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Thread: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

  1. #1

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    Dinesh

    Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Hi there,

    I am new to CIC and this is my first photo I am posting for critique and comments.

    This was a casual photo taken by me of two of my friends at a private function. Recently I have been experimenting with using semi-automatic settings on my Canon 40D camera. To the naked eye the photo looks good, however, I am looking for suggestions on how I could have improved the composition, setttings and /or use of flash that would have made the photo look great. The main settings used are listed below. The flash was reflected from the ceiling and I used a Stofen diffuser on the Canon 430 EX flash. Your feedback and suggestions will be highly appreciated. The photo posted is without any post processing. I had chosen AV mode and set the aperture. Other settings were automatic as selected by the camera. I had chosen manual AF point just below the left eye of my friend on the right side in the photo.

    Dinesh

    Camera Model Canon EOS 40D
    Shooting Mode Aperture-Priority AE
    Tv( Shutter Speed ) 1/15
    Av( Aperture Value ) 5.6
    Metering Mode Evaluative Metering
    Exposure Compensation -1 2/3
    ISO Speed 400
    Lens EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    Focal Length 39.0mm

    Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

  2. #2
    Markvetnz's Avatar
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    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Not a bad snapshot. The background has too many distracting elements (top left wall, air con vent, gap in curtains, ceiling light, wall decoration). Look at Colin's series of tutorials on taking portraits. I know this isn't a portrait in the true sense of the word, but by applying some of the basic techniques this could be a really good shot. One of the first topics he deals with is choosing the right background. Is this straight out the camera or have you applied some processing to it? I would also like a tighter crop on the faces.

  3. #3

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    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Hello Mark,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    As mentioned above, there was no post processing applied; I converted the RAW image to JPEG for posting here. I certainly had paid no real attention to the background as it was a casual photo, but I can now see the point you are making.

    Dinesh

  4. #4

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    Paul

    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    I agree with Mark's observations. I also think that a slight shift to your right would have avoided cutting off one of the fingers.

  5. #5

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    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Or, clip the person on the left's shoulder a tad and equalize the chopping, and also removing a lot of distracting backdrop.

  6. #6
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Chuck Nelson

    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    I agree that it's a nice snapshot and with the critiques already given. A closer crop might also get rid of the distracting wall/ceiling fixture in the upper left corner. This is not my area of expertise but I can suggest some things for next time or when you practice. When shooting with the 18-55 lens, shoot closer to the 55 end for a more flattering look. A bit of telephoto often helps. I think I see a dark wall in the background, that might make a better, less busy background.

    Try full manual with a higher ISO and a fairly wide aperture to minimize depth of field. Don't over-expose with your manual settings, better under than over as your bounced flash will become your primary light. Bounce your flash off a surface to the side to avoid your primary light coming down from above. If there is no side surface to bounce off of you can just flash to the side into the empty room and you will get soft fill coming back. Think in terms of where you want the light to come from and aim your flash so that it will bounce back from that angle. In this case with two men standing side by side you don't want the flash coming from so sharp an angle that one man will throw a shadow on the other. Have them stand at an angle to avoid this or bounce the flash where you will avoid the shadow issue.

    It's always a matter of choice but I would like the camera angle closer to eye level. You are off to a good start....experiment, have fun.

    There are some excellent portrait photographers on CIC and hopefully they will correct anything I said that might not be the best advice.

    Chuck

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Hi Dinesh,

    I'm not generally a portrait shooter, but many of the problems are far more general than that here and many, if not all have already been picked up.

    I can imagine that the more you try to 'organise' an informal shot like this, the less spontaneous and happy the subjects will be - and that may show in their expressions.

    Certainly many of the things picked up on can be easily removed by cloning in PP and that is actually a route I might suggest will bringthe best of both worlds.

    For example, the gap in the curtain, the PIR sensor in the corner, the downlighter between the subjects, the thing in bottom left corner and thing on wall above red shirt shoulder can all easily be cloned out - yes it takes time, and I'm not saying don't move around for a couple of seconds to position them behind subject(s) or out of frame when possible, but equally don't get too hung up on a perfect shott out of camera under these situations, or you'll miss so many opportunities.

    Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Having said I'm not a portrait shooter, I did actually shoot some of my family members in a restaurant last night and the results were, due to horrible backgrounds and available mixed light, awful. So from where I sit, this looks good to me
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 3rd April 2011 at 11:20 PM. Reason: added last para

  8. #8

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    Re: Two Friends - Critique and Comments please

    Sincerely appreciate everyone's feedback. I am already getting very worthwhile tips and learning a lot. More critique and tips very welcome.

    Dinesh

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