Author Topic: Help to edit my portfolio & website critique  (Read 4365 times)

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Robin Leworthy Wilson

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Help to edit my portfolio & website critique
« on: May 09, 2012, 10:12 PM »
Hello!
Can you please review my website http://aerialpromotions.ca/home/and help me narrow down my portfolio with your critique? http://500px.com/Presentitphoto or http://www.viewbug.com/member/Presentitphoto
Thank YOU!
Robin



May 10: Edit: fixed a formatting typo in the third link. - Warren Toda

« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 03:49 AM by Warren Toda »


Offline Warren Toda

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Re: Help to edit my portfolio & website critique
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 02:26 AM »
I think it's going to be tough to make picture suggestions for you since your site(s) seems to have a little bit of everything for everyone. I'm not sure what you're trying to say or who you're trying to reach.

• If I may ask, why do you use "Aerial Promotions"? I was expecting lots of, uh, aerial pictures.

• On the home page of Aerial Promotions, the slide show whizzes by much too fast and the transitions drive me crazy. It takes a while to realize that the secret information on how to control the slideshow is buried in the photo captions. But the captions whizz by too fast and I'm too busy trying to look at the pictures to even notice the captions.


• If you shoot events for the people who were at the event, then you probably need to have tons of pictures so that everyone can find pictures of themselves. But if you want to show your event photography abilities to future customers, then you need, perhaps, only a dozen pictures. A hundred-picture gallery isn't going to interest anyone except those who were at the event.

Perhaps your site can have one set of galleries for potential clients - these would be the "highlight reels". Each would have a reasonable number of pictures.

A second set of galleries would be just for the event attendees and would have the hundreds of pictures necessary. These could be linked under, say, "Clients", Client Proofs", "Recent Events" or whatever might be appropriate. These could be password-protected so that: (i) you can have a bit of control over them and (ii) it would keep potential clients from "wandering away" into these galleries and becoming lost or bored.

Of course, you'd give out the (simple) password to all the event attendees or, maybe better yet, have them send you a request via e-mail or Facebook. An easy password might be your business name which would "force" people to remember your business name.


• Your 500px site promises lots of "NUDE CONTENT" (My kind of site!  ;D ) But when I click through the "mature audience only, user discretion is advised" warnings, there's only pictures of people with their clothes on ?!?  Is this some kind of 500px bug?


• When using HDR, be careful about removing (or not having) black tones. Pictures without any dark tones tend to look very grey.

HDR helps to increase the dynamic range captured by the camera but the final picture still needs to have contrast throughout the entire tonal range. Otherwise, the picture will look very flat and dull. Yes, there are lots of flat, dull and grey HDR pictures online, but this only proves that many folks don't know what they're doing.

(BTW, all things equal, as camera resolution goes up, the camera's dynamic range goes down.)

HDR is not magic. It works by compressing tones and reducing contrast. Why? Because your computer monitor, a photographic print, a newspaper page, a magazine page, etc. can reproduce only a limited number of tones. This limited tonal range will never change, with or without HDR.

HDR allows you to capture a wider-than-normal tonal range by blending several pictures together and then compressing the tones so they can still reproduced onscreen or on paper. Once these tones are squished together (aka. "tonal mapping"), you have to put the contrast back into the picture. (Yes, very occasionally a flat, gray picture with no shadows or highlights can look cool).

A perfectly done HDR is where the HDR effect isn't even noticeable. Although, sometimes, the way-over-the-top HDR effect can look neat.

• Your various "bridge" pictures are interesting. This is a subject that might allow a bit of over-the-top HDR.


• You've got many good pictures. Some photographers complain that they can't get good pictures when shooting little kids playing sports. But you've got several nice pictures of little kids playing basketball and hockey.


• Methinks that several of your sports pictures could be better cropped to get rid of distracting backgrounds or to tighen up the picture to make it a bit more dramatic.

• Some pictures need better colour balance, contrast and sharpening.

• You've got a wide range of pictures which really shows off your versatility.

• The "portfolio" pictures of that little girl and the sample comp card: All the pictures basically show the girl looking and smiling at the camera. But for something like this, you'd need some full-length pictures, maybe some sitting, and definitely a more varied range of looks (hairstyles + expressions).

Plus, the lighting isn't quite right for this purpose. This lighting would be perfect for family pictures but it isn't fashionable/trendy enough. Current trend is more top/front-lit to flatten out skin tones.

There's a new-ish fashion photographer, almost out in your area, who I suspect might have a lot in common with you. Not by coincidence, her mother owns a reasonably well-known modeling agency. If I can find her site, you should take a look at how she shoots children/teens.


• Something else but I forgot what it was.  :-[



(edit: removed some sample pictures)

« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 11:21 AM by Warren Toda »

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Robin Leworthy Wilson

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Re: Help to edit my portfolio & website critique
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2012, 03:15 AM »
Hi Warren, Thank You for taking the time to review my work.  I am trying to find my niche and as it would seem, I'm a little confused at the moment. My website demonstrates versatility, but I really want to focus in a specific area.

The company "Aerial Promotions" was established because my name is Robin and I take a top down-fine detail approach to my projects. At the time I was involved with event promotional work and the name just stuck. I really like what the name represents & I'm always going to land on my feet. BTW my daughter's name is Aerial...I know LOL!

You have a lot of great advice that I will work on. I particularly like the idea of password requests through social media.

I'm not sure what is going on with 500px, but I think I fixed that problem. Don't worry I still have my clothes on.

Thanks for the really descriptive HDR lesson. I am learning a lot from you!  This was my first attempt and I know the images weren't perfect. Let's try again!

I revised my portfolio page and action shots http://aerialpromotions.ca/home/portfolio/action-photography/, but have been told that they are not good, to understand what is a true portfolio and invest in proper equipment to have a chance (40K+). I have been criticized for not having experience and need to work with a local editor to understand what makes a GREAT image.

Don't worry I'm not crying, yet more determined. Can you help me to understand?

I'm off to the Google+ Photographers Conference this weekend and have set up a portfolio review with Peter Hurley.  Portraiture is new to me, but I know I can only improve from here. You are absolutely right about the same look and expression in every image.  I'm going to mix it up tomorrow and revise the page with some variety. I actually have a few jobs lined up and can't wait to use my new found knowledge. I also appreciate you thinking of me when networking with other photographers.

Warren you have been extremely helpful.  THANK YOU!

« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 07:30 AM by Robin Leworthy Wilson »


Offline Warren Toda

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Re: Help to edit my portfolio & website critique
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2012, 02:50 AM »
In my previous post, I mentioned there was something else I wanted to point out but forgot what it was. Now I remember:

Several of your blog pages display a php error message. The actual error is in your single.php file. You should turn off error display so that viewers won't see any error messages. This can be done in your php.ini file:  display_errors = Off   and also:   display_startup_errors = Off. The common practice is to have: log_errors = On so that it will create an error log only you can see when you log into your web hosting account (e.g. through cPanel).



Quote from: Robin Leworthy Wilson
I revised my portfolio page and action shots ... but have been told that they are not good, to understand what is a true portfolio and invest in proper equipment to have a chance (40K+).

There are some pictures (e.g. in basketball and softball) that are quite good and any newspaper would've been very happy to publish them if they were covering those games. However there are also several weak pictures (too much depth-of-field, too many distracting elements, wrong moment).

For a portfolio, (obviously) you need only strong pictures - quality before quantity. But if you're doing pictures for the event participants then you need to have quantity. This is why you should put event coverage into private galleries and have only select pictures publicly visible on your site.

Invest in proper equipment? I can tell from your pictures' EXIF data that you already do have the best camera and at least one good lens: D3S, 70-200 f2.8.

Invest in 40K worth of gear? Yes, we'd all like to have a spare 40K to buy more gear. First learn to *fully* use what you have. If and only if you hit a wall with your gear (figuratively speaking!!) do you need to buy something better. Spending more doesn't automatically mean you'll earn more. However, if you're setting up a studio then you do need to invest thousands dollars.


Quote
I have been criticized for not having experience and need to work with a local editor to understand what makes a GREAT image.

Oddly enough, it takes about 10 years to get 10 years worth of experience. A shortcut is a staff job at a busy daily paper but those jobs are becoming extinct. Working with a decent editor does help a lot.


Quote
I'm off to the Google+ Photographers Conference this weekend and have set up a portfolio review with Peter Hurley.

Did Hurley mention when his portable white floorboard might be available?

« Last Edit: May 26, 2012, 12:43 AM by Warren Toda »

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