Constructive Criticism Needed : 6-Month Shoot With Olivia (LOTS-O-PICS)

Discussion in 'Photography Board' started by annnewjerz, May 27, 2011.

  1. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    In an attempt to drum up a little business for the summer, I'm going to be doing a few free jobs for families in my neighborhood as a trade-off for putting up sample shots and contact info in their businesses and getting the pics posted on their FaceBook accounts.

    I took advantage of a half-day at work yesterday and decided to take an hour and grab some 6-month-old photos of my niece Olivia to help me get back into the swing of things.

    Now I need some constructive criticism and ideas on how to make them better! I want the shots I take for the neighbors to be as good as possible. Their shots will probably also be more varied than these in terms of the "look" of the shots, because they have older children who are much more capable of doing more than just sit-up in the grass.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, critiques or comments on anything like processing, composition, lighting, etc. are welcome.

    Thanks!
    Ann :thumbsup2

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    5. I wish I hadn't chopped her legs off in this one, but I was more concerned with getting the smile than the composition at the time I took it.
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    8. I wish she didn't have Piglet in this one, but she was getting cranky and needed a toy to keep the smile on.
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    9. The white-balance here seems a little off on my work computer (greenish/yellow tint). Does it look this way to anyone else? I'm on an uncalibrated monitor right now.
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    10. Not a huge fan of the bulbous-looking head that I got from using my Sigma 30 too close up, so probably won't do this again.
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    11. [​IMG]


    12. [​IMG]
     
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  3. ChiSoxKeith

    ChiSoxKeith DIS Veteran

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    Good job on the shots.

    I don't know why I keep coming back to it, but I disagree with your comment regarding shot 10.

    I agree that this particular shot didn't work. But I can imagine, that if your model was a little boy rather than a little girl, that it could be a fun look. Imagine a little boy in a little business suit. The serious expression, the slightly oversized looking head, and the gazing off into the distance. Maybe I'm off base.

    I agree with your comment on shot 5. Capturing the moment is more important than getting the composition totally right in my opinion.

    I'm sure being so little that the child is quite pale in complexion, but maybe try underexposing?
     
  4. HPS3

    HPS3 Disney Fanatic

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    I think they came out great. She is adorable.
     
  5. cpbjgc

    cpbjgc Earned My Ears

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    While I don't do portraits (excepting my kids), I am always full of opinions :thumbsup2. Overall, I liked the processing you did - it suits Olivia and the greens in the shots. I agree that #9 is showing a bit of a colour cast.

    Shooting such a young child is a bit of work in terms of posing, so I won't comment on that. To me the success in these shots is all in the face, and especially the eyes - big sharp kids eyes almost always rule the day in portraits. With that in mind, the shots that work best for me are 2, 4 and 8. I also like 7, but I find the catchlights in her eyes to be a bit overpowering and taking away from the eyes a bit.

    I think a lot of the shots show the challenge of working with a wide open aperture and getting the focus just right, especially with a subject who is probably constantly in motion. Where there is even the smallest motion of her head it can be enough to shift an important feature (e.g. eyes or smile) just outside the area of sharp focus. I think 3 and 9 show that where her eyes are not a sharp as they can be.

    Otherwise, some great shots of a very cute subject! Thanks for sharing these!
     
  6. MICKEY88

    MICKEY88 <font color=purple>if you keep falling off of the

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    awesome work..

    I would stick more with vertical shots for portraits, that eliminates too much empty space on the sides..although the horizontal shots would make awesome greeting cards..since there is room for adding text..

    also I would shoot a little wider, if you shoot too tight you will run into problems with cropping for various size prints.. it's always good to leave your self some wiggle room to play with
     
  7. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    Thanks! The 10th shot I actually love just because I think it's hilarious, I just don't think it's the type of shot that all parents would like. It's a bit goofy-looking, which is why I included it (I probably have 60 shots in the whole album). Someone on another forum suggested I just try to warm up the WB to see if that takes the edge off her skin. If not, I'm okay with it how it is, I like bright kids photos, if I underexposed I would just bring it back up in post anyway.
     
  8. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    Thank you! :goodvibes

    Really no processing other than a crop or slight adjustment in the WB. In maybe two I reduced the clarity a bit to give it a softer feel---but other than that, nothing really.

    I agree, I'll take a second look at this one tonight and see if I can darken those up.

    Thanks!

    Thank you! :woohoo: I agree re: the vertical shots. I was laying belly-down on the grass and just couldn't find a comfortable position to shoot vertical (I don't use a battery grip, but that may eliminate the problem in the future).

    For the most part, a little cropping was done on most of these already because my sister-in-law wanted printed. Most of them are shot wider than they are posted here.
     
  9. photo_chick

    photo_chick Knows a little about a lot of things, a lot about

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    The biggest thing that stands out to me is the lack of contrast. The midtones are muddy and not well defined at all. It makes the images look flat.
     
  10. annnewjerz

    annnewjerz If I had a world of my own, everything would be no

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    It's a possibility! Like I said, I didn't do any processing other than a quick crop and a tiny bit of adjustments to saturation to some of them because my sister-in-law wanted to get prints made to have out at her Baptism this weekend. I'll be going back in to do more "final" edits to them and will definitely boost the contrast and play with the levels a little more to see if I can get a little pop.
     
  11. LPZ_Stitch!

    LPZ_Stitch! ºoº DIS Veteran

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    Please, let me start off by stating that Portrait photography is NOT my thing, and that I highly doubt I could do better.

    However, I frequently read the C&C Forum on the Canon Photography-On-The-Net and those guys are brutal (they've always been brutal with anything I've uploaded for C&C!); however, I've learned a lot from there....

    So, if anything seems too harsh, take it with a big ol' grain of salt. :goodvibes

    The pics I like best:
    #2 ... the "grumpy face" has a LOT of personality.
    #6 ... baby belly laughs ... they're great! :goodvibes
    #11 ... chewing on the teething toy is very cute, especially the expression captured in her eyes. She just looks like she's "up to something." :)

    In general, the lighting/colors look very good (natural, with nice saturation and balance) and the DOF is spot-on (the whole baby with *sharp* eyes but still highly-blurred backgrounds).

    What I don't like:
    Now, you stated that the cropping seen here isn't necessarily what the client will get ... that's good, because I don't like the "just clipped a bit off" cropping on some of the pics (#1, #4, #5, #7, #11); the tip of her hat, the tips of her fingers, the tip of an elbow or just a tiny slice from the top of her head. Really tight cropping can really make a picture pop, but the tiny-bit-removed is distracting.

    Diagonal backgrounds (#4, #5). Personally, funny angles can work well, but slanted backgrounds don't 'do it' in Portraits for me. Unfortunately, there's faded brown/grey fence somewhere in the background that draws my eye to the slant. If it was all grass/bushes, I wouldn't care a bit.
     
  12. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk DIS Veteran

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    Beautiful shots, beautiful baby. Love the first one. But they're all adorable.
     
  13. spinetnglr

    spinetnglr DIS Veteran

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    First let me say ... awesome work Ann!! Your pictures never disappoint.

    I am certainly not a portrait photographer either so I only have a few first impression observations on things that jumped out at me.

    #2 is my favorite for expression and personality even though I think the green outfit kind of blends her in too much with the grass. Too much green for me. I like the way the other outfits bring more attention to her and distinguish Olivia from her surroundings a little more.

    I agree with the white balance on #9. Just seems a little off

    Love #6 and #7. #7 I would untighten the crop just a tad if its cropped. Just enough to give a little green framing all the way around.

    Thats all I got ... overall I think they are fabulous shots of a great little model.

    Did you use any fill flash or is it all natural light? What kind of day was it ? Sunny, cloudy, a little of both? What lens or lenses did you use? I'm asking because we recently had a birth in the family ... sort of ... my older brother's stepson and his girl had a baby the beginning of April so I guess he would be my great step-nephew LOL I am hoping to get the opportunity to take some pics of him soon to try and hone some of my baby/kid portrait skills.
     

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