Can I get some suggestions?

Started Apr 30, 2013 | Discussions thread
jkjond Veteran Member • Posts: 8,413
Re: Can I get some suggestions?

MTWewerka wrote:

I'm going to focus on these two images. First, the Rolls. This has the potential to be a great shot, but as Daisy pointed out—which I'm glad she did—the shadow over the "RR" logo is not only distracting, it obscures the most recognizable part of the car. While some people (car fans) may recognize the hood ornament by itself, but to most, the RR is the most visually recognizable aspect of a Rolls Royce. The angle, crop and actual photo aren't bad at all. I think next time just be cognizant about shadows and you'll do much better.

I appreciate the idea behind cleaning up the reflection, but for me, that would make it more of a clinical advertising shot. As a typographer, I don't like to see clear writing in photographs, I'd rather appreciate the forms of the letters in composition rather than resort to reading a message. This is maybe why oriental calligraphy is so beautiful to my eye, I've no idea what it is saying, I just enjoy those shapes and expression. As a poster shot for a wall, then a clean, clinical version would likely have a wider market, but as a photograph to enjoy, I prefer to have the spirit of ecstasy controlling the shot.

As for picture number two, I like this image a lot and I think you can still save it. First, let me ask, what do you use to edit your images? Photoshop, Lightroom...Nikon NX, nothing? If you have photoshop (if not, you can get Elements for under $100, which if you spend $1000+ on a camera, is a must) then I would carefully "clone" out that poll. Next, I'd duplicate the newly touched up layer and give it a Gaussian blur of about 30 or more. Then drop that layer down to about 35-40%. About now, it's going to start looking like an image with a soft touch finish, that's okay. Make a layer mask, now, take a soft brush, drop the opacity to about 65-75% and start to paint away the blur over the car. It's okay to bleed outside the edges of the car and the foreground, but now your car will take center stage while the background is faded out a bit. If you're not happy with the result, mess with the opacity of the blurred layer until it looks right. You can also darken it too, pushing it further back. The shot is decent and with a little trickery, you can make it still stand out.

...that's a lot of work for a photo that is never going to make a statement. Though photography is changing through the digital era, I feel the root of good photography remains in observation. That may seem ironic coming from someone who clearly processes images to extreme, but I prefer the ideal of processing what is there, rather than creating something that wasn't.

I agree the suggestions would make a more accessible and maybe more pleasing image, but I'd say the real lesson to take forward is how to recognise distractions on location and work around them to minimise their impact. Yes, there will be times when the optimum angle would contain distractions - and no harm recognising at the point of shooting (or later) that it will have to be cleaned up in post (Adams would call it previsualising) - but the overall composition of this shot isn't strong enough. The effort taken could even highlight other deficiencies. No harm in trying it to see.

Hope that helps and is a little more constructive than, eh, it looks like crap.

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Mike Wewerka

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UK wedding photographer in the Lake District
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