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Unread 08-28-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
Victor Voyeur Photography
nathancarter's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,597
Some interesting stuff, and I enjoyed the set.

Here are some thoughts - please note that this is all intended as constructive, none of it is intended to be harsh or mean, hopefully it will help you grow.

On the costume:
The costume looks pretty well done. However, in some shots, the costume needed a little bit of fixing-up before the shot was taken. For instance, in #9, the ears are uneven, which immediately drew my eye. And brushing out the wig would have helped quite a bit - give it a quick brush and restyle in-between poses, even.
[looks like the comments on your DA page agree with me. ALWAYS take the extra sixty seconds to fix the costume/hair/prop/pose, don't rush the shot]

On the modeling:
Some of the poses seem to work, some don't - though I'm not familiar enough with the character to really give constructive advice. Dramatic poses and facial expressions really help make dramatic photos. "Looking off into the distance with an emotionless face and half-closed eyes" will only get you so far, and there's a lot of that in this set . If I were to nitpick, I might say that the tan line drew my eye, but I realize that's not something that's easily controlled.

On the photography:
- Direct, hard midday sun is arguably the worst light for many styles of photography, including portraiture. You get hard shadows, the model tends to squint, and you often are forced into a narrow aperture which gives an uninteresting depth-of-field. If you have to shoot outdoors, the last hour before sunset is the best time - it's colloquially called the "Golden hour" both for the pleasing warm color of the setting sun, and for the ease of getting flattering portraits. If you MUST shoot in midday, then find/make shady spots, use fill light to soften shadows, or both.

- White balance seems to vary quite a bit. I might guess that you shot in auto white balance, and it didn't do you any favors here. For instance, compare her skin and hair between #9 and #10 - same light, same location, same pose - but the WB is much warmer in #9. Similarly, compare #7 and #8 - same location and light, different tones and colors in the skin, hair, and foliage.

- Even if you have plenty of ambient light to make the camera's meter happy, a little bit of on- or off-camera fill light will invariably improve a portrait. Lightens up the hard edges of shadows, lightens up the eye sockets, and adds a catchlight to the eyes.

- Always pay attention to the background. Spend as much time looking at the background and framing, as you do looking at the model and the pose. For instance: #1 had a lot of potential, but the car in the background is distracting, and the vertical pole is far from vertical. Step six inches to the left, and the car in the background vanishes behind her shoulders. Or step six inches to the right, and the car falls out the right of the frame. Also, in this shot I don't think the lantern in front of the face improves anything.

- As a general rule, longer focal lengths make for more flattering portraits, both for face/bust shots, and for full-length shots. Up-close, wide-angle shots give you perspective distortion, which is usually undesirable (unless, of course, you're intentionally using that distortion as part of your composition). For instance, #6 could have been improved by standing farther away and zooming in to achieve the same framing, and stepping slightly to the right to frame her in the blank space between the trees.

Hope these comments help. Lots of potential here, and practice makes perfect. Shoot, read, experiment, shoot some more, ask for critique, study and break down other photographs you admire, shoot some more.
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