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Author Topic: Please criticise me (Photography)  (Read 13196 times)

wrwight

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Please criticise me (Photography)
« on: 26 Sep 2011, 15:09 »

So, I plugged my flickr once before on here, but that was a very general type thing. Now I'm kind of looking for specifics, though I'm still being rather unspecific.

Here is my photography site
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrwight/

And more specifically what I consider my Top 10:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrwight/sets/72157627419168286/

If you have any experience in the visual arts, and would like to give me feedback, I am in desperate need of it. I've been doing this for a little while now, with only a little bit of feedback, so I'm kind of at a point where I need some criticism.

Thanks,
William R. Wight
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dr. nervioso

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #1 on: 27 Sep 2011, 03:52 »

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrwight/6163811408/in/photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrwight/6005294463/in/photostream
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrwight/6163273041/in/photostream

My 3 favorites

I looked through the first few pages, and I'll be honest, it was quite dull. It was mostly scenery and most of the photos just looked plain touristy. I suggest you either learn how to make your photos more dynamic, don' let it sit there. Like use different angles, zoom in, zoom out. Or you could switch your focus to humans/animals. That may allow you to get more interesting and dynamic shots.

Also, I'd recommend you go to a photography class. There are a lot of things that go into a good photo, and I've found you can only really learn what those things are by studying and practicing.

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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #2 on: 27 Sep 2011, 08:06 »

Thanks. I'd like to take a photography class, but don't have one available to me right now. I plan to look into one whenever I can though. I enjoy pictures with people in them, because it does seem to make the picture more interesting, but choosing a subject is something I've struggled with before. It will help my pictures a little when I can afford a new lens, 'cause right now all I have is the 50mm f/1.8 lens that I bought, so zooming in and out is a no go. A wide angle lens would be fantastic, and I think it would add some of the dynamic you're talking about, and a telephoto would allow me to get some points of view that I'll see but am not able to get with my current lens, but a lens can only do so much. Studying and practicing are what I am doing now to try to improve technically and artistically. The internet is a great resource, and I'm doing my best to avail myself of it, and take notes, so I can go back later and see from a technical perspective what worked and what didn't. From an artistic perspective though, it's a little bit more difficult, so I do appreciate your feedback.
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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #3 on: 28 Sep 2011, 13:25 »

To appreciate what can be done with just one standard lens, study the photographs of Cartier-Bresson, or other photo-journalists of that era.  While zoom lenses and other things have hugely increased the possibilities of photography in some respects, they have not in any way replaced our ability simply to look and see.

(PS  I've not looked at your photos yet, as I am away from home, and my Internet connection makes wet string look good.)
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #4 on: 30 Sep 2011, 23:16 »

Are these edited or SOOC (straight out of the camera)? Your beach photos are tending toward blue; check your white balance and warm it up a bit for those shots. Are you shooting in manual or auto?
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #5 on: 01 Oct 2011, 20:48 »

They're only edited a little, generally to add color or contrast, but I prefer to edit as little as possible on the computer. What happened with those shots was I was using Kodak's Ektar 100 professional film, which has very very little latitude, and the light meter on my fairly inexpensive camera (this discovery was based on that roll of film mostly) is about 1/2 to a full stop short of where it should be, so I've done two things to correct it. A) I generally bracket my shots 0,+1/2,+1 rather than -1, 0, +1, and B) I don't use professional film since I'm not on that level yet. General use film has much much more latitude for bad exposure, which is good until I can get a light meter.

Also, I generally shoot in semi-auto, using either the Aperture selection or shutter speed selection on the wheel, and let the camera's light meter set the other for me. It allows me to manipulate the settings the way I want them without requiring a separate light meter. If you're talking focus though, I do both. I generally do manual focus for shallow depth shots and bracket that as well. Another lesson learned after missing the shot 'cause AF didn't get it quite right on a shallow depth shot.
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #6 on: 05 Oct 2011, 16:44 »

Some new pics up, if you like. Still looking for feedback. Always trying to improve.
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #7 on: 05 Oct 2011, 21:03 »

Ah, you're using film... I haven't done film in many years so it's a little hard for me to do CC on these. However, I will say they are just a *tad* overexposed; I would back that off just a little bit. It's easier to edit an underexposed photo than one that's overexposed (usually). They're also a bit grainy, especially for ISO 100, though that may be just due to the film quality.

As far as subject matter and composition, I'll agree with dr. nervioso - you don't seem to really focus on anything in particular, they seem to be mostly shots of general scenes. Don't forget your rule of thirds when composing a shot.

What equipment are you using?
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #8 on: 06 Oct 2011, 02:04 »

Well I had a Canon EOS 1000QD (Japanese model of original Canon Rebel), and that's what all these shots are on, except for some of the older ones, which are mostly crap anyway (shot on an old Minolta Maxxum something or other), and all these shots are also taken with a 50mm f/1.8 standard prime lens. I just bought a Rebel G which came with a 35-80mm zoom lens, so once I can get some batteries and clean that camera I'll probably start shooting with it. It's about two models newer than my current body, so I'm looking forward to playing with some of the "new" features.
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The Seldom Killer

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #9 on: 06 Oct 2011, 12:05 »

Generally OK. Certainly better than average snaps. You've an eye for things that could look quite compelling but aren't quite hitting the mark here for a number of reasons.

I'm just working off the top ten btw.

Composition; sometimes you've included too much (sunset, too much non sunset, too much frame spent on telling us nothing) sometimes too little (sunset, cropped it right in half it feels like there's much more just out of frame. Burger sign, it'd either where's the B or where's the ground.)

Angles are a but dead on. For instance, how many pictures did you actually shoot of that window? Why didn't you try from a tighter, lower, higher angle? I can't help but think it might have been better shot from another angle. I can see why you chose it, it's got some drama to it, but you haven't instilled that in how you've presented it. Equally your stream peters out into the middle of the picture having done not much to go there. The memorial is going the right way but alas came out a bit flat.

Stick with the 50mm as much as you can unless it can't give you what you need. What I would recommend is to switch to B&W if you're going to use film. It can really sharpen up your skills by avoiding the distraction of colour. Shoot more of each subject if you can and get used to experimenting. And if possible go back to some of your old subjects and try them again. Different times of day, lighting, angles, composition etc.
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #10 on: 06 Oct 2011, 12:56 »

Thanks, that's exactly what I'm looking for. After "hearing" you "say" it, I agree with everything except the Pal's Burger sign. Do you really think the composition of that would have been better with the 'B' in it? I specifically left it out because it's easily implied, so it takes nothing away from understanding the picture, and by not including it, it requires your mind to fill in the missing parts, and it would have been more mundane if I had included the whole sign. I can see how I could have re-framed it to include the bottom of the building though, maybe pulled back a bit, or possibly in a bit more so that the sign dominated the composition, and the roof of the building would fill that place where you want to see the ground, perhaps (I'm not sure about that, I'd have to actually frame it, and that spot is now 6 time zones away). In any case, it would have been good to take more shots of that subject from different angles, I can't disagree with that.

I plan to stick with the 50mm for everything that it can give me, but I'm happy to have some type of zoom for those shots that I can't quite frame it the way I want with the 50mm. Also it will be nice to have a bit of wide angle, even if it is only 35mm f/4. As far as B&W goes, I would love to shoot in all black and white, or at least much more than I do, but I was thoroughly unimpressed with Kodak's BW400CN C-41 Black & White film, and until I can find a dark room and a class so I can learn to develop it myself, it takes a lot more money than I generally want to spend to process a lot of black and white film since I have to send it off, so I have to use it a bit more sparingly than I'd like.

But I thoroughly appreciate what you had to say. I feel like I've got some things I can work on now. I need to find subjects that I can hit multiple times (I'm already thinking of a couple), and now that I'm back home I don't worry so much about film cost because processing C-41 is dirt cheap here. I'll post again when I've got more pictures to share.

Thanks again, that was the most detailed criticism I've gotten so far. The rest is good, but specifics are things that I can specifically work on, so I genuinely appreciate that.
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #11 on: 06 Oct 2011, 14:30 »

Sorry, I was hoping for equipment info before I critiqued. Heck, I'll critique each photo individually if you want lol. I guess my real question is, what are you trying to accomplish here? If you're going for a snapshot style, that's very different from a shot that's carefully set up. Many of your photos are using the "jaunty angle" technique, and that's usually reserved for snapshots and is generally considered a bit overused. You've also got a few crops that are too tight, another mark of a snapshot. If that's what you're going for, that's fine, but it changes the critique.

I'm going to have to agree with TSK on the burger sign. What is your subject here? If your subject is the sign itself, you've cropped part of it out. If your subject is the building, you're not really showing any interesting parts of it; it's just a quick snapshot of the corner of a building. I think perhaps if the sky hadn't been overcast, that color would have helped pull it all together a bit, but it would still feel like your eyes travel off the picture and have nothing to pull them back in. Same with your "House of Underwear" (that's hilarious!) shot - you've cut off part of the H, and it feels like that was just an accident. Be very careful of what you're cropping out. Take a wider shot, and you can crop it down later.

On your photos of the wolves, I realize the fence limits your shots, but again, what is the focus here? On this photo, you've almost cut off the wolf on the left, like you forgot he was there. On this one, the fence is in focus, but not the wolves. I realize your title mentions the leaf, but without the title, that leaf isn't big enough to make the picture on its own.

I like this shot. Good angle, good aperture, good color, good exposure. It does need to be straightened up a bit (see "jaunty angle," above). I also like this photo of the shutters, though again, straighten it up, and I think it would have added a little more depth to either put that front shutter a lot more out of focus, or completely IN focus. It seems like it should be the focus of the pic, but the one behind it is in focus instead.

For your pics of the graffiti, try some different angles. Those photos come off as a bit clinical, like they're going to run next to an article about graffiti. They look like they're taken from the same angle a person walking by them would see; get down below them and shoot up. Get up on a second-level balcony and shoot down. Take some shots at angles people wouldn't normally see them from. Let them fill the frame. Same with your photos of the stone reliefs.

This shot is nice, I like the angle on it. I would be careful about chopping off that tiny bit in the bottom right, though - I'd go for just a little more or a little less. Your conversion is a little odd; it has more magenta in the clouds, and more yellow on the tower. It's also a little muddy; pop the contrast a bit more so we can read the inscription without squinting.

As I mentioned before, your white balance is a bit off, and you could use a bit more saturation in general. That can't be helped much in film unless you're developing your own photos. A DSLR will be able to correct some of that right away, but you sound like you're aiming for film-only.
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #12 on: 06 Oct 2011, 21:57 »

Thanks. First, yeah, the House of Underwear shot is just a snapshot I thought was funny. I don't see much beyond that. I only mentioned the leaf in that one wolf shot just as an afterthought. It is meant to be a picture of the wolves, with the fence in focus, kind of highlighting the fact that they're stuck behind a fence (or I am, depending on how you look at it).

I appreciate the note on angles. I'm trying to move past what I agree are overused "jaunty angles" but now I've got some clear notes on how I can address that, so I'll definitely do that in the future.

I think on the shutter pic I could have fixed it with more shots. I think I took three shots on that one, all with different focal points along the wall, and if I had just taken a fourth I might have gotten the front shutter in better focus. I see that now. I think a lot of my photography will improve if I only take more shots.

The chapel shot was taken with Kodak's BW400CN which I have mentioned that I am NOT a fan of. It basically gives me the picture I could get if I just took a color shot and drained all the color out of it in an editing program. I tried to add contrast and improve the balance in some of the other photos I had of the memorial, but after a while I decided that I just couldn't make that film work for me, so now if I shoot b&w it's true b&w, but the only rolls I have of that I still need to send off to get developed, 'cause while I was at my parents' house the last few weeks I didn't have access to a printer, so I couldn't print the postage paid label to ship my film.

I'm hoping my new camera (once I get batteries for it. I'm having trouble finding them) will have a better light meter than my current one, which will help with some of my issues, but yeah, once I can afford the DSLR that I want, I'll have a much easier time because I'll be able to just shoot hundreds of pictures without having to a) stop to change film and b) worry about the rising cost per shot, and also I'll be able to at least get some kind of preview. I don't think I'll ever stop using film completely if I can help it, but I definitely want a DSLR, and who knows, once I have it I might change my mind about using film. For now the initial cost on a professional DSLR is a bit out of my budget though, and if I'm going to spend $1000 on a camera anyway, the way I see it I might as well save another $1500 on top of that to get a professional quality camera, and take my time in the meantime to learn all I can about film photography.
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #13 on: 07 Oct 2011, 11:56 »

I'm on a photography board elsewhere, and anytime someone asks what kind of DSLR they should get in order to start learning how to use manual mode, I tell them every time: buy a used top-of-the-line camera and spend the rest on a few excellent lenses. You can save a good $1000 by buying an older body style. For example, I have a Canon 10D that I bought the year it came out for about $1500 for the body, plus the cost of a kit lens, wide-angle lens, and zoom lens. It was THE top model at that time - blew everything else out of the water, and they've only improved on that line since then. Today? You can get it for $200-$300. And since the lenses are interchangeable, you can use them when you upgrade to a newer model, if you even bother. Honestly, the upgrades aren't that huge a deal depending on what you'll be doing with it. Cameras don't go obsolete every two years the way computers do.

When I took my photography classes, we learned on film cameras (I had a Pentax ME Super. Great little camera.) and I didn't get the DSLR til a few years later. Having done that, I would say that it's MUCH easier to learn on digital, because of one particular reason you stated - you can see what's going on as you do it. You don't have to go back later and say, "Okay, now WHAT did I have this set on?" All the EXIF data is already there so you know what your SS, aperture, ISO, etc. were for that particular picture. It gives you a great opportunity to play around with taking 20 photos of one thing at different settings, without worrying about film costs.

Anyway.... that's only an opinion, make what you will of it :)
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #14 on: 07 Oct 2011, 17:08 »

True, I haven't really looked too much at used cameras, 'cause the few times I have I see mostly bottom end newer cameras trying to sell for much more than they're worth. Maybe I've just been looking in the wrong places. I mostly want to spend the extra money to get a full frame camera, for two reasons. First, my lenses will behave the same way as they do on 35mm 'cause it's a 2x3 aspect ratio, and also because from what I've read you can take much clearer pictures and avoid a lot of graininess that you get in lower light situations. I don't know anyone who has one to compare that last part with, but I've been told it's like using 120mm vs 35mm, because your sensor is larger, so you get the potential for a much clearer shot. Again, this isn't terribly important to me right now while I'm learning, but digital cameras are still what I would consider an investment, at $850ish for a decent lower end model, so I figure if I'm going to invest, I might as well invest in something that will take me up through professional level if I ever make it that far.

I'll definitely look more at used cameras though. Maybe I'll find a deal one day, and then I can start saving money (and frustration) on film lol. I swear no one cares at all about processing film anymore. I took my film to a photo store, which used to be full service anything you need developed/printed/etc. they'd do it. I gave them C-41, got charged for 1-hour processing. They told me it'd take two hours. I come back after three and still have to wait on my pictures. Plus their prints were misaligned on one of the rolls. With similar stories at other places, I've decided camera shops think film is a waste of their time anymore, and therefore don't put the required effort into doing it right.
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #15 on: 07 Oct 2011, 18:17 »

The major problem with having your film developed at a store is that they're honestly not going to take the time to properly develop each photo. They're not going to correct for over- or under-exposure, they're not going to dodge/burn problem areas, etc.. When you do darkroom processing yourself, you print out a proof sheet first and you're able to see what you'll need to do to each photo, and then you process them accordingly. I really, really recommend trying to take a class if you can, especially one that requires you to develop your own film. You'll quickly learn the best way to utilize your camera, and you can adjust your photos the way you want them to come out.

The best thing about a digital camera is that you can "develop" them easily, both on the camera and in Photoshop. Many of Photoshop's abilities are directly based on darkroom techniques - they're not there to cheat, they're set up to mimic what you'd be doing anyway. Photos don't just come out of the camera ready to print.

Anyway, like I said, my biggest recommendation would be to get the 10D and a few good lenses. And if you can't afford a few good lenses, just pick up the 28-135 with IS.

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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #16 on: 07 Oct 2011, 19:15 »

Hmm, yeah, a class is definitely in my future, 'cause I heard today that there's a darkroom around here, and that they teach classes. Now I just have to find the POC for it and see when the next class will be.

As far as the camera, it seems like it'd be around the same price range to pick up This, which is more or less what you posted, just together. I might do that if I can still get that kind of deal next month. I'll have to be good this month and not spend any more money on anything but bills though :/
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #17 on: 08 Oct 2011, 04:22 »

Yes, that would be around the same price. I would compare models on DP Review before buying anything either way; they're considered one of the most comprehensive digital camera reviewers out there, and their reviews are something like 25 pages worth of stuff. Here's the review on the 20D; I already posted the 10D earlier. If you don't want to read the whole thing, skip down to the Conclusion page and it'll give you a great idea of what the pros and cons are.

I also recommend going to a store and holding the cameras first, or at least something in the same line of what you're thinking of buying; Canon has a different feel to it than Nikon, and both feel different than, say, Sony. The Nikons don't fit my hands well at ALL, but I know people who love them. It's a great brand, I just don't care for how it sits in my hand.

But yeah, check out a class. Developing your own photos makes such a huge difference, honestly. You'll have much more control over your work, and you'll learn more of what can and can't be done.

In the meantime, every time you spend money on developing photos, put an equal amount in a jar or something lol.
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #18 on: 08 Oct 2011, 10:50 »

Another thing to think about - if you're really hoping for a full-frame at some point, you might want to look into the cheaper Rebel for now to get a good feel for using a DSLR, and later if you want to go pro you can look at cameras along the lines of the 5D.
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #19 on: 08 Oct 2011, 15:52 »

Yeah, but even a used Rebel looks like it's going to run me roughly the same as a 10D or 20D, so if I'm going to go that route, I don't know what the difference would be. My current camera bodies are both Rebels, so I mean it wouldn't be any worse than those I'm sure. The 5D was the one I was looking at, thinking if I go digital I might as well go big. You're making me think about going the cheaper route though. I mean, it's not like I ever really plan to go pro, I guess it's just that so far the most I've paid for a camera is $75, so the jump from $75 to $850 didn't seem that much different than the jump to $2500, in that they're both many factors greater than what I've paid so far. On the other hand, a used body for $200 looks a little bit less daunting, and would save me lots of money on film, though learning to develop B&W is still something I'd really like to do.
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #20 on: 08 Oct 2011, 18:43 »

The 5D is an amazing camera, but honestly an amateur (and even some professionals) isn't going to use most of what it has to offer. Plus, that thing is an absolute MONSTER. I mean, compared to the Rebel series, the EOS X0D's are heavy because they've got the alloy body, but the 5D is just massive. On top of that, if you're going to spend that much on a professional camera, your other expenses add up quickly - you'll need a speedlite, flash bracket, extra battery pack, a set of filters, a good tripod, camera bag, and at least 3 lenses, plus all your little expenses like a gray card, lens cloths, lens hoods, sensor cleaning kit, etc. Note that $2500 is just for the BODY of the 5D - it doesn't even include a lens. Add in all the proper equipment, and you'll easily break $5000.

That's not to be discouraging, just to let you know what you're in for.
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Akima

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #21 on: 17 Oct 2011, 17:48 »

The major problem with having your film developed at a store is that they're honestly not going to take the time to properly develop each photo. They're not going to correct for over- or under-exposure, they're not going to dodge/burn problem areas, etc..
This is why, in my film days, I only shot colour reversal (slide) film. Mass-production printing is massively disappointing. A huge plus of digital for me is that one can do the "darkroom" work without requiring a darkroom, making decent prints much easier to achieve.

I just wish there was a DSLR as light, small and simple as my old nth-hand Nikon FM2.
« Last Edit: 17 Oct 2011, 18:43 by Akima »
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Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #22 on: 18 Oct 2011, 08:33 »

Yeah, the amount of electronics that has to go into DSLRs makes that unlikely. The Rebel line and others like it are light, but that's because they have a plastic body. Honestly though, I don't mind the weight of the alloy-body cameras because the larger lenses are so much heavier than the camera already. I feel like I'm screwing a camera onto a lens, rather than the other way around.

As far as simple though, you really can just focus on the main three with a DSLR (aperture, ISO, shutter speed) and ignore the other settings almost completely. When I'm taking "artsy" photos I use the manual setting and it's just like using my old analog SLR - only I get to see what my shot looks like immediately instead of hoping it comes out correctly. I can't imagine going back to film now, I've gotten so spoiled haha.
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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #23 on: 18 Oct 2011, 09:18 »

The Leica M9 is the nearest to a "simple" digital camera, probably, by which I mean you can tell it what to do, no messing - but then that's silly money (though well spent, if you have it ).
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

Elysiana

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #24 on: 18 Oct 2011, 10:28 »

Plus it's a beautiful camera!
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pwhodges

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #25 on: 18 Oct 2011, 11:02 »

We accumulate regrets; one of mine is not hanging on to my screw-thread Leicas.  I had a IIIc (with a rare red shutter blind) and a IIIf Red Dial + 50mm Summar, 50mm Summitar, 35mm and 90mm Elmars, and various finders and accessories, including a sliding copying stage and several reloadable cassettes (they opened up in the camera so that the film didn't get rubbed during winding).
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

Akima

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #26 on: 18 Oct 2011, 21:04 »

We accumulate regrets; one of mine is not hanging on to my screw-thread Leicas.
I covet the Leica M9, but the price of what I would regard as the minimum outfit (a body + 35mm and 90mm Summarit-M lenses) is a bit beyond me. My photo-regret is selling my Nikon F3 to help fund an F90x (N90S in the USA). I was lured by the modern bells and whistles, especially auto-focus, but it was really, really stupid. I suppose I could track an F3 down on the second-hand market, but it would be an exercise in pointless nostalgia now that I've gone digital, and I'm not old enough for that yet. ;)

I tell them every time: buy a used top-of-the-line camera and spend the rest on a few excellent lenses.
This. Absolutely this.
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #27 on: 27 Oct 2011, 15:57 »

So I got tired of sitting around not taking photos because I didn't want to pay for film twice, and finally joined the digital age. I posted this (http://www.flickr.com/photos/wrwight/6286963375/) just playing with my camera, but any thoughts on it would be appreciated, you know, if you're bored or something.

I found a good deal on a new Canon T3 and decided it was as good a starter camera as any. I wouldn't mind the extra pixels on the T3i, but I have to constantly remind myself that you can take bad pictures on an amazing camera, and you've still got bad pictures. The focus (no pun intended) needs to be on improving the picture, not the equipment used to take it. Plus I read somewhere that with the 1.6x CMOS sensors, you're not going to get much of a difference in sharpness from 12-18, so yeah. I went with the T3. Hopefully it will treat me well. I need to get that lens that I was referred to earlier, but having just dropped some decent money on the camera, and also about to drop a lot of money on moving (finally), I should probably wait until Christmas or something.
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Freakie

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #28 on: 16 Nov 2011, 06:19 »

*throws his two cents in about DSLRs*

After using the old 300D, then a T2i, and now a 60D, I can really say that if you know you like using a lot of specific features on a product, the higher end cameras are definitely worth it. Obviously going from the 300D to the T2i was a no brainer in quality difference, those CMOS sensors back in 2003 had horrendous noise. But after using the T2i for a year, I got the chance to get my own 60D (T2i is a shared camera). Naturally, went to a Calumet store to try it out (they'll bring out $2,500 lenses to put on your own camera to see how you like them, if you ask) and WOW, the difference was instantly noticeable. I fell in love with the 60D just demoing it in the store because of just how much more professionally oriented it was compared to the T2i. I used to be the kind of person who would instantly say go for the base model and not bother with anything over $1,000, just as was previously mentioned in this thread, but I really have to change that because now I have experienced the difference first hand.

So now, I would say to get that higher end body off the bat if you already have a few good lenses. If you are just starting, then good lenses first makes sense before a good body in my opinion still, but if you are ever upgrading an old body then GET that better model. The features between the T2i and the 300D were amazingly similar and I did find myself getting bored sometimes with the lack of expanding my hardware capabilities (which did allow me to focus on software for a while which was quite useful, I will admit). Now that I have the 60D I am definitely finding myself enjoying my hardware much more and I feel like it is showing through in my photography.

Now, onto your most recent pictures take with your new camera! Loving the styles that you are going for but there are a few things I gotta nit-pick about. First, ease up on that color correction in your post processing  :-P You're over-saturating the red and green in a few of those shots, not just in regards to balancing the colors but the colors are actually being rather distorted in some places (red scarf on the woman especially). Perhaps you don't notice it because of the computer screen you are using. If you can, I'd say try to get a color calibrator for your screen so that way your edits come through better :) Also, try using the custom color settings on the camera. You can adjust for the colors you want to pop the most right on the camera, and if the camera is anything like the T2i then when you are reviewing the pictures you can display a histogram of the color space so that you can go into the settings and adjust accordingly. Like when I do my star photography, I obviously ease up on the blue a little bit :P And that makes it so that I don't have to do much, if any, post processing on the pictures. Unless I want to print them.

Speaking of colors, there are a few tricks you can do now that you are fully in the digital age! As well as the screen calibrator, you could get a color checker so that you can use it to calibrate all of your different lens/filter/camera combinations. What you do is take pictures of the color checker (it's a physical object with many colors on it, like a paint swatch) in both sunlight and shade, and you then go to your computer and the colors can be adjusted based on what the software knows the color should be and it can apply the color adjustments from then on to all of your photos taken with that combination of lens/filter/camera. It really helps in getting your colors right.

Oh, one more thing... your focusing on your new pictures could be a bit better. That and your Depth of Field. I'm seeing some odd choices for your depth of field especially. Many pictures you don't seem to have chosen whether you wanted the background to be blurry or not, so you left it partially blurry and it just feels a tad bit off, it isn't quite allowing the subject of the picture to really BE the subject as much as it could be.

And of course... layers layers layers! When doing edits to your photos on the computer, if you are using a program that has layers, USE them. That way you can do sharpness, contrast, color, ect. edits on only the parts of the picture that you want and that way the rest of the picture wont suffer.


WOW... I typed a lot... you're allowed to not read all of that :| I'm an amateur, not a pro, so my word is but hearsay when compared to the serious folk  :-P
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #29 on: 18 Nov 2011, 03:00 »

Thanks, I really appreciate that. You've definitely given me a lot to consider. I do have a problem with calibrating my monitor. I'll look into getting that fixed for sure. I think I can work on the rest as well, specifically my aperture choices. I'll play around with that on the next few shoots I do and see if I can get things a little more defined one way or the other.
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Carl-E

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #30 on: 18 Nov 2011, 03:08 »

Yeah, I always opted for the smallest aperature possible under the lighting circumstances, because I didn't trust my eyesight for focus and wanted the deepest depth of field I could get. 

Made for some interesting pictures...
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #31 on: 18 Jan 2012, 14:48 »

hm. It's been quite a while since I've logged into these forums. I'm curious though if anyone has anything to say about any of my newer pictures. I've improved a lot, but of course I'm not there yet, and if I ever think I am, someone please put me in my place.
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Freakie

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #32 on: 18 Jan 2012, 22:01 »

Lol, this is funny, I just checked this thread again too after completely forgetting about it for a while xP

I think you have improved too :) Those new shots definitely have a different feel to them than the older ones and the colors are not getting as over saturated. What you may focus on more next is... focus! Or rather, your aperture. It definitely isn't as extreme as you had it before, but I am noticing one particular reoccurring theme in some of your shots. When you do wide angle shots, like of the "Nice House", you don't have your aperture closed enough and so not enough is in focus. Since the object of the picture is the house its self, and the house is at a varying depth away from you, you really want a small aperture to help get the entire thing focused well. If it was me, I would have probably gone for f/18 or maybe even f/22. It is a bit difficult to do your aperture well in the field, of course. The screen on the camera just can't show you what the computer will show you so you might want to do some trial and error shots at home at different apertures and then look at them on the computer so that you can get a feel of the difference it will make. Nothing like blowing the picture up and going "Well now, I could have SWORN I zoomed in on the camera after taking the picture and it was perfectly in focus" to show you just what is happening :P

Also, your second "D" photo I noticed a bit of an editing error on the water xP The line where you separated the water from everything else so that you could edit the water is rather obvious :P I don't use PaintShop so I couldn't tell you how to do it specifically, but I would think that there should be an option to create what is called a Mask and masks are kind of like just straight out selecting the line between the water and the rest of the picture so that you can create a new layer, but instead you do it with something that is more like a Dodging tool or one of the other tools that you use a circle to click and drag it around to to fine editing/like the Spray Can in Paint. You can use that to highlight the water and when you get to the edge of the water, you use a small circle with a low intensity and it will let you make a "soft" boarder between the water and the bedrock so that way any edits you do to the Mask will gradually lead into the edge, instead of being a sharp drop off!

Other than that, there are just individual picture nit-picking. Like easing up on the ISO on the "Stairs" and "Classy" pictures and having you DOF not so shallow for the "Classy" and "My new little friend" pictures because you don't have the entire alligator/wine glass in focus.

And I definitely like "The Old Man and the Pond" picture :)

Nice desktop by the way! Did you build it yourself or order it? Specs? *is a computer nerd way more than a photography nerd*
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wrwight

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Re: Please criticise me (Photography)
« Reply #33 on: 20 Jan 2012, 11:42 »

Thanks. Yeah, Aperture is definitely something I tend to not pay enough attention to. I've dumped so many pictures 'cause the DOF is too shallow.

The computer was actually my friend's. I'm a computer nerd as well, but at the moment I don't have a desktop, and rely on my laptop. I keep saying I'm going to build one, but I never get around to it. Music and photography take up all of my money.
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