Home Forums Photography Showcase Seeking constructive criticism about my work

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)
  • Author
  • #10885

    Hi all, God, I hope I don’t fall into fauxtog because I’ve been shooting for a while but I will admit to not having any training (I’m afraid that’s obvious). I have been paid for my photojournalistic and portrait photos several times and have truly never had a complaint though I don’t charge a lot either (I always have my clients sign a contract for mutual protection). I want to expand from where I am, an inexpensive Craigslist photog, to being a photographer with a sharp portfolio and of course, as a photog who can consistently deliver that for her clients.

    So, I’m starting here. This is my Flickr stream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeldablue/collections/. My site, http://www.elizabethwashburn.com, is temporarily down so that I can re-prioritize what I present. It used to be more of a photojournalism blog.

    Many thanks for your eyes and input.

    – HouseTiger


    I think it looks pretty good, though it is a bit haphazard the way it is laid out on flickr. Lots of duplicates and some true disasters from the film era that ought to go in the bin I think. Your shots either seem to be good to very nice or real disasters which is a little odd.


    I would suggest you make one portfolio for photojournalistic stuff no matter what assignment it was, one for portraits and then finally one for everything else. I would probably remove the year spans as they are big yet there isn’t very much in there making it look like you’ve only shot one thing every two years. As for putting an ad up on craigslist, make sure it is much less random shots on there than on your flickr.

    One thing I believe though is that proper off camera light will make posed portraits pop a bit more, have you got a set up for that? I would probably have liked a shallower depth of field in the shots of the woman in stripy jumper to make the skyline look a little more out of focus yet still retaining the shape so one can get a feeling for location. I can’t see what setting you’ve used since you’ve stripped the exif but I think you’ve done well with settings and natural light. Have a look at strobist.com for ideas how to make your mugshots look a little more appealing although I understand if the client asked for it like that (the guy with the glasses). Also be careful with the reflection in his glasses which is a little distracting.


    @nesgran: Thanks, that’s exactly the sort of help I need, I think. It’s likely true that prospective clients see the nice shots I use to advert on CL then follow the link to Flickr and while I think I’m sharing a portfolio of a lifetime of work, it’s confusing and ultimately makes them not so sure about hiring me.

    And the tips about lighting with the two portraits are also very helpful. Yes, the guy did basically ask for a mugshot ; ) but when one is paying a photographer they should get what you have described.

    Many thanks!

    Worst Case Scenario

    Nesgran has pretty much summed it up, loose the rubbish and only keep the best shot of each subject. There’s enough good stuff to make up a decent Flickr page but I got bored of opening albums and then finding it had the pics I’d already seen. Loose all the pet pictures, everyone with a camera posts pictures of their cat. A lot of your stuff borders on “snapshot” but your exposures are good and everything looks sharp, so just try to find better angles and some more interesting subjects.


    I really like this natural lighting of this one. Also the stripes in her jumper and in the reflections really make it interesting and draws me in. The only things that let it down are the focus not being totally sharp and the fact she’s got her phone in her hand! Unless the phone is on purpose? If so it needs to be made more obvious as otherwise it makes it look more like a snapshot of someone on their lunch break 😉



    @sarah5string: Thank you, I’ve been ambivalent about this photo because the original image was relatively small (I forget exactly, but it was shot with a Nikon D40x which is 6.5MP) and very hard to edit because I think I overexposed it? At least, it wasn’t properly exposed and I was not experienced enough with Gimp to do this justice. (I do of course have the original so I can try again.)

    At any rate, good point that I should re-edit to highlight her phone more. This client specifically requested to be shot with her phone (to reflect her line of work).

    This whole thread has been very helpful for me, thank you!


    Does anyone have any suggestions about where I could find a good tutorial about how to properly edit the photo above that sarah5string linked to? I feel like the photo had such potential but I likely made a not-awesome shot more noticeably not-awesome: I think I managed to enhance it being out of focus, for example.

    I have access to Gimp (not PS), the very amateur Picasa and not-too-bad Pixlr.

    Thank you for any suggestions or recommendations.


    No amount of software can rescue a bad photo but use gimp, if you didn’t shoot in RAW you’re better off leaving it like it is. Looking closer I would say you need to get rid of some of the noise as well. As for the photo being overexposed, well, the background is, but the subject is pretty nicely lit or if anything a little too dark. If you have a RAW file of it duplicate the photo in two layers and very carefully mask out the background, reduce the exposure of just that layer by 1.5 stops maybe. It may need a bit increased exposure if you do that though as the photo will probably look quite dark since you lose the bright part of it. Had you had a bit of off camera light on that photo the background would have been properly exposed as would the person. I think the photo actually work pretty well as it is, if you have lightroom pull back a little on the whites and highlights slider and it might just sort itself out but you might find yourself wanting to bump the exposure up a little if you get rid of the bright parts.

    If you wanted to highlight the phone you’d need to get more light on it which will be difficult since it is in a black case against a very dark background.


    If you want to do it properly why not download a 30 day free trial of photoshop CS6 and lightroom 5? If you can’t make heads or tails of it I can always have a look at it if you want if you have a RAW file, if you only have a jpg it probably isn’t worth the bother.


    You could use Photoshop or GIMP to make it look something like this, fairly easily.

    Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have tools to brighten shadow and darken highlights.  There is lots of noise in the dark areas but the dark areas are mostly in her sweater and easily fixed/reduced.

    I’ll leave it up till you comment, then I will delete it from Flickr.


    All that glass can cause problems for flash.  Careful placement of a light or lights will work and a polarizing filter may help too.



    @nesgran and @cameraclicker: GREAT info, suggestions and visual example, thank you!

    In Gimp, I took the original, which at the time I thought was underexposed, and separated the subject from the background and played with the exposures which resulted in TONS of noise in her face, chest, and top. I panicked, because I was on deadline, and tried ‘denoise’ and some other auto-fix options and that’s what led to an even noisier, fuzzy photo.

    Another layer was involved too because the wall on the right had a fire alarm and some other stuff that I and the client thought were distracting.

    Nesgran, your suggestions are very helpful and yeah, I should just download the 30 day trial and retrieve the RAW file of this photo and give it a try instead of going the Gimp route (which I think would be a great program for those who already know what they’re doing, but I didn’t and don’t and felt like there was little help, unlike PS where there’s loads of info online).

    Camerclicker, thank you! I like this and am encouraged to see how this photo could be easily improved. What really caught my eye is that in your edit, the subject actually looks like she’s IN a building whereas my version lost depth of field through post and she was kinda floating there in pretty glass.

    And, I cleaned up my Flickr and here are the results: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeldablue.

    I whittled down all photos and deleted the duplicates.
    Made one set of what I think are my best photojournalism shots.Any feedback on this set would be welcome, I’m ambivalent about several. It’s tough for me to be objective because I know the stories behind these photos and can no longer “see” them outside of their context.
    Deleted (most) sentimental favorites that aren’t technically good because this is my advertisement and also, my own site can have a section of “first film shots” where I indulge in telling the stories about why I think they are pertinent to my career as a photographer, but people can choose whether they click and read about that.
    Tried to combine Street photog set with other possibly similar work. *Think* it works? Not sure.
    Emphasized that the photos of kitties, etc. are paid work; I do pet photography too. But, this set is a toughie too because I feel some of the shots are good and sharp while others are snapshotty while what the clients actually wanted. So, this is still a work in progress, I guess.
    Annoyingly, even though I actually deleted some photos Flickr is still showing them in my photostream?! I’ll try again in 24 hours if it hasn’t changed.

    Again, loads of thanks for all of your input and help. I’m so happy to have found this community and will definitely stick around in case others like me show up.

    – HT


    It looks a lot better in there now and looks like someone who has been employed as a photographer. You’ve probably done it already but I’m guessing some of the pet pics should go, though the one with the two puppies following the horse is really cute.

    -e-, saw that it was paid work, make sure you emphasize that so it isn’t just the pics of a random crazy cat lady




    Yes, you’re right that just as I titled the humans’ portraits “Client_Ex_blahblahblah” I need to do that with the cats, etc. Otherwise yes, it’s, “Hey, this chick might be a good photography but, err, will my prints smell of cats?” 😉


    In this one,


    what is in focus?


    This one,


    same question.  How are you focusing?

    Both look OK on this page but are out of focus in the large view Flickr presents.  Full size, the second one looks like focus might be on his shirt or the red head, but the sign is not sharp


    The photo of the fence : ) was manual however the sign was likely AF because that was in the midst of a rally in the middle of a very busy intersection.

    I’m learning from this just how much I get attached to photos — I took 3-5 of the horses and bridles but the only lens on hand was my 18-55mm (I was hired because the original photographer couldn’t make it and a friend knew I was visiting another friend nearby, so I only had my basic kit with me) and none worked — the fence always became the focal point! Was I using the wrong tool or could I have got the shot (at least of bridles, probably not the long shot of the horses, which was also what I attempted) using that lens? I know had I had my 50, I could have made this gorgeous. Anyway, as I started to say: I still want this to work so much it’s still up there!

    What’s interesting is that I didn’t even notice the sign was out of focus — I’ve been looking at it since ’09.



    Here’s one I’m not sure about including:

    [url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeldablue/7831251958/]ProPetPortrait: Untitled.[/url] by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/zeldablue/]Washburn Photography[/url], on Flickr

    The fence is SO blown and I tried toning it down just in Pixlr (not Gimp or PS, yet). This weekend I will be downloading the PS trial, so perhaps that can help? But, if anyone has any suggestions or feedback on this photo — like about whether the fence can be toned down so it isn’t what the eye is drawn to, and can the horse’s neck and head be lightened ever so slightly, and just general impressions of this shot — it would help with my editing of my page because I’m, again, too attached to what this image could be to be objective.

    As always, many thanks for experience and advice!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 24 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.