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  • in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #16016
    OldClicks
    Member

    EyeDoc – I had a very successful business when I shot film exclusively, and when digital was just becoming common, but I’m not actually charging anyone right now. I did shoot two weddings for friends and family that would otherwise not have had a photographer at all. The rest has been getting back into things.

    I’ve made some observations along the way. When I shot film in California and Australia, my clients posed themselves. They knew which side was their good side, how to stand, and what to do with their hands, so they required very little direction, and were comfortable in front of the camera. It would seem that in Utah, formal portraits are completely foreign. People are simply not used to sitting in an actual studio. I’ve also noticed that people are spending more time manipulating their images and less time on the basics. Stacking and HDR are fine when appropriate, and can enhance an image. But manipulation for the sake of manipulation has no appeal for me. Ideally, I would like to produce digital images that have the look of the classic portraits I took with my medium format cameras. If they are manipulated, I don’t want them to look like they have been.

    I’m the first to admit that I have made some mistakes as I get back into photography. But I also believe that in many ways, digital has ruined the art behind the craft of creating good photos. Film forced photographers to get it right the first time – bad images cost money. As an event photographer, I was sometimes given a single roll of film, with the expectation that 36 sharp, well composed, properly exposed images would be delivered to the client. It was a very fast-paced environment, shooting up to 4 events in one location at the same time. That meant four bodies, one lens, and an RC car battery strapped to a 285. When reportage was popular, I fit right in. My wedding clients always commented that they never really saw me during the reception, yet I seemed to have caught every important moment. That work paid for my cameras, multiple cars, and most of my mortgage payment, so I am inclined to think I could not have been too bad at it.

    In college, I took photography, art classes focusing on composition and use of color, and even an offset printing course, which helped me with shooting for print. As someone rightly alluded to, I also aced quite a few business and marketing courses. Perhaps I have forgotten a lot of what I learned, but I’ve taken up photography again because I enjoyed it, I liked making my clients look good, and I got a great deal of satisfaction from seeing their reaction when I delivered their prints. It may take some time to get back up to speed, but I’m not in a position where I need to profit from it. All my equipment is paid for, and we’ve dedicated a 15×20 room in our house for portrait work. My office has a smaller area for shooting products for an online magazine. And recently, my daughter could be found running around with her camera in one hand, and a grey card in the other.

    That’s quite a novel I’ve written. To anyone that has read it this far, I want to thank you for your time. If you’re one of the few that posted helpful comments, I do appreciate it. For those that forgot that they were once beginners and had nothing nice to say, well, they can kiss my ass. And I mean that in the nicest way.

    Cheers.

     

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15991
    OldClicks
    Member

    I’m certainly not going to learn anything from your shitty work. You should take your own advice, and learn the basics. Seems like you’re more of a computer geek with a camera, than an actual photographer. Still have that image on your page with the big bright blob in front, and the umbrella or whatever cut off? You combined dozens of poorly composed shots into a single image. And you have a camera growing out of someone’s head in another.

    In other words, you have nothing to offer by way of example. Your opinion means nothing.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15981
    OldClicks
    Member

    So the green screen is gone, the painted backdrops are gone, and the focus issues were narrowed down to the lens. Not sure if I should have my 24-70 serviced, or just get a new one. It’s at least ten years old, and given what I’ve put it through, should probably be relegated to paperweight duty now.

     

     

     

     

     

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15450
    OldClicks
    Member

    @cameraclicker – thanks for taking all that time to test things. I ended up using a different focusing point, and I think things look a bit better.

    To everyone else – I added four new photos today, and would appreciate constructive criticism. I went back to what I’m most familiar with – a nice handpainted backdrop, and a pair of umbrellas. Before I mention the lights used, I’d like some feedback.

    Thanks!

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15108
    OldClicks
    Member

    I’m certain I will find that it’s the focus point and my slight rotation of the camera. And that makes sense, since it’s the images shot with a wide angle, so a few degrees can make a difference when you’re that close. Easy to verify, easy to fix. But I am curious to see your comments once you compare your old camera to the new one.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15106
    OldClicks
    Member

    Now it’s my turn to sound like a broken record. I can accept constructive criticism. There is nothing constructive about “your work sucks”, or “your work is crap”. When RPG posted and asked for advice, he got plenty of polite and useful feedback. But he seems to be unable to do the same. And for someone so critical, you’d think he’d at least make sure his own images were up to snuff first.

    @Wilson – go through my images from the bottom up – you see a couple’s engagement photos, then some bridals, then their wedding. They chose the location for the engagements, I chose the time. I chose the location and time for the bridals. I had no control over either for the wedding. (And we were all up pretty late the night before) In that context, can you see a difference between in quality? Oh, this is the couple that didn’t even want a photographer.

    @thewestbackine – I agree with you, to a point. Where I live, I think a lot of people really don’t know what “good” is. And if you want to believe that everyone’s opinion is valid, that’s cool. Some of them are worthless maybe, but still be valid as an opinion. 😉


    @cameraclicker
    – popping an image into focus on a ground glass was always easy. And I could be wrong, but I think the viewfinder in my EOS1N and EOS1V bodies were much brighter than today’s digital cameras. I like to use a focus point on the right, rather than the central one, since I prefer verticals when possible, and that gets the eyes in focus. But I don’t always trust that, and find myself focusing manually out of habit. When I use that point for a central object, then recompose, I think that might affect my plane of focus. I’m seeing this on the images shot with the 17-40 wide open, or close to it. Some time this week, I will test that theory. The fix may be as simple as changing focus points, so I am not rotating the camera a few degrees off axis to focus.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15093
    OldClicks
    Member

    @emf – I was discussing my photos with my wife this morning, and told her how helpful some members here have been. Everyone around me says my work is great, because they have no clue what really good photography is. I understand that, and I know there is plenty of room for improvement, which is why I opened myself up to criticism from actual photographers. But for someone to just dismiss my work without even giving a reason doesn’t help me. And if all they want to do is tell me it’s bad, I’m happy to let them provide examples of good work. The faults in his photos I pointed out are quite obvious, and really indefensible for someone who considers himself a pro. Combine that with his useless commentary, and I have nothing to learn from him. Notice I haven’t asked cameraclicks to show me his work – he’s been nothing but helpful.

    I appreciate your calm commentary, by the way.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15091
    OldClicks
    Member

    @Jones – for the church photos, I bounced my flash off the ceiling for some shots. It was rather high, and I had to raise my ISO to compensate, which resulted in some noise. If I do another church wedding, I’ll need to get access beforehand, so I can plan my lighting better. The flip side is that the couple in the photos really only wanted reportage style photos, which they’re not likely to print. I could have brought more lighting, spent time posing (time they didn’t bother to allow for), and gotten some better images. We had a hard enough time convincing the bride she needed a photographer in the first place, so the whole event was an uphill battle for me.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15085
    OldClicks
    Member

    WSC – you haven’t provided a single bit of useful information. You come off as a self-centered snob with your “let me tell you about myself”. Unless you’re willing to assist other photographers in improving their work, all you’re doing here is behaving like a typical internet bully, which is surprising from someone your age. “Your pictures are CRAP” doesn’t offer much guidance on how they could be improved. Beating a dead horse by commenting on the same image (one of two) over and over achieves nothing. Now that you’ve stated the obvious, do you have anything of value to add?

    I’ll happily accept criticism from someone that’s actually demonstrated knowledge of photography. RPG is clearly not qualified to offer criticism or advice, given the glaring issues found in his own work. At least two other posters have agreed with me on that.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15078
    OldClicks
    Member

    I use Stroboframe brackets for my flash, which keeps them above the lens. For weddings and events, that’s what I’ve always done. I want to experiment more with bouncing my wireless speedlight into an umbrella for outdoor portraits, where speed is less of a concern.

    Looking over some of the originals, they don’t look soft at all. Not sure what FB does to them. And the ones that are soft appear to be shot with either my 17-40 or the 24-105, both of which are only f4 wide open. I’ve never had a problem focusing the 24-70, which is a 2.8, so maybe I need to let the AF do its thing more often.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15076
    OldClicks
    Member

    Melinda, I used to live fairly close to you, in Westlake Village. I’m sure you’re familiar with the demographics of that area. A typical portrait sitting was as much as a soccer mom charges for a wedding here in Utah. When I moved here, I sold my medium format outfit for about 20% of what it cost, and wasn’t about to reinvest in more digital gear just to compete in that market. So I sold my lighting, backgrounds, and everything else too. Kept some film bodies for sentimental reasons, and one DSLR that I used for casual photography until the shutter finally became erratic and unreliable.

    I enjoyed my time behind the camera in SoCal. Working with people has always been important. I view computers as a tool, nothing more. I loved delivering wedding albums, and watching the bride’s face light up as she flipped through them. Or showing a family their proofs, and having the parents comment that I captured the personality of each of their children perfectly. But times have changed. Photography has changed. Consumers have changed. In the past, it seemed that my clients were used to being photographed, knew which side was their good side, and what poses they wanted. Now, they are most accustomed to a phone pic taken at arm’s length, and are awkward in front of the camera. I have a lot of hurdles to overcome.

    The two weddings I shot this year were for close friends and family. I didn’t charge either of them. Had I not shown up with a camera, they would most likely have not gotten any at all, other than what guests took with P&S cameras, or their phones. They got quotes from local photographers, looked at their work, and recognized that it was sub-par. Yes, worse than mine even. But I am here because I would like to improve my game, and sharpen my skills. That was easy enough when I was single and only worked 40 hours/week. I have a lot less free time now, but a long list of friends that are willing to come over and sit for me while I work on my lighting and posing. So any input from other photographers is appreciated.

    Oh, as far as just being better than my competition, you’d have to see how bad it is to fully understand. Yes, I want to do the very best I can, but if I was just in it for the money, it really wouldn’t take much effort to get paying clients here.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15072
    OldClicks
    Member

    Gerbles – it’s all I have right now. I suppose I could scan my prints in, but they are not very recent. Until I have time to take more photos, they are going to have to suffice. From the responses I have been getting, I don’t think everyone realizes how Facebook “Likes” and comments can be used to reach their target audience, but I’m not here to write an essay on that. Either way, thank you for your input.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15071
    OldClicks
    Member

    WSC – You’ve successfully avoided the question, and added nothing to the conversation again. My point was that if you’re going to be critical, perhaps you should demonstrate that you have a grasp of photography yourself. From the images that you linked to, I can clearly see that you’re a competent photographer. As a critic, teacher, or mentor, you get a failing grade.

    ” that brenizer shot is all out of focus in the foreground”  *facepalm*”  I understand the concept behind that process, but that doesn’t change the rules of good photography. You need to start with a good composition, and finish with a good composition. How does saying “I purposely left a large out of focus highlight in the foreground” justify it? That image is just a failure on a much grander scale than mine.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15057
    OldClicks
    Member

    @RPG – so you’re saying that you took 43 separate images to make one, yet never noticed the distracting mess in the foreground, the out of focus branch in the upper left of the frame, the missing top to that umbrella or whatever it is, and the annoying white spot next to the subjects head? And you can barely see their faces! You may have a decent grasp of Photoshop, but your actual photo skills need some work too. Pot, meet kettle. Of course, your client probably loved the final result, after you explained how much post production time you spent  on it. Even though no one would know it’s her.

    I’m well aware that the security camera can easily be fixed in Photoshop. I’m just surprised that an expert photographer such as yourself didn’t even consider it until someone as untalented as myself pointed it out. That must have hurt your pride a bit. The fact that you think gear and software are a substitute for actual skill or talent says a lot too. Until you grow up a bit, my comment is still valid – you’re just a douchebag with a camera.

    in reply to: Feel free to turn your critical eye my way #15056
    OldClicks
    Member

    Baby photography will always be in fashion. My wife loves babies (her daughter is in her teens, my son just graduated from college), and keeps hinting that we should do more baby photos, just so she can be around them. But I like interacting with my clients a bit more. Good on you for following your passion.

    When I moved to Newcastle, I spoke with someone at a small photography school there, and he told me that shooting weddings in Australia was just brutal work, as they are all day affairs, and the competition is cutthroat. Equipment is also much more expensive. One of my friends offered me his $900 bicycle in exchange for a Canon strobe unit. Your wage structure is better (I think minimum wage in the US is around $7/hr), but it certainly takes more of a commitment when investing in equipment there.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 27 total)