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    I have been shooting steadily now for two and a half years and taken a few classes. Recently I switched my major to BFA studio art in photography. In as much as I am learning the technical aspects of shooting and soon to be lighting, what I am lacking is some serious criticism. I know my color can be off at times and need to learn to get consistent, hopefully here I can learn this.


    Also on the site design, I know it is not quite finished, but it feels like something is missing.

    Beautiful Loser


    Thank you for looking


    I think as you move into the lighting portion of class you’ll gain a better understanding.  In looking at the Lee family gallery on your flickr, almost every image could’ve benefitted from some fill flash.  When you shoot with the sun to the back or side, you’ll almost always need flash or a reflector at minimum if you want a well exposed background.  Speaking of backgrounds, some of your backgrounds do not lend to the image.  One of your shots was done at f/11 when you could’ve done f/5.6, making the background more blurry and less distracting.  Even with a family of 4 or 5, you can get away with f/5.6 if you know your depth of field.

    I took a peek at the exif data on a few images.  The D500 has a native ISO of 200.  Anytime you deviate from the native stops of ISO, you risk losing the dynamic range.  Also, try playing around with your metering modes.  Everyone was center weighted, which is a good starting point, but you have a few that could’ve benefitted from spot meter.

    Lastly, and this is something I stress a lot on here, is know how to sharpen and process for web viewing.  A few of your images are soft when flickr resizes them for viewing.  It isn’t until you view them in the original size that they are sharp.  The problem is your work should be viewer ready right from the start.  In the Lee album, the second image of the toddler alone should be pulled.  It’s soft regardless of what size you view it in.  Only show your best.


    Toddler solo pulled, thank you. I had a nature photographer suggest posting to critique sites and I have signed up for a few I thought were… but wow, thanks. Lighting, believably is not a course offered at my university for this degree. It IS offered at a satellite campus 2 hours away for their BA in photo. that is geared more to magazine/studio work. The BFA program is more ‘artistic’ so any lighting studies are to be independent. I am hoping to get an internship here soon in a local studio. As far as the ISO goes, I always try to shoot as low as possible. Which brings me back to lighting – I did have a flash, but it does nothing when I do not know how to utilize it. (it’s an SB-700)

    Again, thank you for your feedback. It is much appreciated.

    Worst Case Scenario

    Costaltog has pretty well summed up the flickr page so I’ll have a go at the webpage design.

    The circle idea just doesn’t seem to work. Especially with the pics you’ve used on the front page. The baby at the top is hardly in the image and being new born looks more like a piece of chewed pink meat. Add that to the close up pic of a fly at the bottom  and I doubt you are getting the effect you were aiming for.

    The three circle images on the services page look a little odd, maybe if you had a whole line of circles across the page it wouldn’t look so bad. But generally, trying to fit images into circles is never going to look good.

    The portfolio page looks messy when it opens, none of the images match well and the navigation is not obvious. When you click on am image you get to see that none of them are sharp enough to go full screen ( and I’m on a laptop! ). I clicked on the pic of a wedding cake which had a lot of black background , which made the navigation controls invisible, if I’d clicked on this shot  first I’d have been stuck on that page forever.



    Lighting, believably is not a course offered at my university for this degree. It IS offered at a satellite campus 2 hours away for their BA in photo. that is geared more to magazine/studio work. The BFA program is more ‘artistic’ so any lighting studies are to be independent.

    Well …  There’s a concept!  Photography is literally writing with light.  Being able to “see” light, and understanding light’s characteristics, how it works, is rather critical to good photography.  I wonder if this institution leaves the students working on paintings to do their own independent studies to figure out the differences between oil paints and acrylics?


    I am stunned just like CC, that Lighting is not offered as a course for you photography. I mean, WOW!
    No negativity towards you jeigh, but damn. How in the world can you perform decent photography without referring to the most important factor, lighting.

    I know most courses have their student start out with inanimate objects like an orange or an apple with a single light source. The object with the 1 subject and 1 light is to take photos from various angles and too see how the light wraps around an object and starts to fall off. Oranges in my opinion are better for this, since they have greater texture.

    The only thing I can think of why the course is lacking in the lighting department is that they are referring lighting as flash or off-camera lighting and not your basic lighting situations.

    Jeigh, as for your photos, I think some of your composition is fine, but I see a lot of out of focus and soft shots. There are some where your point of focus could use a wider DOF to catch all the subjects in focus and render the BG in a bokeh. Since I cannot seem to link to a specific image, it is the image in the wedding series of the wedding guests sitting. It appears that you focus was on the last guest furthest from the camera, and the rest of the guest fall into blur. This image should have had a wider DOF.

    With the Lee family photos, your color varies from warm to cool and is very inconsistent. I like some of the poses and the kids are looking they they are having a good time. With younger kids, the runny noses you have to watch for.
    There are several shots again, where your focal points are not right on but close and some that are slightly out of focus.

    For a 2 year student, I don’t think you are that bad, just need some improving. Trust me and I say this all the time to some of the people I train, “We all start from 0.”
    Good and honest criticism will help you if you continue on. It may be hard to take some times, but that is what makes us better, learning from our mistakes and using the knowledge of others.

    Good Luck and keep shooting!


    So much of learning photography  nowadays is spent on the technical aspects of the camera (shutter speed iso aperture), and also the “rules” so to speak,  such as rule of thirds or filling the frame etc. I see very little on the basics of light. Most of the togs posting for critique  to this site photograph people, and most of them all have the same fundamental problem – poor light, or their inability to recognize it. But hey, they put the person off to one side (rule of thirds), and shot wide open to blur the background(aperture).

    Looking at the Lee family shots, the little girl holding the pink soccer ball is probably the best shot lighting wise because of a few reasons. The light appears soft, and by tilting her head up you opened up her face and eyes to it as well.  There’s also a nice back light or “kicker” from the sun hitting the left side of her head which helps with separation from the background.  Add a great smile and you have a very nice photograph.

    Looking at the family photos, that’s were things fall apart. As Coastaltog said,  some sort of fill flash or reflector is needed to even out the exposure when your background is much brighter than your subjects. My suggestion is to find an area where the background is the same or darker than your subjects, and that’s where understanding light will help. As far as shooting at F11, I’m going to guess your were shooting in program mode with the flash enabled. Unfortunately your camera (D5000) does not do High speed sync (HSS), so it has no choice but to choose a high aperture to keep the shutter speed down to it’s limit, as it pertains to flash. If you don’t know what that means then a primer on flash it needed. Check out this link http://neilvn.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/. One of the best resources on flash photography I have ever seen, including a section on how to properly utilize fill flash.

    Any lighting course should be hugely beneficial, even a studio one,  because(I hope) one of the main aspects they teach you is placement of lights and the different modifiers available to do great portraiture . You’ll learn lighting patterns, ratios, etc –  all sorts of good things that can be  applied to outdoor photography as well.


    Wow, wow, wow. WCS, Cameraclicker, Bill, and Jim-e thank you so much. Yeah, lighting I am learning is key. Cameraclicker, I like your allegory “Photography is literally writing with light.” I’ve never thought of it that way and it explains yet so much. Jim-e, ouch! I never shoot in program mode, and it has been a while since I even shot in aperture or shutter priority select. The Lee family was my first family shoot. They are friends from church and understood they were test-subjects. Also I ‘attempted’ to use my flash as a filler but without actually understanding what it does at each setting and how to control it??? I will check out the resource link you provided thank you for that.

    Oh, for the record my university is UCF. I am actually in the process of advocating they change their course-load to accommodate more classes in photography, as they currently only require you to take six in the field of choice (photo), even more bizarre is they only offer three photo classes of which you repeat? Thankfully, I have gained the ear of one of the assistant directors and he is sympathetic to the cause of expanding the course offerings within the program.

    Either way, again thank you for our feedback. I hope I can implement it sooner rather than later.


    There was no disrespect intended as far as shooting in program mode was concerned, more a guess on my part as the camera chose the small aperture because of the flash being used. All the modes have there place  – don’t listen to the “manual only” shooters is my advice. Hell, Joe Buissink shoots mostly in program mode and what does he know, right?



    Oh, none taken, this is why i came here. Thank you.


    generally unimpressed. but keep shooting. Also, pink ppl…not good.


    I know it’s your life but are you sure you want to get a BFA?  Especially when your school doesn’t even teach studio lighting?  You’re pissing away money.  Get a degree in business- which will help establish your biz- and take photography classes and attend Meet-Up shoots.  A BFA/ MFA is one of the worst degrees to get according to Forbes, WSJ, US News, and every other news outlet.

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