View Full Version : New Shoot, would love some Constructive Criticism.

10-24-2010, 11:42 PM
Hi photo folks! I've been playing with old cameras lately. And by old I mean 1986 Film SLR old (Canon AE-1 for the curious). I shot at a cosplay meetup this weekend with mixed results. I was fighting a total lack of light due to dense Seattle overcast, but I did the best I could. I know alot of them came out blurry because of camera shake (got stuck using obnoxiously low shutter speeds - 1/15 and 1/30 alot of the time) which I don't think I will fight with again if I can help it.

Anyway. Any constructive criticisms for improving composition, depth, anything, would be greatly appreciated! Onto the photos:



Steampunk 2:


Halloween Namine:

(as an aside, all of these have been adjusted for levels and contrast in Photoshop to varying degrees)

Film is a cruel, cruel unforgiving mistress. And an expensive one.

10-25-2010, 05:56 PM
For years, I used a similar camera as your camera. I used the Canon A-1.

Only the final image seems blurred from slow shutter blur. The others seem to be out of focus do to improper focus on the subject. Use a tripod and direct your models to hold completely still. With a short lens like 50mm, you might be able to hold the camera on shutters speeds as low as 1/15 if you hold your breath and press the trigger slow and gently.

I think you were using a zoom lens, which can be hard to use in low light, due to the high minimum f-stop number. If you stay using prime lenses like a 50mm 1.8, you could get higher shutter speeds, but you will have to be very precise in focusing.

I do like how your subjects are often looking off-camera. That looks more natural to me.

Your Dutch Tilts don't look appealing to my eyes. I do believe in using such tilts, and they can add to the final results. Experimentation and looking at other photographer's images may help you. Here are some samples from my gallery: http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2669483/ http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2363306/ http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2346981/ http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2316930/ http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2145264/

10-25-2010, 08:01 PM
Yes I was using a zoom lens, and not a very good one. It was my first time using it and it was kind of finicky, to say the least. I don't think it will be a favorite lens, but next time I practice I will wait for better lighting conditions. There was so little light on the day I was shooting I'm kind of relieved anything was even exposed properly at all.

I find focus to be a problem more often than not, since I'm adjusting from using digital point and shoots. It'll look good through my lens and then lo and behold, the film is all fuzz. Any tips for that other than the obvious need for more practice?

10-25-2010, 09:44 PM
The Canon AE-1 has a few tools in the view-finder to help you focus. It has a Split-Image dot in the middle; ideal for focusing on verticle lines. Then, around that is a donut shaped ring with tiny triangles called Micro-Prism Focusing. The triangles almost disappear when the focus is perfect. Both these tools don't work well when lens is not a "fast" lens, such as your zoom lens. These tools get black on some areas, so you won't clearly see when focus is correct. The grainy, sandy area taking up the rest of the frame has a texture called Ground Glass. This texture helps you focus too, even with "slow" lenses.

Take your time and be precise when focusing. Focusing on the eyes, or eyelashes is a good practice. A photo with blurry eyes is usually considered no good.

Better lighting conditions can make a difference, but it is also good to find ways to adapt to less than ideal lighting situations and get the challenging shots.

10-26-2010, 09:37 PM
I will say you've got a good start on the compositions. The backgrounds and settings are appropriate to the subjects, and tell interesting stories. Another good thing is that you're not putting all your subjects dead-center. Instead, you're experimenting with angles and moving them to the left or right.

I agree that tilt can be good, but in Undertaker the angle is TOO extreme and it just doesn't make sense for Steampunk.

In Steampunk 2, the gun is bothering me. It's too close to the edge, nearly cut off.

Also agree with brucer007 about challenging lighting. Invest in a tripod and keep trying! Cloudy days can actually be a boon because you're not fighting with harsh sunlight.

11-10-2010, 12:05 PM
I shoot film sometimes, on camera ranging from 1930's to today. It definitely takes a different approach as every click has a notable expense to it. And I think it can yield some nice results (http://epii.info/anime/2010-SoCal-Spring/) (that day I only used film).

Like brucer007 mentioned, I think it's not just shake, it's focus too. I know once I got used to Auto-Focus, a common mistake I'd make with manual lenses is focus, then physically move myself a little, then shoot, and since I moved, the subject is now out of focus.

Also, wider lens can help reduce effects of camera shake when it is a real problem. Also, a fast prime is probably a better starting point than a so-so zoom lens.

Unlike the others, the angles don't bug me. Though I feel the flat light from the overcast day make the images sent conflicting messages of calm and dynamic at the same time. The same images with more dramatic light I think would look fine.

I like the Hinamoi one best since the overall light, pose, and depth of field all compliment each other. However a little reflector or fill flash or dodging to lighten the eyes a bit I think would help.