girl in a railroad tunnel looking for pointers
/forum/topic/1157783/0



rennocneb
Registered: Mar 26, 2010
Total Posts: 244
Country: United States

Looking for some constructive criticism im new to this style of photography but trying to improve.



rennocneb
Registered: Mar 26, 2010
Total Posts: 244
Country: United States

one last one a bit different mood here



ben egbert
Registered: Jan 31, 2005
Total Posts: 5442
Country: United States

First point, don't stand on the tracks!!

I like the 2nd and last best. I don't do this stuff so its just a civilians reaction.



Mister Bean
Registered: Jan 30, 2007
Total Posts: 558
Country: United States

I like the lighting in all of them.

The model seems somewhat awkward. Like she's bored and doesn't really want to be here.



Bob Jarman
Registered: Feb 04, 2007
Total Posts: 5765
Country: United States

Not my area of interest but I will offer my opinions, and take it for that, just one person's opinion.

#1 is soft, backlighting too bright and looks as is you caught part of the box, reflector, or whatever it is.
#2 - pose is not flattering, looks as if she does not care, her left knee is awkwardly placed, graffiti at left of frame detracts
#3 - what is it with the hands-to-mouth thing? Curve of tracks intersects her head and leads the eye away from subject.
#4 - pose is not flattering, her facial expression shows disinterest,
#5 - best of the set, lighting is flat

In general, I second Mister Bean's observation about the model.

Her hair is a mess, the wardrobe selection does not flatter her physique (bare shoulders & arms, imo, do not work here, neither does the short skirt). The pouty expressions convey anything but what I'd want from a portrait were I the subject

Lastly, check out tutorials on the "liquify tool" (as pointed out to me by @AuntiPode in a recent post re images of several vocalists). With judicious and tasteful, subtle application, I think you can greatly improve the images.

General question - what is it about railroad tracks? Nearly every set of portraits/senior pictures, etc. at some point includes the ubiquitous railroad shots...

Anyway, my opinions. Why do I not focus on portraits? Not worth losing friends over images they do not like or appreciate.

Good luck,

Bob



oldrattler
Registered: Aug 04, 2009
Total Posts: 5081
Country: United States

Bob Jarman wrote:
Not my area of interest but I will offer my opinions, and take it for that, just one person's opinion.

#1 is soft, backlighting too bright and looks as is you caught part of the box, reflector, or whatever it is.
#2 - pose is not flattering, looks as if she does not care, her left knee is awkwardly placed, graffiti at left of frame detracts
#3 - what is it with the hands-to-mouth thing? Curve of tracks intersects her head and leads the eye away from subject.
#4 - pose is not flattering, her facial expression shows disinterest,
#5 - best of the set, lighting is flat

In general, I second Mister Bean's observation about the model.

Her hair is a mess, the wardrobe selection does not flatter her physique (bare shoulders & arms, imo, do not work here, neither does the short skirt). The pouty expressions convey anything but what I'd want from a portrait were I the subject

Lastly, check out tutorials on the "liquify tool" (as pointed out to me by @AuntiPode in a recent post re images of several vocalists). With judicious and tasteful, subtle application, I think you can greatly improve the images.

General question - what is it about railroad tracks? Nearly every set of portraits/senior pictures, etc. at some point includes the ubiquitous railroad shots...

Anyway, my opinions. Why do I not focus on portraits? Not worth losing friends over images they do not like or appreciate.

Good luck,

Bob


+1 total agreement... Including fastest way to lose a friend, take their picture



rennocneb
Registered: Mar 26, 2010
Total Posts: 244
Country: United States

the reason the location was chosen was simply because its a rather interesting historical site in my home area. The model isn't a model obviously so the facial posing etc wasn't her strong point. How would you suggest using the liguify tool im all ears.



Bob Jarman
Registered: Feb 04, 2007
Total Posts: 5765
Country: United States

rennocneb wrote:
the reason the location was chosen was simply because its a rather interesting historical site in my home area. The model isn't a model obviously so the facial posing etc wasn't her strong point. How would you suggest using the liguify tool im all ears.


Check out the many tutorials - you may choose not to use it at all.

I use model in a generic sense...perhaps subject, or young lady might serve the purpose better. My experience - when you shoot portraits, throwaway any before the fact understandings or agreements. Once the person sees the images the rules have changed and you are the one being challenged and it becomes a personal matter.

I do not know the purpose of your shoot, or your intentions. All I can do is respond to what I see. If the young lady was a friend playing the role of the subject, so be it. Regardless, you, the one snapping the shutter release, are the person held accountable for her pose and it is your obligation to get it right, not the person sitting for the pose, who for the most part will be clueless and cannot see what you do. Particularly if you, at some point expect to be paid for the job.

Wonderful way to learn, and as Paul, aka @Silvawispa, would suggest - practice, practice, practice.

Bob



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11962
Country: United States

In general ... Bob and Mr. Bean have nailed it ... not to dissuade the effort or the technical aspect of the workmanship. I'll post again at critique of images individually.

But ... your images exemplify why I do not shoot portraits and why being a good portrait photographer is way more about the connectivity with the subject and being able to contend with the myriad of attributes that can be unflattering detractors from a person who doesn't know how to best present themselves in front of a camera.

Her mood comes through loud & clear, as well as the lack of understanding of body positioning, etc. This is where a good portrait photographer leads the pack from those of us who are not well versed in portrait photography.

Again, I applaud the effort and the creative approach. We don't intend to sound harsh, but we believe you would rather have our honest perspective from which to consider relative to your goals ... than be coddled to.

Personally, I think that portrait photographers should be allowed to dispense "mood altering substances" to their subjects.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11962
Country: United States

#1 has the subject leaning in, and with engaging eye contact (although eyes are not well lit). She also has the closest thing to a smile (i.e. welcoming expression) of the others and her hand placement is not blocking her face. I also like the emulation of the oncoming train light. The flare is a little tough, but that is artistic rendering, so I'm good with it. Her pose has lines that help bring you up toward her face from the bottom of the frame. Many good things here, but when you arrive at the expression, it becomes a bit of a let-down as her mood shows through.

#2 Her body positioning has her accentuating her midsection, as the foreshortening also emphasized her leg/knee. The hand positioning blocks her face, and again the mood. The landscape orientation also advances the wider perceptions.

#3 I kinda like this one and think it would benefit from a different crop. Not crazy about the finger in the mouth thing, but at least it isn't her entire hand blocking so much of her face.

#4 I am a big fan of foreshortening effect in foreground landscapes, etc. ... BUT, the foreshortening effect here has done her no favors. Her head is tiny compared to her legs and shoulders, very unnatural.

#5 Another one that I'd like to see with a different crop and better mood. I get the attempt at pensive look, but she winds up in "no man's land" with the evoking of her mood ... as in no man better land in her way cause she's gonna kick you a$$ if you do. She looks well prepared for Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali or some thug from Deliverance, due to her clinched fists and leveled forearms. Of course, if that was your intent ...

In general, her mood comes across to diminish what could otherwise be some nice pics. The posing, hand obstructions, foreshortening, etc. serve as detractors rather than enhancers. I get that not everyone is "model material" ... which makes a study and utilization of technique all the more important.

But, that being said ... the MOOD is the killer part. A great mood will cover a multitude of sins, but all the great technique in the world pales in comparison to a poor mood. Maybe you have others that would augment these such that they would present better as "the many sides of". As is, they stand to present her as a grumpy girl ... or at least, proceed with caution. If that was the intent, then I'm good with it, but without any indication that your goal was such, we're left to assume you were shooting for something else. I could possibly go with 1,3,5 for various reasons (with crops, etc.), if it's all I had, but first impressions have been as noted.

My .02 ... hope it helps ... looking forward to see more, as we encourage growth / learning. I'd suggest getting some good portrait reference material and compare it to your pics and our comments. We (some of us) aren't all portrait photographers, but still aspire to help.



eeneryma
Registered: Jan 17, 2011
Total Posts: 273
Country: United States

Bob Jarman's critique nailed it on the head. My suggestion is to go to the People Photography forum on Fred Miranda. This is an excellent resource as there are many photographers posting senior photos. There's an art to posing and lighting senior photos.



dmacmillan
Registered: Nov 03, 2007
Total Posts: 4488
Country: United States

"girl in a railroad tunnel looking for pointers"
I rarely find pointers in railroad tunnels. Tell her she'll have better luck at a kennel.



RustyBug
Registered: Feb 02, 2009
Total Posts: 11962
Country: United States

dmacmillan wrote:
"girl in a railroad tunnel looking for pointers"
I rarely find pointers in railroad tunnels. Tell her she'll have better luck at a kennel.


Setters and Retrievers too.



dmacmillan
Registered: Nov 03, 2007
Total Posts: 4488
Country: United States

RustyBug wrote:
dmacmillan wrote:
"girl in a railroad tunnel looking for pointers"
I rarely find pointers in railroad tunnels. Tell her she'll have better luck at a kennel.


Setters and Retrievers too.

When I was 11 or 12 my uncle finished out his basement. He did all the work himself and was quite proud of his efforts. We went over one night soon after he finished to view his handiwork. We retired to the den for snacks and we all complimented him on the job. He said: "I'm pleased, but it's not quite finished. I need some art work for the new bathroom, but I can't find anything I like."

Well, I had visited my grandfather that afternoon. He was quite the hunting enthusiast. He had a number of paintings of hunting dogs out in gorgeous Autumn fields. Remembering the paintings, I had an idea for my uncle. I offered: "You could always put up pictures of pointers and setters."

It took me a second to realize why everyone was doubled up in laughter, then I wanted to fall through the floor...

PS - To the OP, I think you've gotten some good advice, and as you can tell, I have nothing useful to add.



silvawispa
Registered: Nov 10, 2008
Total Posts: 693
Country: United Kingdom

I think it's pretty much already been covered, but I'll say some of it again.

Firstly, these shots aren't awful. They do show exactly where you are struggling though.

Learn to direct and pose your subject in a way that is appropriate to them. Saying it's her fault because 'she's not a model' does not cut it.

It's your job to make sure your subject presents well to the camera. Regardless of the subject, be it landscape, still life or a white haired old granny. End of.

This is a skill and it can be learned. Without it, you're dead in the water as a portrait photographer.

I would also include developing your rapport with your subject, you need to develop a good connection and trust to allow the real person to shine through.

Who wants to buy portraits of themselves depicted as a wary stranger or a fed up grump?

There are a lot of resources out there. Use them.

Only the last shot is in any way flattering to this lady's body shape. Unfortunately by then you can see in her face she's had enough. Or indeed, too much.

In short, don't sweat the tech side, (which, as I've said before should be well practiced and smooth so you don't have to sweat it) and focus your attentions on making your subject look and feel their best.


Oh yes, and as Bob reminds me, practice, practice and more practice.