Some critique please

Discussion in 'Seeking Critique' started by jc1305us, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. Looking to see if these are keepers or not. All shot on Rolleiflex 3.5E, Kodak Portra 400. Thank you in advance!
  2. The middle picture grabs my attention and I particularly like the way the color is stronger on the right-hand side of the photo -the red leaves- and grows less intense as you look across the frame to the left.
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  3. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I don't like the first photo because it has too much glare to suit me. In the second photo, most of the building facades are washed out so I don't care for it.

    I like the third photo! The bright red Liquors sign grabs my attention, and is accented by the other red sign toward the right center. This leads to the far upper right, where 3 smokestacks/vents form another diagonal that echoes the diagonal line created by the signs. Wow, I REALLY like the 3rd photo!
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  4. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    My preference is for the first shot. To me, the flare and unusual lighting give it a slightly other-worldly feel, which resonates with the fiction of the books. The spring growth on the tree counterbalances the red 'accents' on the books, and the aloof attitude of the lion, ignoring the pigeon perched on his head, which is apparently reading the book, shows (to me) a dissassociation with the frantic world surrounding him.
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  5. Thanks very much! I love old neon signs and I'm glad you like this
  6. Didn't notice the bird before you mentioned it lol Thank you for the critique!
    Tony Parsons likes this.
  7. Thank you, much appreciated!
  8. Do you do digital processing of your film images once you have them in digital form? Some of my suggestions depend on that.

    It's all a matter of taste, but I'm afraid that the severe flare in #1 makes that one not work for me. #2 is a puzzle: I can't tell how much of the issue is flare and how much is limited dynamic range of whatever film you used. For whatever reason, you seem to have lost all detail in parts of the image on the left, even though the digital image tops out well below 255. Not to my taste either.

    Re #3: This is the best of the bunch, in my opinion, for whatever my opinion is worth, because you have control of the lighting and no flare or clipping. If you do digital processing, I'd fix the verticals. (I'd do that with #2 also). That will in also crop the image at the top, which will be a plus anyway because it would get rid of the distracting bright sky and vent stacks at the top right. I might crop a little more. I'd experiment with boosting contrast, particularly in the windows to highlight the reflections.
  9. Way too much glare in #1. Entire image looks washed out. Don't know how much of that is due to the glare, but pretty sure it's a big part.
    #2 looks like it might have some possibilities. It also looks washed out but that can be corrected.
    #3 Looks like it might have some possibilities too, but as is, it's just a sidewalk shot of a liquor store with a fire hydrant in front.
  10. I don't see anything in #1 that excites me. Honestly, from just about any other angle, there's plenty to see and shoot here tho.

    Photo number 2, I love the details and colors on the right side of the image, but the way it washes out so badly in the middle and back ground I find too much a distraction. That iron fence, the red leaves on the maple against the red brick of the building, all are really great elements. But we barely see them here.

    Number 3 is a great documentation of that storefront, but I feel there's too much of the building included. One thing I don't like, generally speaking, is camera tilt that tends to distort vertical lines. Architectural photos can be really tough in this way; some mind or don't mind it more than others. I think this whole shot would be stronger if it was a LOT tighter. There's a lot of interest in the store windows and that red neon sign saying "LIQUORS" is awesome. A tight shot of that storefront wouldn't even really be hurt by the trash and hydrant, IMO, they just add additional things for the eye to scan, IMO. I almost certainly would have also made some effort to get a shot of the 2nd, smaller neon sign sticking out perpendicular to the building itself. Probably an angle that would have included those fire escapes, depending on where the sun was.

    All of these have something in them that COULD have made for some great documentary style street-scene photos. I'm going to say that maybe you should first frame a shot- THEN before you shoot, stop and look around. Move to different places and look at the scene. Check things like the angle of the sun. See if there's maybe som either way to capture your vision of the photo in such a way that might be more fully representational of the subject. Not taking the time to see more of what's going on is something I've always. had to work on- and I still sometimes need to slow it down and stop myself before clicking the shutter button. In digital it matters less, but in film it really makes a big difference. Of course you can still crop a scan, same as any other file- BUT as a friend of mine once said, get the shot right IN CAMERA to begin with, and all else is easy from there.

    These photos are like many I shot myself. Looking at these reminds me of my own tendency to shoot impulsively- before I really have looked at a scene completely.
  11. The third one is the only one that I have any interest in. I think it'd be stronger if you did a 5:4 aspect ratio crop, right above the 2d story and cropping out most of the building on our right, as well as closer to the curb in front.

    Did you think that there might be redemption for the first two? What do you see, even ignoring the lens flare?

    I think that you may need to have something specific in mind when shooting. I see strong colors and interesting details in the third, but nothing draws me into either of the first two.
  12. You nailed it. I was hurrying a bit when I shot these, and it shows. Thanks for your thoughts.
  13. I deliberately avoided reading the previous comments before replying so that my ''immediate response' wouldn't be influenced by those of other members. So I might be duplicating comments already made by other members.

    I only work with digital photos. For my own photos, I make a clear distinction between 'taking shots' that (potentially) could form the basis for photos and ''creating 'photos' from the best of these during post-processing. It sometimes happens that I create multiple 'photos' from the same 'shot'. I'm just making the point that - for me - post-processing is an integral part of photography. This is independent of the camera (film/digital) technology.

    So, my main feedback is that I like all three photos and all three would (potentially) be 'keepers' according to my selection criteria. Just based on these 3 photos, you seem to have a great 'photographers eye' in seeing things that are interesting at multiple levels (content interest, visual interest and emotional interest (humor!))

    I do see some scope for further improvement in post-processing that might improve the composition and visual impact. I'll comment on the photos one by one.

    I really love the first photo and I think it has great potential! My eye is immediately drawn to the huge statue of the lion on the right, seemingly perusing a lion-scale copy of 'The great Gatsby'. Yes, mentally we 'know' it's just a set-up but for me, the visual set-up is so good that it still 'works'. At some pre-cognitive level, I still have the visual impression of a lion perusing The great Gatsby' with all the absurdity and humor that this ímage'carries. So well-spotted and well shot! Some flare is fine with me and IMHO it adds visual interest:).

    You might want to consider two additional PP steps:
    - applying something like the Adobe Lightroom 'de-haze' filter which would give it a bit more contrast and vibrance
    - cropping out the 2nd lion in the background. This would IMHO make the larger 1st lion a clearer, more focused and more powerful subject. As a result, I think a cropped photo would mas a whole have a clearer, more focused subject, make a clearer 'statement' and have a more direct impact (at multiple levels).I have no idea whether any of this is true, I just suggest trying it out and judging for yourself.

    In the 2nd photo, I especially like the way that the vivid red colors of the tree in the foreground (right) are 'echoed' with much less saturation in the shadows of the green trees on the houses. This makes for a very subtle color harmony (and repetition) in the photo. The wrought iron fencing bottom right is exquisite. This combination of 'structural interest' (fencing, railing) and 'color interest' makes this potentially a very fine photo. IHMO there is a 3rd quality which is the 'atmosphere' of the neighborhood that the photo expresses. Both the structures and the colors are fundamental to this but for me the photo expresses the 1+1=3 rule.

    So for me me, it would (potentially) definitely be a keeper. My only suggestion for further improvement in PP is to crop out parts the photo that don't really add much to the positive elements that are already expressed at the 'core' of the photo and basically just distract from this. Focus on the essentials. I suggest trying out more tight cropping top/left. The thin line of trees and ironwork in the left don't IHMO add anything to the photo. To make this crop, if you needed (at the top) to crop a bit off a couple of buildings, there would be more than enough of the buildings left in the crop.

    Though all 3 photos are in some sense 'street photos', the 3rd one falls - for me - most clearly into this category. Again, I do like it and - potentially - I think it could be a keeper. When I look at this photo, the main thing that interest me is the Liquors Store (with its ad) and its ad and its garbage on the sidewalk. There are other visual
    elements in the photo (especially the zig-zag fire escapes and the angled street sign). But again, as in the previous photos, I humbly suggest that this photo as-is is a 'scene' with multiple and conflicting areas of interest, both in terms of content (store, sidewalk garbage or fire escapes?) and visually.

    So yet again, I invite you to consider (through cropping) that 'less' is often 'more". In this shot, I would consider cropping out two separate photos. The first would be cropping in to highlight how the "Golden Rule Wine & Liquor Store Inc. (Est. 1934) deposits its garbage on the sidewalk for collection (next to a fire hydrant). A second crop could be to highlight the zig-zag fire escapes above the "Golden Rule Wine & Liquor Store Inc. (Est. 1934).

    Whenever I respond to a request for a critique and read it back I'm always surprised that it seems that if I know what I'm talking about. The opposite is true! Just like you, I'm just an amateur photographer learning step by step. So my feedback is solely intended as an invitation to try out a few things. IMHO, the very worst thing you can do as a photographer is to adopt the opinions of other amateur photographers. Yes, some are worth listening to and chewing over. Take from these those that help you learn and develop. Just ignore the rest.
    jc1305us likes this.
  14. Thank you for the very insightful thoughts!
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