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  • in reply to: So, am I doing Ok for a beginner? #23550

    I can say with all honesty that I have never seen the likes of this thread!

    Even for this particular Forum, where one would expect this type of thing, I am impressed!

    Happy New Year everyone!

    in reply to: What is the Value of a Good Photograph/Photographer? #21837

    Not to mention the retouching on that website is quite substandard for claiming to be “professional”.

    in reply to: What do you think of my work? #20279

    You’re welcome ink!

    Sounds to me from your response you have a pretty good idea of what you are doing and what you are trying to achieve. Excellent. It is a pleasure reading and participating in your thread.

    I am one of those who kind of dig the more traditionally toned mono conversions usually. In this case probably meaning a bit more contrast. But depending on the shot and what the shooter is trying to convey. My first impressions with your mono was that with a bit more contrasting background your subject would pop more. As it stands she is very close to the same tonal value as the foliage. Another thought is to watch your backgrounds. The dark trees behind her head I find distracting. They are dark enough tonally compared to the rest of the scene to catch the eye. The eye should always be drawn to the subject and hopefully stay there.

    Something else I’ll put out here for your consideration? Do you think you are leaving a little too much “head room” in a lot of your frames? In other words too much room over the head? This is very common (with beginners) and quite frankly adds nothing to a portrait. I suspect you are a ways beyond “beginner”.

    If you are really interested in doing a lot of mono work here is a couple of resources you might be interested in. “The Complete Guide to Black and White Photography” by Michael Freeman. I know a few folks who produce mono almost exclusively and consider this a bible. Another is “From Oz to Kansas” by Vincent Versace. I’ve always said that the best investment you can make is not in the gear but in yourself and these are some very cool investments for the mono shooter.

    While we are on the subject of retouching, I like a little cleaner approach for my subjects. In the mono shot, notice the flyaway hairs that are catching the light? They are against some of the darkest part of the background (trees) and really stand out. Did you mean to leave these for some reason? And if you are going to shoot mono, two of the best tools you can use are the dodge and burn tools. Judicious use of these will make a mono sing. And they are just as useful in color as well.

    Just between us (and I’ll deny this to the very grave) catchlights can be fudged in a pinch!

    If you think you are having back focus issues with a piece of glass you could easily set up an experimental shoot to see if that were the case.

    in reply to: What do you think of my work? #20225

    Hi ink!

    A question:

    What is the first thing the eye is drawn to when viewing a photograph?

    I’m going to hold off on any further comments. Seems like a lot of folks want comments and yet don’t feel the need to follow up on those that are made.

    Except for this. I like your IMG 6886 but I think you could have turned the subject’s body (shoulders) in toward the negative space instead of having the shoulders leading out of the frame and head turned in. This for a more balanced shot and also keeping the viewer’s eye in the frame. The shoulders tend to lead the viewer’s eye out of the frame. Then, turned the head slightly back toward the camera. Unless going for a full on profile it is not really considered good form to have the nose breaking the line of the cheek bone. Then have the model looking not straight sideways but at approx. 45 degrees or less toward the camera. This to get the other eye and some whites of the eyes instead of just some makeup lines and the other eye eyelash. Nail the focus on the eyes. Then there is the catchlight issue.

    It has been said (on here even) that the eyes are the Window to the Soul. This is what portraiture is all about. If you miss this, then you only have a snapshot.

    Another related question and follow up question?

    Why do you think manga art is so appealing? Why are Disney’s most visually appealing animations so remarkably compelling and able to convey emotions that draw one in?

    Hint: Eyes?

    And a final question before I just give it up if I may?

    How did you do your mono conversion?

    I’m a huge fan of mono portraiture, especially headshots. It is an art form unto itself and a successful conversion is way more than just a button click and/or desaturation.

    What are your thoughts on my response?

    (Oops, was that too many questions and comments?)

    in reply to: How do these fauxs get so much business?!?! #20222

    Very interesting read Doc. Thanks for posting this.

    in reply to: Can I have some CC please. #20174

    Hi Drew,

    I’m way late to this party so I’ll just try to limit some general comments to your latest question if I may?

    Maestro Clicker’s suggestions are, as usual, all Golden. Might I further suggest that with your black kitty shot you are looking at not a distance issue but an exposure issue?

    This is a tough shot with a rather large dynamic range. Flickr is reporting a General Imaging Co. x400 camera. I’m not familiar with this machine so I had a quick lookup to see what you might have at your disposal.

    It is also reporting the metering mode as “Average” and an exposure mode of “Auto” for the black cat shot. Basically (in a nutshell) what this means is that your camera’s metering system automatically averaged the exposure value for the entire scene to middle gray and naturally underexposed the cat. Had you had your metering mode set to “Center Weighted Average” you would probably have gotten your cat a little closer to properly exposed. This metering setting (while still averaging the scene) will give metering priority to a smaller, more centered area of the frame.

    The x400 is also capable of “Spot Metering”. And this is probably what I would have used in this case. This mode meters a relatively small circle (smaller even than Center Weighted) in the middle of the viewfinder. Usually somewhere in the hood of 5% of the frame. But, and this is a pretty big but, you will have to do some research/study/practice/experimenting to master this mode. Essentially it will attempt to render the spot you are metering (in this case the cat) to middle gray and you will need to be able to interpret how to set exposure compensation in accordance to the meter reading and the scene/subject you are shooting. In this case a typical example would be to spot meter the cat and set your exposure compensation to maybe -1.5-2 stops (remember, this is -1.5-2 stops below middle gray toward black) depending on how black you want the black cat and how much detail you want to preserve. Conversely, if you were shooting a white cat and spot metered it you would set EC to +1.5-2 stops (1.5-2 stops above middle gray toward white) depending on how white you wanted the cat and how much detail you wanted to preserve. This is going to work best if you shoot in manual.

    I noticed on the specs that the x400 lists that it is capable of HDR- post processing only. No idea what this means but if the camera is capable of automatic exposure bracketing that is another option but requires blending the exposures in post. If the camera is incapable of AEB you can always do it manually.

    One exposure for the general scene, one for the grass, one for the cat, (exposure values of -2/0/+2) and blend them. One advantage of this is that you can get a proper exposure for the grass and another for the cat. With a single metered frame there is going to be some tradeoffs. To correctly expose the cat the grass is going to be off a bit. But the question is what do you want properly exposed and the answer is going to be that you want the subject properly exposed.

    So, if I haven’t confused the issue beyond all redemption I would happily suggest that you research your camera’s metering modes and exposure bracketing as something fun to do while you are sitting around swilling your favorite beverage! Then get a black target with some detail work on it and a white target with some detail work and practice getting the exposures happening. Then bring it back in here and show us what you got going on.

    in reply to: Do I photograph for this fauxtographer? #20128

    Hi Ab (sorry, I couldn’t count all the “i’s”)!

    I know you didn’t ask for a review per se. But to be honest here I’m not seeing the “million times better than them”. And while you didn’t ask per se you did put up your work and theirs for comparison.

    In addition to Cclicker’s comments you have a white balance issue with your horse/rider shot (color cast). Also a lighting problem, which you could solve in post but neglected. There are several things you could have done to help mitigate the busy, distracting background and didn’t. One thing I noticed as compared to your prospective employer is that your background is at least showing a bit of blur and your horizon is at least level. Your prospective employer seems to have a permanent port list! The unfortunate framing is very subpar and indicative of a beginner who is not watching the entire frame.

    The horse eye shot seems to be relatively sound technically but I don’t agree with it compositionally. Since that is a matter of personal choice I won’t comment further on that unless further asked!

    If I had shot your horse and rider shot during the day’s shoot it would have never made it out the door due to the framing alone. In fact, it wouldn’t have made it through the first round select and would have found the trash bin toute suite if not PDQ. If that were good the rest could be addressed in post and made a decent shot but it seems you are lacking the skills at this particular point to know how that could be done or to even recognize that it should be done.

    Ab, I’m sorry if this sounds harsh. Not really my usual style. But you started this post with both barrels blazing and if you state that you are a “million times better than them” and that “I don’t think the other photographer can use this excuse for their photos though as their website photos are just as awful…” and further that “The cons are that I would be associated with this company… Who I’m hoping don’t go on this website…” I’d say you damn well better be ready to back that up. Photographically you can’t and if you could you wouldn’t be here asking whether you should shoot for them or not. How does that phrase go? Oh yeah. People who live in glass houses…

    As for the gig? My advice would be to take it. Especially if you are suffering from terminal shyness and self-doubt. If you are going to aspire to one day be a working photographer you are going to have to deal with people. So if you don’t start now then when?

    Plus it looks like an opportunity for a fun day shooting some cool action. You might even make a few bucks to boot.

    in reply to: I asked once before but I'm asking again #20068

    Okay Chrsty. Fair enough! Thank you for responding.

    Enjoy your new shooter!

    Hope you come back and show us how it’s done! I’ll look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    in reply to: DIY Splash #19938

    Are you kidding me Clicker? Lol

    Even the BRT (Big Red Tub) is no match for my mess-making abilities! I had liquid everywhere!

    This is another, more formal (i.e. done with studio lighting gear) and much more complex shot. Shot more recently.

    This was done with the studio flash stopping the motion rather than shutter speed.

    One frame, one shot.

    For this one I had to break out the kiddie pool, giant tarp, and wear a lifejacket!

    ISO 200
    FL 70mm
    Tripod and remote release.


    in reply to: Hobbyist seeking honest critique #19855

    Hi Happy!

    I’m not really into being very brutal but I’ll give it a shot!

    I’d have to say you seem to have a recurring focus problem. A lot of it I think may be due to working with too shallow a DoF and possibly incorrect placement of focal point. I’m also seeing this with some of your macro stuff where the DoF is inherently going to be razor thin. Now it’s hard to say looking at a body of work and with no explanation of what you your thoughts were or what you are going for. Better when looking at a single photo for comment. For all I know you wanted that purposely. Some of these shots could also be improved by proper sharpening techniques in post. The animal/bird shots come to mind with this comment. The light trail shots I really couldn’t say I care for. Not a big fan of absolutely nothing in focus. But I guess that could also be termed “abstract”.

    You are lighting your glass incorrectly, and the liquid drops could be lit a lot better as well. Glass/translucent liquids are a very difficult subject. Pick up a copy of Light: Science and Magic (Fourth Edition). It is a lighting bible.

    The liquid stream (pour) is OoF as are a lot of the higher velocity extraneous drops in some of your liquid shots. You are not stopping the motion and they are appearing as a blurred something instead of a defined drop. Again adding to the fact that they are out of the focal plane. Your still life’s could use cleaning.

    Now I’m really going to get brutal!

    You have some very nice long exposure shots. Bridge fan I see! And I like the moonlit tree as well. Tree fan myself! I don’t know if your camera has a bulb mode or not but you might try stopping down your glass and taking longer exposures. From what little I saw it looks like you are limiting to 30 sec. Bump the ISO if necessary and don’t underexpose. Tripod (naturally), mirror lock-up, remote shutter release, all the precautions and good techniques.

    With these I think your composition is really good.

    I’ll leave the people shots to the people people!

    You have some nice stuff going on Happy. All in all the biggest overall thing that I can see is that you might do some DoF/Focus research/experiments and get a handle on your focus issues. I would bet that if you have questions about what has been said here you would get some straight up, no BS answers and advice.

    And as for the lime/knife shots? A man after my own Heart!

    When Life Gives You Lemons…

    in reply to: I asked once before but I'm asking again #19805

    Hi Chrsty!

    I’ll toss in a few thoughts for your consideration if I may? And I’ll try not to be too mean about it! If you are here on honest pretenses and looking for constructive feedback I think there are a few folks here that can and will provide some for you. It is the p&s pocket poppers that try to sell a professional service because they think they are “amazing” (I’m really beginning to loath that word!) that folks find irksome here.

    I understand your views/apprehension on editing but I think maybe it would be beneficial to you if you adjusted your approach. Editing in itself is not Evil nor what I would call “over used”. I would, however, say that it is certainly overly improperly used (i.e. garish effects, improper or no sharpening techniques, and the attitude that a bad shot can be “saved” in post to name but a couple).

    It is a 50-50 approach. The shot is half and has to be done correctly. Meaning good composition, exposure, and lighting. Strive to get it right “in-camera”. Its obvious that the people who are fauxtogging have no clue how to properly frame and compose a shot. Much less how to set a camera or deal with the scene/lighting before them. When you do it right you don’t need garish, over the top effects to hide your incompetence.

    The other 50% is post processing. There is not now, nor has there ever been a photo shot that could be viewed that wasn’t processed. Period. RAW files give greater latitude in post and that is what you should be shooting. But as an example, do you know your camera manufacturer’s recommended capture sharpening settings for RAW capture? Do you know the three stages of proper sharpening? Proper cropping/framing aspects? I mention this since Mr. Clicker mentioned your shot could use some sharpening/cropping. I concur.

    Learn proper, grounded post production techniques/workflows (forget crazy actions, plug-ins that you know nothing about) that you can reproduce consistently and that you know why you are doing it (and I don’t mean “because it looks cool”).

    As regards your photograph? I could mention a few things that come to mind if you would like, but what if we did something that, as far as I know, has never been done on here if you’re game? You want to learn. You had the nerve to post a shot. So let’s break some ground!

    Why don’t you give us a very critical, honest, hard, detailed self-critique of your own shot? After a hard look maybe say to us what you have learned from this shot and what you might like to try different next time and why? What you are seeing that you don’t like. What you are seeing that you like. Maybe you can help the rest of us! Maybe someone can help clarify if you have certain thoughts/questions.

    And no worries Chrsty! This site tore me a new one when I posted for review! It was so bad that I’m not even good enough for the front page!

    in reply to: This faux will most likely be sued… #19350

    Hi browneyedgirl89,

    I saw the vid of the episode you are referring to. I seem to recall that was in the ‘hood of 2010 or so.

    The sad part of this is that in the US $5000 is beyond Small Claims Court, so a lawyer is going to be required.

    You have said:

    Obviously it is partially the couple’s fault for not doing their research beforehand, but I think they now have a really good case to take this to court.

    And that is pretty much going to sum this up. Leave out the word “partially” and you have the reality.

    They are going to pay for this oversight regardless of any court decision because they will never recoup their losses. The lawyers will see to that (they don’t work for nothing) and they would love to get a case like this. And that is if they win the case. And if they do win can the photog pay? And if the photog doesn’t then what? And how soon is this going to go into over $5000 because it will be delayed until after the couple’s fourth child (lawyers again). The time, expense, heartache, misery involved in this type of pursuit is unbelievable. Great way to start off a marriage, huh?

    There is a breach as well as a “good faith” dispute and possibly more. Have they paid the “photographer” and if so how? And if so how is it that they paid in full before an event and without reviewing the work? Did they get a guarantee and in writing? Is it possible to contact their credit card company regarding this? Stop payment on a check? Sounding like the case is a case of “live and learn”. In the real world Judge Judy Joe Brown doesn’t exist like it does on a TV show.

    As for the shooters site? One look tells the story as to whether they should be hired. I got a stomach ache with only the music. Then the fauxtos started and I had the urge to rub my head with a cheese grater to take my mind off my aching stomach!

    A lot of time is spent here slamming fauxtographers. Probably rightly so. You want to stop them? Spend that time educating the consumer. Regardless of a court decision they can never replace a lost wedding shoot. I’ll say it again: they will never recoup their losses.

    I surely wish them the best of luck with an unfortunate circumstance.


    Hi Ab,

    There is a difference, as camerclicker has explained, in being a good photographer and being a good business person. There are mediocre photographers who do well running a successful business and conversely there are incredible shooters who, unlike a large pizza, cannot feed a family of four because they are unable/unwilling to run a successful business.

    But since you seem to be asking about the actual photography aspect:

    …at what point do people go for the big leap from being just a person with a camera who can take good photos, to a professional?

    Consider this:

    “An amatuer practices until they get it right … a professional practices until they never get it wrong”

    It is my opinion that those who CAN take a nice shot but can’t repeat it consistently, in any imaginable circumstance, who doesn’t know their gear inside and out (and this includes lighting) and how to use it properly (meaning good technique as well and not shooting green box constantly), and who go out and buy a Rebel with a kit lens, aren’t ready to be professional photographers.

    in reply to: Is this a Fauxtog? #19266

    Hi cole435!

    I’d say this is borderline. I see a lot of stuff I wouldn’t let out the door and for what seems to me to be obvious reasons. But I also see some decent stuff.

    However, if I had hired this guy to shoot for me and he presented me with bad crops (which you mentioned), monos and color that were so contrasty and shadows long ago crushed, lighting that puts half a face in complete darkness with a hard line and no graduated transition (that’s kind of very scary looking), and highlights (especially skin features) blown to no recovery I’d be miffed. If he handed me this for my wedding shoot I would consider breaking the contract (if there was one) and re-negotiating for the shots I liked. And if there was a contract and he is not a legal, tax paying, licensed business he wouldn’t have a leg to stand if he brought litigation. And if he insisted on litigation I’d just happily offer to report him to the IRS (in the USA) and see how much fun he’d be having then! If he did not guarantee satisfaction I wouldn’t hire him to begin with. When I am in contract with a Client they get a no questions asked 100% guarantee. And I am what I would call only a “semi-professional” if that because I don’t do it full time to pay the bills. Of course, I don’t shoot weddings. But a re-negotiation could be done for what is acceptable to both parties. All told after looking at his website I wouldn’t hire him anyway for my wedding! So why did your “friend” if there is a problem?

    No comment on demeanor. He wasn’t shooting for you. He was shooting for your friend’s wedding. Not your call.

    On the other hand your guy is capable of some very good stuff too. So what you are leaving out here is what your “friend’ thinks of what he paid and how the hired gun treated them. And did the “friend” get some shots he/she was happy with? Personal axe to grind? Are you a photographer? What would you do differently? Glass house and stones?

    Cole435? The only way these so-called “fauxtographers” can exist is because Clients allow it. We can whine, piss, and moan all we want (and I surely do!) but it doesn’t change that fact. Simple supply and demand.

    So? Are you looking to help your friend because you think he/she might have been ripped off? Or are you just not happy with this photographer personally?

    in reply to: Good Hair Day #19184

    Jeez Doc!

    It sucks if you aren’t even crappy enough to make it as a faux tog! Guess I’ll just continue my downward spiral and aspire to failure!

    Thank you Doc!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 56 total)