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| p.1 #6 · New to shooting, criticism welcomed. |
What I like to see in photos of people are natural looking balanced facial angles which invite eye contact and connection with the subject, natural looking 3D modeling created with the lighting and relaxed natural posing with curves rather than straight lines in limbs and fingers. This set has all those qualities.
In terms of room for improvement?
#1 - When shooting under trees and around foliage the light bouncing off the leaves will give it a greenish cast. Your eyes will adapt to it and it will be difficult to see. But if you use a gray card and do this simple procedure you can both evaluate and eliminate it:
1) Have the subject hold a neutral gray card
2) WIth camera set to Daylight WB shoot the card filling the center circle of the viewfinder
3) Use that frame to set Custom WB.
4) Shoot the model holding the card again from that Custom WB baseline
When you toggle between the card image in steps 1 and 4 you will see this difference:
When set to Daylight WB in step 2 the camera records the actual green bias. When set to Custom WB the camera has altered the WB to record the card and model without the green cast. It takes all of about 30 sec. and saves a lot of time and guesswork when editing.
When editing your color perception also shifts as you sit and stare at an image. That's why it's a good idea to have neutral walls around your monitor and room lighting similar to the D65 white of the calibrated monitor so you give your eyes a break, look at the wall, and "recalibrate" them. Having the grey card in the test shot works the same way. Your brain knows it is neutral and you can click on it an make sure it is neutral, then knowing you have neutral color more objectively judge the color of the skin tone and clothing. From that neutral starting point you can try warmer / cooler and find the balance you like. Do it consistently and your the color in your images session-to-session will become more consistent.
Also in #1 - the raised arm is at a stiff looking right angle and the other one is cut off by the frame awkwardly. A more acute V angle for the raised arm would look more graceful and relaxed and if the body was cropped at the small of the waist rather than below the crop on the other arm won't look as awkward and arbitrary.
Also ask yourself what is more important, girl or tree. Would anyone miss the tree if it wasn't there? I wouldn't. Lose the tree, lose the raised arm which gets followed to the tree and what's left? A photo where there are no distractions from the face. Where does the viewer dwell? The face. Portraits tend to create more emotional impact that way.
That's not to say every shot needs to be a head and shoulders shot but I find full length showing the entire body or head and shoulders where the focus is on the face work better than in between views were limbs wind up being cut off.
#2 - Nice opposing angles in the pose but as in the first would benefit from a tighter crop. How much space devoted to things in a photo is a clue as to relative importance. What happens when viewers look at photo and find a face in it they gravitated to the face, try to make eye contact as if meeting the face in person, then tired of looking at the face wander off it. The more big empty space you include the greater the temptation there is to wander off and explore it. What's the last thing they see? Not the face. Net result? Less emotional impact.
In natural outdoor light a your subjects will often have shaded eyes due to the way the brow shades them. It occurs even in shade because the skylight comes strongest from above. The solution is simple. Find a higher vantage point a foot or so above the subject and have them look up at the camera. That gets the light past the brow into the eyes. In the edit below I lighten the face similar to how it would look raised into the light:
In terms of implied body language well lit or shaded eyes create different reactions. Shaded eyes are like meeting a stranger but they look away avoiding eye contact. When you put light into the eyes they invite contact more and the viewer is likely to spend more time looking at them.
When deciding how to light the face and eyes consider the message you are trying to create in the mind of the viewer about the subject. Is she inviting engagement, trying to avoid it, or sending a body language that is aggressive? Once you have a clear idea of that light the eyes in a way that delivers that message subliminally by putting light in them or shading them. When shooting pay attention the the eyes because it will change as the subject move. They might know how to create a shy or aggressive expression but can't see if the lighting is delivering the same message.
#3 - This one works because we've seen her already in 1 and 2 as part if the series. It wouldn't work as well as a stand alone shot. The fact the eyes are closed make it less appealing than one with the eyes open which translates into less time spend looking at it / less emotional impact.
#4 - The tonal gradient of blown out feet > darker face works effectively on the overall light background to pull attention to the face. But when a person is looking sideways like that what the viewer will tend to do is look in the same direction to see what was so interesting to the subject. Here whatever it was is out of frame to the right leaving us wondering. So that shot would work better with her on the left and what she's looking at seen at the right, or alternately if she was looking up directly at the camera.
#5 - Nice lines in this one. Here the window provides the context / reason to explain direction she is looking that is lacking in #4. But this is the only one of the set which the face isn't captured at a balanced flattering angle. it's turned past profile to the point of disappearing which makes it less interesting than a nice "split the face in half" profile would.