The second is my favorite; there's emotion and drama, it's framed well, exposed well, and appropriately processed. Well done.
The third one is pretty good too. Good use of ambient light and available background, appropriately processed. I would have liked to see a slightly looser shot, full-length so we can see the full costume.
Also, I think the third one could have benefited from a slightly shallower depth of field, to separate the subject from the background. Looking at the EXIF (camera settings embedded in the photo), it looks like the photographer had one stop to wiggle in the ISO (200 down to 100), and if not using a flash, plenty of room to increase the shutter speed to allow for the wider aperture. If using the same lens as was used in #3, you've got at least two full stops of aperture to play with - open it up just a little bit and make the subject pop off the background. Gotta make sure to nail the focus when you do this, though.
The first one doesn't do anything for me; it's a good experiment that didn't work. The crop is too tight, the up-the-nose angle isn't very flattering, and it's a little too hot from the direct sun.
The fourth one doesn't quite work either. It's just too much of "I'm going to pretend I'm riding this ATV." If you were actually riding, some motion blur would have helped (slow shutter speed, and pan the camera to track - this is very hard for an inexperienced photographer, it's a whole separate skill); otherwise, a tighter crop on a more dramatic pose (gun out, angry/yelling facial expression, etc) so that the static background doesn't draw attention away from the subject.
Overall, I think they're pretty darn good for a first shoot. Kudos to both of you.
Last edited by nathancarter : 09-19-2012 at 11:46 AM.