View Full Version : Critique Please!

06-10-2009, 05:26 PM
I've never felt confident enough in the quality of my work to enter into the PPA international print comp. I'm constantly learning and improving and while I know I still have a lot to learn and improve upon I'd like to try my hand at the competition next time around. That said, I'd like to get some feedback on this image from some print comp veterans so I might be better prepared come time to enter. Thanks!


06-10-2009, 07:06 PM
A print comp veteran will want the title you have chosen for this image.:)

06-10-2009, 07:25 PM

Let's just start up with technical stuff...

Do you notice how the light's color differs on the front guy from back? Cool in the front and Warm in the back? One way to fix that is bxw.

Let's see who says what next...

06-10-2009, 07:36 PM
Yes, title ... hmmm. I had not thought of that. I did notice the difference in color temp. I used a 580exII and shoot through umbrella for foreground and a photogenic monolight in a softbox for the background. Do you think the color temperature difference is more a result of the different light sources or the different modifiers?

06-10-2009, 08:20 PM
Still thinking on the title ... warmed up the foreground a bit ... thoughts?


06-10-2009, 08:34 PM
Do you think the color temperature difference is more a result of the different light sources or the different modifiers?

Yes is your answer.

Both have something to do with it however minute. But, in this case my money is on the light source.

06-11-2009, 10:47 PM
I like how you've put thought into the head placement around the image and how my eye flows from one to the other. There are other elements in the image creating leading lines and helping my eye to investigate the image.
However, there are so many elements in this image competing for attention and they are not (I don't think) what you intended to be center's of interest. For example, the guy on the left..his pants are so bright they keep competing for attention. The 4th guy in's shoe is wanting to be looked at, the vertical lines of pipes on the right. All these elements compete with what I believe to be your intended center of interest. Then the pose the guys are in. If they are trying to look "Cool" and I assume they are, these poses don't contribute to their "coolness". No "cool" guy stands around with his hands clasped in the front like the guy in the middle, unless he's a groomsman in a wedding.
I do believe you're on the right track with the image and are close with some of the elements. Considering the things listed above, I believe I would score this image in the 76-79 range (above average).

06-12-2009, 04:52 AM
WOW! That's awesome! Thank you so much John and Don for such great critiques. That's exactly what I need. Thank you Don for pointing out all of the little details that I overlooked. And THANK YOU for mentioning the head placement, that's very encouraging to me as I did take time and carefully plan that aspect of my shot and it means a lot that it didn't go unnoticed (even if I do still have a lot to work on). If anyone else has any thoughts I'd love to hear them.

06-12-2009, 03:35 PM
Don did a good job of pointing out both positve and negitive elements. I just wanted to add a couple of things. On my monitor the young man in the forground appears soft in focus. I see this as going two ways. Either with the guy in the forground in focus and the friends quite a bit out of focus in the background adding depth and story with out distraction (all about him). Or all of them sharp and closing up the distance (depth) between the guys (story about them). I feel that the lens choice is a little wrong for either situation. I know I am always talking about distortion and needing a longer lens but in this situation I am in favor of a wider lens. Increase the distortion, maybe raise the camera angle and tilt it a little to add drama to the image.
Now for the Color issues. Mixed color used carefully can be a good thing. The key is to keep the color of your main subjects / elements the same and let the secondary subjects shift to a different color that helps tell the story! The question was raised, "I used a 580exII and shoot through umbrella for foreground and a photogenic monolight in a softbox for the background. Do you think the color temperature difference is more a result of the different light sources or the different modifiers? " First there will be a little difference in color temp between flash tubes. This can be even more so between brands. However it will not real noticable to most viewers. Now the modifiers will shift the color more noticably between brands and in some cases the age of the fabric will also shift color. All that being said I do not believe these situations were the sole, or even the main reason for the color shift. I believe that the real problem was when you (correctly) drug the shutter to open up the background and accepted the mixed ambient light from the environment. I am guessing here but I think that your canon flash was used on ETTL making it mix (but more subtly) with the ambient lighting. The Photogenic is a manual flash that in this case was (IMO) a little too strong makeing the guys in the back and the way over exposed and over powering the ambient light. IF you had dropped the power of the Photogenic it would have blended a little better. Now for the last consideration - and this entirely depends on the story you are trying for. Go back to your orginal posted image, try adding about 10Y to the shadows AND the midtones AND the highlights. This turns the entire setting into a warm ambient setting giving the image a totally different emotional appeal which then also changes the story. I know I went off on a tangent but this image demonstrates how choices we as photographers make (with lighting, color etc.) dramaticly changes the feeling the viewer gets from an image (IMPACT). BY the way I think your choices were all good ideas to work with. I do not think you have to go out and buy more stuff (though more stuff is always fun), I just think you need to refine all the elements with in the image a bit more.