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  • #20772

    I’ve been doing photography for 10 years. The first 5 were spent learning from my mistakes (why on Earth did I ever think vignettes were cool???), the next 2 were spent doing free photo sessions so I could learn how to pose and what doing photography would actually be like. The last 3 have been fantastic. I stay fairly booked up, my prices are low, but I do that because a.) I really don’t need the money and b.) I live in a low income area and I don’t think people should have to go without pictures because they can’t afford them.  Compliments come fairly frequently, and I’ve had some clients email me with compliments so great that I’ve shed a tear or two. Right now I’m looking into focusing on the big events like weddings and birth photography. But, I digress…. ya’ll tell me what you think! This is a link to my Facebook page where I primarily post as my website is down for now being worked on (I don’t do html, so a friend is doing it for me). Just started a blog a couple days ago, so nothing posted there yet.

    Be honest, but please don’t be mean. I wear big girl panties, but I tend to be a little on the hormonal side.

    Thanks in advance, ya’ll!

    https://www.facebook.com/BareFeetBlueJeansPhotography?ref_type=bookmark

    #20777
    nesgran
    Member

    A couple of quick pointers. The photos for the most part look good but you have some issues. Your B&W conversions add nothing, get rid of them. With super shallow depth of field, make sure your focus is on the eyes and not elsewhere. Your colours are inconsistent within the shoots, make sure they all look the same otherwise it will look off when put them in an album.

    Finally, STAY OFF TRAIN TRACKS! The ones you’ve used are active tracks which means it is both trespassing and bloody dangerous.

    #20785
    emf
    Member

    I agree with Nesgran especially about your b+w conversions. For b+w, more dramatic, directional lighting generally works better, to create a greater tonal range and therefore give your subject depth and form. In your b+w’s the lighting is fairly flat and any contrast you had came from the colours – when the colour has gone, there’s no contrast and hence the image is too flat.

    Another couple of things I noticed are.

    I would spend more time editing the newborn images, not the birth ones maybe as I guess these are more of a documentative nature. But there are other NB’s with very red eyelids and crusty skin. I know this is the reality but as a mum I would prefer my NB pics to be edited a bit more. I think most would appreciate the same.

    Watch for distractions in the b/g, it’s easy not to always notice what’s going on behind your subject, in the whole frame etc. But try to get into the habit of doing so. Or edit out distractions in post. For example, in one there is some distracting branches coming out of a girl, in the maternity waterfall one, the subject has a vine cutting right through her head etc.

    You also have a couple of shots where the expression is off, eyes closed etc. Though in general I thought you had nice expressions and eye contact, which indicates you have a good rapport with your clients and can get them to relax, which I’m learning is no meat feat, so well done for that. But I’d delete the ones with eyes closed etc.

    In another shot there are reflections in the guys glasses.

    There are also badly focused photos. And ones where the colours seem off.

    I would have a cull and only leave your best images, and I’d echo the above, please stay away from traintracks – not only is it tacky but so dangerous. Not just for yourself and your clients but youngsters and wannabes could  see your images and try to imitate.  A couple of people got killed really recently doing this.

     

     

     

    #20789

    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:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/14607227627/

    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:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/14813586203/

    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:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/14607090929/

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

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/14791386394/

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

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/54048679@N07/14791386824/

    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.

     

    #20794
    cassie
    Member

    Are you on pinterest? If you are using lightroom (also for photoshop and elements) totally do a search on black white conversions! Mine suck so I’ve been delving into tutorials online lately and pinterest has been my go to site for finding them now. I’ll usually open up lightroom and then flip back and forth between a photo I’ve picked to work on and the tutorial.

    The big thing I notice is that the editing style isn’t consistent between shoots. I’m not sure if it’s because you are just uploading SOOC or if you have actions/ presets that you are mixing in post. iheartfaces.com just recently had a blog post about developing your own consistent editing style so that you can have faster workflow, clients know what they are getting, and so on. I would also try printing the matte look ones and seeing how they look on matte paper. I personally don’t edit that look on purpose, so I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’ve heard it prints horribly and while it’s a big look floating around it isn’t going to make a great print on the wall.

    #20796

    A B&W tutorial that I came across:

    #20806
    cassie
    Member

    Thanks for posting that CC! I followed the video with a photo of one of my kids side by side and it came out good! It’s definitely one of the best I’ve been able to follow 🙂

    #20926

    Thank you all for the wonderful insight! I’m trying to improve on my b&w conversions, but for the most part, I don’t even really care for b&w.  I do a lot of post processing, and that is for my own self as I’m currently trying to follow in the footsteps of Morgan Burks and Lidia Grigorian and create my own actions that I can use and hopefully down the line be able to offer up as a collection for others to download.

    #20928

    I’m trying to improve on my b&w conversions, but for the most part, I don’t even really care for b&w.

    If you don’t even really care for B&W, why do it?

    Before you give up on B&W completely, try some shots with strong side lighting.  Good lighting and strong graphic elements seem to make B&W work.

    Of those who do care for B&W, have any of you tried the cameras made for B&W?  They are missing the Bayer and anti-alias filters, so they deliver a sharper image.

    #20930
    emf
    Member

    I love b+w cc, but I’ve never heard of a camera specifically for b+w. That’s very interesting – though at the moment, I still need to get to grips with my own camera. is there a way to get the effect of that idea in raw, like lens corrections etc.

    #20931
    nesgran
    Member

    Just pick up an old SLR in a charity shop. I picked up a Pentax MX with a 50/1.7 lens for £15 the other day, new batteries for a couple of quid and a roll of Kodak BW400CN or Ilford 400 XP2 that goes through the standard lab C41 process. It is worth a try to see what “real” B&W can do. Total outlay around £30 and you get 36 prints from it. I’m not a big fan of digital black and white conversions as they never seem to really have to punch that film B&W does but each to their own.

    Are there other B&W cameras other than the Leica? Anyway, to get B&W to work you need a lot of contrast naturally in the picture, it is easier with people than with landscapes. To get more punch in the phots try fiddling with the white balance before converting to black and white, you can get it ridiculously off and get the conversions to look better. In the olden days you’d use green filters for example to help with skin tones and orange filters to get clouds to appear. Experiment! Some extra grain might even help set the mood.

    #20932
    emf
    Member

    Just pick up an old SLR in a charity shop. I picked up a Pentax MX with a 50/1.7 lens for £15 the other day, new batteries for a couple of quid and a roll of Kodak BW400CN or Ilford 400 XP2 that goes through the standard lab C41 process. It is worth a try to see what “real” B&W can do. Total outlay around £30 and you get 36 prints from it. I’m not a big fan of digital black and white conversions as they never seem to really have to punch that film B&W does but each to their own.

    Are there other B&W cameras other than the Leica? Anyway, to get B&W to work you need a lot of contrast naturally in the picture, it is easier with people than with landscapes. To get more punch in the phots try fiddling with the white balance before converting to black and white, you can get it ridiculously off and get the conversions to look better. In the olden days you’d use green filters for example to help with skin tones and orange filters to get clouds to appear. Experiment! Some extra grain might even help set the mood.

    That’s a really good idea – I will try that, thanks. As for film, I sort of inherited quite a few film cameras, including a leica. But I must admit, the convenience of digital suits me at the moment (with 2 small children and no childcare yet). I would like to go back to it when I have more time though.

    #20933

    B&W film is definitely the low cost option, unless you are going to shoot thousands of frames.  Leica makes a version of their M, in monochrome, it sells for around $8,000.00.   At $0.50 per frame, that’s a lot of film!

    Maxmax.com does conversions, but they only do the hardware, not the software, so the camera still thinks it is taking a colour photo.  This means it will not be any sharper than the camera before conversion, and you will lose the ability to have your favorite editor apply filters since the colour information will not be available.  The whole point of a digital camera that does only monochrome is that photosites only record levels, not colours, so a camera that knows it is only doing monochrome can convert one photosite to one pixel, without fanfare.  This gives the enhanced resolution.  Most digital cameras have a Bayer filter over the sensor, and software figures out the colour for each pixel based on looking at several photosites.  The exception is the Foveon sensor in a Sigma, which is a 3 level colour sensor, but that doesn’t help our search for monochrome.  Anyway, a hardware conversion that does not replace the software still does the interpolation, so values for any given pixel are not the values for the same given photosite.

    I thought I had seen a camera in the $1000 to $2000 range that did monochrome, from the factory, but I can’t find it now.  If I come across it, I’ll let you know.

    Almost all the dSLR’s have a B&W option which takes the raw sensor data, then makes a desaturated JPEG.  The cool thing about that is by shooting raw, you can set the camera to B&W mode, and see the B&W version on the camera’s back when you review your shot.  Since you have the raw file, your favorite raw converter can give you either a B&W or colour image.  And, since the colour data is there, you can apply digital filters to make the sky lighter or darker, for instance.  If you want to do that with the Leica monochrome or B&W film, you have to use a physical filter when taking the shot.

    A couple of years ago, I shot a roll of colour print film and a set of digital images through the same Canon 24-70 and 100 mm L lenses.  The digital images were much sharper than the film.  I don’t like B&W enough to do the same test with B&W film, and I gave back the film body, but it would be an interesting experiment.

     

    #20937
    cassie
    Member

    barefootmama- I teach horseriding lessons, and one of the sayings we have is “if you don’t like to do something with your horse, it’s probably because you aren’t good at it”

    And that is why I don’t like doing b&w conversions! lol

    But now that I’ve been working more at them, and getting better at them, I am actually coming to like the process and result.

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