Ky

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Ky

Post by Guest on Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:22 am

This past week I had the chance to go to Terrace Bay for about 5 days to cover a wedding.

It was a fun time for sure, but I have a lot of work ahead of me. I'm not even sure if I should say how many photos I took, but let's just say there's lots Razz

This is the groom, Ky. I was excited to get home tonight and work on this one right away. I was playing with this idea over and over in my head as soon as I heard they had the black and pink umbrellas (which went with the black and pink dresses for the girls, of course). I'm pretty satisfied with the result, but it seems a bit off balance/awkward compositionally, if that's even a word. Any suggestions?


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Re: Ky

Post by Nando on Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:25 pm

This is a very nice photo, first of all.

The aperture chosen was good and the bokeh is not distracting. Given the contrast between the groom and the fall colours, I probably would have also made another shot at a smaller aperture just to see how it would have looked like. Isolating the subject with blurred background may not have been necessary. Given the vibrant colours, I think that the very dark vignetting probably works against the photo.

Composition is fine. Personally, I think if the groom was looking at the camera, the pose would have been classier. Here, with the groom looking down, umbrella and the cross legs, I think it directs the eye too much to the bottom of the photo. Where, by the way, the viewer will see that the groom's left shoe looks to be untied. This can either add or distract, I think.

Overall, I think that the couple would be very happy with this photograph.
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Re: Ky

Post by Guest on Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:19 pm

Thanks Nando.

To be honest, I didn't even think about trying different apertures. I had a good exposure dialed in on Manual and didn't think twice of switching things up. I did, in my mind, want to have the background blurred decently. I just never though to try it differently.

I've been sorta on a one track mind with burning (and dodging). I suppose, seemingly like everything, when I first start using a certain technique or tool I need to realize where to draw the line between over-using it and just plain 'ol working it into my repertoire.

I see what you're saying about the pose as well. Again, the pose did actually match what I had in my head before hand, but that isn't always good. Glad to have this sort of criticism, because I didn't think of stuff like this (ie: the photo feels bottom heavy). I noticed the untied lace while still in PS. Not sure why I neglected to clone it, but I may just have to go ahead and do that.

I ended up sending this to them last night and received a very warm email back, but of course, not quite the opinion of the knowledgeable fellow photographers we have here...so again, I appreciate the comments.

- A.J.

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Re: Ky

Post by Nando on Mon Oct 13, 2008 10:30 pm

If the client is happy and if they paid you then its a good photograph.

In this photograph, the umbrella is the focal point due to its position in the composition and also its colours and shape. If I were in your place, I'd probably get rid of the shoelace as it seems distracting to me, with the groom looking down in the general its general direction. One of my first thoughts was if you told the groom that his shoe was untied and took a the shot at the moment he looked down.

Did you happen to crop this photograph by any chance? If not, then your positioning was excellent. If you did crop, then your cropping skills are excellent. Geometrically, the photograph is simple yet very strong. I'd say, close to perfect, to be honest. The position of the umbrella is perfect. The position of the groom's head and shoulders are also perfect. (When I say perfect, its in respect to composition using principles of the golden/divine ratio.) This is one of the reasons why I feel that if the groom was looking directly at the camera, it would have been a stronger and better balanced photograph. The groom's eyes and eyebrows would have been positioned approximately where his ears are positioned now. The eyes would have been bang-on! It would soften the tendency for the eyes to move down and it would balance the strong umbrella which is reinforced by the crossed legs. I think that a viewer would have first focused on the grooms (hopefully) smiling face and then the umbrella and his stance with the crossed legs would suggest a classy and relaxed personality.

I can probably illustrate better what I mean by 'drawing' on your photograph if you would allow me to do so. It is somewhat hard to explain in words what I am seeing/thinking. Even I'm not really confident in my analysis unless I make some visual scribbles.
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Re: Ky

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sat Oct 18, 2008 12:33 pm

I like it a lot, the vignetting works but could maybe be a little more subtle. I agree with Fernando that the composition is good.
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Re: Ky

Post by crowellphotographs on Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:40 am

I think this shot is a hit. Like the others have said, I think the composition/relationship to the frame work very well. I think the focal length chosen is beautiful as well. Just enough foreground with the road trailing to the center of the frame. I do have to agree with Nando that the shot is bottom weighted, unfortunately because of this beautiful background line, it is easy for the mind to already divide the image into two sections. Not that this is bad, just with a little more thought into how to make both top (in relation to the horizon) and bottom have as much appeal, this style would only get better.

The biggest distraction for me would actually be the red hand. I realize that you are playing with a warm color balance for the image, but it's just a bit too much. The looking down is also a bit unflattering to the subject. What really stands out for me when I look at the face/head are a nose and the tips of his ears. I do like the fact that the subject is not engaging the lens, but I think a bit of a compromise could have been made here. Maybe still looking down, just not straight down. I'd probably say looking somewhere just ahead of the frame and a bit to the left. This however is tough to imagine, and comes down to taste. I enjoy the "looking off frame" shots because if done properly, it allows the viewer to imagine what he is looking at. A beautiful bride maybe.
I also have to agree with the vignette being a bit overdone. The subject is so strong, and you really don't have an overly distracting(or boring) background so there's no real need to try and drive the eye to the center. It's going to happen. I think you've definitely identified that some could be useful to the shot, just not that much.

All in all, GREAT composition, color, color balance..... great shot. I'm just busting your b@ll$.
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Re: Ky

Post by Nana G2006 on Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:23 pm

Since all of the guys who really know a lot more about photography have said their piece, I want to add mine. I went back to your Flickr site and when you look at this photo there, along with the "Nixon" shot, I think you can see that if Ky had his head up a bit and off to the side like Nixon's it would make this photo even more outstanding. You must have had a great time doing this wedding - hope I get to see more shots soon. Nana G
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Re: Ky

Post by Cujo on Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:45 am

It's a great shot AA.

If we were taking it as a single shot - how you have it posted here - all the hard comments are quality comments etc. Taking it as one of many shots for a complete wedding set you've hit it out of the ball park.

And that's my quick comment Wink
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Re: Ky

Post by Guest on Sat Oct 25, 2008 2:59 pm

Wow, sorry all. Been so busy working lately I haven't had a chance to reply to all these posts Sad

Nando: Thanks. I can't recall exactly, but either I didn't crop it at all or there was a VERY minor horizon straightening and the necessary crop that went with that. I would say it's 99% of the original photo you're seeing.

I'd love for you to draw on my photo, I'm eager to see these ideas you're explaining--I'd do better to have a visual of it rather than trying to piece together what I think you're talking about in my head (most likely incorrectly, haha).


KA: Thanks. Seeing that it's almost unanimous that the vig is too strong, I'll have to re-work this and keep this in mind for the future.

CP: No worries about the @LL-busting! Bring on the BB-ing, I say.

I see what you mean now about just being able to see the 'tips' of the facial features.

I haven't had a chance to see this on paper or even on a monitor other than my own yet. I didn't think the hand was super red but I can see that it would be better if it was a bit less intense...I should maybe be more careful with saturation levels? Facial skin tones look okay here, maybe just because they're darker (less exposed) though.

Nana: The wedding definitely was a blast!

WOW! Haha... I just flipped over to Flickr and saw the Nixon shot right under this one of Ky and I feel almost embarrassed now. So strikingly similar...I'm surprised no one called me out on that yet. Sad

Anyway, I have a lot of work ahead of me still with this wedding. I'll post more as I go through them--if there's any that stand out to me like this one did anyway.

Cujo: Quick or not, appreciated Smile

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Re: Ky

Post by Nando on Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:29 pm

AJ,

I already made my scribbles and confirmed my thoughts a while ago. When I encounter a successful photograph (to my eye), I try to analyze the photograph geometrically in terms of 'classical' western teachings concerning aesthetics/beauty usually revolving around the magical number Phi and the Golden Ratio (aka Divine Ratio). It is thought that humans are hardwired to recognize the Golden Ratios/Patterns subconsciously and not just when it comes to visual images but also in music, literature/poetry, and other non-visual things. Basically, the more that the geometric features reflect the Golden Ratio in their proportions, the more beautiful. I analyze images geometrically not to judge images but to help myself 'see' better. I'm also a mathematical thinker. So I relate better to hard numbers and geometry than I do to abstract, subjective notions evolving emotional reactions, political messages and other BS that really reveals more about the viewer/critic than the photograph itself.

Some info on Phi and the Golden Ratio:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio
http://goldennumber.net/

I had a conversation with a friend of mine (you met him at the Bean a few weeks ago) about your photo. He thought it would have been better if the groom was lowered a bit in the frame but I insisted that the position was stronger geometrically where it was. So I put some overlays over your image and shared it with him. I also sent it to Ken as we were meeting for coffee a bit later that night (I think) and we were emailing each other back and forth shortly after I was done with your photo. Anyway, here it is:



I overlaid two symmetrical golden spirals in red and a set of golden triangles in cyan. I highlighted some key areas so you could see what I meant by my previous statements. Umbrella is perfect. The shoulders are perfect. If the groom was looking at the camera, his eyes would be in-line with where the ears are and his forehead would probably be where the golden spirals intersect. Take a look at the golden triangles in cyan. Notice how it frames the body on the left and then crease/shadow on the pant leg and how it brushes the top of the shoe on its way to the very centre of the umbrella.

Now, this level of precision when it comes to classical geometrical compositions is usually only found in the realm of drawing, painting and other disciplines where the craft-person has ample time to plan things. In photography, I guess that it would include the studio photographer and a landscape photographer as they do have time. A street-photographer, on the other hand, has to do this on pure instincts as that type of photography dictates an extremely fast pace. Given the faster pace of most types of photography (compared to other disciplines), to recognize and then shoot geometrically sound compositions quickly and on a consistent basis takes a lot of talent - most photographers are just lucky when they pull off such a shot. That's why Henri Cartier-Bresson is THE MAN! He could pull off perfect compositions one after another as a photojournalist and street-photographer la sauvette (on the run) - he was a prodigy that nobody has ever matched. He doesn't just have 4 or 5 truly great photos like most famous and successful photographers but hundreds of them.

Take a look at this link:
http://fotogenetic.dearingfilm.com/golden_rectangle_2.html

Now, when I showed this to my friend, he did see where I was coming from but he told me that I was "splitting Golden Hairs". He's right. This was a relatively simple composition. If it the groom was indeed lowered, perhaps centered in the frame, it would still be a good photograph geometrically. Really, I think that it would be hard for this shot to not be a good photograph. Why? Most importantly, you chose the right focal length and you positioned yourself at the right distance and angle. Then your use of DOF was good, your exposure was good, and you pressed the shutter at a good time. You made very good decisions, in my opinion, and you were rewarded with a very fine, classical composition.

As far as the Nixon photo on flickr, I think its a nice photograph. The colours are nice the subject is very cute. I found the fence distracting. Geometrically, its ok. Follows the basics but its not in the same league as the Ky photo. I think you should add the Ky photo to your portfolio.


Last edited by Nando on Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Ky

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:49 pm

Ow... my brain.
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Re: Ky

Post by Nando on Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:50 pm

You didn't go through this stuff in school?
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Re: Ky

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:33 am

What was that, like 12 years ago? Nobody ever accused me of being a perfectionist.
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