arguing over a simple snapshot

Registered: Jun 28, 2010
Total Posts: 682
Country: Romania

I always knew that arguing over the internet is one of the dumbest and time consuming things, yet I find myself an olympic medalist at this sport sometimes..

This is the first time that I post in this thread/area and I'm doing this solely because I got into various arguments on the web with some folks over this photo and I really want to know whether ....perhaps I'm retard as far as photography goes..

It's a photo of a little girl from the country side....

The way I see it,I did this as a candid i didn't have that much time to fiddle with the light,settings... I saw the girl in that position and I clicked. (it's one of those occasions when you either take the shot,as it is, or don't take it and lose it)

Personally I LIKE the photo, the way the light falls on her face,her look etc....

I've posted the picture on a forum,in a specific thread where people add photos and they are discussed...

Some dude started saying that the girl looks like some monkey with all that hair on her hands, that her face doesn't have any details and stuff like that ( I won't bother to copy & paste everything because I need to translate it from a different language and I don't think anybody here cares for the exact words).

What I don't get is why can't people make out the candid shots...from studio-environmental shots?

I know she has hair on her hands, I know it's not the best framing,but I just wanted to capture that look on her face..

I like to present a person the way she/he really is...This is no fashion/professional/studio shot,where we need to hide all the bad things, like pimples, hair etc and photoshop the crap out of the skin tones etc...

I mean to look at this photo and the first and only thing to come up in one's mind to be the HAIR on her hand.....I find that a bit exaggerated...

I don't want to become the type of person that photoshops everything...I tweak photos here and there, but the whole purpose of the photo was to capture the girl as she was, NOT to make the girl look like she's a virgin model....she's just a country girl with some good light on her face...which I tried to capture..

Also that person went off and off about how I cut (framed/cropped) her elbows and breasts (if she had any, that's what he said) etc etc...

I want some true opinions about this photo,from people who can judge a photo with wise and usefull feedback.

We can all have an opinion on a photograph,but what sets some of us apart is the way we express it and what it's based on.

We can't just say "that photo is stupid", "that girl looks like a monkey with all that hair on her hands"..

I mean I thought as photographers, we're way past those type of comments and expect a bit more decency and creative feedback (such as related to framing,lighting and all the tech stuff).

Personally I've had it with that cliché that a photographer must capture only the beauty in a person and must hide its flaws and etc etc etc...

joe chance
Registered: Nov 29, 2006
Total Posts: 253
Country: United States

You captured her as she is, not has someone else would want to her be. I see nothing wrong with the picture as it captured what you intended it to. It's like Different strokes for different folks.

I would ask a fashion or glamour photographer to comment on my sports photography either. So care must be taken on what forum and topics you are posting.

Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 17012
Country: United States

One thing I frequently ask about an image is "What's the point?" of the image that you are trying to convey to the viewer.

If the point was to capture a "moment in time" and the image reflects a "moment in time" ... then you've managed to convey your point to your viewer and the merit of an image stands on its own accordingly.

If the point of the image was to showcase her in a way the mimicks an "airburshed barbie" ... then it misses the mark. Obviously from your post, this was NEVER your point, so for those who can't comprehend/distinguish/appreciate the difference on their own, you do your best to help them understand your point of view regarding the point of the image ... some get it, some don't and you aren't going to change that fact of life.

As to the image itself, I might look at different comps/crops and PP, but that's purely subjective taste & style. Just like I mentioned in the "too soft" thread, PP is secondary to such "moment in time" captures. Without the capture, you'd have nothing to PP (or detate).

This is one of those images that takes some time to digest & embrace in order to get the fullness of what it has to offer ... kind of like needing to let a good wine "breathe' a bit before you slowly enjoy it ... rather than gulping it down the moment you uncork it so you can get "swacked".

My only nit about the hair on her arm isn't that the hair isn't "attractive" ... simply that the tonal values of the light hairs, along with the "V" of her elbow try to draw my eye away from her face, so I might look to change the crop/comp (or burn/blur/etc.) to try and reduce it's "draw the eye" effect away from the face ... which to me her face IS the point of the image.

adrianb wrote:
I always knew that arguing over the internet is one of the dumbest and time consuming things, yet I find myself an olympic medalist at this sport sometimes.

Yeah, but it's a tough crowd to win a "gold" medal at ... the competition is pretty tough some days.

A little different PP ... as always, S&P to taste.

BTW ... Nice Capture.

Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 8290
Country: New Zealand

It's an excellent image, just as it is. I quite like how you've composed it. The high contrast look is one I quite liked in my B & W film work way back when I under-exposed and used hard paper for that effect. Excellent expression and you captures not only a meaningful moment, but one that tells an emotional story at a glance. We could discuss why it works, but that's only commentary. It works.

Don't worry about the internet criticism in general. It's a great place to receive "critiques" from those who don't recognize good images. First rule, examine the quality and appeal of their work. If it's crap, their critiques are likely no better. It's one reason I post my own images here from time to time. Like 'em or hate 'em, at least you'l understand where I'm coming from, visually. People on-line will just as gleefully trash the work of the great masters, if they don't know them. Also, arguing with critics is generally a waste of time. If you didn't ask for a critique, they are simply rude. Ignore the rude. If you asked for a critique, ... well you asked. Doesn't mean you are need to agree, but arguing with critical opinion is effort wasted.

As it happens, *I* am one of those folks who uses Photoshop to try to polish and refine everything I shoot that appeals to me or that I intend to show to someone else. I frequently re-visit images and make different interpretations of them. Yes, it can become something of an obsession. Be warned.

It's all about what the image says to *you*. When you bring in others, they bring their own expectations to the table, for better or worse. For example, for your consideration, a couple of alternative ways to interpret the image that try to reflect the hard contrast look a little more mildly as an alternative, should they appeal to you.

Registered: Nov 18, 2002
Total Posts: 9376
Country: United States

It's a nice candid shot, but technique-wise it doesn't flatter her much in your original rendering of it. I find RustyBug's far more flattering because it's a better match to what would be seen by eye (i.e., normal rendering).

The two basic ingredients for any flattering portrait are: 1) the face posed to the light in a way the lights the eyes, mouth and front of the face naturally, and; 2) selection of a camera angle which complements the lighting pattern to make the face look balanced and symmetrical. This shot has the first, but the camera/facial angle would have been more flattering had you taken it a few inches further right, revealing more of the far side of the face.

With regard to composition in frame, if there is a hand and arm in the shot its better to crop to include the elbow than to chop it off with the bottom of the frame. H&S portraits this tight always wind up cropped awkwardly at the bottom of the frame so unless there is a compelling reason to include a lot of background context in the portrait I find it better overall to crop portraits vertically. If you do opt to crop horizontally move back and crop the body at the waist where it narrows, showing the elbow of a raised hand. If the arms are hanging down crop wide enough to include the hands.

So yes it its a nice candid capture of a pensive young girl, but there it could have been captured and processed more effectively [edit] if your goal was to create a flattering portrait rather than an unconventional one. She's a lovely looking young lady so you got to figure any negative feedback you got previously was a result of how you rendered her appearance, not her appearance (e.g. hairy arms, etc....) [/edit]

Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 8290
Country: New Zealand

I suspect there's room for disagreement about whether it might be more "effective" or just more "conventional". Art needn't always be flattering or conventional. Kent's version is sweet. It has quite an appeal, in a conventional sense. It's the type of image many would happily pay a portrait photographer to render as a candid portrait. However, for me, the charm of this image, in its original rendering, is it's unconventional and not about the delicacy and tenderness of idealized childhood. It exudes dramatic tension rather than tenderness.

Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 17012
Country: United States

Something a little less conventional.
(The toning is showing a bit cyanic in ie vs. blue in safari)

Registered: Jun 28, 2010
Total Posts: 682
Country: Romania

Thank you all very much for taking the time.
This is what I call usefull feedback.

I live the contrast on AuntiPode's first picture, but overall I think RustyBug's is exactly what was needed to 'hide' the hair on the hand. More detail,yet enough contrast not to look washed out...

As some of you have guessed it, the main argument between me and THEM was not whether I can't accept criticism. When somebody criticizes you, if you respond back it doesn't mean you can't take criticism,it actually means that you want to communicate something.

The topic between me and them was more profound than that so I'd rather bail out than play tennis against a wall with them...

In the future I need to be carefull and spot that sort of argument miles away and bail out before it even begins...

Nothing good will come out of it..

Thanks again.

PS: that black thing next to her arm is my dumb ass lens hood from the 24-70 2.8L which I forgot that I put on the table 30 minutes prior to taking the shot..

When I aimed to frame i didn't notice it immediately...too lazy to photoshop that one

Registered: Aug 04, 2009
Total Posts: 5885
Country: United States

I can not add anything to the previous posted comments other than to say I agree.. This trio has a wealth of knowledge that they are gracious enough to share.. They have helped me a bunch over the years..

Registered: Aug 05, 2008
Total Posts: 8290
Country: New Zealand

If the arm hair bothers you, you could select the arm, use the clone stamp to suppress the hair and then a film grain filter to match the grain/noise in the rest and adjust the light/dark values by applying exposure/gamma adjustments to the selection.

Bob Jarman
Registered: Feb 04, 2007
Total Posts: 7458
Country: United States

Late to the dance (been off the grid for awhile) but another rendering.

Personally, I like the image but for my taste, perhaps a bit too much contrast. Added a touch of glow, tone, and vignette.

Yes, having 'engaged' in hormonal contests more than several times myself, one must be judicious in picking/responding to criticism and arguments. The civil, informed, and tolerant nature of FM'ers on the PC Forum is most welcome.



Registered: Dec 31, 2011
Total Posts: 17
Country: United States

I think I like the original and Bob's edit the most. Personally I like the contrast of the original and the added blur/vignette of Bob's image. Either way it's a very nice capture

Jo Dilbeck
Registered: Dec 20, 2007
Total Posts: 2519
Country: United States

I like Rusty's and Bob's versions very much. The capture was just that, a moment in time. Like you say, take it, or lose it. The hair on the arm doesn't bother me by being there, but in the original it does tend to pull the eye away from the beautiful facial expression. I prefer Rusty's treatment of changing the tone, rather than blurring the hair. The only thing I do not care for in your original is the fact that so much detail is lost on her right side and back of the head. If you could open up those shadows a bit (as done in the other edits) that would make a major difference in this image.

Thanks for sharing and letting us provide you with "friendly" feedback!