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Forums > Critique > Serious Critique > Been away for a while. Thoughts on new stuff? Search   Reply
Photographer
Matthew Montgomery CT
Posts: 25
Manchester, Connecticut, US


I'm sorry, I went to Mars for a second. But I'm back now and I got t-shirts for everybody!
(Any other Reel Big Fish fans out there? haha)

Too long and too much neglect of MM (life got busy), but I'm back into this. There are 10 (TEN!) rows of new photos from all different styles shot over the past 8 months.

What do you think?

I'm not looking for the "Great work" or the "I like picture 'xyz'."
I'm glad that you like my work, and I appreciate the compliments. But serious critique is about substance to work from.

I'm looking for the....
"I like the _____ about this picture *because* _____"
"The lighting brings out _____ in this picture *because* the shadow _____."
"The model's expression works well in this one *because* _____."

If you say something like "I see what you were trying to do with this one, but if you [moved the key light up and to the right / had the model look down / moved that curl of hair behind the shoulder] it would have made _____ better about this picture." then I will love you forever.

Also, drop suggestions for what to add to round out my port.
Does it need more portraits/headshots?
Does it need more high fashion?
Does it need more action-y shots?
Does it need more _____?

LAY IT ON ME!
Jan 06 13 08:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matthew Montgomery CT
Posts: 25
Manchester, Connecticut, US


You guys scared that I actually want serious critique in a Serious Critique forum?
Jan 07 13 03:56 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
WCR3
Posts: 1,016
Houston, Texas, US


Matthew Montgomery CT wrote:
You guys scared that I actually want serious critique in a Serious Critique forum?

No. I think people are put off by the amount of work they'd have to do to comment on a hodge podge of 40 images.

Why don't you select a couple you are particularly proud of, or particularly concerned about, and ask for opinions of them? I'll bet you get some reasonable responses.

Jan 10 13 12:22 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Warren Leimbach
Posts: 2,576
Tampa, Florida, US


It's a real hodge podge with stronger pieces side by side with weaker pieces.   If I were considering hiring you to shoot a model headshot, these weak pieces would make me distrust you.  You should really winnow these down to about ten strongest images.  As it stands now, the overall effect is of a college student who has gotten past the "how to make an exposure" stage but hasn't yet gotten to the "how to tell a story" stage.

Your model interactions lack connection to the camera and the poses are very awkward.  If you are going to sell yourself as a model shooter you need to practice directing your subjects and putting them at ease.   This image has the best interaction.  Nice light too.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110504/16/4dc1db5ef3c89_m.jpg

Nice expression on this one.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/120402/18/4f7a4e4b3764e_m.jpg





Lighting:   Most of the studio lighting setups are pretty weak.  I suspect these are older pieces?  Pay attention to where you put your lights and how the shadow falls off the subject's nose.  Many of your shots have very harsh, contrasty shadows which would benefit from some fill.  The lights are well placed in this one.  Check the crop on the bottom edge.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110829/18/4e5c3d2909766_m.jpg


Your outdoor/location lighting setups are stronger.  This one shows promise.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130101/14/50e35e6ced059_m.jpg

Post processing: The pinup on white has a heavy post processing that seems very heavy handed, doesn't really fit the genre, and doesn't fit in with the rest of your portfolio.  I would rework that one or drop it entirely.


Story:  The ballerina in the graffiti riddled bridge story is intriguing.  The beginnings of a film noir feeling.  Any chance you can explore this some more?  The story is in the details.  Make sure the casting, hair, makeup, pose, location,  props, lens choice, lighting, and post processing all work toward your goal. 


Anyway those are a few thoughts to get you started.

Keep Shooting and Good Luck,

WL
Jan 15 13 03:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matthew Montgomery CT
Posts: 25
Manchester, Connecticut, US


Warren Leimbach wrote:
...

WL

Thank you! Exactly the kind of critique I was looking for.

Some details and follow-up questions for you...

Studying photojournalism ingrained analyzing then photographing the story as it played out. I'll admit that I have definite weak points developing a story beforehand and directing the model (being a shy introvert doesn't help either...).
Any tips/tricks/advice or resources to learn and improve directing?

Most studio pieces are older (an amateur group shoot last spring). You nailed it there! Picking up that they are older, does that mean you see improvement over time?

Location shoots are more fun; hiking/exploring/finding new locations to shoot is exciting to me. Could that extra enjoyment/enthusiasm be showing in the quality of work?

Photoshopping more than tones and cropping was not much allowed in journalism, so that is another emerging skill. The pin-ups were done following along with a tutorial video and came out more cartoonish than desired haha, but the models loved them.

Thank you for taking the time to look through and give serious thought to your response!

Jan 20 13 01:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lee_Photography
Posts: 8,549
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130101/14/50e35e6ced059_m.jpg
Cutting off models fingers because of pour cropping is a bad thing, but running an oversized distracting logo is worse
Speaking of cropping, not a fan of the way you cropped the model in this image either, would much rather see the model then the tilted smokestack
Models arm pose not the most flattering
Details: Wrinkled top models right side
Since a model should be showcased in images on a modeling site, over 60% of this photo is devoid of a model


Tried to look at some other photo but that logo is jut too over powering
Jan 20 13 03:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matthew Montgomery CT
Posts: 25
Manchester, Connecticut, US


Thanks for the, um... criticism. And for the knock on my logo.

The logo isn't going anywhere.
In two cases of companies ripping my photos for advertising, it was the logo that gave me upper hand both times. An attorney saying, "Removal of branding constitutes willful copyright infringement and carries federal criminal charges. Which of your company's officers would like to go to prison?" gets attention and cooperation very quickly.

Having viewed your portfolio, I'll take the rest of your comments (especially '60%') with a grain of salt. smile

Thank you.
Jan 28 13 03:12 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Lee_Photography
Posts: 8,549
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


Matthew Montgomery CT wrote:
Thanks for the, um... criticism. And for the knock on my logo.

The logo isn't going anywhere.
In two cases of companies ripping my photos for advertising, it was the logo that gave me upper hand both times. An attorney saying, "Removal of branding constitutes willful copyright infringement and carries federal criminal charges. Which of your company's officers would like to go to prison?" gets attention and cooperation very quickly.

Having viewed your portfolio, I'll take the rest of your comments (especially '60%') with a grain of salt. smile

Thank you.

Critique Section Guidelines

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Artists come to the critique area for help, not for pointless berating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


KEY GUIDELINES*

{1} Do not call someone else's critique invalid based on the quality of their own work. You will be warned the first time, and possibly banned from the critique section for repeat violations. If it is that obvious, then it is that obvious, so don't make an issue.

__________________________________________

If all you want is complements do not ask for an honest critique. No matter how much you rant and rave, you have been given my honest opinion, it will not change. You can ignore it and move on, accept it and try to improve the choice in your hands. Wish you well

Jan 28 13 07:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matthew Montgomery CT
Posts: 25
Manchester, Connecticut, US


Lee_Photography wrote:
Critique Section Guidelines

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Artists come to the critique area for help, not for pointless berating.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


KEY GUIDELINES*

{1} Do not call someone else's critique invalid based on the quality of their own work. You will be warned the first time, and possibly banned from the critique section for repeat violations. If it is that obvious, then it is that obvious, so don't make an issue.

__________________________________________

If all you want is complements do not ask for an honest critique. No matter how much you rant and rave, you have been given my honest opinion, it will not change. You can ignore it and move on, accept it and try to improve the choice in your hands. Wish you well

The emboldened part above is why I'm here: for help. But your response was entirely negative criticism that offered no help (and was mostly off-topic about my logo).

The criticism is not invalid based on the quality of your work, but because you suggested I do one thing while you do the opposite.In most industries--including this one--that's seen as a nasty attempt at subverting competition.


Critique Section Guidelines
"When you give a critique, (...) you are asked to make constructive comments." (...) "...remain on topic and be specific, polite, and helpful."
"...comment only on photos or aspects of photos which the OP has requested critique upon." (...) "If you wish to dispense with this rule, ask the permission of the person requesting a critique before launching into a tirade."


Let's take this as a teachable moment:
To comply with the above guidelines, your post could have been a critique instead of a criticism by writing something like...

"Be careful where you place your logo and how it interacts with the image itself. It covers the models fingers in this shot, and may be better somewhere else in the image. (Can I make a couple suggestions about your logo itself?)
This photo would be better if the crop was tighter to the model. The empty space detracts from the overall image. (And be sure to use your crop to correct the horizon.)
The model's arm looks awkward in that position. Maybe (bent more at the elbow / wrist turned more toward camera / etc.) would compliment the pose better."

That would have been constructive, helpful, on topic, polite, and gotten the point across without being entirely negative.

Jan 29 13 02:23 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Drew Smith Photography
Posts: 5,209
Nottingham, England, United Kingdom


Matthew - you need to become more self-aware.

It never ends well when an OP start 'arguing' with those taking time to offer critique.

As for your port - whilst I don't strictly think it's true that you get judged on 'your weakest image' there is something to be said for showing only your 5/10/15 best images instead of 10 good images scattered around other images of a lesser quality.
Jan 30 13 06:55 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Matthew Montgomery CT
Posts: 25
Manchester, Connecticut, US


Drew Smith Photography wrote:
Matthew - you need to become more self-aware.

It never ends well when an OP start 'arguing' with those taking time to offer critique.

As for your port - whilst I don't strictly think it's true that you get judged on 'your weakest image' there is something to be said for showing only your 5/10/15 best images instead of 10 good images scattered around other images of a lesser quality.

Understood.
Such a nasty negative response against the logo was just a surprise and a disappointment after asking for constructive feedback about the photos.
But moving on...

Most photos in my port are grouped by shoot, and definitely should be whittled down. Care to pick a set or two (or as many as you'd like! smile ) and tell me which one of each set you like best and why?
(Not as a "Which one should I keep?" but as "What do other people think makes one stronger than the others?")

Feb 03 13 03:13 pm  Link  Quote 
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