February 17th, 2013, 12:24 PM
Is it interesting?
Does it have a clear subject?
Do I like it?
February 17th, 2013, 12:31 PM
Originally Posted by Hikari
With regard to the four photos I posted above, and applying your three questions, I would evaluate them as follows:
The top two work okay. The bottom two fail in not being interesting enough or having a clear subject.
As to the third question, I liked all of them well enough when I tripped the shutter!
February 17th, 2013, 12:38 PM
When I look at your images I would ask you - obviously something caught your eye in each image - did you actually capture precisely what caught your eye? "Pretty" photography is not very hard - "aesthetic and meaningful" photography that you come back to is very hard. The chasm between principle and application is vast and nobody has ever or will ever build an easy bridge.
I spent an hour watching this and it is a truly great video. I will end up watching it more than once.
Scott Kelby's Crush the Composition - Google+ Photographers Conference - YouTube
It simply echos for a new generation and in a different media exactly what my favorite photographer Dorothea Lange said some time ago...
I too am working on this so I hope I don't sound harsh.
I realize more and more what it takes to be a really good photographer. You go in over your head, not just up to your neck.
Photographers stop photographing a subject too soon before they have exhausted the possibilities.
PS A couple "just my opinion" fast comments on your photos...
1) too much sky
2) too much tree on left and branch growing out of head of one goose, etc
3) I like this photo best but while it does capture a message for me the composition doesn't quite work. I don't know what to say specifically but the second quote by Dorothea says what I'm getting at. Maybe closer?
4) Hmmm ...
February 17th, 2013, 12:38 PM
Originally Posted by Lightmancer
Both good advice.
Originally Posted by Hikari
In art, which is pre-photography of course, the novice learned from the master often painting or carving side by side. Emulating the masters is the first step in learning to see how they see. From there your own style gradually emerges when you decide what is more attractive to you. So in saying this, find street or landscape or portrait artists whose work you enjoy.. and imitate bearing in mind that you are learning as you do so. Don't become sullen because your work doesn't feel original, original will come in time and with confidence. Hikari is right, in essence, there are no rules once you understand what you want to achieve so adhering to static rules [you should at least learn them but don't be confined by them] will make you the average shooter. The good photographers step beyond the rules. Also.. if you don't know how to use your camera to get that effects that you want, like motion blur of water in a landscape, like shallow dof in a portrait, then you need to look up instruction on that. Sometimes that is no more than a few google searches away, like "how to shoot fireworks".
Your photos above, while having some nice elements, really don't have any composition to them. Remember your camera frame is your picture frame, if you need to do a little crop to cut out a small distraction you didn't see on the edge of your image or maybe to get a better close-up because you had the wrong lens at the time, then fine, but don't base your shots on what you might be able to salvage later. Your perspective doesn't change by cropping an image, you just show less of it. The perspective has to be there to begin with, you have to frame it the way you want to see it even if that means laying on the ground or walking a hundred yards to the right or stepping down into the edge of the water to get the right elements framed. **Don't step off a cliff or anything!**
I see a lot of "how can I make this better" on here and the answer vacillates between tweaking color and contrast in post processing [which btw is the advice you want to get/give] or the less tasteful thing to say to someone, you should have asked yourself that when you took it rather than shooting on the fly and hoping to make something of it later. Mind you the latter is too rude and no one ever says it but we think it. And-- we all have done that but in essence it is being sloppy. Why bother if you aren't going to do your best. You know the polishing a t#rd thing. It's still a t#rd. Note here: Ask the advice of people whose work you admire.. it will help you to improve. If you ask those who are just as lost or learning like you then you won't progress. You always want to reach up :)
Last bit of advice is shoot shoot shoot, practice, daily or a few times a week. You only get out of it what you put into it. If you shoot once or twice a month don't expect great strides in your results but if you work on it constantly, you can be sure that your skill will evolve and a style will emerge. This all probably sounds more like a pep talk than actual help but really it isn't. If you need lessons in how to use your camera you can get a book or attend your class but seeing.. that is something you just need to keep working at, ever honing your vision.
February 17th, 2013, 12:49 PM
I like the sky in the first image and can see why you were drawn to capture it. Unfortunately the chopped trees are a distraction. I like the idea of the trees silhouetted against ths sky, but would have liked to see all of the trees.
The birds in the water ... tough one to make interesting. Too busy I think.
The third picture, I can see where you are going with it. Straight lines of the trees pointing up to the sky would have worked to draw your eyes to the sky but the fallen tree disrupts the flow and so spoils the picture.
Fourth one. Too dark in the foreground. Nothng really drawing your eyes in the background. So, for me, it doesn't work as it is.
Hope this criticism helps.
My pics on Flickr
February 17th, 2013, 02:37 PM
I saw the video. You're right: it's an excellent resource. Thanks for the recommendation!
February 17th, 2013, 04:47 PM
My two tips.
1) Buy "The Photographers Eye" by Michael Freeman. Available either as a book, ebook or app for your iPad. Read it several times as there's a lot to take in. I need to go through it again.
2) Turn your LCD (and EVF) to black and white mode (ie: the jpeg setting). You'll see a lot easier without the distractions of colours. Use the viewfinder to make shapes and patterns from the "subjects" in a scene.
February 17th, 2013, 06:04 PM
This is really an informative thread. Jock, thanks for starting it! The links on the posts are incredible.....spent quite some hours perusing.
One of the things that I try to make time for when visiting urban areas are the museums -- I try for an entire day spent on site.
Among my favs are the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, the Field Museum on the lakefront in Chicago and the Detroit Institiute of Art. I haven't had the pleasure of touring the big apple yet, but can see spending serious time there.
February 17th, 2013, 08:19 PM
The video linked above makes an important point about composition - when something in the scene moves you to take a picture, it can be difficult to truly "capture" it on your first shot. Move around, get closer/farther, check for extraneous elements that detract from the subject, etc. I know I've come home with plenty of shots where the camera didn't "see" what I saw, and since I didn't take the time to find it the result is just blah.
E-P3 | P 14 | PL 25 | Oly 45 | Oly 40-150 | some legacy lenses...
February 18th, 2013, 04:29 AM
Does a Rothko, a Pollock, a Hepworth, or even a Cezanne have a clear subject?
Originally Posted by Hikari
Photographs don't have to be executed with separate and different criteria to other media.
That's why the advice given elsewhere in the thread - to look at the work of acknowledged masters of many different media as an aid to learning - is so good.
My personal watchword before I press the shutter-release is to ask myself "What does this photograph do?".
That might seem a bit gnomic or cryptic at first sight, but it helps me know whether I'm taking a snap (and there's nothing wrong with a decent snap) or whether I'm trying to do something else - or whether I'm trying too hard.
My photostream at Flickr.com is here
"We can not shake the illusion of the truthfulness of photography" - William Gedney
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