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Unread 08-21-2013, 08:34 PM   #1
Akahime
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A critique please :3

So, I think I'm mentally ready for critiques. I always am wanting to improve and I still got so much to learn, so I would love to see what people think so far. I've been at this slowly for two years and mostly experimental and free photoshoots to learn more. The first photo linked is the most recent I took, but they all are from this summer. I'm going to have another photoshoot this weekend and would love more pointers to take photos that are even better than now.

A couple of questions that I would love to be answered since I'm horrible at editing: Did I edit these photos enough, or did I go overboard? Or should I do more? Should I be more creative when I'm on Photoshop?

Thanks so much for advice and at least taking a look.

Nel 1
Nel 2
Kikyo - smallish photo, sorry Dx
Saber
Karen
Yukiko
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Unread 08-22-2013, 02:51 AM   #2
Brea
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Nel 2: White balance is off, too green.
Kikyo: Picture is a bit too cool, white balance could be warmer (more towards yellow).
Yukiko: Foot is cut off, odd framing.

These are very minor issues, your shots are overall GREAT. I'd say work on more pictures like the Kikyo one. That setting you took the picture in was so perfect and fit the cosplay so well. You can also try experimenting with flash/lighting, it opens lots of creativity. Use LightRoom to edit your shots.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 10:27 AM   #3
Akahime
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Thank you for the critiques Brea. :3 It means a lot!

My white balance sometimes is off because I forget to turn it to the correct white balance and I haven't tried out to do the gray card technique. Horrible I know. xP Perhaps I'll try it out soon because I can't rely on auto all the time. ;3; And thanks for the tips! I do actually take photos more like Kikyo and these recent ones were just ones I've been try to focus on close-ups mostly. :3 And yes, I want to try using flash and other lighting. I've been only relying on my camera itself, the sun, and other light sources, which is bad too sometimes. I gotta start investing in flash probes, etc. xP

I don't have Lightroom yet, but I definitely have considered getting it! I want to use it so much!

Thanks so much again for your suggestions, tips, and critique!
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Unread 08-22-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
nathancarter
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I'm a big advocate of Lightroom. It's half editor and half organizer. As an editor, it's not as powerful as Photoshop, but it will do the vast majority of photo edits that any photographer needs, and (with a little practice) the workflow is much faster and cleaner than doing similar edits in Photoshop.

I agree that the white balance and skin tones are off in the first couple of shots. AWB will almost invariably get it wrong, so if you're shooting in jpeg you'll need to pay close attention to setting the appropriate white balance every time you enter a new lighting scenario - either by choosing a WB preset, or by setting a custom WB using a gray card. If you're shooting raw you have much more latitude to fix your WB in post.

If you're spending time editing in Photoshop and want to make sure your skin tones are always pleasing, look up "skin tones by the numbers" - it's a method of adjusting the tone curves for each of the three channels, based on mathematical formulas that result in pleasing (and pretty accurate) skin tones. I generally don't bother to go through this; I'll just make sure my WB is pretty close in the camera, then I'll tweak it in Lightroom so that it looks good.
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Unread 08-22-2013, 10:54 AM   #5
Akahime
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Thanks a lot! I'll go and invest Lightroom soon then.

Thanks, I do usually shoot in jpeg because last time I tried raw, I had no idea what I was doing. I gotta research and teach myself some more how that is done. Though I had a couple of friends that did take photography class and I remember them learning about raw, so I'll ask them for pointers or notes. :3

Also, thanks for the tips on the skin tones and editing in photoshop! I definitely want to try harder at editing!

Very useful and helpful! Thanks so much!
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Unread 08-25-2013, 01:54 AM   #6
ThePortraitDude
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Hello Akahime! First off really good work, and I enjoy the style to your shots.
Experimenting is the best way to learn because when you learn a lesson by doing it really sticks better than if you hear about it in a class or a book. I always try to take something new away from my shoots and really enjoy seeing the world through another photographer's lens.

These are just my opinions of the first thing that jumped out at me about each one:

Nel 1: I really like the pose and use of bokeh to soften the background. The face seems a little too in shadow for my personal taste. Maybe use a reflector to bounce some fill light towards the model's face and it will really make the eyes stand out because from what I see of them they are absolutely striking.

Nel 2: Great detail in the eyes! They really pop. The white balance thing was already mentioned above. I have recently started shooting everything like this in RAW mode even though my camera is ten years old and takes about seven or eights second to write one image in RAW. However, what you can do with it after the fact is absolutely astounding and well worth learning. I use Lightroom to edit all my stuff and it works with RAW files very nicely.

Kikyo: I really love the angle of this shot, the location and costume. VERY solid start to it. The white balance is a bit cool. Also if the model could do a slightly different pose it would add a ton to this. Perhaps a samurai sword as a prop or if she were kneeling in the grass, eyes closed as if meditating you could shoot along the top of the grass and get a really killer shot. Nice work!

Saber: This is probably my favorite out of the bunch. I love the location and all the details you captured in this. The only thing that draws my eye away from the sword or the model, however, is she is slightly out of focus. If you look at the ground it is actually the foliage a few feet in front of the model that is in focus. I actually think because of all the details in it the sword as the primary focus would work really well here. Awesome job, love this one!

Karen: I like the colors in this one. One thing to look out for that I recently had trouble with on a Spiderman shoot is when the model's real hair sticks out from under the wig. I think if you could stand on a bench and shoot down for this one it would also add some punch to it.

Yukiko: Really great use of reflected light. often just inside of a parking garage or building like that has the benefit of the natural sunlight without the harsh shadows of direct light. My only suggestions is to take a step or two back to get her feet in the shot and have her try a more interesting pose. Great location, if you're close to this one I'd DEFINITELY use this location again!

Again - just my personal opinions from things I have noticed about my shoots so that's why each of those things popped out at me. Your work is off to a great start and I can't wait to see more.
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Unread 08-27-2013, 03:51 PM   #7
Akahime
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Thanks so much for putting your time on these awesome tips and advice! It was super helpful as well and I will do my best to become better with more photoshoots in the future. :33 And thank you again to everyone. I'm glad that I'm just off to a good start so far, haha.
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Unread 08-30-2013, 03:21 PM   #8
Ito
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Since I don't want to be a copy cat, I will just say that I echo the sentiment of the post above

Kikyo, Saber, and Yukiko are easily your three strongest shots imo. I really think that is because you are bringing in the use of your environment, it just adds a lot more to the photos as a whole. That synergy goes a long way. I think the Saber one would have been absolutely killer if you had the focus on the face instead of the sword and the foreground. I think the Kikyo shot would also be saved a lot in post. Even if you didn't shoot in raw, just pop it in to photoshop and play around with a color balance adjustment layer, I think it would make a world of difference. And last but not least, the Yukiko shot easily has the best lighting out of all the ones you posted imo. I think the biggest thing dragging down this shot is the pose. The cosplayer just kind of feels very "stiff"...I'm not sure, I guess I just can't put my finger on it lol. What I can say is there is something odd about her face in this shot. I think if you had her look a bit more back to the camera (more of a 3/4 view), it would have fixed that.
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Unread 09-01-2013, 11:38 AM   #9
angelxprincess
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i love the saber one!
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Unread 09-04-2013, 06:57 PM   #10
Akahime
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Oh, thank you very much Ito for your extra critique/advice! I'll definitely keep them in mind as I take future photos! :3 I know it's horrible, but I sometimes forget to direct my models (especially my friends). The Yukiko cosplayer can be stiff sometimes in her photos and I forget about that and forget to direct her. xP SO it's my fault on my end! I'll have to remember to direct the models more!

@angelxprincess: why, thank you! <3
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Unread 09-04-2013, 07:24 PM   #11
jeproxshots
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I discovered this link just the other day, very helpful if you're using a noncalibrated monitor and photoshop to edit photos.

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/p.../neutral-gray/

If you dont have it invest in a reflector to use as fill light or shade. I think you're first nel photo is great but IMO the photo would be better if you could have more light shining up toward her face.

The 2nd nel photo I think her face could be more animated. After taking the first shot try and look at their body language and play with it this facial expressions included. she looks very uncertain in this shot. A small squint or smirk could make all make this photo have more feeling and may (not always) take away the look of uncertainty.

The composition in the Karen photo bugs me, half of her face is cut off and the other half is exposed to a bunch of negative space. Dont be afraid to use your crop tool in post to focus the image more.

Other than that, They pretty much nailed the critique I really have nothing to add.
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Unread 09-04-2013, 11:57 PM   #12
Akahime
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Thanks so much for the tutorial! I'll get straight to reading it! And thanks for more of the helpful critiques! I appreciate them all!
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Next cons: Midoricon, Anime Fusion?
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Unread 09-05-2013, 01:37 PM   #13
Ito
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeproxshots View Post
I discovered this link just the other day, very helpful if you're using a noncalibrated monitor and photoshop to edit photos.

http://www.photoshopessentials.com/p.../neutral-gray/
I use this method all the time, it works great!
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