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What area are your weakest and need help with most

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LeDave View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LeDave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What area are your weakest and need help with most
    Posted: 26 March 2019 at 01:47
This thread is to post your biggest struggle in photography that other members here can help. Post your weakness in detail; Other members please post in reply of how to improve in that area.

Ill start,

Photographing human subjects are my worst in capabilities. I lack in posing ability. When I do have a prime example through google images, I still am unable to replicate a emotional, relaxed and natural look-and-feel to the image 😭.
 



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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 10:28
Studio portraiture with flash. I've read a few things and tried them out occasionally (a dummy head with wig and stick-on eyelashes proved quite useful!) but I so rarely get the chance to do it, I've never figured it's worth buying the proper equipment, and so I've not had a chance to build up experience.

I do admire the work of professional portrait photographers, though, and I'll readily admit it's one of those areas in which my usual feeling of 'if someone else can do it, so can I' doesn't apply.

Other areas lacking are sports photography (lack of opportunity & motivation) and birding (lack of patience).

Edited by Miranda F - 26 March 2019 at 10:36
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote C_N_RED_AGAIN Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 12:33
Great topic. For me itís also flash photography especially in relationship to portraiture. Outdoors/indoors when to use umbrellas etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote ABDurbs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 13:40
Using speedlites for photographing glass, especially crystal glasses and decanters.
Regards
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 March 2019 at 19:43
Nice initiative Dave!

That's seems enough weaknesses for now (recognise some of mine)
Looking forward to the improvement tips
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wesleysa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2019 at 11:03
Must be PP for me. I find it a real effort and procrastinate alot after shooting with 'processing' the images.

I think part of my problem is I have no 'routine' to get through whatever pictures I've taken that day/week or whatever period and the work just builds up. For me it is 'work' too. I like taking pictures a whole lot more than tweaking them on screen.

I think my computer's processing power may also be a factor here. I have Photoshop Elements which FWIW (once I actually sit down to do it) is fine. But makes my PC slow slow slow.

Great topic.
 



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owenn01 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2019 at 11:09
People. It's always been people.

My wife says she doesn't understand why - I can (and often do - to her dismay) talk to anyone at all levels and feel comfortable about it but, put a camera in my hand, and that goes out of the window. Perhaps it's a mental 'block' for me as I really do not like having my own image taken and, I have no idea why that is. I suspect that transmits to the taking part as well?

So yes - People; be it candid, formal portraiture etc. I just can't seem to get a 'feel' for it which is a shame as it opens up a whole new world of options for me!

Great idea for a thread though - a little like 'Baring one's photography soul' almost!

Best regards, Neil.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2019 at 13:30
Originally posted by wesleysa wesleysa wrote:

Must be PP for me. I find it a real effort and procrastinate alot after shooting with 'processing' the images.

I think part of my problem is I have no 'routine' to get through whatever pictures I've taken that day/week or whatever period and the work just builds up. For me it is 'work' too. I like taking pictures a whole lot more than tweaking them on screen.

I think my computer's processing power may also be a factor here. I have Photoshop Elements which FWIW (once I actually sit down to do it) is fine. But makes my PC slow slow slow.

Great topic.

I don't claim to any great prowess in PP either, but I don't feel I need that. I do have a routine, though. I start with Sony Playmemories which is lightweight & fast on old PCs, very easy to use and free. Plus it organises pics straight from the camera.
- I first check the picture to see if it's sharp and that its worth playing with.
- Then I check framing and maybe crop a bit,
- then check the RGB tone curve (I often have to push the ends out a bit and pull the centre down as I like mid-tones darker than as they come);
- then have a closer look at the colour balance.
The only major thing that playmemories doesn't do is allow correction of tilted horizons, but one of the windows apps does that (before cropping, obviously).
If I need anything more done to the picture I can use Luminar, but I'm really not into heavy processing and it's totally overkill for basic tweaks.
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2019 at 13:53
If there is interest in people shooting, then I'm compelled to weigh in.

First, I really admire wedding photographers. So I hope some of them weigh in here too. I'm more of a commercial advertising shooter. But the wedding photographers have the real pressure, having to photograph strangers in an environment where they come to do something completely different. They get one chance. I tip my cap to wedding photographers.

My background, forty years self employed specializing in people photography. Six years as a photojournalist, I transitioned to fashion, advertising, and corporate communications. It may be hard to believe, but my active archive has over 1700 individual sessions just in the past four years. I typically shoot 300-500 individual sessions per year. Business was on the slower side last year. And that's a good thing for me.

I also teach models and actors how to move, present, and work for the camera. It's just a teaching session with no photography. Classes are typically seven to ten people in group environment. Of course I've shot my share of weddings and portraits, but it's nothing I pursue. Those jobs just happen by default of the other things I shoot.
____

Were I to give any advice on the matter, first decide, is this a candid portrait, or a directed session. Even candid portraits can turn into directed sessions so be expected to work with your subject. They expect to be (hope to be) directed in personal sittings. Anything less is a snapshot, which can also serve a purpose. And often, the purpose of the directed shoot is to make it look like a perfect "Kodak moment" snapshot. So decide what are you trying to do before the shoot, and approach it with intention.

I like to put a word on it... Approachable, mysterious, sensual, excited, forlorn, etc... The word is like a mission statement for the task at hand. It can change as you go along. And it should, if working with an actor building a portfolio who needs various emotions for clients to see variety.

Generally, I'll try to keep camera a little higher than my subjects head, and shoot down on them slightly. This causes the subject to stretch their neck, creating a more defined jaw line with deeper shadow underneath. It makes their eyes look upward, which reduces under eye wrinkles. This is just basic advice for one type of flattering style portrait.

But what's most important is your rapport with the subject. I always start with "That looks fabulous"... I never say "You look fabulous"... "That looks fabulous" gives the subject the idea that they are doing something, contributing, working with me... rather than just being something.

If a stranger, and most are, I'll say "I know you. Really, I've see you before". My goal is to make them feel a certain degree of fame. "I'm glad you're here".

"I want you to slowly say these words, as I say them... Say 'Hi', say 'Yes', say 'Hey'... Any word that opens the mount, separates the teeth, and ends in a smile. Then I can shoot a burst and get the entire micro action. Then I have them do it again, but "This time say the words with your eyes".

Ok sorry I'm getting carried away. There is so much, I don't know where to begin or end.

For those interested, here's my web site. I haven't populated it beyond the front page, and portfolio listings. None of the galleries are filled because I just can't look through the tens of thousands of images necessary. This web site is fairly new, and I don't share it. I've never needed it. All my work is word of mount or agent referral. You can see a test gallery under the "Editorial Portraits" page. Or see thumbnails under the "Portfolio Listings" page. Otherwise scroll through the front page slider and also scroll down.
http://photoclydethomas.com/

Here's a behind the scenes video of me working with a model.

Here's a quick clip of what I'm trying to get from my models and actors.

Sample of ungraded silent clips delivered for client review. They'll steal three seconds here and there and use for composite. But this is what I deliver to them.
Silent Clip 1
Silent Clip 2
Silent Clip 3

Sorry so random with all this. I really don't know what you want to know about it. But I'll answer questions.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote wesleysa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 March 2019 at 20:32
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

Originally posted by wesleysa wesleysa wrote:

Must be PP for me. I find it a real effort and procrastinate alot after shooting with 'processing' the images.

I think part of my problem is I have no 'routine' to get through whatever pictures I've taken that day/week or whatever period and the work just builds up. For me it is 'work' too. I like taking pictures a whole lot more than tweaking them on screen.

I think my computer's processing power may also be a factor here. I have Photoshop Elements which FWIW (once I actually sit down to do it) is fine. But makes my PC slow slow slow.

Great topic.

I don't claim to any great prowess in PP either, but I don't feel I need that. I do have a routine, though. I start with Sony Playmemories which is lightweight & fast on old PCs, very easy to use and free. Plus it organises pics straight from the camera.
- I first check the picture to see if it's sharp and that its worth playing with.
- Then I check framing and maybe crop a bit,
- then check the RGB tone curve (I often have to push the ends out a bit and pull the centre down as I like mid-tones darker than as they come);
- then have a closer look at the colour balance.
The only major thing that playmemories doesn't do is allow correction of tilted horizons, but one of the windows apps does that (before cropping, obviously).
If I need anything more done to the picture I can use Luminar, but I'm really not into heavy processing and it's totally overkill for basic tweaks.


Straightening horizons. I have been known to keep a ruler next to my PC. Old school?
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Miranda F View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Miranda F Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 March 2019 at 11:19
Originally posted by wesleysa wesleysa wrote:


Straightening horizons. I have been known to keep a ruler next to my PC. Old school?

Me too. But you need an app that allows rotation by small increments, not just 90 degrees!
Miranda F & Sensorex, Sony A58, Nex-6, Dynax 4, 5, 60, 500si/600si/700si/800si, various Sony & Minolta lenses, several Tamrons, lots of MF primes and *far* too many old film cameras . . .
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Post Options Post Options   Quote owenn01 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 March 2019 at 15:46
Lens Correction Filter in PS - Custom Tab has a fine adjustment setting that allows you to rotate in very small increments using up/down arrows or slightly larger ones whilst also pressing the Shift key. With the overlayed grid it works exceptionally well for me!
My Mantra: "Comment on other's work as you would wish to have yours commented upon". Go on - it's fun!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Photosopher Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 March 2019 at 20:49
Originally posted by Miranda F Miranda F wrote:

Studio portraiture with flash....


Have you tried any of the new LED lights?
Godox SL-200W or Godox SL150 could be an option to avoid strobe altogether. Hi CRI>95 at close to 5600K. They are bright enough to use modifiers. I recommend getting two of the same, rather than one of each. All brands have reputation for shifting color balance between different light head powers. You'd learn how to use this stuff in a flash.

Originally posted by C_N_RED_AGAIN C_N_RED_AGAIN wrote:

Great topic. For me itís also flash photography especially in relationship to portraiture. Outdoors/indoors when to use umbrellas etc.


No rules. Depends on the look you want. Different techniques depending if you're just trying to fill shadows, balance heavy backlight, or set that "God just smiled upon me / Eureka moment".

Have you tried reflectors?

Is it windy outdoors? Better take sand bags or an assistant. Those stands blow over.
Does your interior have white walls? Why use umbrellas at all if you can bounce the flash for more natural look. But not if the walls are colored.

Originally posted by ABDurbs ABDurbs wrote:

Using speedlites for photographing glass, especially crystal glasses and decanters.


Are you bouncing the light off large white panel cards, or shooting the light through white scrims? Hard card bouncing is often best because that doesn't show wrinkles like a scrim or softbox would.

Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:

People; be it candid, formal portraiture etc. I just can't seem to get a 'feel' for it which is a shame as it opens up a whole new world of options for me!


Maybe you're just really intuitive, and reflecting the nervousness of your subject. That can be a really strong tool for portrait photography. Check this out...

I could show you thousands of these photos. Odd to see that 99.9999999% of people sit with hands between legs when the session starts. Nothing says "I'm nervous" more than a person with their hands between legs. Your subject is nervous. So nervous, they feel inclined to protect the family jewels.



Here is the process to break that down to a personal portrait. This is the very basics to get you started. Good for both men and women, with slight changes at the end. This for women.

Have subject turn sideways, but not completely profile.



Standing or sitting, lift the front leg to the camera higher than the rear leg. Even for shots where the leg doesn't show. It contours the form and tends to keep the back line up and perky. You'll find that most people lower the front leg, and that tends to cause slouching. Remember this is the basics, and quite often I'll do exactly the opposite for more of an editorial look. But let's stick with this for now.

Front arm to the camera on waist, with enough swing throw to show back. You can also go forward with that arm, but that's a different technique.



Notice the subtle change between shot 4 and 5, simply hiding the rear arm, to slenderize the haunches and torso... It cleans things up a bit. The last, and most important step in the sixth shot, have your subject lean towards the camera. Take your session from there with subtle variations on head position and expressions.



Run a friend through this routine, and keep them in the final position long enough that you can shoot variations face straight, looking over shoulder, leaning right, leaning left, but always leaning towards the camera. Then turn and try the same from the opposite side. You'll have a hundred shots before you know it.

Edited by Photosopher - 28 March 2019 at 21:17
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 March 2019 at 21:00
Originally posted by Photosopher Photosopher wrote:


Originally posted by owenn01 owenn01 wrote:

People; be it candid, formal portraiture etc. I just can't seem to get a 'feel' for it which is a shame as it opens up a whole new world of options for me!


Maybe you're just really intuitive, and reflecting the nervousness of your subject. That can be a really strong tool for portrait photography. Check this out...
Wow, this is great advice - so simple and effective.
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