Please Help: Your Critique Needed

Started Dec 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
eNo Forum Pro • Posts: 11,744
Re: Please Help: Your Critique Needed

Some observations:

  • First off, you mention grain, and though I can't see it myself, the first thing I notice is somewhere betwen 1/2 to 1 full stop of under-exposure. Under-exposure at any ISO and for any camera will give you noise in shadow/dark areas.
  • The flash didn't cut it here. It looks like the built-in, where a SB-700 might have done a better job. Speaking of flash, it looks like it's on-camera and direct, where maybe a bounced flash would have given you better lighting and more dimension. Now we're no just talking about quantity but quality of light.
  • There are a couple of composional issues, like too much stuff in the frame (do we need the TV?), the kids not looking in the same direction, or not having compelling expressions.
  • If you posed this, it's seldom interesting to do line-up of people, unless there's good reason to. If this is just a moment that happened, they're still arranged rather stiffly, so maybe look for another angle, or tell them something funny to make them react so their body language looks a bit more natural.
  • All that stuff is quibbling, though, compared to the more basic question: "what story am I telling with this photo?" I see a Christmas tree, and I see 4 boys who might be interested in the presents around the tree, but the shot isn't conveying that story. They look kind'a disconnected from the tree and presents, both in terms of their placement and manner. Maybe if they were kneeling by the tree, one of them shaking a box while listening to its contents by his ear, maybe two others playing tug of war with a box... something that tells me a story... we might have had something.

If I can boil it down for you, the shot needs better lighting to paint a compelling story. Think light, tell a story, and you'll be on your way.

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