Portrait Photography Photo Critique
Larry & Coke
by John Byrne
Category: Portrait Photography
Lens: Standard: 30-50mm
Exposure time: 1/100 ,
Description: Tossing a large party, the host finally took a break. I just wanted to recognize his relight.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
There's a happy looking chap!
Nicely composed, no unnecessary elements in the photo.
Photo is sharp. Can't really do better than that!
Clear, sharp, no camera movement, fairly well exposed (just a tad on the dark side).
I'm not a huge fan of direct flash. If your camera has a hot shoe or a PC socket, I'd strongly recommend getting an accessory flash and light modifier such as a Sto-Fen or a Gary Fong will help make your flash photos more natural looking. They will also help alleviate that ol' 'photo in a cave' look of a completely black background by illuminating some of the surrounding walls. The picture looks nice in black and white, but you're losing detail in the shadows where his shirt blends into the background.
Good depth of field for f/2.8! Your subject is in focus, and even though his glass isn't quite as sharp, that does nothing to detract from your photo.
John, you've got a nice photo of a genial looking gentleman. Good composition, good focus and depth of field.
How to improve your photo
Flash. It's not as easy as it seems. The trick to using flash is (for me at least) to get natural looking lighting. In my experience, the best way to do that is to NEVER use the flash that's built into the camera. If you can, an accessory flash unit, bounced off the ceiling or otherwise modified, will make a dramatic improvement with your flash photography. I use a Sto-Fen or Gary Fong modifier, usually aimed toward the ceiling.
The black t-shirt is a problem, especially when dealing with the kind of lighting you've used. If your camera allows, always shoot in the RAW format. Using software like Adobe's Lightroom or probably even the software that came with your camera (or whatever you used to go to B&W), you can usually adjust the shadow detail so that there's separation between the shirt and the background, without effecting other regions of the photo. JPEG files don't always allow that kind of flexibility, and the results aren't usually as seamless as with RAW.
One other thing to try: Use a slower shutter speed with flash (1/30, 1/15). That allows the ambient light to register and will bring some background detail out of the shadows. Experiment, play around, have fun!
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Steve Hockstein