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A beginner looking for some constructive criticism and feedback

Discussion in 'Creative Corner' started by Moosh, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Moosh

    Moosh Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Feb 17, 2010
    Worcester
    Hello all

    A little bit of background first...

    I received a GH1 for Christmas and then enrolled on a photography course at the local college. I've always been interested in photography but am one of these people that will quite happily take 1,000 shots and be happy if a handful are "decent".

    The photography course is a beginners course (we all have to start somewhere) and we're introduced to new concepts each week, along with being set a small assignment that we may complete and then show off our work for the next lesson.

    Week 1 was all about composition.

    Week 1, 1 - Metadata

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    Week 1, 2 - Metadata

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    The subject for week 2 was framing, perspective and macro. Now even though no one had a proper macro lens we were encouraged to play about with the macro mode and find out the limitations for ourselves (remember this is a Starting Photography course). :) 

    Week 2, 1 - Metadata

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    Week 2, 2 - Metadata

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    Week 3's subject was landscape photography and we had to show just one image where we had considered the foreground, mid-ground and background elements.

    Week 3 - Metadata

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    Week 4's project was all about portraits, keeping a visual diary and lighting. The visual diary element had a bit of flexibility in it as we could photograph a subject over a week or over a 10 minute period. I chose the latter because of illness, time constraints and finding a willing [-]victim[/-] subject!

    I managed to find a willing participant, my neighbour and ex-work colleague. So that's a pint for him. :D 

    Week 4, 1 - Metadata

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    Week 4, 2 - Metadata

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    Week 4, 3 - Metadata

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    All CC is welcome!

    Cheers
    Moosh

    PS: Some of the members here are members of another forum and may have seen these before.
     
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  2. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Moosh, thanks so much for these!

    Good for you for taking that course. I love that one of the bridge with the archways and reflections, and the silhouette of the tree, too. I also think the portrait of your victim..I mean friend with just his face showing in the dark as he lights his cigarette is quite nice!

    P.S. Thank you for letting me start you this new thread here where I think you'll get some helpful and constructive input.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    :bump: I'm bumping this up because the thread is a split off from the Panasonic 14-140mm image thread, and I don't want it to get lost.:smile:
     
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  4. noodlehaus

    noodlehaus Mu-43 Veteran

    202
    Feb 14, 2010
    All great photos, and I especially loved the "lighting a cigarette", "autumn tree" and "taaaaaall shadow" shots.
     
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  5. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Hi Moosh, and welcome.

    It's a bit daunting trying to critique so many images at once, but I've opened a seperate browser to make it easier to view the pictures whilst I type and made myself a coffee, so here goes. I might have to spread over several posts because in my house being on the computer makes me fair game for the females of the family who can (and do!) always find something more constructive for my time!

    It's a bit of a mixed bag you've got, which is perfect when you are starting out; it's great that you are trying so many different techniques. Also, you'll soon get to know which type(s) of photography really interest you.

    1.1 is a good example of a mundane subject made to look a little more interesting by choice of aspect ratio, in this case a portrait style panoramic crop. At first site there is too much empty space in the foreground but the saving grace is the row of overhead lights which acts as a leading line, drawing the eye into the picture. This interesting take does get the subject a second look, so well done. Also worth noting is that by keeping the camera almost level in the forward plane there is very little converging of the verticals, a good move as it could easily have gone horribly wrong!

    Well, here's my first interruption so I'll resume later. They are both going out later this evening, thank goodness! :biggrin:
     
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  6. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    you didn't waste your money they are good

    I need a course like that - do they do it by post, (only joking).

    You're not Chris Hoy's brother are you?

    As you can gather I leave the serious stuff to other people

    Welcome

    PS - your images are too wide - they bugger up my machine - but you did not hear it from me as the mods will be after me, (just one in particular!)
     
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  7. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    I've had to alter my browser to 75%. The pictures now fit but the print now looks very small. :biggrin:
     
  8. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    If you're using Firefox, you can press Ctrl + clickdrag your mouse up/down to zoom in/out... and then press Ctrl-0 to return to 100% zoom.

    Cheers

    Brian
     
  9. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Right, jobs done (for now) so let's continue.

    1.2 A classic silhouette of a tree, showing the rather lovely branch structure to good effect. You did right to keep the strip of land at the bottom of the frame to a minimum, so often with this type of shot I see a thick band of black with no detail accounting for 25% or more of the image. Arrgh! Another nice feature of this image is the cloud which almost exactly mimics the shape of the tree and is perfectly aligned with it. This location could also yield a dramatic sunrise or sunset, depending on which direction it is facing, and would be well worth a return visit.

    1.3 I'm afraid this doesn't do much for me. You've done all the right things, like placing the old appliance (an oven?) roughly on a "third" and keeping the horizon high in the frame, but there seems to be too much featureless ground and the lighting is very bland. Maybe with much more dramatic light it could make an interesting environmental statement, especially if you maybe shot from a lower angle, but as it stands I don't think it's a keeper.

    1.4 Interesting use of a low sun to cast a long shadow, shows good observational skills. I'd be inclined to crop the right side to lose the dark corner, which is somewhat distracting.

    Not bad for the first week! :thumbup:
     
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  10. Christilou

    Christilou Mu-43 Top Veteran

    657
    Feb 25, 2010
    Camberley, Surrey
    Hello Moosh, I am only a learner and would not presume to critique your technique, however I like your tree picture, your pylon and your man lighting his cigarette. The one with the half face bothers me for some reason but I don't really know why:smile: I probably need to to take a course too, but the best advice I could give you is to just keep photographing as much as you can and be your own critic. You will eventually see improvement. Oh yes, and spend as long as you can looking at all the other member's pictures as you will be much more able to put your own efforts into context. Enjoy!
     
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  11. goldenlight

    goldenlight Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 30, 2010
    Essex
    John
    Now for week two:-

    2.1 A very interesting perspective from inside a hollow log by the look of it. There isn't really enough depth of field and even at 14mm f4 wasn't sufficient. It's well worth repeating this shot but at, say, f11 and with the light comming from a different direction so that the background doesn't burn out quite so much. In fact it may be better in summer when there is more leaf cover to diffuse the light. Great idea though, and one that I might pinch myself!

    2.2 Classic pattern composition and well executed with careful framing and lots of dynamic lines and angles. The only thing that could possibly improve it would be a completely clear blue sky with absolutely no trace of cloud. I bet the hum was quite loud from your position. Nice one!

    2.3 Good idea, composing the view in a car mirror, which once again demonstrates creative thinking. Nicely done, but worth repeating with a more interesting scene in the reflection. A street scene could fit the bill, maybe showing some pedestrians and attractive shop fronts.

    2.4 Now a brick wall is not the most interesting of subjects, unless you are into testing lenses, but I can see you've given this some thought by including two types of brick to break up the monotony. Raking side light may have helped bring out the textures, but it would be difficult to make a really interesting shot out of this.

    A good second week, but you seem to have stepped up a gear in week three.

    3.1 This is a lovely composition, very well conceived and executed, with spot-on exposure. Not an easy subject by any means and you've done exceptionally well. I'm jealous!

    3.2 Looks like the white balance needs sorting out a bit but I like this composition, with the point of focus on the packet of cigarettes. Nice touch getting your subject to hold the lighter and the way he is looking at the packet suggests some sort of struggle with temptation, a smoker but not a willing one. The result is an environmental type portrait that appears to capture an issue which is an important part of the subject's life.

    3.3 Terrific lighting and composition, a really original portrait. Could have been even better with a reflector to bounce a bit more light back into the shadowed side of the face, but we're starting to get a bit advanced here.

    3.4 Another composition outside the box - almost literally in this case! Once again, very nicely done.

    Your course certainly seems to be paying didvidends, inspiring you to be original and creative, taking risks. It's great to get in the habit of trying different things even if they don't always work. I'm sure you will be a better photographer because of it and I look forward to seeing more of your work as you progress. :smile:
     
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  12. Moosh

    Moosh Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Feb 17, 2010
    Worcester
    Hi John

    Thank you very much for your in-depth critique of each photograph. :thumbup:

    I shall definitely take on board what you have said and use it to improve my photography.

    In week 2, the bricks and car wing-mirror shots were taken in a rush as I was running out of time and ideas. I did want to take a picture of the road behind me but felt a little self-concious with cars going past and me pointing a camera to look behind me.

    Cheers
    Moosh
     
  13. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Moosh

    I am in no way an expert so please take my comments with a "pinch of salt" - all I can give you are my feelings when I view your images - I would think that you would like some critical comment - I would, if I were you.

    As I said - I would be pleased with them technically

    my critical comments are on the subject matter

    I am not a fan of week 4 at all - none of them appeal to me

    There is a lot (of content) in most of the images, (generally far too much for me) - I would like to see more simplicity, a simple message from each - only week 1 . 4 approaches this.

    Maybe the objective was to fill the image with content - for me less would be more
    The bridge in week three typifies this - great technically, a skilled production - but I am dazzled by the extent of the content - it confuses me, there it that much of it

    IMHO, by posting the images this large, I feel that you are not giving them a chance on the computer screen - they all just hit me in the face - I like to see images at a maximum of 800 wide, for me they are easier to view when they are that size - maybe you have a large screen - but most viewers don't

    I could have said that they were marvelous and very good etc., but that is probably not what you wanted to hear.

    You are a far better photographer than I am and all I am giving you are my feelings on viewing the images - I am sure others will disagree and I would not wish to start any heated discussions - just take my views as being my personal ones - neither right or wrong - just my views

    Also the constant scrolling from left to right to see the text and images - I'm not prepared to keep resizing the screen, just "throws" me off viewing

    Cheers
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Moosh

    Moosh Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Feb 17, 2010
    Worcester
    Hi Bill

    Thanks for your comments.

    Next time I post I'll take into account what you have said and will try and post smaller images e.g. 800px.

    I know you are talking about your personal feelings but what do you mean when you say that there is too much content? Do you mean the photos are too busy?

    Cheers
    Moosh
     
  15. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Welcome, Moosh. Might I suggest that you consider joining the Photo a Day Blog? That way you'll get great feedback - and the pictures will be spread out so we can more readily appreciate them!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    Moosh, I second Tom/thearne3's suggestion. It's a very supportive atmosphere and there are some accomplished photographers as well as some of us who are not so accomplished. You can click on the Blogs tab at the upper right corner and take a look. Within different people's P.A.D. blogs you can see that there is constructive criticism...though it is not a photo class.. Any questions, just ask.:flowers_2:
     
  17. Moosh

    Moosh Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Feb 17, 2010
    Worcester
    Thanks. I'll have a look into the blogs feature.

    Cheers
    Moosh
     
  18. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Moosh - I suppose what I am trying to say is that the images are very good technically but I find some of the images, the tree and the pylon don't have enough space around them for me to appreciate the image - i.e. they just fill the frame: and some of the others, the piece of scrap in the field are maybe too busy - I would like to focus on the scrap but the trees keep taking me away from it, i.e. there is too much in the background, and again with some of the others, there is just too much to see for my eye

    but come on I am trying to be critical - to give you something to think about - and as I said - they are good - there is skill in there - but you clearly would like feedback - maybe there are also too many to look at at once - as others have suggested - one at once would be better for C & C.

    But it's only my view - and I can be strange, as you will find out if you hang out on here

    Cheers
     
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Moosh

    Moosh Mu-43 Rookie

    15
    Feb 17, 2010
    Worcester
    Hi Bill

    I did ask for feedback and that's what you provided! :thumbup:

    And I'm trying to improve my photography skills so the more feedback (both positive and negative) the better.

    Cheers
    Moosh
     
  20. silverbullet

    silverbullet Mu-43 Veteran

    212
    Feb 10, 2010
    Hi Moosh,
    a small hint from my side: Let the images rest at your hd for one week minimum. After this waiting time look at them again and ask yourself if they are worth to be looked at from unknown persons.

    By this waiting you get more distance from the moment of shooting the pics.

    Go on!

    Bernd
     
    • Like Like x 2
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