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Unread 10-22-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
LilVamp25
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Looking for Critique!

Hello! I am relatively new to photography (started about a year ago and just got my first DSLR back in February). One of my biggest struggles I find is editing. I like to make the picture look as natural as possible; only fixing any lighting issues, noise, white balance, etc. However, I am always afraid of "over-editing" and therefore ruining the photo both for me and the cosplayer that worked so hard.

So, this is just one of the many pics I took at A-Kon last June and was one of my favorites from the moment I took it. Although I'd like everyone's opinion on the editing, I really am interested in a critique for the picture as a whole ^-^ Thank you!


_MG_4218 by LilVamp25, on Flickr
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Unread 10-23-2012, 01:33 AM   #2
TykeJack
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Picture Taking:

1. Expose for the subject not the background.

2. Use Manual mode on your DSLR for greater control over exposure.

3. Shoot at a low ISO to reduce noise.

4. Frame your image so that you don't have bright areas in the background that compete with dark areas in the foreground for proper exposure. In this case your camera exposed for the background leaving her too dark. This is most apparent in the other picture of her on your flickr account.

5. Be aware of what your image is trying to communicate and make sure you compose your image to best articulate your vision. Your subject is located in the center of your image, which is fine but is best suited for symmetrical poses since your empty space on either side of the subject help reinforce the idea of symmetry. In your picture she's looking off to one direction so centering her conflicts with the direction she is facing. Try positioning her to the left as she looks off to the right. This suggested composition invites the empty right part of the photo to become part of the image instead of serving no purpose.

Post Processing:

1. Because she wasn't well exposed to begin with, you found a lot of noise when you tried to brighten her up. This lead to using too much noise reduction which causes the image to look blurry. Try and use a sharpening feature like unsharp mask in PS to sharpen important features like mouth, eyes, clothes, etc.

2. Use Masks to control which areas of the photo you brighten. Her dress appears too bright and therefore you've lost most of the detail in her white dress.

3. I appreciate the sparkle effect on the horn. When doing special effect in editing you need to understand how light works. Light almost NEVER has a sharp, hard edge. So try using a soft brush to apply the color, so the blue color gradually reduces at the edges.

4. A fill effect would do wonders on revealing some of the detail in her hair. Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom have this feature.

5. In post you can change composition to make your picture more dynamic. I went ahead and cropped this image ONLY to demonstrate what I was talking about earlier, so you can visualize it. I won't post it here because I think that would be disrespectful without permission, but i'll send you a link in Private Message so you can look at it.

Compared to the other image on your flickr account, I think you did a pretty good job in creating/salvaging a good image. It is certainly usable for social media and the like. As you play with post processing more and more, you're skills will grow stronger, so just keep at it. Understand, none of what I said is a MUST DO. They are just suggestions and tips you can use if you find yourself having trouble with how your images turn out.

I think you've already discovered that shooting the picture correctly is the most important step. Post Processing can only do so much and is limited to what comes out of the camera. So make sure you are aware of your lighting, exposure, and noise while shooting. Also just a tip, if I'm uncertain on how bright I want my subject exposed, I prefer to shoot a little darker as opposed to shooting it too bright. In my opinion, it is easier to salvage a picture that is too dark than it is to salvage a picture that is too bright.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
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Unread 10-30-2012, 04:49 AM   #3
LupinTheBored
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilVamp25 View Post
Hello! I am relatively new to photography (started about a year ago and just got my first DSLR back in February). One of my biggest struggles I find is editing. I like to make the picture look as natural as possible; only fixing any lighting issues, noise, white balance, etc. However, I am always afraid of "over-editing" and therefore ruining the photo both for me and the cosplayer that worked so hard.

So, this is just one of the many pics I took at A-Kon last June and was one of my favorites from the moment I took it. Although I'd like everyone's opinion on the editing, I really am interested in a critique for the picture as a whole ^-^ Thank you!


_MG_4218 by LilVamp25, on Flickr
Hey Lil, try taking some online courses or tutorials, because I feel that your images come off as a bit overprocessed. Don't worry about the PC part of it till you can get the camera part just perfect imo.

Retouching isn't the end all be all for most cosplay photography ;P.



As for the critique; She looks nice, but her expression seems like she's a little bored, and the background is reallllly distracting us from her pose IMO.

I'd try shooting it from a different angle, with as few walkways as possible in the background, if doable.

Your retouching on her horn looks great, though.

Overall, I'd give the background a 1.5/5 and her pose a 3/5. Retouching overall, a 4/5. So I'd recommend working on things in that order next time .
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Unread 03-10-2013, 02:43 PM   #4
FlashBlitzen
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For someone just starting out, this is a nice picture.
As you develop (hah!) more skills in photography you will rely less and less on post processing.
Let me ask you this. What made this your favorite?

If post work and editing is a joy to you , you may find photo manipulation becoming a stronger part of your shots. So basically you will spend most of your time in photoshop / lightroom and not worry so much about distracting backgrounds or lack of surreal lighting as you will be changing all that later, weeks after the capture.

If you are a purist and you want the scene as real as possible "as shot" , then I would look into scouting powerful yet minimalistic locations that support your main character without competing with him / her. Off camera lighting will help you to get the exposure right how you wanted without trying to repair clipped whites or blacks later.

As mentioned earlier. A popular technique is to make the camera think it's taking a picture of the bright background ( or ambient ) and then throw in some reflected light or a puff of flash to illuminate your subject. Once your exposures are close, you just tweak and enhance to taste.

I like that you are not afraid to ask questions.
I hope some of that helped you.
~ Robert
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