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DPChallenge Forums >> Individual Photograph Discussion >> Just did a shoot and would like a honest opinion
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11/04/2010 02:25:46 PM · #1
Hey all, I just finished loading the photos from the weekends photo shoot and would really like your thoughts. Specifically on what you think needs improvement. The client absolutely loves them and is very happy but I still want other photogs opinions on it if you wouldn't mind.

Thank you all. You can view the set(29 shots) HERE.

Message edited by author 2010-11-04 14:26:20.
11/04/2010 02:31:44 PM · #2
my opinion? i think your grammar needs improvement. "an" honest opinion. :D

love most of them with the exception of the dark hallway in the background shots. kinda incongruous (sp?) with a child in a backpack...

11/04/2010 02:38:25 PM · #3
Originally posted by FourPointX:

my opinion? i think your grammar needs improvement. "an" honest opinion. :D

love most of them with the exception of the dark hallway in the background shots. kinda incongruous (sp?) with a child in a backpack...


Oops, fine get me with the one exception to that rule.

As for the dark hallway, I guess I didn't really think of it like that. By that time much of the ambient light was gone and I should have opened up the aperture more and stopped down the strobes at that point. I kind of like the feel but maybe not so much with a child.
11/04/2010 03:19:44 PM · #4
I can't offer suggestions for improvement...maybe more experienced portrait photogs will be able too. I think that they look great, especially the ones with the fall foliage and the butterfly wings.

The lighting looks great and I'm curious as what you lighting setup is.
11/04/2010 03:23:06 PM · #5
I think they are all really good - if I were the client and that was my child I would be thrilled with the shots. Of all of them though, I think the weakest are the black and white conversions. They feel a little muddy I think - much less contrasty than the colour shots, almost as if they were just a straight desat rather than a more detailed conversion. Of course this may be the intention so ignore me if I am talking out of my hoop.

I had a similar feeling when I got my wedding photos. The photog had included a few black and whites because he thought we might like to see them but they again just seemed like straight desats so we stuck with all the colour ones. Maybe it's a personal thing with me :-)

I also agree somewhat with the previous poster regarding the backpack shots... the tighter shots look better than the wider ones, but then I'm sure you would rather have both type of shot and let the client decide anyway so that's not really a criticsm. If I were the client though I probably wouldn't choose them to be made up into big framed shots.

On the whole though, if these images were all in your portfolio, I'd certainly hire you!

PS - I really LOVE the processing on image 5... wish I knew how to do that "retro" feel to the colours.
11/04/2010 03:24:21 PM · #6
I think they're great. But if I could make one suggestion it would be to remove the ones with the name of the school in them. Especially now that you've posted the link here, a concerned parent might be worried about someone being able to identify the location. I don't want be alarmist, but I think it's a good precaution to take.
11/04/2010 03:59:34 PM · #7
I think you did a really good job. I love the setting. Love the backpack as a prop. The expressions and genuine smiles you got out of her are fantastic.

To balance a prior posters comment. #5 is actually my least favorite. I really like her smile and the close up of her face. But the lighting seems to create somewhat harsh shadows in places on her face that almost bring a scary look to such a sweet face. Harsh shadows relative to the rest of the image. The dark area just below her nose and around her right eye is quite a bit darker than the rest of the image, which is higher key. It brings just a little bit of an odd effect for me. But it's an overly critical, nitpicky remark to a fantastic photo shoot.
11/04/2010 04:17:54 PM · #8
Originally posted by lawrysimm:

Of all of them though, I think the weakest are the black and white conversions. They feel a little muddy I think - much less contrasty than the colour shots, almost as if they were just a straight desat rather than a more detailed conversion. Of course this may be the intention so ignore me if I am talking out of my hoop.


I am still trying to find the B&W portrait processing that I like the best so that is still kind of up in the air. It wasn't a straight desat I actually used niks silver efex but while I love it for buildings and such I am still trying to find what works best for portraits.

Originally posted by eqsite:

I think they're great. But if I could make one suggestion it would be to remove the ones with the name of the school in them. Especially now that you've posted the link here, a concerned parent might be worried about someone being able to identify the location. I don't want be alarmist, but I think it's a good precaution to take.


Good point I hadn't even thought about that. I have her gallery protected and I just copied them over to this unlisted one for posting here but I did delete the ones with the school name.

Originally posted by dahlin:

But it's an overly critical, nitpicky remark to a fantastic photo shoot.


Thank you for that and I am looking for overly critical comments :) I like to see things I missed and many eyes and opinions helps me grow.

Originally posted by yakatme:

I can't offer suggestions for improvement...maybe more experienced portrait photogs will be able too. I think that they look great, especially the ones with the fall foliage and the butterfly wings.

The lighting looks great and I'm curious as what you lighting setup is.


Thank you for that. For the lighting I used a reflector and two 430ex flashes fired with a radio trigger. We got to the location late so the sun was unusable, I usually like to use it in addition to the two 430's and forgo the reflector. For these I use one of the flashes in a softbox as close as I could get it to the child as the key light and used the reflector for fill. I used the other flash with a shoot through umbrella behind and the the side for the hair light.

11/04/2010 04:36:00 PM · #9
I think the strongest images here are the ones with the least obvious lighting. I think 22-26 are really well balanced and show good compositional /crop judgment.

I also like that you included an image where it was a "moment" where the girl wasn't looking at your lens: image 1. I'd actually like to see one more of these in the collection.

I also like image 8 which uses a confident and unique pose that invokes thoughts of her growing into a big girl (is it obvious that I have a girl about this age at home ;) ?
Image 18 is a nice pose as well.

There are a few shots where the lighting is a bit harsh but overall I think these are very nice. Personally (I consider myself a beginner as well), I try to use ambient light whenever I can - filling in the face / person with the flash and/or reflector.
11/04/2010 05:02:44 PM · #10
You ask 10 people, you'll get 20 opinions :-)

You also have to consider the source of the opinions, such as mine - I'm a beginning portraiter, and just finished a lighting class. I am also a theater director and have worked extensively with people. So take what you will from my observations. For me, the lighting for most of the shoot is really lovely and well-balanced. The colors are also nice and vivid (although the desated ones are not to my taste), and the poses, for the most part, work well.

As for content, I don't like any of the backpack/denim images because they feel stiff and artificial, and the location and lighting seem inappropriate for a little girl, unless you're trying to tell a story, in which case I don't get the story. I also find the half-body crop of the last line to be weak. It's neither a close up nor a full body shot, although the expression in the center image is one of the most genuine and happy of the bunch. The series on the handrail is also good. She seemed to relax and not work so hard for the camera. There is a vulnerability and shyness in those images that is lovely. The b/w image might work better without the white vignetting.

This is a very photogenic child and has a lot of self-awareness, but at the same time, tends to mug a bit. I find a lot of the images have that plastered on grin which does not come across as sincere. My favorite is the first image, for a number of reasons. It is spontaneous, colorful, a wonderful pov, and beautifully processed.

Overall, congrats on a successful shoot. Children just might be the most difficult subjects.
11/04/2010 05:22:12 PM · #11
Some good feedback here I just may need to start a thread like this for my last couple shoots =)
11/04/2010 05:22:44 PM · #12
Originally posted by tate:

I think the strongest images here are the ones with the least obvious lighting. I think 22-26 are really well balanced and show good compositional /crop judgment.

I also like that you included an image where it was a "moment" where the girl wasn't looking at your lens: image 1. I'd actually like to see one more of these in the collection.

I also like image 8 which uses a confident and unique pose that invokes thoughts of her growing into a big girl (is it obvious that I have a girl about this age at home ;) ?
Image 18 is a nice pose as well.

There are a few shots where the lighting is a bit harsh but overall I think these are very nice. Personally (I consider myself a beginner as well), I try to use ambient light whenever I can - filling in the face / person with the flash and/or reflector.


I agree the lighting on the last of the images are the best, the ones in the dress and backpack were taken towards the end of the shoot and the light faded fast and I should have made better adjustments to the lighting. I should have opened up the aperture and stopped down the lights, I will remember that the next time I am in that situation.

As far as the first image that was actually posed. She was having a great time and smiling and laughing (sugar rush from the party at school no doubt) So I wanted to capture that without it looking forced.

Originally posted by tanguera:

You ask 10 people, you'll get 20 opinions :-)

You also have to consider the source of the opinions, such as mine - I'm a beginning portraiter, and just finished a lighting class. I am also a theater director and have worked extensively with people. So take what you will from my observations. For me, the lighting for most of the shoot is really lovely and well-balanced. The colors are also nice and vivid (although the desated ones are not to my taste), and the poses, for the most part, work well.

As for content, I don't like any of the backpack/denim images because they feel stiff and artificial, and the location and lighting seem inappropriate for a little girl, unless you're trying to tell a story, in which case I don't get the story. I also find the half-body crop of the last line to be weak. It's neither a close up nor a full body shot, although the expression in the center image is one of the most genuine and happy of the bunch. The series on the handrail is also good. She seemed to relax and not work so hard for the camera. There is a vulnerability and shyness in those images that is lovely. The b/w image might work better without the white vignetting.

This is a very photogenic child and has a lot of self-awareness, but at the same time, tends to mug a bit. I find a lot of the images have that plastered on grin which does not come across as sincere. My favorite is the first image, for a number of reasons. It is spontaneous, colorful, a wonderful pov, and beautifully processed.

Overall, congrats on a successful shoot. Children just might be the most difficult subjects.


Thank you fro all of that. I agree some of the posing looks forced as I was posing her. I tried to get her around where I needed her for the lighting and then take a few shots then try to get her to open up and just be herself. Some succeeded while others seemed more posed.

As far as the last images and the crop I tried to get a little bit of everything to see what works well. I should have gone with a 3/4 view but it looks like it is more of a 2/3 view and I think what the problem was that I wanted to include the skirt but was too close for the 3/4 view.

The B&W is an issue and I am trying to learn better conversions for it.

And Thank you again.
11/04/2010 05:25:24 PM · #13
Originally posted by tate:

Some good feedback here I just may need to start a thread like this for my last couple shoots =)


Definitely. I have posted a few like this in the past and the information is very valuable. For me I end up getting too close to the work and I miss stuff and my friends that look at it love it but don't see it in a critical eye. Of course that means the client is thrilled and doesn't notice those things but for those of us that want to grow and be better and better I feel that this kind of feedback is worth so much. Plus it keeps me grounded :)
11/04/2010 10:23:19 PM · #14
To echo others, I think you did a pretty good job on things overall. I agree about the BW, and am not terribly fond of how harsh the lighting looks in 6. The pose in 2 seems awkward and stilted to me. 7 seems sorta out of place, as the lighting doesn't seem as warm or complete... it's just very different style-wise; which hey, maybe that's what you wanted, but it felt out of place to me. Lighting seemed more flat too. But on the whole, I think they're well done.
11/05/2010 06:16:38 AM · #15
Originally posted by spiritualspatula:

To echo others, I think you did a pretty good job on things overall. I agree about the BW, and am not terribly fond of how harsh the lighting looks in 6. The pose in 2 seems awkward and stilted to me. 7 seems sorta out of place, as the lighting doesn't seem as warm or complete... it's just very different style-wise; which hey, maybe that's what you wanted, but it felt out of place to me. Lighting seemed more flat too. But on the whole, I think they're well done.


Thank you for that. I am going to find some resources online and try to find a better way for me to convert to B&W. As for the lighting on 6 I think part of it was the actual lighting but it was also processed a bit different which caused harsher light, may go back and processes that one differently. Now 7 was the mothers request, she wanted a pose such as that and while I wasn't real fond of it I obliged, the lighting on it was of course all mine though. Again thanks to you and everyone else who took time to comment.
11/05/2010 07:25:40 AM · #16
those were really great shots. thanks for sharing the info on the lighting setup. i may give it a try one day. i agree with some of the comments, that in some photos, the flash seemed a bit strong. but for the majority, i guess you did a really good balance on the lighting. great photos.
11/05/2010 08:01:16 AM · #17
I like the ones with the butterfly wings the most, the other ones were great also. I agree on the black and white...i usually like the black and white, but not these, i don't know why, i'm not experienced in photography, but i would hire you also if you showed me this porfolio. great job.
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