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Old September 10th, 2012 (09:37 AM).
shenanigans's Avatar
shenanigans
majora
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Manchester
Gender: Male
I'm just gonna go through some of these and pick ones which exemplify well areas where you could maybe improve. In no particular order...

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In this photo I don't think I really know what you're taking the picture of. You've got those huge light rays coming down from the top, the smoke (?) cloud coming up from the bottom, and then a lamppost whacked right in the middle to complicate everything. When taking this picture maybe you could have re-considered what you were actually going for and experimented with taking it from different angles to cut out stuff that didn't matter. The same is true of these, for example:

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In both of these I'm not sure of what the actual subject is; in the first, is it the plant or the sun's rays (and as a note, is there a way you could have taken a similar photo without the post in the background?) that you were looking at? And in the second I don't know you were after the dramatic lighting or the skyline. I'd guess at the former, but it's not the viewer's job to guess - it should be the photographer who makes the subject very clear to the viewer.

That said it's not a totally universal issue for you - some of your other photos, such as this one:

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have a really clear and well-defined subject because there aren't distractions or ambiguity present. However, this picture also leads me on to my next point - don't be afraid to totally fill the frame with your subject. And by that I mean crop out the window at the top of this. You've got a good pose on the animal here and it's very simple and well-defined, until you look up, at which point the whole picture is thrown off by the window - a huge distraction which isn't needed and doesn't add to the photo, despite clearly not being the subject. If it's an unnecessary distraction, remove it either after importing the pictures (although I believe iPhones have onboard utilities for this?) or by simply not including it in the photo at all. The same issue occurs here:

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We know that the insect is the subject of the photograph but we've got the whole tree to distract us. I know you told me already that you couldn't have got much closer but just an example and stuff. You get the idea! In the second picture, all the things in the background are a distraction. Even though they're not focussed, I kept finding myself drawn to the boxes in the corner.

Fortunately, other than the weak photos in general such as the bird ones where the subject doesn't fill much of the frame at all, those are the main issues. I'm definitely fond of a number of these, although one of them caught my eye which was almost brilliant. I'm talking about this one:

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You know what you're taking the photo of, the background is interesting but not distracting because it's fairly consistent, and it's all going well until BAM you've got that different seed thing at the front - the striped one. This is definitely different, definitely a distraction, and definitely in focus. For me, while it didn't ruin the picture, it definitely subtracted from it. I just thought I'd point that one out though.

In other pictures the lighting is a bit... extreme. It seems you really like the sun because a lot of your photos are capturing well-defined sunlight, which is fine, but others are just shooting through something straight into the sun, which isn't. In the following photos I felt that shooting straight into the sunlight really harmed the photo by forcing really harsh light and making the whole thing look kinda messy:

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In all of these you've got the sun either very close to or directly behind the subjects and I felt like it's making stuff unnecessarily harsh. On another note with light, I'd say to watch reflections:

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this has some really reflective patches on it which I think take away from the picture. I'm guessing the sun was fairly directly behind you when you took it? I'd have waited for it to go down a little bit before you took it. It's a nice picture otherwise though!

So yeah I've... been quite harsh here. I'd have gone through the ones I like, because there are a number of them, but I've showed you some on Msn and the ones which I like are really the ones which don't have issues I've outlined here. I'd say that overall you're off to a good start - you've at least got stuff to take pictures of and you're not bad at really emphasising what it was about what you were seeing that you like. I'd say that you should maybe work on being more aware of what's going on in your photographs - identify distractions and eliminate them if possible. Then, for the outdoor photography, keep an eye on where the sun is - shooting directly into it is rarely a good idea, and neither is shooting with it reflecting harshly off your subject. Hope that helps!

/tl;dr
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