BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/7/2004

Need advice, and critique

I have been a memeber for almost a year, and really like this site. So now is the time for me to get some serious and helpful advice about my photos. So if someone that knows their stuff could please look at my gallery and HELP me out, I'd be so grateful.

I want honest, but not cruel advice.

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6/21/2005 6:16:33 PM

Julie M. Cwik
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/2/2005
  Most people on here will be honest and not cruel. I however love your images! I love the "come a little closer" and the fact that it isn't a straight on typical "cookie Cutter" flower shot. I don't know if you meant for the flower to be a soft focus but I like it, more romantic. Not to crazy about the cat images, but understandable why they are up there (for the contest). I love Orange Glow, I especially enjoy how you left a little "background" on both the upper left and lower right corners, what lens are you using for that? In Time to smell the flowers, the purples are WAY too saturated. Past the point of belivable. I would desaturate the purples a little bit and the image will be better. Great Hummingbird shot! They are so hard to capture! Love the motion in the wings! Over all, good images, I would be careful about taking the typical flower photos straight on. Everyone does that and it's starting to be (I hate to say) boring, be creative with the two images I talked about earlier! Those were amazing shots!

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6/21/2005 9:02:21 PM

Irene Troy
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/27/2004
  Hi Tonya –

On the whole your images are really nice! But, you said that you would like some constructive criticism so here are some of my thoughts:

Come a little closer: When you shoot extreme macros such as this one it can be hard to get everything sharp. One thing that I have found helpful is to back off just a tad and try focusing from that point inward. Double, even triple check your viewfinder to make sure that everything that should be sharp is sharp. Also, if you want to get real close and your lens is not able to focus that closely you can try using extension tubes. These are hollow tubes that fit between your camera and the lens and that permit you to focus in very closely with a greater degree of clarity. Finally, I have found that using a slow – 100ISO – film for macro often results in a image with less grain and greater color saturation and clarity.

Strawberry Parfait: I think that I must be getting to be the biggest nag about this topic- I post this idea really often – but, the best time of day to shoot flowers is either very early morning or late in the day, (Think sunrise/sunset) or on overcast days. The bright mid-day sun simply washes colors out and results in a flat image that lacks that WOW factor. Your composition here would improve if you zoomed in closer to the flower while eliminating more of the green leaves around the image. The greenery adds little to the image and detracts from the beauty of the flower.

Your horse shots: Don’t you find it harder to get good shots of light colored horses such as this nice palomino? I certainly struggle with this when trying to capture images of our horses. Your shot “Running Free” is a great idea, but I wonder how it would have looked if you had positioned yourself so that the sun that is reflecting on the horses left flank had illuminated more of the horse, particularly his mane, tail and head. Also, his head seems a little fuzzy, although this could just be my eyes. “Wild Wind Blowing”: a nice composition, but again, it would have been even nicer if the horse had been in that sunlight that is just off his right shoulder. The gold of a palomino really shines in that type light. Also, I would clone out that bit of hay/grass in his mouth. “What do you want?” Again, this is a nice compositional idea but how about getting rid of the stuff on top of the fence post? Also, using a larger aperture, so as to blur the background would help the image a lot. Finally, I think that the image may be just a little overexposed. How did you take your exposure reading? “Baby Brown Eyes” and “Up Close”: great compositions! I do think that the light could have been better, but I also know that sometimes we have to take advantage of the moment even if the light is not the best. I would have liked to see the foal’s ears in that shot, and at least some light in the eyes, but that can be hard if you want to horse to stay still on the ground.

I love your cat images – I know how hard it can be to get a cat to stay in a good position while you try to capture their image. You did a terrific job on these shots! I think my personal favorite is “I’m so bored”. Your hummingbird shots are amazing also.

I am very far from being an expert, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I have learned a great deal from sharing with others on this site and by taking a couple of courses here. I think the most important lesson I have learned is that in order to make really good images you have to learn everything you can about light. I’d urge you to try to get out early in the morning, near sunrise, and try to make images of similar subjects at the time. If you are like me, you may see a real difference in your results. Good shooting!

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6/22/2005 5:31:42 AM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/7/2004
Thanks for taking the time to comment on my question. It means so much to get feedback from other members of BP. its a great learning tool. I feel the same way about the purple flowers, they are hard to get a good picture of. But I couldn't resist the shot of my sons cat about to eat them... lol I love the way "Come a little Closer" turned out. It was in the shade, early morning. I've tried to work on my macro shots, and flowers seem to work best for me.On the hummingbirds, they are hard to capture, but a wonderful challenge for me. Glad you like my work, and thanks for the tips. I'll keep working, and having fun... As for the lens, all I have is my camera, no extras. Yet...

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6/22/2005 8:19:31 AM

Tonya R. Boles
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/7/2004

Thanks for all of your wonderful tips, and ideas on how I can improve. For now I only have my camera, but ould love to expand inthe furture. The wonderful thing about the horse photos is I live just down the road from them and can keep on trying to improve with the lighting. Everytime I go I try different angles, and different times of day.

Thanks for being honest, its what I need to grow. As for the flowers, I hope to visit the greenhouse again soon to shoot more photos. The cats are fun to get, I just wait for them to curl up in their favorite spot for a nap, which is often. lol Thanks again for the honesty...

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6/22/2005 8:28:19 AM

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