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Critique these photos, please

post #1 of 11
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Thank you!

-Paul
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post #2 of 11
i am by no means an expert or know much about photographic but dame loving the first picture.
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post #3 of 11
Yea thats a great shot. I know absolutely nothing but the basics as far as photography, but those are nice.
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post #4 of 11
Those are really awesome photos.

Just one little thing: Try taking photos that point towards the sky. What is mean is this: Your first photo is angling down from the top of the flower towards the ground. It looks nice, but the ground behind it doesn't look at great, thereby distracting from the original focus of the photo. Now if you take the photo from a lower angle pointing up towards the sky, you'll only have the flower in focus (of course this might not be feasible if you have buildings around) without any of the distracting ground.
By doing that, you'll also get a closer view of inside the flower as well, and you're able to fill the flower with more of the screen.

Another thing to consider is perspective: When you photograph the flower from top down, it makes it look like the flower is diminutive, insignificant. If you take it from the bottom, it makes it look more prominent. That's the reason why baby photos are often taken from their eye level or below.

All in all, its a great photo though. I'm probably nitpicking here though.
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post #5 of 11
Not a big flower man myself.

Was there some sort of shutter drag here or other pp technique? The bokeh has a weird hazy feel to it. Like you handheld and with VR a little too long or something. Kind of distracting and cartoonish. Maybe its my monitor though.

Other then that, composition is okay. I like the other suggestion to try different angles, but you do seem to be following the rule of thirds, though a little too cookie cutter with the composition almost identical in the two images.

The biggest thing I notice beyond that, is the lighting seems dull and boring. It is even across the photo and doesn't do anything to flatter your subject matter. Perhaps shoot this nature-y stuff at a time when the sun strikes it with cool color contrast or shadows.

Hope this helps
Edited by mrwesth - 5/14/11 at 8:37pm
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the feedback and impressions!

These flowers are growing outside my house--wild and beautiful pansies (so I'm told, and some basic research confirms).

They are only about 4" tall--getting a sky shot is nearly impossible. Plus, my house is directly behind.

Lighting today was overcast. Thought that would make nice, even lighting. Both shots are three-shot composites (HDR, with minimal tweaking).

Thanks,
Paul
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post #7 of 11
Ah, the HDR would explain it. I couldn't put my finger on it either, but the colors seemed off to me for some reason. I think they could have been better without the HDR and a little bit of editing. The HDR gives it a little bit of a weird glow-y kind of look to the colors, kinda hard to describe.
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post #8 of 11
The first photo is a little underexposed. I would also recommend cleaning the dust and dirt off of it before taking a picture. In the second photo, the flower is cut off a bit too much, and the dried grass on the leaf is distracting (to me at least). But these are little nitpicks, my overall impression is great!
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post #9 of 11
Well the hdr explains the hazy look and cartoonish coloring...

Good that you got your feet wet in hdr. Its a great tool. In the future make sure to use a tripod and try to make sure the camera position and subject don't move (due to accidental bump, wind, etc) especially on macro-like shots as this. Also, my preference is to use hdr only when I would otherwise have blown highlights--or when shooting a scene with drastically different exposures like shooting from a carport during full daylight. In that case without hdr you will either get a very dark scene under the carport and everything outside properly exposed, or if you expose for the shaded carport everything outside of it will be blown out highs.

Another note on your choice to shoot during an overcast day...
Overcast does give even lighting. Which is much easier to shoot in and get proper exposure. (hence no need for hdr) BUT... it does not give interesting lighting. You could have popped a flash off up to camera right and cast some cool shadows, or used the sun at a different time of day. The main thing to remember is that much like shutter speed, aperture, and iso make up proper exposure so then do composure, subject, and LIGHTING make for an interesting photograph. If you don't nail down all three there will always be something missing.

Anyway, keep using your camera and build off what you've already learned and shot. For more on interesting lighting check out strobist.com. The lighting 101 section on the right panel is a great place to start.
post #10 of 11
Theres not much to the composition. Slight oversharpening and distracting bokeh. Petal cut off.
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