Author Topic: Critique Request  (Read 3500 times)

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Offline Stacey Newman

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Critique Request
« on: March 04, 2012, 02:17 PM »
Hello,

I've been working full-time professionally for about seven years. I shoot commercial, stock, corporate, editorial and journalistic. I'd appreciate a broad critique. Things I'm overlooking, processing or composition bad habits that I might not see myself. Fire away. I'm also a writer (so, thick-skinned). I enjoy journalistic work best and looking to push myself to the next level. Thank you in advance, Stacey

Portfolio sample images on my website.

http://www.staceynewmanphotography.com


« Last Edit: March 05, 2012, 12:34 AM by Stacey Newman »

Stacey Newman
Commercial & Editorial Photographer
www.staceynewmanphotography.com
Cell: (289) 971-1033
Twitter: @staceylnewman
Facebook: www.facebook.com/StaceyNewmanPhotography

Offline Warren Toda

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Re: Critique Request
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2012, 04:10 AM »
Personally, I'm not a fan of using Flash, but that's just me. The Flash your site uses loads every picture two or three times for some reason.

• On several of the galleries, there's an issue where the large picture slideshow doesn't cover the underlying title.

For example, on the "Stock images" page, while viewing the larger pictures, the letter "s" sticks out the side. On the "families, babies, weddings" page, the letters "ngs" stick out the side. Also happens on the "Travel images" page with an "s" sticking out.

• It's not obvious (at least to me) that the home page has a slideshow with a number of large pictures, two(?) of which are repeated. Almost all of these pictures are soft and need to be sharpened.

• Several pictures have odd crops such as cropping off a hand, arm or neck, where such limbs are probably necessary for the picture. (i.e. I think some crops are much too tight).

• The large version of the photo of the four orange flowers is missing.

• Some of the pictures have only sides or backs of heads which doesn't make for much of a picture. Or, the main person in the photo is partially obscured by other people or objects.

• Don't you wish Toronto was more visually inspired like Chicago?

• Some stock pictures need to have stronger graphic appeal, stronger lines or stronger overall composition. (Although, some of your stock pictures on the agency's site are quite good.)

An author was once asked about writing his latest book. He replied, "Writing the words down on paper was easy. Getting them in the right order was the hard part."

Similarly, it's not just the content of the picture that's important but it's how you arrange that content.

• Several pictures are over-exposed or the highlights are seriously blown, which would make print reproduction difficult. Over-exposed pictures don't hold colour saturation. Plus, on uncoated newsprint, ~15% K (and lower) usually gets clipped. Magazines might be better.



(Edit: removed some picture samples)

« Last Edit: March 14, 2012, 02:58 PM by Warren Toda »


Offline Kenneth Armstrong

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Re: Critique Request
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2012, 08:55 AM »
That's a pretty good critique for 5:10 AM, Warren :P


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Offline Stacey Newman

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Re: Critique Request
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2012, 01:05 PM »
Thank you Warren. Really appreciate your comments. Feel free to leave the images up, unless that is against forum policy here. I don't have any issue with it.

I'm 'trained' not to overfilter/process since I shoot stock primarily. but I like the tonal contrast and supersaturation adjustments as you've suggested. when I process for clients such as musicians, I almost always do similar tonal contrast adjustments to what you've done above. I've copied your points out and am looking at them in more detail individually. I'm planning on overhauling the images up on my website. Right now the gallery on the home page is my work from the Genies two nights ago. but the other galleries need to be updated.
I do tend toward overly bright images. I don't know why, but it is a bad habit that I have been working on over the last couple of years, relying more heavily on histogram than I used to. I'll be keeping this particularly in mind now. great feedback. thanks again for taking the time.

« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 06:23 PM by Stacey Newman »

Stacey Newman
Commercial & Editorial Photographer
www.staceynewmanphotography.com
Cell: (289) 971-1033
Twitter: @staceylnewman
Facebook: www.facebook.com/StaceyNewmanPhotography

Offline Warren Toda

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Re: Critique Request
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2012, 07:40 PM »
Quote from: Stacey Newman
I'm 'trained' not to overfilter/process since I shoot stock primarily.

Correct, you shouldn't over-process a picture that's intended for use by a third party. The assumption is that the third party will edit the pictures to suit its needs, (although, some publications don't and the pictures end up looking crap on their print or web pages which makes the photographer looks bad).

But shooting/processing incorrectly can be as bad as over-processing.

It's easy for the end user to sharpen an image but it's almost impossible to unsharpen an overly-sharp image. It's easy to add contrast but difficult to remove too much contrast. It's easy to lighten a dark image but it's impossible to darken an image where the highlights have been blown out.

Rule of thumb is that if the picture looks absolutely perfect on your laptop screen, then you've over-processed it (except if the final use is your web site).

The ideal picture intended for another user looks somewhat flat, slightly low saturation and slightly soft. All of these are easily adjusted by the end user and that end user will have lots of leeway to edit.


Quote
but I like the tonal contrast and supersaturation adjustments as you've suggested.

Ah but I didn't change any saturation. That's just the magic of correct exposure. As you add light (or exposure) to a picture, the colour saturation will decrease. That's just the science of light.

Major changes in Curves/Levels will often cause a colour shift. Plus, the Hue+Saturation tool in Photoshop is not always the best way to increase saturation because changes in saturation will sometimes affect luminosity.

If only there was a way to separate colour and luminosity.

Wait, I see a hand in the back of the room!

Correct, the answer is Lab mode. Switching to Lab mode and using Curves (or Levels) can make all your pictures problems go away.  :)

Offline Stacey Newman

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Re: Critique Request
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 10:45 AM »
I agree, I really don't use the adjustment layer tools in PS. here's my typical workflow for stock images. What I'll do next time for critiques is provide a smugmug gallery of high res images for a true critique. I keep images fairly low res images on my website.

workflow:
- shoot RAW
- most adjustments I make using Camera Raw, adjusting curves, removing fringing etc. I sometimes adjust clarity.
- then if appropriate (not for editorial shots of course), but for the examples you pointed out, which are stock, I use Nik Software plug ins.
- save as jpeg just once. if I'm saving mid-process I save as PSD file.




Stacey Newman
Commercial & Editorial Photographer
www.staceynewmanphotography.com
Cell: (289) 971-1033
Twitter: @staceylnewman
Facebook: www.facebook.com/StaceyNewmanPhotography