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Unread 11-01-2009, 02:21 PM   #1
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Critque for an amatuer

I took these two at NYAF 2009. I'm new to photography and they were taken with an average digital camera. I really like the way they came out but I know I could have done better. Any insight? ^^;

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Unread 11-02-2009, 02:01 AM   #2
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the first one is pretty good.

I am not sure if this was taken during sunset, but if it wasn't you could've waited for the magical golden light or produce a similar effect in photoshop. also you can try some subtle vignetting on it if you'd like.
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Unread 11-02-2009, 03:28 PM   #3
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i would say that the main thing is to get rid of the camera tilt. to me, tilting the camera just says that u couldn't think of a better way to compose the image so instead of moving around or trying a different angle, u just went with a camera tilt. look at some pro photogs and even ad campaigns that u see in magazines or on the street. i don't think i've ever seen any of them use this "technique" because it usually screams "amateur". study up on some photos and watch how the lines interact with each other in the composition to get a better idea of options u have when composing ur shots. i don't want to say NEVER or that it's NEVER used but i think u'd be hard pressed to find it done very much, if at all in a top pro photog's portfolio.

the best way to learn about composition is to study the best, i think. these are just two of my favorite photogs but there are plenty of extremely good photogs out there to learn from.


they both also have blogs that have a lot of great info.
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Unread 11-04-2009, 03:28 PM   #4
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Bishop27 is right; the tilt has to go. While in some circumstances it can work to the advantage of the picture, this is not one. You also need to insure you have better lighting or increase the exposure time on your camera.

Of course, with increased exposure time, you're more likely to risk blurring, but it's infinitely preferable to basic flash, which can look harsh and stark. Really, lighting is my number one recommendation to you: Fit your subjects in a straight frame, and make sure your light is good- preferably not backlit (unless that's your intention) and preferably not straight front or above lighting, either.
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Unread 11-04-2009, 09:27 PM   #5
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(Removing duplicate. Didn't realize moderator approval was why my message didn't appear. Doh!)

Last edited by limberjack : 11-05-2009 at 02:56 PM. Reason: My reposts. Wasn't aware moderator approval was what was blocking message.
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Unread 11-05-2009, 12:21 AM   #6
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Always brave to ask for critiques -- take it all as constructive feedback, and good luck!

There are quite a few areas where these shots can be improved. Some have already been mentioned, one being the lighting. The bright light behind the group in the first shot is especially distracting.

In general it's best to have your main light source behind you. Then adjust your camera's settings as best as possible to fit the conditions. Most digital cameras have a way to display a brightness histogram when reviewing the shot, this is very helpful in seeing if the shot is over- or under-exposed.

Another key problem here is that in both cases the subjects are not posing for you. You sorta snuck in and took a shot while they posed for someone else. This leaves the shots rather lifeless. In the first one their poses are stiff anyway. In the second shot it looks more promising, but as you say yourself in the comments with the picture, a key element of the pair is their flags. Yet the American flag is only barely visible, held limply behind.

If you want a good shot, you need to have the nerve to go up and get the attention and good will of the participants.

Also keep an eye out for what else is in the image. In the second shot you seem to have deliberately chosen an angle that puts the ceiling in view, yet the ceiling is cluttered with distracting stuff. A simple, neutral background helps. At minimum make sure there isn't something intersecting with your subjects in a distracting way. On cameras with good optics you can also deliberately decrease the depth of field and blur the background, which helps it from distracting the viewer.

An excellent photographer named Zack Arias has been posting video blog entries where he reviews aspiring photographers' websites and pictures. Not everything in his posts is directly relevant for you, but overall it is all well worth listening to since he offers a lot of insight into how to compose a shot. http://www.zarias.com/?cat=82
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Unread 11-05-2009, 02:07 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone! ^^
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Unread 11-12-2009, 11:13 PM   #8
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Critique Room

I have to say it is brave to ask photographers opinion of your work. So I say good for you and hopes you do well if you choose to go into photography. Now lets begin.

I do like the location of the place in APH Friday meet. The lines are amazing to see and the skylight. I also the like placement of the people within the photograph and how they are not looking at the camera. I like how you shoot with a worms eye view. I see you wanted to shoot with more interesting angle.
I'm not a big fan of tilting the camera. It forces the viewer to tilt their head. Also color correct and sharpen your image. If you do get into more photography, I say invest your your money in an SLR and read some books on photography or take a class.

Hope this helps you. Good luck with your photography.


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Unread 11-14-2009, 01:18 PM   #9
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Hi !!! Friend !!
I'm also new photographer as well. there has not one been a good photographer unless The one has been criticised..
that's how a good photographer learn,from it's criticism.
Yr first one is very good.. y have to learn more ..about this like me...
i really interested in this forum...
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Unread 12-07-2009, 12:06 AM   #10
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Kudos for asking! There is allot of good tips from the photogs on this site as well as the internet.

The best advice I ever received was, "watch your backgrounds". The best framed, focused, and metered picture can be ruined from anything that distracts from your subject. The lighting in the background of each of your examples takes the eyes right past the points of interest in my opinion. Some other points have already been mentioned.

The "tilt" is not a bad thing when used to emphasis or exaggerate a subject or prop. I personally think it works best with a wide-angle lens.
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Unread 12-20-2009, 05:34 PM   #11
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The photos look great! I like the angles, just the lighting bugs me just a bit. In the second picture, the lighting from the ceiling kind of takes away from the emotion of the photo, so watch where and when you take your photos!
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Unread 12-31-2009, 12:58 AM   #12
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Unread 01-12-2010, 06:05 PM   #13
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Hmmm My advice would be that when doing cosplay photography you are almost doing a fashion shoot. The clothes are very important to show off. Now its fine to be playing with angles but you want to have a few good shots of the full standing costume, you still but an artsy spin on it with lighting and location. Also I would advise against ( if you can, I understand sometimes its not possible) putting the sun in the background much like the first. Then your camera picks up the background more and just outlines your subject and the light can be tricky to deal with. Plus with the first angle, its very tilted and you can'y quite focus on the subjects.

Plus the location was odd for the costumes. This can also be tricky I know, since as photographers we are limited to what areas we can use without people or props that are not what we need. But I find ( this is personally, you might find it useful) is to find a neutral area, like an area of all one color with no signs or people and what not, its usually a good safe zone where most costumes to fit. Forests can also be used like this for the more fantasy like costumes.

Also, this is more of an extra but it helps alot for me when I do shoots, is to get at least a basic editing system. I don' have anything fancy, it came with my camera and I use it with every photo to improve the image. This can make the images more interesting or as simple as helping with the light. For example the first one could be helped with a basic edit program with the lighting, the picture is a bit dark and the program can really boost the light, or maybe the saturation. It boosts your colors and can make the photos look more accurate to color. My camera likes to fade color sometimes and the saturation tool helps bring it too actual color, very helpful.

You can also get your models to do more. Sometimes cosplayers can get a little nervous in front of the camera and you can talk to them to calm them down and make them act natural or pose more naturally. There are some good tips and tricks you could do to make your models loosen up or just get a reaction out of them XD. For anger shots for 'angry or scary' characters I ask my models to scream, a lot Hahah. It works well I think. Other things like asking them to 'shake it out' you know stuff like that can help.

Wow, that was long winded, sorry! Haha, I hope I don't look like I was rambling and that it helped! Keep it up, and good luck!!
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Unread 01-12-2010, 10:02 PM   #14
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Okay sooooo I always love hearing critiques on my work, I've only done a few cosplay photoshoots, but these are a few examples, my boyfriend as Sam Fisher, my friend Branden as Boba Fett, my friend Natalie as Princess Zelda, and her sister Kim as Sheik:

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Unread 01-13-2010, 12:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by momokokills View Post
Okay sooooo I always love hearing critiques on my work, I've only done a few cosplay photoshoots, but these are a few examples, my boyfriend as Sam Fisher, my friend Branden as Boba Fett, my friend Natalie as Princess Zelda, and her sister Kim as Sheik:

Good work on these.

Shiek-Try a wide angle lens in the future to make the image more dynamic and make sure the horizon line is straight. This is probably the best one in my opinion.

Zelda- Her expression is a little disinterested, try having her interact with the flowers behind her, like picking them or something. This way it ties your subject more into the environment.

Fet- When doing portraits, refrain from having the horizon line cutting off your subjects head. You'll see the line of tress cuts right through his neck, this can become distracting. Try angling the lens to have trees take up the entire background, or crouch to make a more dynamic pose. Shots at eye-level are generally the least interesting.

Fisher- This is a really good one. I like it just as much as the shiek one. I have to mention the background is a little overexposed which is just a technical error. Besides that though, this one is great.

Like I said, these are good pictures. My comments are just to inspire you to think more about the environment the cosplayers are in and then make them a part of it or at least keep the background from distracting from the picture.
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