Home Forums Photography Showcase Something to past the time (most recent shoot) Reply To: Something to past the time (most recent shoot)


Mr. Lee, in the interest of aiding my thoughts of your photos, I went ahead and took some notes on the images directly and saved them for your use. Please keep in mind that I’m not trying to tear you down or your work apart. I want you to visually see a couple things that maybe isn’t translating well in text that could help you.





The notes on the photos basically says it all, but heres a short list of general points of interest:

– Get your horizons level. Many of your photos are not level. Sometimes people use ‘dutch angle’ (which I’m not personally a fan of, anyways), which is an intentional and obvious use of unlevel horizons. I think its safe to say that your horizons are unintentionally not level. Its distracting seeing horizontal and vertical surfaces not true, and shows a lack of attention to detail during shooting and post-processing. If you don’t nail it in camera, it is a super easy fix in post. Just use a guide bar to see perfect horizontal/vertical lines and rotate the photos till they’re level.

– Since you’re shooting with just available light, you need to do a better job of metering for your subjects face, especially during the times when she is back-lit. Many of your photos are dark in general, and I’m guessing that you’re letting the camera auto-meter for the whole scene, rather than at least using spot-metering on her face, or bette yet, shooting in manual exposure to get the brightness on her face where it should be. In many shots her eyes look like black spots of coal. That’s unattractive and poor technical execution. Not a mistake a pro would make. If you already are shooting in M, you need to expose for whats important: your subjects face.

РToo much awkward and  unnecessary  negative space. Be mindful that the point of these photos is to showcase your subject, and use of negative space is a good tool for a portrait photographer, but too much can be a bad thing for many reasons. It makes your subject small in the frame when there is no real artistic reason for doing so (in this case), it lets distracting background elements into the frame, it lessens the details of your subject that can be resolved by your lens/sensor, in late afternoon/early evening, you will have a harder time getting sharp and accurate focus, and as a result leads to my next point:

– Many photos are very soft, out of focus, and blurry. Much of this has to do with shooting in late afternoon light conditions at distances that make accurate and sharp focus difficult to consistently achieve. You should be aiming for quality over quantity. Don’t feel obliged to provide x-number of photos, or even make a promise to do so. If you only get 6 really solid photos, so what? All it really takes is that one perfect magical image to make the whole session worth your time anyways. Your standards are too low, mostly because you just don’t know any better (which is OK) but the problem is that you don’t mind showing your ‘clients’ photos that are soft, blurry, out of focus, etc. Not very professional, right?

– Posing: Square shoulders (with relation to the camera)are rarely a flattering pose for woman. It makes their shoulders look too broad and their head smaller. Angle the shoulders. – Avoid having body parts pointing directly into the camera. You have quite a few where her legs are extended into the viewers face, which will cause aesthetic and optical problems (Not too mention several crotch shots, c’mon man!). Same with her hands and fingers pointing into the camera, and watch out for locked elbows. – Bottom of feet/shoes: a complete no-no.

Now for the hard part. You are not ready to be charging people for you services. YET. I really hope that this was just a practice session. I see that you have session rates on your Facebook page so that leads me to believe that you are seeking paid work. You are not nearly ready yet to be charging people for your work when you still have so much to learn. Shoot as MANY people as you can!! Thats the only way you can get better ( in addition to seeking critique/criticism). But don’t seek monetary compensation for it. You’re on Facebook, so you have FB friends….reach out to people and simply ask as many as you can to help you build your skills by being portrait subjects for you. Be up front and honest by telling them the purpose is to help you get better so you can pursue your goal of being a paid photographer. Then tell them that if they like anything that you shot that you would be happy to provide a couple of web-sized images as a thank you for their helping you out.But notice I didn’t say to build your portfolio. That will come when you’re ready to build presentable work for people that will hire you to take their photo.

You can’t focus on building your own skills when you’re focusing on providing 30+ images for someone who just gave you some cash. Would you pay for photos that look like your own? I wouldn’t. ¬†No one should. That probably sounds harsh, and its not a knock on you as a person. It’s tempting and exciting to get out there right away and start charging, but your technical, aesthetic, and compositional knowledge and execution are not yet able to justify it.

Keep PRACTICING! Shoot as MANY people as you can! But give yourself time between each practice session to look over your photos closely for things that we’ve been talking about so that you can internalize the information and then apply the corrections for the next session. Don’t expect overnight instant success, but DO expect small improvements in terms of quality and consistency each time you shoot. It’s a slow process, just like anything else worth mastering.

Ok, enough rambling from me. Good luck!