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Photographer
B The Image
Posts: 45
Grand Haven, Michigan, US


Please critique my work with all honesty.  Finding a model is hit or miss....mostly miss.  Is it my profile, or my work?
Sep 12 13 10:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,713
Belmont, California, US


PHOTOS
About 30-percent of your pictures are flat and have no depth, no three-dimensionality and little contrast. These same photos are a bit washed out saturation-wise. Probably too little light for what you were trying to accomplish.

MODELS
Your models are typical TF caliber meaning they have average looks. None of them are giving story-telling or engaging expressions. You'd do well to save up and get an outstanding model or two and some better lighting. If you find a model with a wide variety of expressions, she'd be a perfect next step for your port as none of these are emoting.

PROFILE
Your profile is okay, but your casting is long-winded and confusing--you kind of back track on the topless requirement when you get to talking about the bike shot, which comes off as wishy-washy. Also, I think you meant to say "implied" not "imposed" a couple of times.

FINDING MODELS
There are some sparks here and there in your port but at this point they're not going to be knocking down your door unless you're offering pay for above reasons. I was in that area last summer and stopped at a strip club in Grand Rapids. Don't remember its name, but I bet you could find several models there who would love to go topless on a bike. Or try CL if models here aren't interested.
Sep 12 13 12:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Will_DB
Posts: 246
Derby, England, United Kingdom


I agree with Toto. Controlling and using light better will take your images to the next level and would be more flattering to your models, taking their work up a notch too. So IMHO lighting should probably be the first priority. Also, watch out for awkward framing e.g. this shot - http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/08 … d788cc.jpg

The framing in this one is nice though - http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/10 … 3d68c1.jpg
Sep 12 13 12:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
New Art Photo
Posts: 701
Los Angeles, California, US


It's a perversity of MM (or the world.) That girls don't want to work for photographers unless they have some very pretty girls on their site.

A lot of the girls on MM want photos that look like fashion photos  in magazines.
(That is not my style)-- But the more your photos look like magazine photos, the more girls you'll attract.
Sep 12 13 12:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
sweet gamine
Posts: 392
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


In your profile you are adamant that you enjoy working with models and that you find it fun.
Looking at your portfolio, my first thought is that few of these models appear to be having the same experience.
Lots of standing around, chins tucked down, bored and sad-sack looks.

This is your critique so I am going to place the responsibility for that on you.
You will need to start directing these models who have given of their time to work with you. Don't like the expressions they are giving? Don't record it.
They may very well be depending on you, especially if they are new.
Some pleasant conversation to lighten the mood and relax the model may help.

Your lighting does need work. Take your now relaxed model to a spot where you have some nice directional light you can put to good use - such as just inside a doorway on a sunny day - or under a canopy of trees with sunlight filtering through, for example.
Sep 12 13 12:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Orca Bay Images
Posts: 32,233
Lodi, California, US


First off, most of your portfolio is lackluster. You use flat, ambient lighting far too often. Some of the images are poorly composed and cropped. Many of the images suggest a lack of imagination, though your profile says you always have a fresh idea.

In another thread, you said you've been accused of taking snapshots. For the most part, I have to agree.

Example of poor composition/cropping:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/080915/19/48cef25d788cc_m.jpg

Bad angle and out of focus:
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/100609/16/4c1026c3949f6_m.jpg

Here you use supplemental lighting, but it's on-camera (or close to it) and fairly flat. A hair light would've helped to give it some depth.
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/130823/19/52181d26bb2bd_m.jpg

Now this is headed in the right direction!
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110830/17/4e5d86f255466_m.jpg
You needed more fill on the model, but this is a big step towards an interesting shot.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110828/17/4e5ad9b12141b_m.jpg
Cropped poorly and the hand is badly out of focus, but this again is a big improvement over the ambient-light images.

I don't agree that you need to look for better models at this point. A prettier, more experienced model won't save a poorly composed, poorly lighted image. But working on your lighting and composition will make a shot of an average model more interesting.

My advice is to concentrate on improving your lighting techniques and composition and don't worry as much about the models yet. Avoid relying on ambient lighting. Use some off-camera lighting and especially work with rim-lighting. At the very least work with reflectors.
Sep 12 13 12:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JeanDphoto
Posts: 1,345
Knowlton, Quebec, Canada


Have to agree with ALL of the above....

Maybe you need to stop spending time shooting ANY girl in the neighbourhood willing to be photographed and more time developing network with good potential.
Sep 12 13 12:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
AlexaRose
Posts: 29
Spokane, Washington, US


I'm relatively new to this, but here are my thoughts:

The thing that makes modeling/photography/etc. so fun and unique is that it is about people working together to make something beautiful. As a photographer, taking pictures of pretty people simply isn't enough. Talented photographers makes sure the lighting, angles, composition and everything is set up so that the model's job (posing, emoting, etc.) will be given the best opportunity to show through.

So, what does this mean as a critique on your work? That you have lots to learn and room to grow! A truly talented photographer can make an ordinary person look amazing, while a mediocre one can make the most amazing model look plain. You are somewhere in the middle, which is to say, you capture your models exactly as they are without benefitting their images with your own talent. Keep practicing, asking questions and taking advice smile
Sep 12 13 12:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
RTE Photography
Posts: 1,037
NORTH HOLLYWOOD, California, US


All of the above. Put out a casting call offering TF shoots and screen any girls who answer. Meet with them first and try to pick ones who are really interested in modeling and not just getting pictures for their facebook page. Also you want ones who have a real sense of life and fun in them and can relax and show that side of themselves on camera. Don't be afraid to shoot  lot of pictures, sometimes it takes 20 or 30 minutes for new models to loosen up and relax, so the first pictures may be waisted.
Try shooting outdoors where you will have more light, but avoid harsh front or cross light, try back light, or hopefully soft indirect light. Encourage the models to bring a couple of changes of outfits so you don't get stuck trying to shoot all the same thing. Limit the shoot to no more than about 2 hours unless things are going really well. Both of you are going to get tired and quality will fall off quickly.
If necessary, hire a professional model or two to get some high quality pictures in your portfolio which will help attract models to want to shoot with you.
Just keep shooting, like everything, practice makes perfect and this takes lots of practice.
Sep 12 13 01:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B The Image
Posts: 45
Grand Haven, Michigan, US


Wow, this is a huge help, and I've already made some adjustments to my profile as well as mindset of what I've been doing.
Please keep your ideas coming!!
Sep 12 13 06:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Garry k
Posts: 27,049
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


New Art Photo wrote:
It's a perversity of MM (or the world.) That girls don't want to work for photographers unless they have some very pretty girls on their site.

A lot of the girls on MM want photos that look like fashion photos  in magazines.
(That is not my style)-- But the more your photos look like magazine photos, the more girls you'll attract.

You are right , but I would't call it perverse

Sep 12 13 06:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jeff Fiore
Posts: 9,221
Pelham, New York, US


Orca Bay Images wrote:
........Now this is headed in the right direction!
http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110830/17/4e5d86f255466_m.jpg
You needed more fill on the model, but this is a big step towards an interesting shot.

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/110828/17/4e5ad9b12141b_m.jpg
Cropped poorly and the hand is badly out of focus, but this again is a big improvement over the ambient-light images.

I don't agree that you need to look for better models at this point. A prettier, more experienced model won't save a poorly composed, poorly lighted image. But working on your lighting and composition will make a shot of an average model more interesting.

My advice is to concentrate on improving your lighting techniques and composition and don't worry as much about the models yet. Avoid relying on ambient lighting. Use some off-camera lighting and especially work with rim-lighting. At the very least work with reflectors.

I agree, these two photos are definitely in the right direction. Even though they are not "perfect" (what photo really is), if your port was full of similar photos, you would be attracting more models.

Concentrate on the rules of composition, there is a reason these rules exist, they have been proven over time for hundreds of years. Study the old masters, the great paintings and see why they have stood the test of time.

Also concentrate more on lighting, you are translating a 3D scene onto a 2D medium, you need shadows to give it depth, otherwise the photos appear flat.

Sep 13 13 05:48 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B The Image
Posts: 45
Grand Haven, Michigan, US


Um, hate to ask, but how is the last shot poorly cropped? hmm
Sep 13 13 05:51 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Orca Bay Images
Posts: 32,233
Lodi, California, US


16th Floor wrote:
Um, hate to ask, but how is the last shot poorly cropped? hmm

Her head's on the edge of the shot and her right arm is half out of the shot. Shoot wider and leave a little more space on the left.

Sep 13 13 05:56 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 7,187
New York, New York, US


I applaud you for continuing to look for suggestions and opinions on improving. Kudos!

You can check youtube for lighting ideas/techniques. Some DIY options as well if you can't buy expensive stuff.

Best of luck.
Sep 13 13 05:58 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jeff Fiore
Posts: 9,221
Pelham, New York, US


Orca Bay Images wrote:

Her head's on the edge of the shot and her right arm is half out of the shot. Shoot wider and leave a little more space on the left.

I agree. If you follow rule of thirds, her head would not be at the edge. Part of the allure of a shot like that is the sunset, by cropping it so tight, you lose some of the allure of the sunset.

Sep 13 13 06:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
B The Image
Posts: 45
Grand Haven, Michigan, US


I can see what you're talking about now, thanks.  I really thought this was my best shot.  I'm excited to see if the original has more to the left, so I can adjust my crop some!
Sep 13 13 06:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,713
Belmont, California, US


16th Floor wrote:
I can see what you're talking about now, thanks.  I really thought this was my best shot.  I'm excited to see if the original has more to the left, so I can adjust my crop some!

It's got a lot of good points and the crop suggestion is good, but, if truth be told, nothing could fix the pose of the left arm/shoulder, a photo editor would not let it pass. And if you'd have dragged the shutter another stop or three, the clouds would have come into their own.

Sep 13 13 04:04 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
itaj
Posts: 98
Columbus, Georgia, US


Too much in focus on girl on train tracks...   would have loved that!
Sep 13 13 07:40 pm  Link  Quote 
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