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Thread: Our Constuctive Criticism Challenge

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Our Constuctive Criticism Challenge

    The mods and I have been discussing the level of critiquing on Ausphotography. With this month's Constructive Criticism Challenge, we were expecting more extensive critique on the site. So we decided to give each other a challenge and created this thread. We hope that members read through this and get an idea of what we want to see on AP.

    So come on! Get into giving your constructive critiquing a go, push yourselves to write a bit more. After all, Ausphotography is here to encourage each other to improve, and 'nice photo' doesn't do that.

    So enjoy the interactions between the moderators below, and we hope that we can see our efforts encourage you to give more extensive critiquing a go.

    My photo:



    Go for it
    Last edited by ricktas; 11-09-2011 at 6:07pm.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

    Constructive Critique of my photographs is always appreciated
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    bloody hell!

    you want CC on that, that is more than nice photo? ....

    ok then .. very nice photo!

    .. seriously!! ... apart from very slightly lost highlight details in the clouds on the RHS, which are insignificant anyhow, there's nothing really wrong with it, to the point where it will only elicit comments such as nice photo, I really like it, spectacular and so on!
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    bloody hell!

    you want CC on that, that is more than nice photo? ....

    ok then .. very nice photo!

    .. seriously!! ... apart from very slightly lost highlight details in the clouds on the RHS, which are insignificant anyhow, there's nothing really wrong with it, to the point where it will only elicit comments such as nice photo, I really like it, spectacular and so on!
    hahaha. How about cloning out the bright dot on the right, for starters.

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    Seriously, guys! Is this the WORST you can do? See how you'd go with this in your portfolio!!!

    mods-CC_0351.jpg
    Waz
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    My Flickr images ...

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Non edited, at all, why would you bother




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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    That was my thought as well Arthur

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    Moderately Super Debra Faulkner's Avatar
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    This needs plenty of CC. My first eva boat picha. pritty good eh
    Last edited by Debra Faulkner; 11-09-2011 at 10:06am.
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    Hi Mark,

    I am going to CC the second of your two photos. The first thing I noticed was the model's face, she seems completely bored and not interested in being photographed. Interact with your model to get the expressions you want, get them relaxed and happy in front of the camera and you will get better facial expressions to capture. I think the lighting needs to be more aimed at her eyes, at present the brightest part is around her mouth, which again draws our attention to the bored expression. I think your focus is a bit off as her eyes are not 100% in focus, and with a full facial portrait, the eyes are what people are drawn to, and ensuring they are in focus is probably your primary objective after lighting your subject well.

    I don't feel that the composition is helpful here either, Crop the bottom off, and it improves.

    I do like how you have lit her from the front and side, it creates depth to her face, with shadows giving the portrait depth and dimension. With the right expression and a few changes, you could get some great photos with this model. I hope you get to work with her again.
    Last edited by ricktas; 11-09-2011 at 10:09am.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    G'day Deb, whilst this image is quite well exposed and is quite sharp, I find it very busy.
    The boats on the left all seem to blend in with each other, I am not sure which is supposed to be the main focus of the image.
    I don't think the path at the right side adds anything to the image, it just serves to drag my away and out of the frame.
    I also think it could do with a boost in contrast.

    The patterns of the sun reflecting on the boats is actually very interesting and seems to be what holds my attention most in this image.

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    re my photo. I think we need a range of quality in this thread. After all its easy to CC a badly taken photo, but harder to CC one that is quite good, other than saying 'nice photo'. We need to challenge the members views on how to CC and make them look harder at photos and give positive advice, even on the great shots.

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Well you got a couple of ordinary ones from me, would, should, have already been in the bin.

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    Since Rick has already had a chop at the second of your images, Mark, I'll take on the first while you're still dazed and confused, ok?

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    1. Lighting: The flash/strobe lighting on the left of frame (model's right) is too strong compared to the rest of the scene and leaves harsh shadows on the opposite side of her face around the nose and jaw line. It either needed to be toned down or balanced with some better directed lighting or a reflector from the other side at approximately the mirror angle and distance. The main light source also seems to be a bit far away from the subject because its intensity fades towards the bottom of the frame leaving an almost spotlight effect on the upper torso and face. There is clearly a secondary light source judging by the highlights on the model's left side (right of frame), but it's at the wrong angle to counteract the shadows and too far away to balance the intensity of the main light. It is adding an interesting "hair light" effect due to the extreme angle. Is that what you were after?

    2. Composition: You have committed some fundamental errors of composition with this image IMHO. Although the subject is off centre, and that is usually a good thing, you have chopped off the model's right arm and cut through her wrists at the joints. It is usually best to have crop lines pass through the middle of an arm or a leg IF they must be cropped at all. The dark tree trunks on the model's left are distracting because of the severe contrast with the bright hat she is wearing, and the brighter patches of background in the negative space on that side only make the effect worse. It may be worth selectively darkening that area or applying a severe selective blur to remove or tone down the distractions. One or two steps to the photographer's right may well improve the composition significantly.

    3. Pose: The pose is doing the model and the image no favours here either. There is no eye contact with the camera and the stance seems wooden and lazy at the same time. I would suggest the model turn her shoulders to her left a little more and then turn her head back toward the camera slightly. She should also bring her left leg forward because that will cause her hips to rotate to a more balanced position. I would also suggest the model raise her chin slightly to reduce the effect of the under chin area sagging.

    The positives I take from this image are that the model's eyes are well in focus with good catch lights, while her skin tones on the lit side of her face are even and have good colour depth. Adjustments in your camera position and lighting will result in a vastly improved image and are easy to make with practice. The image looks slightly underexposed but that is more a function of the lighting than any camera settings IMHO. With Aperture at f/11, ISO 200 and Shutter speed at 1/250 there is plenty of room to make adjustments to suit the mood you are wanting to create and using manual mode you have chosen well for an even exposure in the conditions. Well done!

    PS. Classic lighting test shot, MC! How did I do?

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    In Training MarkChap's Avatar
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    Thanks Waz, was certainly a test shot for the lighting, 1/250 @ f11 was the ambient exposure I wanted, I popped the flash on a stand, set it to 1/2, from memory, and fired a shot

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    Ok, Rick. I'll take a shot and hope I still have a "job" afterwards!

    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    In general there is a great deal to be admired in this image, but all good images can become great with a bit of attention to detail. Here are some points that I think are worth considering:

    1. There is a random bright spot in the dark area on the right side of the image about the middle. It is a distraction that draws the eye and could be cloned out quite easily.

    2. There is very little interest in the area at the left of the image and a small but significant chunk of the darker area there could be cropped back to throw interest back into the central area where it should be.

    3. While the image is a little dark for my taste, the darkest areas top and bottom do offer good framing for the main point of interest in the crepuscular rays of sun light and the brilliant colours and textures of the central valley area. As flat areas they act as a counterpoint to the lovely depth offered by the layering of the hills in the better lit parts of the image, so they need to be there to contribute that counterpoint.

    Overall a very pleasing image that can be brilliant with some very minor tweaks and adjustments. Well done!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Debra Faulkner View Post


    This needs plenty of CC. My first eva boat picha. pritty good eh
    HI Debra,

    I always find photos of boats in Marina's look cluttered and messy, and this one for me, still has that effect on me. I am not sure of a way to get around that. I love the water reflection on the hull of the foremost boat, and wonder if you had included the hull down to the waterline, would have added another element to this photo. Perhaps focusing on that boat alone, and getting the water and hull, with the wonderful reflections, to simplify the photo. Alternatively and much wider angle to include more of the wharf and surrounding waterways, so that the boats were part of an overall scene, might just work a treat.

    There are a couple of dust bunnies that need cloning out.

    I wonder if you went back to this location on a stormy day and tried a mono version that was dark and moody, if it would not work well.

    Good try.

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    Moderately Super Debra Faulkner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkChap View Post
    G'day Deb, whilst this image is quite well exposed and is quite sharp, I find it very busy.
    The boats on the left all seem to blend in with each other, I am not sure which is supposed to be the main focus of the image.
    I don't think the path at the right side adds anything to the image, it just serves to drag my away and out of the frame.
    I also think it could do with a boost in contrast.

    The patterns of the sun reflecting on the boats is actually very interesting and seems to be what holds my attention most in this image.

    Thanks, Mark. You have given me a couple of ideas.

    And thanks Rick, too.

    I've CC'd so will post an after process shot - I did this to give myself a bit of practice


    "OK to start with I like how the top of antennae of the boats are fully visible and the angle showing the bows gives a good perspective against the jetty.
    However, there are a few things that could be done to improve this shot: the horizon is sloping to the right and needs straightening; there are birds/dust bunnies which need to be cloned out to clean up the sky. It is a very ‘busy’ picture with the boats all melding into each other. To help reduce this light and colour contrast needs to be added. Colour boosting the purple and yellow dinghies would also help separate the first boat from the others. To further separate the boats some tonal contrast could be applied to certain parts such as the curtains, the roof canopies, the ropes and the water reflections. The water reflections are really interesting and are probably what will hold the viewer’s attention the most. Overall unsharp mask sharpening will probably be enough to make these more ‘alive’.

    So for your first ever boat shot you have provided much interest. Well done!"

    Last edited by Debra Faulkner; 11-09-2011 at 11:26am.

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    Moderately Super Debra Faulkner's Avatar
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    Hi Waz. Well, you certainly have an interesting early morning/early evening shot here. The boat traffic is obviously what caught your attention and prompted the shot. The pier coming in from the right gives a nice angle to towards the horizon, helping the viewer focus on the ships.

    The first thing you will need to do is straighten the horizon. As you can see it slopes quite a lot to the right. Your image is very noisy due to being very underexposed. You might be able to reduce the noise by running it through a program such as Neat Image. Removing the magenta colour cast might be a bit tricky but you could try altering the colour balance. Cropping the image just below the edge of the wave on the left would also help focus on the ships as the rocks are a bit distracting. Also cloning out the bow seen under the pier would help.

    There is no information about your camera settings (such as ISO, shutter speed, focal length, white balance) so it's a bit difficult to advise which changes you might need to make for next time.

    All in all though, a great first attempt and getting out there and 'doing' is what it's all about.

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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    Well here is my one - I thought I would put one in of another genre.

    _DSC1940.jpg
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    Thanks, Deb. When I took that shot I didn't know how to preserve the EXIF data and neither would many newbies I'm sure. On going back to the original JPG file I can now pick up the following EXIF data:

    Mode: Auto
    Shutter: 1/80
    Aperture: f/6.3
    ISO: 3200
    Focal Length: 50mm
    White Balance: Auto
    Flash: No - compulsory

    This was my first pre-dawn AP sunrise shoot ever and I didn't even have a remote. At least I had a tripod, or the shot would have been too blurry to even see! I didn't know then about timed shutter release setting either. Pretty crummy job on the part of the on-board software, too, wouldn't you say? That image is SOOC of course.

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    Narelle,

    The flower shot is beautiful and vibrant, the colours just flow across the shot. I would have liked to see a bigger depth of field so that the main flower was more in focus. Also it is chopped off, on the right of the screen, I reckon the inclusion of just a small bit of stem would have helped as well. The interesting thing is that the part of the flower that is in focus is the most interesting part of the shot, the ends of the petals curled in and joined, you sort of sit there looking at them closely, almost willing them to open before your eyes.

    I do wonder what it would look like with the flower vertical, or perhaps swapped horizontally. In the western world, cause we read from left to right, we tend to scan photos the same way, when we first glance at them, with the photo as it is, the interest is all on the left half, and as we scan across the shot, there is nothing to stop our eyes just wandering off the right. I reckon a horizontal flip might just make this one visually more powerful.

    For me the biggest issue is the Depth of Field, but a great effort all the same.

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