Home Forums Photography Showcase Let's get critical up in here Reply To: Let's get critical up in here


I’m in agreement with the others.  White balance is all over the spectrum.  Exposure is frequently over, or under.  A lens hood would help.  Contrast is not uniform.

Much of the above can be seen in your assembly here:  https://www.facebook.com/BareFeetBlueJeansPhotography/photos/pb.635355979825304.-2207520000.1406803808./893234744037425/?type=3&theater

Facebook is a social platform, and while it gets a ridiculous number of photos uploaded every day, it is not a photo platform.  When looking for a critique, it would be better if you got a Flickr account and posted the images you want us to look at there.  When posting to Flickr, don’t use the Save for Web option as that typically strips EXIF data, and by seeing the EXIF data, we can tell you much more about some problems that may be in your photos.  FB strips EXIF data.  Flickr keeps and displays it.

From the brief look at your photos and comments above, I am wondering if you are doing post processing.  If you have been going through the various forums on the Internet, you have probably seen two opposing thoughts emerge.  You should be able to get it right in the camera, and post processing rocks!  Some seem to have the notion that posting photos straight out of the camera is somehow more honest.  Others will say, “I’ll fix it in post”.  A better view is that you should get it as right as possible in camera, while recognizing that the camera has some physical limitations.  Consider the file from your camera to be like the negatives in days of old.  Once you have the file, you can process it to deliver a better looking image.  Your camera can probably make raw files for you, or you can ask it to make JPEG files when you need an image immediately.  Many cameras can make both files from the same shutter release.  The image on the back of your camera is a JPEG, even if you are only having the camera save raw files.

A quick ad for raw files.  JPEG processing in your camera converts a 12 or 14 bit data set to 8 bits.  That doesn’t sound like much.  But if you strip off the most significant 4 or 6 bits, you are actually stripping more than 90% of the data available.  A raw file is the sensor data.  It gives a lot of latitude to fix white balance, contrast, and exposure.  Almost all of that is lost with a JPEG file.

Lets take a quick look at one of your photos.  I choose this one:


I expect everyone already knows, but I will add, click the image here to see a big version on Flickr.  And, since it seems to have a hazy film over it, let’s look at the histogram:


I put a couple of red arrows on, pointing to the shoulders of the graph.  The histogram is a graph made from the count of each pixel value from black to white.  Black is on the left, white is on the right.  There are other histograms that display each colour channel, but for now, a simple one will suffice.  Your subject is wearing a black shirt, and has a black and white scarf.  The door has a lot of holes with darkness inside, which should perhaps also be black.  The graph’s shoulder on the left shows, there are hardly any black pixels!  Your subject has some white in the scarf, and a white shirt protruding from below her black shirt, at her waist.  None of that is probably pure white, so the histogram’s right shoulder might be reasonable.

If we adjust Levels, we can get this:


and if we go back and look at the histogram, we see it now looks like this:


As a separate work flow, I also tried reducing exposure on her arms and legs, then adjusted Levels again.  This is the result:


I’m not sure it’s there yet, and if it were my photo, I would adjust it some more.  Still, I hope this inspires you to pay attention to how you are shooting, and also to post process your photos, to deliver a higher level of quality.

We have a long weekend coming, I’ll probably leave the photos up until after the weekend to give people a chance to see them.

Looking at https://www.facebook.com/BareFeetBlueJeansPhotography/photos/pb.635355979825304.-2207520000.1406803808./896684093692490/?type=3&theater, your camera has gone the other way, the scene has more dynamic range than your camera could deal with.  If you look at the Levels histogram, you will see it runs from the left to right and fills the space.  There is a mountain on the right with a cliff at the edge.  The same is at left, but to a lesser degree.  You are losing detail in the blacks and in the whites!  An option at the time would have been to use flash to even out your lighting.  An option now, if you have the raw file would be to use the raw conversion controls to even out the lighting.  If you only have the JPEG, you don’t have enough data to get a good result.