Stephen McCoy's picture

Opinions wanted and valued

Seven months ago I uploaded a few images to here from my first attempt at model photography.
I asked for your opinions and input, most replies were very informative and helped me with my technique.
This is my 2nd go working with a model and again, having taking all your advice on board, as much as possible, I again would value your input / opinions and advice.
Thanks,
Stephen.

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9 Comments

William Howell's picture

The subject is impeccably lit, the straight on composition shows off the suit nicely. The tie and collar are almost perfectly aligned. Hand placement is good. I like how you have centered the chandelier perfectly. The soffit and window jambs are straight and level.
For the critique, I would say to clone out the two chairs at the edges of the photograph. Burn or lower the exposure of the background to make the subject stand out even more. On the subject, burn and dodge the wrinkle on the camera right coat tail. And finally fix the wrinkle in the camera left pant leg. I would just copy the camera right pant leg and flip it over to the left leg.
Excellent job though and this is just minor nit picking.

Stephen McCoy's picture

Thanks William.

I took my exposure using a grey card which i had the model hold, i then went just slightly to the right of that reading to give myself options un editing.
I used a white card for white balance , which again, i had the model hold.

I used on camera flash and bounced it off the ceiling above and behind, just enough to lift the shadows .

Nicely spotted, the wrinkles.

The only editing i done was typical contrast , shadow / highlight etc.
I also eliminated a gap in the curtains which was bleeding in daylight . Straightened the horizontal lines on top just a fraction.

There is indeed much more i could do in editing like removing furniture etc.

Thank you Julian , I have many more unfinished images from the shoot , from the last shoot which i posted here and received some good pointers , i had been very conscious of not having any horizon line going through the models head , i hadn't considered the hardly visible lines from indoors an issue so thank you for pointing that out, i will be aware of this in the future .

Julian Ray's picture

Without any intent context, all that I can go on is the 'story' and to my way of seeing this well crafted image, the story is confusing.
It feels stiff, posed, confusing, stilted, lacking in any freedom for the model to express his personality.
Yes the the technicals are all there but the symmetry distracts from, rather than enhances, the subject. Backgrounds are tricky things. They can help the story but, if one is not careful, they can all to easily get in the way of what you want to express.
This image feels like a grab shot in some airport medium end hotel conference room.
Like William mentioned the chairs are problematic and though perfectly aligned the light fixture distracts from the subject massively. Think Steve Martin as King Tut.
The intersecting line right at eye level is usually avoided as it can tends to pull the viewers gaze out of frame. The dull nature of the location could have worked better if you had used less DOF thereby disguising the nature of the location.
I know that starting out there is so much emphasis placed on getting the technicals perfectly nailed but as you get more comfortable with your skills you will start to see that your real power comes not from where you place the light stand or how you fix that wrinkle, but rather in how you engage with your subject. That is when the magic really starts!
Good work Stephen. I look forward to seeing your future explorations.

William Howell's picture

Super excellent advice and observations.

Stephen McCoy's picture

A couple more images from the same shoot, there's a few things i would change here but the one thing that bugs me the most is that shutter over the bar, it's very distracting and I should have addressed it off camera.

Mike Taylor's picture

Overall the images are a bit stiff. You've got the technical aspects under control, but your model and the lacklustre lighting is killing it.

Sure, he is well exposed and the use of the chandelier is a fun addition, but this new image is really lacking some zip.

One point perspective, mug shot pose, dull lighting and there is really nothing exciting here. Perhaps if he was wearing a bright red tie, or if you used a small beauty dish to primarily light his face and let the rest of him fade into a dark shadow.

You've got the technical down, now go be creative. Be the artist, with a camera.

Stephen McCoy's picture

Thanks Mike , Good advice, I'm always looking to better myself, I'll definitely take your advice on board .

Francisco B's picture

Models face looks out of focus in the bar shots. In the first shot my eyes immediately focus on the models hands. Also I'd be shooting at eye level rather than below the subject.

Stephen McCoy's picture

Canon 85mm prime lens, I have had focusing issues at times with it, However I feel I should have used a slightly smaller aperture to sharpen the face while still keeping the background unfocused .