Susan cropped this image square and it’s a good example of getting away from the rectangular 35mm film frame. When most film was in this format, we ended with vertical or horizontal, boring and uniform. So it’s a good idea to experiment with the essential elements and crop accordingly. Which leaves me with the back of head shot. It does evoke a mood and feeling. I think you get a better image with the kids facing the camera. Technically it’s a sound image and if you like it I would not argue.
This is an image you would use to illustrate a story. I don’t find too much merit as a portrait. There is some interest from the fence pattern. I agree with Susan that the kids are cute. There is an image here. But you need to explore the scene more. I realize it’s not easy to gain the cooperation of kids let alone a single kid. I would say that this image wouldn’t make it from the edit table. And you have taken so many other good images, that I think you might agree. One of the hardest tasks is to discard an image. Once you take the image it’s hard to disown it. But the hard decision will make your saved images stronger.
My process eliminates more than 90% of the images I take. In Lightroom, I use the 5 star system. The first star is for images that are technically Ok. Everything blurred and underexposed is eliminated. Also I try to anticipate what images will never make 5 star rating. Still, the bar is low. With each pass, I eliminate more images, often sorting vertical/horizontal and similar images. At 4 star I do a rapid gut sort of the images that strike me in the gut as ‘keepers.’ It doesn’t me take as long as it once did. Remember, that gorgeous photo in National Geographic was a single image culled from thousands… really! Finally I transfer copies of the 5 star images to a separate dated folder. It saves lots of time later.
Susan took a good candid grab shot. There’s a lot going on in the photo with the background and foreground – patterns, colors, textures. The white binds the vertical plane and divides the image. I like the head and face enclosed in the plain chair background. The arm directs you to the head. The legs are cropped and not distracting. It could be a better image. But considering it’s a candid shot, it works.
Another day at the beach, I’m beginning to enjoy all the diagonal lines. It used to be said that the horizon needs to be straight. Since the advent of iPhone and the crooked candid, this is more the norm. It does give a bit more of a dynamic feel to the candid portrait. In a more formal landscape this might not work. The crop effect has made this a vertical panorama. It’s a good effect for this image. I like the editing that Susan is doing lately.
Technical: Canon G11, 1/1250, f4, focal length 6.1mm
Susan sent this and asked, “What can I do to make the shot brighter?” Not a whole lot… It’s a backlit shot on a bright sunny day. The extreme in contrast from shadow to bright is hard to compensate and balance. So you do what you have done so successfully with the Nikon. Use fill flash. It can be turned-on on the Canon G11. Otherwise, I have no problem with the exposure. You weren’t really shooting the face and eyes. The vertical crop is great and the rule of thirds is in order. This is a mood shot. And there is so much more about endless summer days and thoughts than it is about the actual subject. I like this as it is.
American Gothic? This shot was taken by Susan on the day of the Kentucky Derby. I guess some people get silly when they have to many drinks in the early afternoon, except that MA and Alex are really not big on alcohol. The elements in this portrait are well balanced by Susan. It would appear that the subject matter is not entirely stable.
Ginny’s sister Maria and John. It’s a good shot. It could be better by cropping to the hug. A common error is to include the whole person in the photo. It’s the hug and smiles that count. Crop in closer and leave the legs. It will be a better shot… unless we’re doing a shoe commercial. That’s why no one cares what you have on under the graduation gown. No one sees it anyway. Get closer and turn the camera vertical. That what this image needs. So do it in Photoshop. You could but then you discard all the data from the cropped image. It wastes a lot of pixels which will ultimately degrade your mega blow up enlargements. So get the crop right before you shoot.
Here’s a fairly typical pose. John is squared up and centered. No problem with the smile. His mother is even happier… no more tuition, well college, don’t forget graduate school. So by rule of thirds, this photo could be improved by moving off center. Squarely facing the camera is also static. So turn or change the angle on the shoulders. There were numerous photos taken [of course] so this is just a small criticism. There were many others that were just fine.
Like I said a few posts back, flowers are like portraits, try to get the best face possible. That said sometimes you are photographing a fat bride and short husband. I’ve seen this question asked numerous times in the photo.net forums. Turn the bride to the side and have the short man stand uphill. You do the best you can with what you have. Photoshop can help but it will not make you look 100 pounds lighter. At the same time you don’t have to emphasize deficiencies. So a photo of the lilies[?] in full bloom would have been great. But you missed the boat. Here’s where you have to wait till next year.
Race day. My daughter finished her first half marathon. She had a great time. That is to say – enjoyable as well as competitive. With her phone she tracked her time, listened to tunes, and took this picture at the finish with her close friend. I would have had to use three different devices to do the same. Reluctantly I am becoming a fan of iPhone. She even put the frame around the image in her phone.