Forums > Critique > Serious Critique > Are my portraits improving? Do I show promise?

Photographer

PhotographicTime

Posts: 59

Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

Hello, I am a rather newbie in Portrait/model photography. I am wondering if my shots are improving from lets say this: http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/32860839

To this:
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/33252402

Do I show promise in the industry? I am a young mind that is able to learn after all.

Jul 14 13 06:03 pm Link

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7248

New York, New York, US

I don't see a significant difference between the two shots other than your framing being different given the two images you referenced. So is there a change, no. The quality isn't and wasn't bad to start with. Your technical skills aren't horrible. Just framing could be better in some images in your port. Do you show promise? Sure, if you believe it and work at it. Not up to anyone but you to decide if you should quit or not.

Work on your lighting and framing, change it up and make the model your subject, not the surroundings. How? Visualize, plan, shoot it. Do it again! and again and again....no short cuts.

Jul 14 13 06:23 pm Link

Photographer

PhotographicTime

Posts: 59

Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

Marin Photography NYC wrote:
I don't see a significant difference between the two shots other than your framing being different given the two images you referenced. So is there a change, no. The quality isn't and wasn't bad to start with. Your technical skills aren't horrible. Just framing could be better in some images in your port. Do you show promise? Sure, if you believe it and work at it. Not up to anyone but you to decide if you should quit or not.

Work on your lighting and framing, change it up and make the model your subject, not the surroundings. How? Visualize, plan, shoot it. Do it again! and again and again....no short cuts.

For sure in that aspect, My largest issue is that I get worried about the model thinking I am incompetent when I re shoot a specific pose. So sometimes "Many times" I will compensate as much as possible in Photoshop. In this specific post I was looking more toward Artistic rendition in my images though.

Jul 14 13 06:33 pm Link

Photographer

New Art Photo

Posts: 701

Los Angeles, California, US

KEEP THE BACKGROUND AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE IN PORTRAITS (!)

--So the viewer's eye is not "pulled" off your subject.

--Your second photo has a simpler background-- thus I feel it's a stronger shot.
(But it's not simple enough for my taste.)--That's all I know about photography.

Look at Richard Avedons work in his later years...

Jul 14 13 06:43 pm Link

Photographer

PhotographicTime

Posts: 59

Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

New Art Photo wrote:
KEEP THE BACKGROUND AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE IN PORTRAITS (!)

--So the viewer's eye is not "pulled" off your subject.

--Your second photo has a simpler background-- thus I feel it's a stronger shot.
(But it's not simple enough for my taste.)--That's all I know about photography.

Look at Richard Avedons work in his later years...

I see your point. Although personally I am attempting to have both the background and Model to be strong.  If I wanted a simpler background I would've gone down to F1.8 and and had it all out of focus. I wanted the background to complement her emotional expression. I don't think I got what I envisioned in this shoot though. Although for regular Portraiture you are certainly right.

Jul 15 13 10:32 am Link

Photographer

J O H N A L L A N

Posts: 10320

Santa Ana, California, US

I agree that they're just about the same.
The lighting is also boring - no contrast to speak of just lit.
Try not lighting the subject so right on, use an additional light source or bounce. Look for shadow opportunities to model the subject more.

This one isn't bad - it's beyond the two you chose to ask about.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130618/19/51c1125e40611_m.jpg

Jul 15 13 02:03 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 12833

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Andervision wrote:
I see your point. Although personally I am attempting to have both the background and Model to be strong.  If I wanted a simpler background I would've gone down to F1.8 and and had it all out of focus. I wanted the background to complement her emotional expression. I don't think I got what I envisioned in this shoot though. Although for regular Portraiture you are certainly right.

That would have help, the thing over her shoulder pulls my eye away from her.  The tree, although a bit of a gutter, doesn't do it as much as it is also a bit of a secondary framing element.

Jul 15 13 02:12 pm Link

Photographer

Marin Photography NYC

Posts: 7248

New York, New York, US

Andervision wrote:
For sure in that aspect, My largest issue is that I get worried about the model thinking I am incompetent when I re shoot a specific pose. So sometimes "Many times" I will compensate as much as possible in Photoshop. In this specific post I was looking more toward Artistic rendition in my images though.

Don't worry about what the model thinks, it's more important to get the shots you want. They work for you, it's your vision, not theirs.

Your artistic view isn't clear at least not to me. There has to be some sort of emotive value based on what you are doing or trying to say. The way your frame it and what's included in the photo is going to speak. The trick is making it speak so that we get it. Although art is very subjective it's easier said than done. 

Now for example if you want her to be upset because this tree is dying you include more of the tree, her hands are on it, she is obviously sad, etc...Now including the tree only a small part of it with your model smiling, is just a model leaning on a tree smiling, if that makes sense....Either you are story telling or you are just shooting good looking models. Nothing wrong with either but there is a method to how you do it. For me if I am just showcasing the model, the background and all that is of little importance at all.

There is more than one way to skin a cat, I am just giving a simple example...

Jul 15 13 02:27 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15709

Orlando, Florida, US

Andervision wrote:
Hello, I am a rather newbie in Portrait/model photography. I am wondering if my shots are improving from lets say this: http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/32860839

To this:
http://www.modelmayhem.com/portfolio/pic/33252402

Do I show promise in the industry? I am a young mind that is able to learn after all.

There are many types of portrait photography.

The first looks more like street portrait, but to be effective, they should look more environmental.  That's a difficult concept to explain, I suppose.  It should look NOT planned, and "in the moment" of action or inaction.  The subject should be nearly unaware or unprepared for the shot, showing a more raw look into this person's life.

The second image you posted looks more like a traditional outdoor portrait, but it doesn't seem to be useful to either you as a photographer or her as a model.  It's just a snapshot, in my opinion.  Try going tighter and using a much wider aperture to throw any non-important elements far out of focus.  The available lighting works in this instance, but a little reflective bounce never hurts to create some dimension and more interesting catchlights in the eyes.

Decide what type of portraits you're aiming to create and then study up on what makes them what they are.  If you're just shooting and then trying to create something in photoshop later, you're approaching the issue wrong.

Jul 15 13 02:39 pm Link

Photographer

Good Egg Productions

Posts: 15709

Orlando, Florida, US

Andervision wrote:

I see your point. Although personally I am attempting to have both the background and Model to be strong.  If I wanted a simpler background I would've gone down to F1.8 and and had it all out of focus. I wanted the background to complement her emotional expression. I don't think I got what I envisioned in this shoot though. Although for regular Portraiture you are certainly right.

Wait a minute.

WHAT background?  That stripe of something back there behind her?  If you want to incorporate a background to help express your narrative, you need to ... actually show it.

I think you just missed with this (2nd) image and you might be trying to see something that's not there in an attempt to salvage it.

Jul 15 13 02:42 pm Link