Please critique my short street photography album

Started Jun 27, 2013 | Photos thread
jbf
jbf
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Re: Please critique my short street photography album
In reply to romoorio, Jun 29, 2013

romoorio wrote:

My first photo "project" of sorts - the people of Malmö. I'm particularly interested in:

  • Any photos that are particularly stronger or weaker than others.

I'd have a difficult time picking a favorite.  You captured many interesting scenes.  The photo of the people waving to the camera at the sporting event is probably the weakest, although there's an interesting reflection in the man's sunglasses that something could be done with.

  • Any processing you'd do differently (though I do want to keep it quite natural).

Natural processing is fine for these.  I'd probably make some subtle adjustments to the light to brighten the subjects, but it's easy to go too far with that.

  • Should I give up and throw my camera into the sea?

Definitely not.  You have a very good eye.

I have one additional suggestion.  It's an oldy but a goody:  Get close and simplify.

I think there's a little too much going on in a number of the images.  The extra stuff, while sometimes interesting, tends to distract from the main subject.  I understand wanting to include surrounding elements to add context and flavor, but when in doubt keep it as simple as possible.

Below I've posted some crops to illustrate my point.  I intentionally made them very small because you didn't specify if duplicating and editing them was okay.  I'm assuming you have the means to create crops of the full size images yourself using my thumbnail images as a guide if you're interested.  I'll give a brief explanation for each crop below.

Originals:

Thanks

Crops:

Explanations:

Upper left: The more the man in the gas mask fills the frame, the more impact this photo has.  The flag is important because it adds some flavor.  It's also important to know that there is a crowd watching.  However, anything more than the tops of the heads of the people in the crowd distracts from the subject.  Let the viewer use his/her imagination to fill in the crowd.  Lights, poles, etc. also distract from the strong subject.  The masked man is facing right and is near the right edge of the frame which isn't ideal, but the people on the left help balance the image and keep the viewer's eye in the frame which is why I thought it was okay to crop a little off the right side.

Lower left:  The buildings, sky, and tree in the background of the original image distract from what otherwise is a very well framed image.  A simple background really pulls the attention to the people staring at the fancily dressed woman.  The colors of the building and sky hurt the cohesion of the image.  In B&W they would be less of a distraction, though I would still probably crop them out.

Right: The curly hair and the smoke is all this image needs to be interesting.  While there are other interesting people in the original, I definitely prefer the close crop.  My crop is the widest I would go and I'd probably play with cropping it even tighter to the hair and smoke.  If you find the other people interesting, you can always take separate photos of them.  If there was a crowd of people all framing the smoker and looking at him (directing the viewer's eye straight to the subject), then I'd make an exception and go wider.

I should add that I've seen many great images, I'm sure you have too, where the photographer zoomed out and captured the larger view.  The reason I don't recommend that for the photos you posted is because you found such strong subjects that they deserve to be featured more prominently.  Zooming in on them adds to the impact of the photos.

Once again, I think these are great and I hope my suggestion helps,

jbf

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