Home Forums Am I a Fauxtog? Needing reassurance! Reply To: Needing reassurance!


I apologize for the delay in getting back with you, but I had some unexpected work come in that needed completing and I wanted to make sure I gave your critique the time it deserved.

The first image is one that I would have selected if I had picked your three best, but only for its emotional impact, not for its quality as a photograph exactly. Be very careful when shooting in the shade, it causes as many problems as it solves. The biggest problem in this image is actually the expressions, the young lad is expressive and connecting with the camera, but a photographer has to be able to pull that same emotion out of the mother as well. Her face is a bit dead and here eyes are looking at the camera instead of connecting with the viewer. The lighting is extremely flat (one of the problems with shooting in the shade) which makes the mother’s face look puffy. It really needs either a light source or a reflector to bounce sunlight into the shaded area to give the faces a little definition. The pose is also straight on and the framing is a little awkward. Shooting face straight into the camera causes a flat wide look whereas good lighting and a good angle can flatter the curves of the face and really bring out the beauty of the woman’s bone structure. If you had been at forehead level or slightly higher, rather than at nose level, you would also have hidden her very slight double chin which would have flattered her as well.

When shooting maternity you have several things working against you, almost all women gain weight when they are pregnant, and you have to minimize that as much as possible. Seeing photographic evidence of that fact, especially knowing that it is a permanent record, is not a good way to garner repeat business.

The brightness in the background is a bit distracting, the DOF is at least shallow enough that it doesn’t feel like there is a merging problem exactly, but the slightly higher angle would have allowed you to eliminate all of that as well. The background of an image should always add to the image, not detract from the subject. You should also avoid letting your clients wear short sleeves for head and shoulder’s portraits, the skin showing under the boy’s arm and on her back arm are both distracting. I would also prefer this image be cropped in such a way that they are off to one side or the other, but I’d slide them left and have the boy drop his shoulders to eliminate the hunchback effect you’re getting from him. I also recommend avoiding stripes in clothing for a shoot. I also recommend my clients not wear white if they have dark complexions and hair or black if they have light complexions and hair. Contrasting shades cam be almost as bad as contrasting colors for getting a good solid exposure. In this image, the white stripes on the boys shirt draw attention away from their faces, and that isn’t a good thing.

On to the second image, all things considered, this is not a good shot, I would, however, include it in a shoot portfolio for one purpose and one purpose only, the expression on the baby’s face as the mother kisses him (I think him anyway) is lightning in a bottle, and that makes up for all the technical failings of the image. It is one of those rare cases where something happens that makes up for the technical deficiencies.

The background of the shot is extremely busy and distracting, as mentioned before, no short sleaves, and I think that’s her arm on the left hand side, or maybe it’s a pillow, either way, it’s distracting. You have somehow managed to give her neck wrinkles and a double chin even though you can’t see her chin. This photo would be a hundred times better if you cropped it down to just her face and the baby in a square crop though.

The butterfly lighting on the mother from this angle isn’t working well, especially since the shadow on her lip makes her nose look absolutely enormous. All around, this photo is extremely unflattering to the mother. The skin tones are a bit off and the entire area between her cheek and shirt just looks off to me, I really hope I’m seeing it wrong, but, there is not delicate way to put this, it looks like she’s extremely deformed. Just take a look at that area and ask yourself what is what and were everything is coming from and going to and you should see what I’m talking about. Let’s just say laying down requires extra, well, support… and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

On the third image, the first thing I noticed was what looks like a serious math error. I certainly hope her pregnancy doesn’t last 18,118 years. You’ve covered up the all important dot under your exclamation point and those kind of details are important. That isn’t even considering that the chalkboard thing is extremely cliche. Shooting into the sun at sunset is a very tricky proposition. If you don’t use supplemental lighting, you blow out the sun and sky like you have here. If you expose for the sky, you silhouette your subject. Either way, it looks amateurish. The use of no sleeves works here to show off her tattoos, if that is your goal, but using a short skirt like that and showing her knees and legs underneath it makes her look bloated, and even more because she has locked her knees.

The dutch angle is a little off-putting for me, and it definitely looks like she’s got a tree growing out of her head. The color also lacks any of the warmth that I associate with sunset. It looks more like you white balanced for the scene instead of white balancing for daylight so the natural colors of the evening would shine through. The way she is looking down makes her neck look very fat, and I assume that since you posted this in October with a due date in June she isn’t showing yet. The way the chalkboard is posed and your choice of outfit makes her look like she’s already 4-5 months pregnant, and that isn’t what you want to convey with 8 1/2 months to go. The angle of the shot has her nose breaking her cheek, and that makes the nose look quite a bit bigger. This image just isn’t becoming to the subject at all.

Those are the biggest issues with these images, but they are common in a lot of your shots, so hopefully that will give you something to be going on with.

Remember to keep learning and working hard to improve, you’ll get there.