October 15, 2014 at 8:14 pm #22798October 16, 2014 at 3:05 am #22801nesgranMember
I would suggest you do a few more sessions for free until you’ve built up a slightly wider portfolio but also sorted out some of your issues.
First off, your website is arranged in a really bad way for someone who is looking to use you as their photographer. It would make a lot more sense if you split it in to categories rather than sessions. I would also strongly advise ditching the mahoosive watermark you have on your photos. On facebook yes but not on your “own” website, it just looks insecure. Who is going to steal your photos? Secondly, offering colour and black and white versions to the client is fine but showing them both on the website offers nothing. Personally I don’t like seeing B&W and colour on the same page, it is jarring. By all means have a black and white section if you want.
Coming to the actual photos there are problems with them as well, some as they were taken and some that are afterwards. I see you are going for the low contrast hazy look which is popular at the moment. Problem is that you aren’t doing it consistently, even within one session. Secondly you have some focus issues. I see both front and back focussing. Are you letting the camera select the focus point or are you doing it manually?
You have done well with the lighting and the feel of this images though. I think you are doing well but could use a little more practice and also be a little more self critical.
I looks like all I saw was natural light which is fine but some shots (like the two girls on a blanket in a forest) would have been better with a little fill light from a reflector on a stand.October 16, 2014 at 6:50 am #22802
So as far as the albums, that is the site I use for clients to see their photos. I should make them private and only publicly show categorized examples you think?
I do have focus issues. I usually let the camera find it with the little green boxes, and occasionally I’ll switch to screen view and use the little white box to place the focus. I’ve been reading about front and back focus, and I can’t figure out what they’re talking about. I have AF set to “one shot”.
I’ve asked photographer friends if they suggest a reflector and they always say ‘no’, so I’m glad someone finally confirmed my suspicion.
Believe me…self critical isn’t the problem. I’m ready to throw in the towel from embarrassment on a regular basis, but I want to get better because I love taking pictures.October 16, 2014 at 6:55 am #22803emfMember
Well, I’m only a learner myself, but a couple of things I notice are:
In the window one were the older girl is holding the baby, the light is too strong and consequently bleaching out the whole top of the babies head. Having nets/voiles on the window to diffuse/scrim the light and/or shooting at another time of the day when the light source isn’t so direct and harsh etc. Monitor the light throughout to see when the best time of day to shoot at that location is.
With the burger, and this may sound finickity but I think the presentation of the tuna (?) lets down the image, in particular the way the mayo(?) is ‘blobbed’ on the top. It would look so much nicer if the zig zags were more sweeping and fluid (I hope that makes sense). I appreciate that this may have just been your meal, but generally food photography requires a higher level of precision and the way the food is ‘styled’ and composed is very important to this. There are some really nice food photography groups on flickr, which I think will be useful for you to check out. Also I think it needs more light on the right hand side of the frame.
I agree with Nesgran about putting the images in categories too, at the moment it seems a bit disorganised.
I really do like the image of the baby in the stripy top and dad(?), that’s lovely.October 16, 2014 at 7:31 am #22807
I just read that focusing in Live View can make a big difference. I’ll try that at my next session. And I’ll clean up my albums today. Thank you for the feedback. I know I have a lot to work on, I was just curious to see if I’d be told to thrown in the towel immediately from uninhibited strangers 🙂 Any further criticism from people is welcome. Thank you!October 16, 2014 at 4:27 pm #22808nesgranMember
Focussing in live view is really only useful if you are shooting things that aren’t moving and generally only on a tripod. It is great for macro or product work but less so for portraits.
What I mean with front focus can probably best be explained with this shot http://jessicarachelo.smugmug.com/Kids-and-Babies/i-4pHJXdJ/A . Camera AF will, if you let it, select the closest point within the AF pattern (within reason) that has the highest contrast. Her black and white jumper is a perfect AF target and this is why her sleeve is sharp but the kids eyes are soft. This shot in particular is suffering a bit with perspective. It looks as if you’ve used a fairly wide angle lens to fit the three of them in which has distorted the perspective somewhat and made her arm big and their noses bigger than expected. Looking at it again (on a colour calibrated wide gamut monitor) it has a quite obvious green colour cast. Last time I checked it was on my cheap TN screen where it wasn’t very obvious. The skin tones aren’t great and uneven. Are you using a grey card during your shoots? Have you got a proper screen that is colour calibrated? If you don’t have these things that would be a strong suggestion of mine to get and that pretty quickly. Nothing good is going to come out of having wonky colours. In fact your self portrait has some of the same problems as the shot I linked (short focal length and green colour cast)
As for the focussing, it is vital not to let the camera do the selection apart from in some settings like fast paced sports with long teles or kids in some circumstances. As for one shot vs servo, have a look in the camera manual and it’ll explain it far better than I can but basically one shot is for static subjects and servo is for things that are moving. Toddlers often benefit from servo focussing given their tendency to run about. What camera are you using? Some will have a lot more tweaking of the AF system possible than others.
Your website makes a lot more sense now and is easier to navigate. It looks clean and modern and works really well with the beach theme. The shot of the dad carrying his kid towards the water is lovely and sets a nice tone. I would probably get rid of the little specks which I’m guessing are birds as I started scratching on my screen thinking I had bits of dirt stuck on it.
I would also suggest making yourself familiar with printing the photos as you will need that if you want to take it further than short sessions for a hundred bucks. It will also give you a far better source of revenue if you have decently priced prints available made at a proper pro lab. I would suggest printing yourself a portfolio in good size, either 8×10 or 11×14 because this will also be a great selling point if you have a coherent paper portfolio. For printing a colour calibrated monitor is essential. Before you get them printed I’d suggest re-editing the lot with all you’ve learnt since you started and make sure they are consistent in both colour and contrast. When you put them back on your website it will look more consistent and professional.
Good luck and make sure you pay your taxes and insurance!October 22, 2014 at 9:57 pm #22947DonMember
I’ve asked photographer friends if they suggest a reflector and they always say ‘no’,
Then they’re not photographers.
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