John Hanson Pye's picture

first post - all comments and criticisms please

Hey everyone,

Thanks for checking my post. Hope this is the right forum for this type of shot.
The IQ on this site is really amazing! I am getting no where near the quality that I see on here.
I suspect the t3i sensor is just too old and cannot compete with the new technology, but it is still a learning process. So if anyone has any advice, its greatly appreciated. Please be as harsh as possible.

I've been shooting and editing for only about a year, Got a second hand t3i (600D) from friend.
But I studied a bit of composition and design in college, so really enjoying taking shots.
Also joined a few stock sites and have yet to have a rejected photo.

Of course, editing has been much more of a steep slope.
Been using Rawtherapee and Gimp, and want to start using darkroom more for the masking options.

So, just printed out a whole batch of photos I edited, and they all look like complete garbage.
Although not the strongest compositions, I do like the light in this one. And added a vignette in the second photo. It is also the only photo I printed that looks acceptable.

So stated above, any comments, critiques, and advice would be greatly appreciated!

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C. Broken's picture

Let's start with just learning the camera and taking pictures. Once you've familiarized yourself with the camera and it's functions, (often one doesn't need to adjust anything, unless the previous owner did some adjustments) In this case you should do a factory reset of the camera. this would make or reset the camera as if it's new without any adjustments.
Once you've take more than a few pictures, you can then move onto adjusting the settings that best suit you. But as I said often one doesn't need to adjust anything. In the case of the two above images, I do not see any difference between one or the other. I'm assuming you attempted to post process. Let's put it this way, I've had my M6 for 1 year and feel it's time to acquire a new lens. This going to be a slow process if one is not familiar with the current camera. Being a Nikon person.. Canon is a new world to me. In other words.. don't rush into this and don't try to jump into RAW then post process when you're not ready.

John Hanson Pye's picture

thanks a lot for the advice!

Sorry I was not clear in my post. I've been shooting exclusively manual for since day one and have about 10,000 shots already.

And I did "attempt" (lol) to post post process. Here is the RAW. sorry for the small size, cannot upload bigger than 2mb for some reason.

I am just looking for any comments on the color, contract, etc.

Jordan McChesney's picture

Welcome to Fstoppers.

While the 600D is quite old, it is still possible to learn and hone your understandings of the basics. If you are looking to upgrade, I'd recommend checking out Map Camera in Shinjuku or online, if you're still in the Tokyo area. I get all my gear here, they're cheap, and even their "lower quality" goods are still in amazing condition for the prices.

As for editing, I'm unfamiliar with Rawtheapee and Gimp, but what you've done seems simple enough. Personally, I use Lightroom, so I can't give you specific advice on how to use those programs, only with the "theory" of editing. My main two pieces of advice are to familiarize yourself with the full power of each program, so you know what each one can do. Second is to shoot with your edit in mind. A mistake I see a lot of new people making is grabbing a random image, and editing it, and then being disappointed that it didn't really turn out. Having a clear vision from the moment you press the shutter will help you in the post processing area, at least once you've learned the programs well enough.

For composition, and the image overall, I recommend trying to think about what the main subject is, and how to make it stand out in your frame. For the two images here, I'm not really sure what the subject is supposed to be. My eyes are drawn to the bright water, but it's not really "interesting" enough to be the subject. Whereas the flowers are a little too small to be appreciated. When shooting, think about what the subject is, and use your camera to capture only what is needed. This can be done with focal length, framing, aperture choices, and so on.

As for prints, you'll have to clarify what "complete garbage" means and how you printed them. This could be anything from a calibration issue, to the paper, the ink/printer, or the camera.

I hope that helps.

John Hanson Pye's picture

Hey Jordan,
Thanks for all the advice!
Much appreciated.
I will definitely check out Map Camera tomorrow!

As for composition, I agree totally with you. I mentioned in the original post the composition was not great.

The water actually is the focus.
Not great for landscape but actually this was intended for commercial use.

I have thousands of photos its great composition that I love. But I won't post them without proper processing. This one just happened to be acceptable after printing.

By "complete garbage" I mean, ridiculous looking colors, weird halos and artifacts. Could just be the printer, you are right.

I guess I am just asking if colors are well saturated, the exposure is ok, the contrast, etc. Really sorry i didn't make that clear in the original post!

Alan Brown's picture

Hey Jon, forget about the technical specs of the camera for now and focus more on capturing images that excite you.

I have seen amazing images (in finals of juried competition, on professional websites) captured on a smartphone. As you progress you may find boundaries and wish to upgrade, but at this point you'd be best to concentrate on composition and perhaps processing.

As with the earlier comment I see no discernible difference between your images. I would highly recommend you spend time looking at photos that inspire you, and try to determine what makes you attracted to them. I am a BIG fan of the critique process, so if you look for quality critiques on this/other sites you can learn a lot - to this you should feel free to offer your own opinions, this forces you to really dissect an image and your won work will improve due to that experience.

As a side note (and a shameless plug), if you do wish to see what can be done with a smartphone I have a current project underway on my website ( and have blog entries that may be of interest.
I try and maintain this to express my own thoughts and experiences that may be of use to others like yourself.

Good luck creating!

John Hanson Pye's picture

Hey Alan, I checked your page, great work!

You proved my point, totally think processing is key. Seems I was not clear in the original post and i apologies to everyone.

The composition is not the issue, the processing is.
I posted the orignial Raw in the first comment. Even though properly exposed, it is almost completely grey with little contrast.

I only posted this because the printed version was acceptable. In the original post, I said the 2 photos are the same accept for the vignette on the second one.
YES, I am being that specific with my critique!

So, what I'm saying is great composition with horrible processing is not worth posting.

Anyway, appreciate your advise!

Mark Guinn's picture

Sorry I'm a little late to the party, but welcome to Fstoppers!

Looking at the 2 photos and the raw file posted below, I think a few small changes could go a long way. This image has a real "artsy" feel to it (in my opinion), and can be cropped to make the lily pads more of a border. And (once again, just my opinion) pull back on the blue saturation, lower the highlights and raise the shadows a bit. Once some of the blue tint is out, you could work with the green a little to make the lily pads really pop.

Hope you don't mind, I downloaded the first image and quickly ran it through the Windows editor just to crop it and make small changes to the color. You'd be able to do a lot more in gimp, which can be a really awesome editor.