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Amateur photos - constructive critisism from the Pros?

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by NickCyprus, Oct 15, 2012.

  1. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    I've noticed that (judging from the photos posted) most of the members here are professional photographers with a lot of experience.

    I don't know where and if its appropriate or not, but I myself (as a complete noob in photography) would love to see a sub-forum here where amateurs like me could post their photos and receive some feedback/constructive critisism on what they are doing wrong tech-wise or how they should have taken a certain photo, in order to get better in it.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Sep 14, 2012
    Northeast Ohio
    Kevin
    Good idea. I'm also a noob.
     
  3. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I think no one should be reluctant to post here. We're a rather small community, mostly mere enthusiasts ourselves, and I can't imagine you getting anything else than constructive criticism on these boards :)
     
  4. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Yeah I understand ;)

    But I was mostly talking about whether the administators/moderators are ok with this and if so, perhaps they could create a sub-forum for this.
    Last think I'd want is to post threads in the not correct subforums ;)

    Cheers
    -Nick
     
  5. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    I'm in really no position to speak for the admins, but speaking for myself, and having a taste of this community I really don't think a special "newb" sub forum is needed. I think posting on the adequate (in regard to the image) board with maybe a little "noob asking for c&c mention" would drive answers nicely.
    I'm a member of many photo boards, big and small, and this has to be the nicest place I know. Many of us carry NEX as a complementary system (or have shots other formats in the past), do you wont risk any of the defensive behavior to often at play on other boards. My experience anyway.
     
  6. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    well friend, we are a great forum and you can post your photos here, I think constructive criticism makes us better every day, I'm not a professional photographer and my first camera was for saying semi-professional, is the nex5n and learned a lot in this forum, although little by little is becoming bigger every day, plus we have a great people with a lot of experiences about old school of film photography and digital,is the new fashion.
     
  7. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    +1

    With such a small active community you just need to post away and ask for a critique. We promise not to remove any skin until your fourth or fifth post (I kid!).
     
  8. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    I would just like to point out I disagree with the OP, we should allow constructive criticism from newbs so I can join in :D
     
  9. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    I don't think MOST members here are pros. Experienced, yes; Members taking great photographs, yes; Friendly, yes.

    We all want to share, learn, and improve, newb or not. Let's keep the forum a fun place with informational and constructive comments.
     
  10. Dioptrick

    Dioptrick TalkEmount All-Pro

    Feb 4, 2012
    New Zealand
    Yep, I think we're mostly enthusiasts over here. I'm here because it's international, small, and friendly. As far as constructive criticism is concerned, we can all learn from each other... status, experience, and age (cough, chough) is irrelevant. :)

    Fire away Nick!
     
  11. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    You guys are great and the "vibe" I'm getting from this board is really friendly and helpful :thumbup:

    Alright here goes nothing:

    First, my initial attempts with Jpeg (before I switched to RAW) - so these are non post-processed:

    528119_4671162619936_920926098_n.

    f/5.6 ISO1600
    558752_4706308538562_662892780_n.

    same with "toy effect"
    419833_4706309418584_1806969696_n.

    f/22 ISO 200
    523089_4706312018649_110992884_n.

    1/40 f/4.5 ISO 1600
    601511_4918487442902_54475211_n.
     
  12. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Continue with the un-edited jpegs:

    76258_4964205425823_1746656278_n.

    Shot with 18-55mm @19mm ISO3200, 1/20, F/5.6
    603_4964210625953_1897609787_n.

    Shot with 18-55mm @31mm ISO3200, 1/20, F/5.6
    403996_4964212546001_1312569401_n.

    Shot with 18-55mm @19mm ISO3200, 1/20, F/5.6
    73931_4964213666029_130597297_n.


    320426_4969529358918_530632567_n.
     
  13. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    And late RAW photos, post-processed on Sony's RAW conversion program and converted to jpeg:

    Shot RAW with SEL18-55mm @ 22mm, IS03200, 1/60, F/4.5, +0,3EV
    523790_4964226906360_620869844_n.

    Shot RAW with 18-55mm at 54mm, 1/125, F/7.1, ISO 200, -0,3EV
    292765_4969539159163_531742592_n.

    Shot Raw with 18-55mm at 55mm, 1/100, F/7.1, ISO 800, -0,3EV
    222466_4969603520772_1043529863_n.


    That's all :D
    Looking forward to some CC, what I did wrong, what I should be doing or have done etc ;)
     
  14. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Nick, the first things that come to my mind, I do like the shots where you played with depth of field and light. The first with crescendo sized glasses is my favorite, the vignetting is cool (if a little heavy handed). The chess game is also interesting. And the color contrast of the bright green window over the brown background is pleasing. I don't see any other keepers here.

    One thing, try to avoid (unless some specific circumstances) smacking your subject right in the middle of the frame, it makes for a rather bland composition. Try to losely follow rule of thirds (run imaginary horizontal and vertical lines cutting your image in thirds, and place subject at one intersection). It doesn't need to be followed in a strict manner, but it works pretty well for most things. I'd skip the garden dwarves altogether, unless they're in their environment and you find some crazy cool angle or composition. Your images all look a little on the dark side, you might want to start playing with exposure compensation, maybe try Center Weighted Average metering mode over Multi (CWA tends to give lighter images, so does the Portrait setting that automatically lifts shadows a bit).
    One last thing, flowers are a tough subject, because they've been done a couple million times, so you usually have to get close, use rule of third and take advantage of shallow DOF to get something mildly interesting to look at.
    Again, I do like the glasses, chess game, green window, I think you used a good eye for those three.
    Don't be afraid to experiment a lot and get out of your comfort zone.
    At this point until you get more comfortable with what you like to shoot and your compositions, I'm not sure I'd burden myself with RAW (but then again, I'm a JPEG lover seing RAW as a crutch).

    Are you familiar with Kirk Tuck's blog "The Visual Science Lab" ? If not, give it a quick look. Kirk is a master portraitist and his writing is very inspirational as to why and how to find your style, what you like and how to improve on that. I think technicalities are the easy part, it's easy to improve if you do the homework. Getting inspiration and finding your way though, is another story. Try to replicate photos or at least get inspirations from shots that give you a warm feeling. Personally I'm a sucker for portraits and I know checking Kirk's work and challenging myself to use the square format for a while has been immensely beneficial for me. When I look at the progression of my shots over the past years (and months) I'm amazed at how far we go. We are always better when we photograph things that matter to us (again, I sorta doubt garden dwarves are the love of your life). Photography is about documenting and sharing, so don't be reluctant to shoot what you love (relatives, places, things) and share them with us. When you love your subject you get out of your way to rendering in a flattering way. Just play !!
     
  15. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    @ "nianys": thanks for the reply and the feedback - really appreciate it ;)

    You're totally right about my dwarves/flowers shoots. I was at this place and had my camera with me, wanted to shoot something just to play around with my settings, but there was nothing else exciting to capture so yeah you're right I just shoot those just for the sake of shooting something :) They are definately not the "love of my life", lol :p

    And you're again right, I've set the metering mode to Multi :eek: so I'll definately try the center weighted average from now on ;)

    Regarding the issue with my photos coming a little dark, well I 99% shoot in Manual mode so the exposure compensation can't be adjusted manually (or can it?). But I always adjust ISO, shutter speed and aperture (and I think when adjusting aperture, exposure comp. is also adjusted, no?)

    Not familiar with Kirk Tuck's blog and I'll definately check it out. Thanks for the link ;)

    And I can't agree more with you with you said here:
    "Getting inspiration and finding your way though, is another story. Try to replicate photos or at least get inspirations from shots that give you a warm feeling.
    We are always better when we photograph things that matter to us
    Photography is about documenting and sharing, so don't be reluctant to shoot what you love (relatives, places, things) and share them with us. When you love your subject you get out of your way to rendering in a flattering way".

    ^^I'm "feeling" that this is where most of my real issue is - finding something I actually like to shoot - inspiration.

    Again thanks for the constructive critisism and I'd love to hear some more for others too :thumbup:

    -Nick
     
  16. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Nick, you're far from being a noob if you shoot Manual (or you're a very audacious one !). Basically in Manual, you set your aperture for the wanted DOF, and control exposure with shutter speed (higher speed will result in less exposure time, hence a darker picture, slower speed longer exposure of the sensor, hence lighter shots). If your shots are coming a little dark, just slow your shutter speed a bit, until the LCD shows a well exposed picture (you can also check you picked the ultimate ISO value for the given circumstances).

    Shooting mundane domestic objects can be very fun, and a great exercise. Challenge yourself to make a visually appealing picture of an otherwise uninteresting object, and post it !
     
  17. dbmiller

    dbmiller TalkEmount Top Veteran

    777
    Mar 2, 2012
    New England
    Changing the metering mode DOES affect manual exposures. You are still trying to get a 0EV on the scale, but the 0-point changes based on the metering mode. If you find you are still underexposing at that point, just remember to consistently over-expose. The live view and histograms can usually help with that.
     
  18. NickCyprus

    NickCyprus Super Moderator

    Oct 11, 2012
    Cyprus
    Nick
    Maybe the fact that I shot most of those photos without flash has somehting to do with the slightly dark issue?
    The reason I don't use the flash frequently is cause I think it doesn't perform very good - or maybe I still haven't found the correct way to adjust it so it isn't so "intense" ?

    The shutter speed is kept pretty slow on most of the photos....
     
  19. nianys

    nianys TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 23, 2012
    France
    Given the good high ISO performance of the NEX cameras getting away with no flash is usually possible, with a fast lens. No flash AND slow kit lens won't work so well, as demonstrated here. If u learn how to use it, the little dinky flash may give great results, given you have a white ceiling to bounce it from. Check my recent pictures on the various boards, all of them are shot this way. I'll make a tutorial tonight. It may seem rebuking at first, but once you get the hang of it you'll never want mushy high ISO pictures again ;) (NOT meaning your pictures are mushy, just that we don't have to put up with un-available light if we have a light colored ceiling and a piece of aluminum foil handy !
     
  20. Luiz Curcino

    Luiz Curcino TalkEmount Veteran

    265
    Apr 27, 2012
    Uberlandia-MG Brasil
    I like the first one.