View Full Version : Need Help with My Shot

07-15-2011, 01:24 PM
I need help with my group and full body photography shots. I find that they are lacking the depth that I get when i shoot much closer. I know that i also need some work with the lighting and cropping of the shots. A lot of the times when i do full body, i feel that the cosplayer's face is so tiny you can't even see them anymore due to large props/hair. I'm using the micro 4/3 system, and there are not a lot of choices for flashes off camera. I also didn't bring my reflector that day, and i'm sure it would have helped... I'm using my kit 14-42mm, 20mm f.17, and 45-200mm F4-5.6 Any critique would be most appreciated:
1. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=279170&l=38f9da65fc&id=143246695752239
2. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=278721&l=d1b088a929&id=143246695752239
3. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=278731&l=36ee54bece&id=143246695752239
4. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=279185&l=8fcfe568ff&id=143246695752239
5. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=278683&l=b876a394e4&id=143246695752239
6. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=279305&l=a1db2f5102&id=143246695752239

All these shots are done without any flash/reflector so i know i could probably get better dynamic lighting in there if i could get some options. I'm using an Olympus Pen EPL-1. I know using M43 also kind of limits the lenses right now, although i'm hoping to pick up the 45mm 1.8 by Olympus later on.
Sorry i know there are a lot of shots here to look at, but i think it covers all of the types of shots i tried to do. Thanks in advance!

07-19-2011, 07:28 PM
Also forgot to add, any help on using "Dutch tilt" more effectively would be appreciated. Currently I just kind of use it to get more of the model in the frame, and to minimize background interference.

08-03-2011, 08:34 PM
Generally I like your pictures. They are nicely composed, with good color. I would suggest watching your background - there's a lot of civvies wandering around! Try to move your subjects away from the crowds if you can. Even finding a nearby blank wall can help!

Now, for the Dutch tilt question. This is a useful technique, but very easy to overdo. There are way too many shots where the unfortunate cosplayers looks as if they are about to go sliding off the screen!

I find it works best if there isn't a distinct horizon line in the picture, and for there to be a reason for the camera to be tilting.

A great example is this shot by Hexlord

I love the angle in this. It suggests we're in a battle, knocked off-kilter by Tifa's blows. Hexlord eliminated the troublesome horizon line by shooting from a high angle and focusing solely on the model.

I notice you tried this technique with two shots, so let's take a look.

http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/268704_144549435621965_143246695752239_279305_5607 957_n.jpg

The angle works very well here. The tilt makes me feel unsteady, as if I am viewing someone not quite right in the head. It's a great way to suggest this character's mental state!

http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/261240_144544288955813_143246695752239_279170_6275 539_n.jpg

I don't like this composition. The cosplayer is almost sideways, and the architectural structures are distracting. I keep trying to mentally "right" the image.

I do hope that was some help. I think you've made a good start, and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

08-04-2011, 12:19 AM
The natural light you captured usually looks very nice, since you caught some soft, indirect sunlight that bounced off walls and floors. Just be careful when you also let bright, direct sunlight shine on your model too. Move them into the even shade.

As mentioned by ByeByeBeautiful, find ways to get your shots without other people walking into the shot. Sometimes it's a matter of timing. Sometimes it's a matter of using a tighter lens and backing away from your subject. Low and high angles can help, so you don't see too far in the distance where people might be.

Dutch tilts are an art in themselves. Part of the secret is using the right amount without it being too much, when it make the viewer feel the need to tilt their head to make it feel right.
Do it with purpose, or effect (good effect). It can be for a dynamic effect, or to enhance a composition. Sometimes, I do it to reduce the amount of space above a head, when there is more than one person. It could be a weapon instead of a head that would look better tilted. Dutch Tilts add diagonal lines in shots, which can often make a composition more interesting. Using high or low angles when Dutch Tilting will often look better than eye-level perspectives...Here are a couple of samples of how I use Dutch tilts:


08-04-2011, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the tips on Dutch Tilting guys, you both bring up some very good points. As i was mentioning, for the most part I was just trying to fit the whole model in frame, and found it easiest to do it by tilting. I wanted a tight shot, but still most, if not all of the costume. The reasoning behind my tilt was (as you noticed) that there were so many people there, and getting a tight focus would minimize that background. Also at Anime Expo, I don't think there were many spots where there weren't people around. Usually standing far back and getting a tight focus other people would just step into the shot. I'm gonna definitely start asking the cosplayers to go to a more "secluded" spot so i can get a clean shot.
So as far as composition goes, I'll try to tilt more sparingly and keep the diagonal lines in mind. I know there were a lot of pictures i took where i didn't know whether to put them in portrait mode or landscape, because either way you had to tilt your head haha. That definitely means too much tilt!
I think the problem I was having was that i wanted to get closeup detail (i always want to see detail in the person's face), while still doing a full-body shot, which means a very tight shot. Most of the time that meant cutting wepaons out or just shooting waist up. I will definitely try shooting lower, and higher when tilting. It's quite difficult, but when the tilt comes out just right, it can really take the picture up a notch. I really like the examples you guys posted, and they also give me some ideas on how to use tilt properly.

Oh and also an honorable mention to my polarized sunglasses. When shooting in portrait mode on my EPL-1 my polarized sunglasses made the LCD screen completely black, but if i just tilted it, it would clear up.

08-10-2011, 09:58 PM
Have you ever thought about trying out diptychs? That might be a creative way to accomplish your goal of getting close up detail as well as a full-body shot. In one image you can do the full-body and the other you can zoom in tight and do a head and shoulders or waist up.

Doing a quick google search I came up with this as an example:

Also, remember... there's no holy law that says you have to stay with the aspect ratio of the pictures that come out of your camera. Try squares, 4x5, 5x7, 2x3, etc. By going with a different crop ratio you might be able to create a whole new feeling to the photo.

p.s. - as for lighting you might want to try some of the led panels that have been coming out. Even though they're promoted for video you could use them as a key light or a fill and since they're "hot" lights you don't have to worry about syncing them.