Portrait for critique

Started May 1, 2012 | Discussions
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Portrait for critique
May 1, 2012

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Brev00
Senior MemberPosts: 5,222Gear list
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Vidau, May 1, 2012

Excellent! The model has stood the test of time and so will your image of him.
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brev00

 Brev00's gear list:Brev00's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II Tamron AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
69chevy
Senior MemberPosts: 1,330
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Brev00, May 1, 2012

Very nice shot. I have to ask though, what is on his lips?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re: Brev00
In reply to Brev00, May 1, 2012

Thank you very much Brev00, the photo has some technical faults and was taken by the ancient P*S Fujifilm 31 fd..The luck made me catch the personality of the subject.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
lnguyenh
Contributing MemberPosts: 684
Like?
Re: Brev00
In reply to Vidau, May 1, 2012

I dont really like the "floating head" and the light seems a bit flat to me, and with highlights on the skin that makes it appear "wet". Is it on camera flash?

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re: 69chevy
In reply to 69chevy, May 1, 2012

Thanks 69chevy, I donĀ“t know what is on his lips, maybe brightness saliva o hair shine.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re: lnguyenh
In reply to lnguyenh, May 1, 2012

Thank you for your words lnguyenh, and yes it is it on camera flash.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
amolitor
Forum MemberPosts: 95
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Vidau, May 1, 2012

Like the previous commenter, I dislike the floating head appearance. A black background is fine, but if you edited out any texture in it, I'd put some of it back! Just a hint is all you need, to my eye.

The white points of light on his chin suggest oversharpening to me. It's very much fashionable these days to apply an aggressive degree of sharpening, and I find the look kind of unpleasant, especially for people.

There's a lot to love about this photo too, though. There is a strong sense of the personality here, and I like the composition leading to the right, while the subject looks left -- it creates am interesting visual tension and balance all in one.

All, of course, just my opinions.

-- hide signature --

I stand for strong composition and meaningful images.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re:amolitor
In reply to amolitor, May 1, 2012

Thank you very much amolitor . As I said to Brev00, the photo has some technical faults and was taken by the ancient P*S Fujifilm 31 fd, it is very sharp.The luck made me catch the personality of the subject.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Brev00
Senior MemberPosts: 5,222Gear list
Like?
Re: Brev00
In reply to Vidau, May 1, 2012

Let me be more specific since others are mentioning specific drawbacks. I like the bright white hair above each ear against the black of the background, the dull, pasty color of what should be the whites of his eyes, along with just a hint of catchlight in the eyes. While we so often see and praise youthful good looks, here you have captured the passage of time. No effort has been made by him or you to hide or slow the effects of age. Not brutal at all; just neutral. Well observed.
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brev00

 Brev00's gear list:Brev00's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II Tamron AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re: Brev00
In reply to Brev00, May 1, 2012

Thank you very much Brev00. I like your kind of critique, not because you think my photo is good or bad, but for that you speak on what the photo reflects for you, instead of worrying about the technology was in use.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Michael Thomas Mitchell
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,335
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Vidau, May 3, 2012

There have been some good comments here, so please allow me to take a different stance in the spirit of constructive criticism.

First, I'm not a fan of on-camera flash, so the lighting is not the images strong point for me. On-camera flash comes across as "snap-shottish", and this one is no different. Sometimes that is all we have, as was probably the case here. And if it's the difference between getting the shot and not getting it, then so be it. But, it doesn't change the fact that it's not very good-looking.

Second is the editing. I'm not sure the all-black paint-in works for me. Others have called it the "floating head" effect. That pretty much says it.

Finally, I have seen you twice refer to "capturing the personality". I'm not sure what that means in this case. If that had been done, I would have some sense of what his personality is like. But I have no idea whatsoever what his personality is like. All I see is a man with his head turned to the side. That's it. There's no expression which is really conveyed here... rather just the turning of a head. If you were to tell me he was either Klaus Barbie, the infamous Nazi "Butcher of Lyon", or a a living man who is revered uncle, florist, church deacon, and candidate for sainthood, I couldn't be surprised either way. Rather than getting "lucky" capturing a personality, it looks to me more as if you got lucky capturing a better and more natural (and less static) POSE. That's a good thing, to be sure, but not the same thing as a personality.

Again, I hope this harder criticism is welcome. Mere praise tends to be less helpful, I have found.

Vidau wrote:

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Brev00
Senior MemberPosts: 5,222Gear list
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Michael Thomas Mitchell, May 3, 2012

Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:

There have been some good comments here, so please allow me to take a different stance in the spirit of constructive criticism.

Again, I hope this harder criticism is welcome. Mere praise tends to be less helpful, I have found.

While I disagree with a few of your points, I think they are all valid since they reflect what you saw in the image. Even though you didn't say this, I just wanted to make sure that all praise is not considered 'mere praise.' I think any reaction as long as it comes from a truthful place and is given specifically and with some humility can be helpful. Honesty without humility can be brutal and if it lacks specificity the op has nowhere to go with it. Of course, if the feedback is not honest, then it is really all about the poster and not about the image. That is where, I think, mere praise exists. Simply being nice without any depth lacks reality and spontaneity. It can't be trusted and the poster loses credibility even if the op feels good for the moment.

To share a specific area of disagreement, I think the image does show personality, or, better, character or emotion. But, this must be inferred from his physical characteristics like the dullness in his eyes. You seem him as just any man posed in a particular way. I see the sadness and perhaps even defeat in his eyes. My immediate response was: "Wow! This man has been through a lot." He carefully keeps up his outward appearance, but his eyes give the sense of something, maybe disappointment, away. That is why I spoke of seeing the passage of time in this portrait. One is not just looking at this moment but the preceding ones as well. Could be my imagination. Probably is. But, that is my particular pov. It is what an image evokes in me, not necessarily the image itself, that feeds my response to it. So, since the image did not strike you this way, we have two totally different responses to it. Like the blind men and the elephant--only we can see.
--
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brev00

 Brev00's gear list:Brev00's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Tokina AT-X Pro 12-24mm f/4 DX II Tamron AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re: Michael Thomas:
In reply to Michael Thomas Mitchell, May 3, 2012

Michael Thomas:

Thank you for your critique, it is very valid.

When I say " capturing his personality " it is because I know very well the person, something that your you are not obliged.

The expectator has the whole right to interpret the photo to his way, though it should not coincide with the author, if the photo does not say anything to him, it is not a fault of anybody.

Best wishes.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
amolitor
Forum MemberPosts: 95
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Michael Thomas Mitchell, May 3, 2012

I agree that there is a strong sense of personality in the image. We use the phrase "captured his personality" a lot, and it is strictly speaking wrong. The viewer has no idea what the true personality is. What we mean is that we, the viewer, looking at the photograph, are able to imagine a personality, a narrative, some traits of the subject.

A good fashion model is the exact opposite, in order to not detract from the clothes she presents as a cipher, the viewer has no sense that she has any particular personality, the viewer does not imagine a story which led the model to this instant in time. A good portrait does both, and more.

While a good portrait might evoke a completely FALSE notion of the subject, it evokes a notion, sometimes a very strong and clear notion of the subject. The truth of that notion is almost irrelevant.

For me, the image here evokes a moderately strong sense of a man and a life, and some hints of the hours leading up to the instant of the photograph. I feel I could write a sketch of the man's life up to now, and have it be sensible and consistent with the image we see.

If you don't get that sense, well, that's ok too, I don't intend to judge.

-- hide signature --

I stand for strong composition and meaningful images.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Simon Stanmore
Senior MemberPosts: 1,091
Like?
Re: Portrait for critique
In reply to Michael Thomas Mitchell, May 4, 2012

I agree with your diplomatically-put comments.

Put succinctly...

The lighting minimizes drama, minimizes form, minimizes texture. It adds nothing.
The processing to pure-black for a floating head is stand-out bizarre.
The expression is essentially ambiguous.

Nothing gels, nothing is communicated, and there is no craft, beauty or drama in this image.

In the cold light of objectivity it looks like the work of an individual who got their first camera and some photo-editing software a week ago.

I appreciate that this feedback is 'strong', but it is me being truthful about this photograph is I see it.
--
Simon
http://www.simonstanmore.com
http://www.simonstanmorestuff.info

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Vidau
Veteran MemberPosts: 3,091Gear list
Like?
Re: to Simon Stanmore
In reply to Simon Stanmore, May 4, 2012

Thank you Simon.... I respect very much your critique.

I have seen your site and you are an excellent professional photographer specially good at portrait. Your portraits are spectacular, with excellent technology and show the character and the environment of the persons.

You wrote:

"In the cold light of objectivity it looks like the work of an individual who got their first camera and some photo-editing software a week ago."

I do not like this comment, it is not critical to the photo, is an attack to the person.

There is no need to humiliate.

Anyway thank you and I estimate your critique.

 Vidau's gear list:Vidau's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F31fd Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR +13 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Simon Stanmore
Senior MemberPosts: 1,091
Like?
Re: to Simon Stanmore
In reply to Vidau, May 4, 2012

It was not a comment on you as an individual Vidau - It was a comment on the look of the photograph. It is a bizarre (seemingly meaningless) combination of crude, ill-matched techniques. A candid with direct flash combined with a blackened-out background is something a newcomer to photography in the full-throws of early experimentation might be prone to do. It is not something I would expect to see from a photographer with more than a few thousand frames under their belt - Hence the comment
--
Simon
http://www.simonstanmore.com
http://www.simonstanmorestuff.info

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads