Your photos (63)
Take Better Photos

Hints and tips
by Philip Grosset



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with comments from Philip Grosset






"Hello.I just got a new camera and I am just starting in photography. My friend needed a senior picture for our school year book so I said I would take it. Well...it turned out better than I thought. For the backdrop I used my bed sheet...so It is kind or wrinkled. I only had two lights that I used...one is in the upper right corner shining on the backdrop...and the other is a light that is shining in the girls face. I was looking for some criticism and maybe some thoughts on how it could be improved... Thanks." (Andrew Helmann, Wisconsin.)


Girl Girl with different background
I think you've done pretty well with your photo on the left. I'm not so sure about the wrinkled bedsheet in the background, though. On the right, I've tried replacing it with a single plain color. But wouldn't you be better closer in?

Girl closer Girl with side lighting
On the left, I have moved closer in. This also allows me to to avoid the red bands on the arm - but the girl may prefer your version as it shows more of her hair! The light on her face is perhaps just a little too evenly spread. You could have positioned the light a bit more to one side, then, if necessary, used a reflector to fill in shadows, as I've tried to suggest on the right. This would add more modelling to the face, and also vary the color of the background.
But your photo was a really good attempt - and I like the light on her hair!

Reply from Andrew Helmann: "I went to the site and thought it was GREAT. I also wanted to know what kind of Software you are using?? Thanks Andrew."

I used Adobe Photoshop -but you could achieve similar results just by taking the picture differently in the first place!





"Hi my name is julie and i am a budding photographer. Hope to make a small business some day. Thank you for your time. The first pic is of a production of "showboat". The show revolves around a family who owns a boat that produces plays and is the backdrop for the story so i tried to capture the essence of the show in one shot." (Julie Curry)

This is a very successful picture. Stage shots are always much more effective when, as here, they can be set up specially for the camera. It was a very good idea to capture the existing lighting, even if this meant a long exposure. The picture could be just a bit sharper, though. A smaller aperture, brought about by a longer exposure, combined with the use of a tripod, might have given you some extra sharpness extending right up to the figures in the foreground.
Stage show


"i like the look of this pic off center (rule of thirds) and I liked the flow of her hair." (Julie Curry)

Girl's hair Girl's hair lit up
Yes, I too like the flow of her hair (on the left), but would have preferred to have also seen something of her face, Perhaps a side view of her, that included her flowing hair, might have been more interesting. On the right, I've tried to suggest how a ray of light from the sun might have been used to emphasise her hair.


"this is of my nephew fresh from a bath. i love his innocent face." (Julie Curry)

Baby
Baby closer
Your photo (on the left) is fun, but may be all the more striking if you come in just a bit closer, as on the right.


"i thought a sunset was pretty but too ordinary so i added branches from a bush to add texture to the pic." (Julie Curry)

Sunset
Sunset cropped
On the left: a fine dramatic picture, but I'm wondering if you've added rather too many branches. They form such a bold pattern that they tend to distract attention from the sunset.
On the right: I've reduced the branches by moving in closer. Take your pick!





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