudler Plus
14 707 1354 England
15 Mar 2014 12:09AM
I really like the first two shots: excellently seen.

And no, you don't need to have the subjects looking at the camera. These are fine as they are.

However, I think there may have been quite a lot of processing here: am I right? This seems ot be a problem, in terms of giving critique: hard t odo mods, and also, if we don't know what you've doen and what you intended, it's quite tricky to give constructive advice.

The processing is similar in V1 and V2: and I rather like it, though I might have liked straight images jsut as much. However, the processing makes them a cohesive pair.

This leaves V3 as the odd one out, stylistically. A perfectly good shot, but the colour breaks the style of the set, I reckon.

All three are good shots in their own right, though - which is good news!
iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2014 10:52AM
I like the first two also. The first especially.
No1. Eye contact would maybe not be appropriate to her general expression. She looks elsewhere, thinking about something other than the camera. As dudler says we don't know how the conversion were made. Her face is much the same tone as her top. Maybe you could darken or lighten top with colour channels?
No 2. Interesting, required a closer look to decide what is going on. Again maybe you could change some colours to make less overall similar grey? A bit of dodging around eyes might help.
No 3. Interesting colour popping but overall photo lacks real interest, just a man walking down street, unless he is famous. Good photography and you picked the man wearing yellow out of (no doubt) a mass boring grey, brown and black clothing.

paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
15 Mar 2014 2:59PM
Your processing often does you no favours. V1 could be first rate, but it is heavy, mid grey and patchy. If you had treated it to a normal mono conversion it would have been a cracker. I actually quite like both the others. V3 is obviously very strange in tone, but actually quite interesting for it. V2 is a first rate composition. The tones are less messed with and thus rather better. Still could have been more normal for me.

I'm not sure what the tone mapping is meant to achieve. The tonal range in most of the images that you use it on does not need it, so I assume you are creating a personal style. Not suitable all the time, though.


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