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View Full Version : Just looking for some opinions from the pros...


Danzikumaru
12-09-2006, 01:36 AM
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Well, many of my cosplay friends have been telling me lately that I've developed a knack for cosplay photography. Which is really suprising, because I always thought that I was pretty lousy at it. But I've recieved many compliments on the photoshoot I did with my wife at the Texas Renaissance Festival (the first nine photos are the ones I did for her) (http://images.cosplay.com/gallery.php?cat=55268&member=4537).

These photos are completely unaltered accept for size. I used a Sony CyberShot (4.1 megapix). I just wanted to know if I really am as talented as I'm being told I am (it's hard for me to believe that I am) and if so, where do I go from here?

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jtnishi
12-09-2006, 01:53 AM
I'm not a pro, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. While these shots aren't anything that should blow anyone away, let's say, these definitely show some signs of thought. Understanding there's no need to have the people looking at the camera (let alone the same direction) is a good point from posing. Compositionally, not too bad. This one (http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=920873) strikes me as a shot with potential.

The bigger question is: do you like the shots? If you can't answer that question to the affirmative, it really doesn't matter what your friends think, right?

Whether you have a knack for it is something that requires a bit more introspection. Did these shots come out naturally, or did you have to force them a bit? Can you see where the deficiencies and strengths of these shots are? You probably have at least as much potential as anyone else, so it's going to be the amount of work you choose to put into learning and doing that's going to determine better whether you can develop a serious talent in this.

Danzikumaru
12-09-2006, 02:21 AM
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I learned a lot about composition and perspective in my videography classes. Cinematography is a hobby of mine. But it's one thing working with moving pictures rather than to work with still shots. I do love this set, and I tried my best to make the photos look as good as they could without having to alter them.

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staereo
12-09-2006, 09:25 AM
Jason, as usual, speaks the truth.

I could do a critique of these photographs, but I don't think that is what youre after. I am assuming what you are looking for is some direction with your work in photography.

Jason is absolutely on the ball when he mentions that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. What matters is that you find the output pleasing. Let me delve into that thought for a little more clarity.

If you find your work pleasing, then that is the rewarding side of photography. I always aim to please a client with my work, but not at the cost of losing my style. My style is developed simply by admiring my own work, and having confidence that others will find interest in the same artistic vision as myself.

This confidence and mindset carry through with every type of shot I take. In cosplay, you are usually shooting a cosplayer with the final output being a piece that the cosplayer would enjoy for their records and portfolios.

As someone that SHOOTS cosplay, you are looking to be differentiated as a photographer by the output style you choose to undertake. There are many photographs circulating that are photographer-identifyable on the style alone.

When a cosplayer looks forward to shooting with you, personally, it is because they like the style that represents you. While I strive for quality shots every time I shoot, my GOAL is for a shot that pleases ME first, and my client second. This is a benefit for cosplay and personal work, as you don't have an art director over your shoulder trying to curb your art to their vision.

It is a matter of holding true to your own vision and your own style. Whether you have a big fanbase or a small fanbase is secondary to that, in my opinion. I typically just let my instinct flow and follow my whims, and cross my fingers to hope it pleases the person who is receiving the images at the end. It is a fidelity to yourself.

So, as Jason says, what is important is that you feel that the photographs you record are an accurate reflection of your own ideas, visions, and style. If those things hold true, then you are being a good photographer. Whether you have other people that agree with your style is a seperate and objective issue. Something that is better told by time than any single person reviewing your work.

Now, if youre asking for a review of how concrete photographic principles are reflected in your work, I would be happy to give you my opinions on your displayed work.

In considering where you should go from here, I would say simply to explore your photography to help you understand your own art better, and get in touch with your style more. Its always good to build a foundation; and at the same time, learn how to strengthen your talents by applying rules of exposure to your work in accurate and consistant ways.

Bruce

PS: If I were to choose one for a shortlist, it would be this one http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=920836 or the one Jason mentioned. The background is the main problem with the one I picked out.

Oklahoma
12-09-2006, 12:24 PM
Jason and Staereo have pretty much hit the nail on the head, so I will try not to repeat things. Overall I would have to say the pictures are ascetically pleasing and that is the main thing. My favorite is http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=920874. Ask 3 photographers how they would take a picture and you will get 3 different answers. What is important is your vision, who cares how others would have done it, if it works for you and you like the results everything went perfect.

Where to go?
Start to look at different options with each shot. Take a few from different angles, move around. Just by taking one step in one direction everything about the shot changes. Keep track of what you like and what you don't like and how you got what you liked. One big thing is repeatability. If you find something you like remember how to repeat that effect consistently and eventually it just becomes habit. Every camera is going to have limitations, Even an SLR. SLR can be said to not have as many limitations but you still need the lenses to support it. If you don't have a lens that can give you a certain effect that is a limitation. Start to learn what your camera can do and what it can't, just because you can't do one thing with it doesn't mean that something it can do will work just as good.

Just remember:
"You will always take your best picture tomorrow. You will learn from the pictures you took today and apply it to the pictures you will take tomorrow, and they will be better because of it. Your next picture always holds the potential to be better than the one you just took; so your best is always one more shutter click away."

Danzikumaru
12-09-2006, 04:45 PM
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Thanks everyone! I will certainly apply this advice to the next shoot I do, and hopefully come about with product I can truly be satisfied with.

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skypirate
12-09-2006, 11:53 PM
I'd like to see these three images cropped to either 640x480 or 640x427 and apply the Rule of Thirds for strengthening the compositions.

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=920875
(Evil Kimba's head centered on the upper and right grid line)

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=920837
(cropped so upper and right grid lines fall in between Evil Kimba's eyes)

http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=920786
(cropped so upper and left grid lines fall on Evil Kimba's right eye)

Danzikumaru
12-10-2006, 04:10 AM
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I attempted to apply the rule of Thirds to them using the naked eye. It's something I used to be very good at in videography, but as you pointed out, Sky, I've lost my touch. My next shoot won't be in so crowded an area and I'll have more time to plot out the grid. I'll also alter my next shots ever so slightly (like I said earlier, these are wholy unaltered) to better fit the grid (I'm going to use some of our patter paper to make my own grid and use it for the actually shopping bit, to better asses the proportions)

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skypirate
12-10-2006, 12:22 PM
*These photos are completely unaltered accept for size. I used a Sony CyberShot (4.1 megapix). I just wanted to know if I really am as talented as I'm being told I am (it's hard for me to believe that I am) and if so, where do I go from here?*

I interpreted the original post's last sentence as an invitation to alter, edit or offer post processing tips.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that you hadn't applied the rule of thirds. Forgive me. Rather, in the spirit of Oklahoma's "ask three photographers and you'll get three different answers", the same applies to the rule of thirds. It is subjective. I was offering how I would apply the rule of thirds. Others might find my approach too heavy handed.

I nearly always fine tune the cropping of my own images in post processing (cameras aren't perfect and neither am I), just standard operating procedure. I feel like I'm being lazy if I don't at least consider cropping in post processing.

For myself, nothing could be more truthful than Oklahoma's last paragraph. Constant soul searching over what could have been done better at the last shoot and trying to apply it to the next shoot.

Oklahoma
12-11-2006, 03:09 AM
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I attempted to apply the rule of Thirds to them using the naked eye. It's something I used to be very good at in videography, but as you pointed out, Sky, I've lost my touch. My next shoot won't be in so crowded an area and I'll have more time to plot out the grid. I'll also alter my next shots ever so slightly (like I said earlier, these are wholy unaltered) to better fit the grid (I'm going to use some of our patter paper to make my own grid and use it for the actually shopping bit, to better asses the proportions)

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I wouldn't say you have lost your touch. Having done a fair amount with video and theater I can say that with video (if she was moving or doing something) the clips would have been great. With photography because it is only one frame from that video so to say you have to give the illusion of things. Like walking you can leave a large section ahead of them to give more of an illusion of going somewhere or the same with looking off somewhere.

For working with rule of thirds an easy aid can be made with a sharpie and a screen protector. Take and put a screen protector on the lcd screen and with a very fine point sharpie draw the thirds on the screen protector. Because your camera lets you use the lcd to compose shots you can see immediately where your framing lies on the rule of thirds.