Critique my photography, please!

Yeah, if the girl and juggler had been exposed as bright, the cluttered background would be blown out and wouldn’t distract as badly, especially if the depth of field had blurred them to obscurity also. Maybe.

My favourite so far is #13, though I think it needs to be cropped slightly differently, with less of the top and bottom.

You might want a faster shutter speed to eliminate the motion blur? I don’t know, maybe that’s a deliberate artistic choice.

Thanks. I’ve always liked portraiture and this guy’s face is full of character and life.

Good suggestions. I’m going to play around with photoshop and see what I can do with it. I tried it in b&w but the woman in blue got completely lost and I really like having her in the composition.

Working on it! And thanks! I can’t wait to drag this new camera down to New Orleans with me on my next trip… talk about a place with plenty of interesting subjects.

I’ll play with this one in photoshop a bit more as well. Maybe I can burn/blur the background a bit, or crop it a bit more? Gives me something to practice my post-processing skills on at least.

What do you think of these adjustments? I’ve cropped the photo a bit to remove some of the background, and I’ve also burned/blurred the background. I’ve also used dodge a little to bring out a few more details in the street musician (or juggler, as people are calling him here).

Like this? I’ve also tried to bring out some more details on the left hand side per somebody’s suggestion upthread.

I’ve commented on several of these “critique my photography” threads. In most cases the biggest problem is composition. You don’t have that problem. All of your photos show a pretty good eye for composition, so you’ve got a lot of the battle won already. Keep up the good work. And remember to not only look at the photos as what they are, (a house, a tree, a wall, a person) but also as shapes and forms that combine on the canvas. This, to me, is what separates a snapshot from a great photograph.


Very nicely composed, you’ve caught some lively and humorous interactions, and you’ve shown a variety of styles and subject matter. I really like them!

I like the adjustments you made to both pictures. You especially improved the one of the girl and the street musician - by cropping out a lot of the background, and burning and blurring the bright areas, you have eliminated elements that draw the eye away from the subject. I also like how you brought out the detail on the left side of the archway in the other picture.

I looked at the EXIF info for the archway shot. You were shooting at ISO 100, and your shutter speed was 1/40. If you had used a higher ISO rating you would have had a higher shutter speed with the same f number, which could have avoided the motion blur in the guy’s foot. Cameras have much lower noise at high ISO values than they used to - I wouldn’t hesitate to use a higher ISO number if it helped me get the shot I wanted.

I also notice that you used the AUTO exposure mode. I think it’s best to avoid this for serious photography. You should think about the f number and shutter speed for every shot, rather than leave it up to the camera to decide. I usually shoot in aperture priority and raise or lower the exposure to control the shutter speed. There are other ways to do it - the important thing is to take control of what the camera does.

First of all, thank you for the comments on my re-edited photos. Much appreciated.

I was shooting in aperture priority all day, I believe, but didn’t make any adjustments to the exposures while I was shooting. For the focal length I was using, I definitely should have had a faster shutter speed (I believe I was at around 1/40 and was using 48mm. I should have been closer to 1/50.)

Luckily, I live very close to where all of these were taken so I can get back out and try again and again until I (hopefully) nail it. And if I’m patient enough, hopefully a more interesting subject will come through my frame.

Thanks again, and thank you to anyone else that has commented that I haven’t addressed directly. All input is much appreciated, especially the most critical comments.

I spent some time at the local farmer’s market this morning and managed to come away with a few that I liked, and that I thought had somewhat interesting subjects. I had a really hard time with how bright it was outside though. 90% of the pics I snapped were mostly blown out. Would love to know what people think of the new additions. Please be critical, I’m honestly not just looking for praise (though that’s always nice too).

Link to my photostream here.

One problem you faced at the farmer’s market was the canopies, which created shadows while leaving the areas outside the canopies in bright light. If you were taking pictures of produce, you could have gotten close or zoomed in to avoid the high contrast ratio. This is a lot harder when taking pictures of people.

Another problem you faced was cluttered backgrounds. There is so much stuff around a farmer’s market that it’s hard to isolate a subject. One thing I’d suggest is shooting wide open, so that the backgrounds are more out of focus. For instance, with the woman holding the beets, you shot it at f/8.0. If you had shot it at a wider aperture the background - including the car, the pole and the guy with his back to you - would have been blurrier and less obtrusive. The shutter speed was 1/1000, which might be near your camera’s limit. The ISO was 400, so you could have opened up the lens by a couple of stops just by setting the ISO to 100.

An approach you can take to the problem of cluttered backgrounds is to find places where the backgrounds are cleaner and wait for interesting things to pass in front of them.

I’ll suggest again that you shoot in raw mode rather than jpg. Jpg compression tends to eliminate shadow detail. If you had shot this in raw, you could have underexposed to darken the car in the background while still getting detail in your main subject, which is the woman and her produce in the foreground.

Most of your farmer’s market ones are a bit ordinary - not bad but nothing special. But it’s exactly the sort of stuff you need to do to get more comfortable and proficient taking photos in a situation like that.

“davisundertracks” is another example of a great location not used to its full potential. There’s nothing special about that particular moment. Catch someone interesting, or perhaps two people framed in an interesting way, and you have something. You’ve certainly found some good locations and framing, I’d be returning to those if I were you.

Take a look at Alex Webb for some examples of top-notch reportage with complex backgrounds. Also the Hardcore Street Photography group on Flickr for inspiration.

I agree on increasing the blur in the backgrounds.

Another thing you can do is position yourself a bit lower and look up at the subjects slightly.

I was walking down Davis today from the beach to my house, looking for you the whole time. :slight_smile: If anyone sees a tall bald sexy mofo in any of Bob Ducca’s picks, it’s this guy.

I love it! Looks like a still from a movie. Hard to believe the two in the foreground aren’t actresses.

ETA: cue Kurt Russell (1986 Kurt)

Yeah, those canopies were driving me nuts. Everything would either be completely blown out or dark as hell.

I’m going to start shooting in RAW from here forward. Just need to figure out how to change that setting.

I kept the aperture at f/8 for most of the day because of the old “F/8 and be there” motto. Also, with how insanely bright it was, if anything I would have probably tried to use a smaller aperture, not a bigger one.

Agreed. Totally ordinary. Mostly an exercise in trying to get better at shooting people in public. I mostly kept my lens as wide as possible to force me to get closer to people. I was happy with a few of the results, the ones I posted, but I won’t be running out to enter them in any contests or anything.

I’ll catch you one of these days!
I was downtown in the city last night and snapped this pic on State Street. Again, not the most interesting subjects but I really like how the composition turned out, especially in regards to the leading lines from the building, and the pattern of the girl’s dress against the pattern of the bricks. Plus, she’s not so bad to look at. Also, the exposure came out just about perfect (the histogram was just right). I’m really happy with this one.

Menu - Quality - then choose RAW.

Don’t worry about that if you’re in AV mode. The camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed so you don’t overexpose (within reason).

This is definitely my favorite of the shots you’ve shown. I like both the composition and two subjects.

Thanks, I figured it out right after I posted that. My Magic Lantern book came in handy!

Yeah, it was maxed out at around 1/4000 or something and it was still getting blown out. A couple of great (ok, probably just good) shots ruined because of it too.

Thanks, I appreciate it. It almost looks posed but I barely stopped to snap the pic as I walked past them. Couldn’t believe I didn’t get anyone else in the shot on a busy Saturday evening downtown. I even cropped out a bunch from the left that was devoid of other people as well. I wish I hadn’t cut off their feet but I was trying so hard to snap the pic quickly without them noticing, I didn’t have time to frame it properly. I did the whole “Aim 20 degrees to the side and them swing it towards the subject and snap” thing, and quickly pre-focused on the wall just to the left of her.

I could look at photos like this for hours. I live in a forest - at rush hour a total of 3 cars drive by my house, then none for hours. no sidewalks. no city lights.

these remind there is a whole other world out there.

I am going to NYC this week for 1 day, first time in a year.

So these bring the big city to me.

And remind me how well I have it made in the sticks. Esp after reading about the rent in NYC in another post.
You Yankees pay more for a place the size of my bonus room, then I do for 4700 sq ft and 10 acres with a 3 acre pond.

Your photos take me places, - I even zoom in to see details in the distance. Like the blonde girl weighing produce…reminds me of a rooster that runs around these parts.

Like the old Amish man told Harrison Ford in the movie “Witness” when he decided to return to the big city (Philly):

“Stay away from them English”.

But I enjoy their photos - from a distance.

Hey everybody, I’ve been super appreciating all of the input in this thread so I hope you all don’t mind me bumping from time to time when I have more photos to share. I went out today again and spent some time walking around like I did last week (you’ll recognize some of the same locations.) Here’s the link to my Photostream again.

Today I spent a lot of time focusing on trying to find interesting subjects, and I also started shooting in RAW mode (though I’m still learning how to adjust them in my RAW editor). My favorites from today are the older lady and the young guy talking on the bench, and also the one of the African-American woman walking through that frame created by the railroad tracks. I also really love the woman adding detail to the mural, the brightness of the colors and the angle I shot it at.

Anyway, how am I doing?