by 777STANComment by FrankRobinson:
Hi Stan, welcome to the Critique Zone!
I'm afraid I have to be honest here, my first take on this shot is that it looks like a snap of a friend at a BBQ, so what went wrong?
: The shot is just not that sharp. I can see some sharpening has been done to rescue it, but (having tried similar myself) it never really works. I would suggest closing the aperture down - the kit lenses are never that great wide open. Boost your ISO to 200 or 400 and close your aperture to f6.3 or f7.1, make sure that the focus is bang on where you want it (the face, not the trousers!) and good to go. The lighting is more 'flash' than 'fill flash' too - the darkness behind your subject makes true 'fill flash' unnecessary.
: You have carefully used the rule of thirds, but the slightly dull background doesn't add any interest - it's dark and fairly homogenous. I would either go in much tighter, or shoot against a more interesting background. The point of view is also a problem here - this is the same point of view that we would see in normal life, and as such we don't tend to be grabbed by it - try getting low and shooting up, or shooting from above for a more unusual perspective.
: You don't mention saturating, but these colours (particularly the blue) are way over-saturated. I find de-sat can be useful on these occasions. Also be very wary of the over-sharpening. Some things just can't be recovered.
It is clear from your portfolio that you are way better than this shot, which is perhaps really just an exercise in lighting, so I don't want to get you down! Just head out and get back shooting! Happy hunting,