One Hour Photo Featuring Colby Brown

Lesson 4 of 4

Photo Critique with Colby Brown

 

One Hour Photo Featuring Colby Brown

Lesson 4 of 4

Photo Critique with Colby Brown

 

Lesson Info

Photo Critique with Colby Brown

We're gonna take a look at some of our viewer's photos. Let's do it. And we're gonna see if we can give them some helpful advice. I like it. And what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna switch programs here. Okay. And we're gonna work with this in Lightroom that way if there is a change, like you think, you know, maybe we can crop this. Let's go ahead and make this change. So go full screen here. All right. And I do not have the names but all these people have submitted their photos to be critiqued. And so, it's our first time around, we're just gonna keep it anonymous at this point. All right, fair enough. So do you know what type of animal this is 'cause I love the hair on it. It looks almost like a yak. Okay, it could be. But I think I'm wrong. Because I'm not recognizing, kind of where that would necessarily be. Yeah, I'm not sure if that's, you know-- Some sort of bovine family Yeah exactly, exactly. And so, I think I have seen lots of great photos of this. A...

nd this one, I'm not such a huge fan of the out of focus post in the foreground, and the very bright background on it. I think there's a potentially really nice, tight headshot with those eyes just poking through-- Absolutely. The hair, what are your thoughts? Same thing, I mean I'm always a fan of looking at an image and trying to instantly, the first thing I look at is try to see what's distracting. That's usually my process for looking at my own images. Good, good. And for something like this, I 100% agree on both accounts. It's not only the post that is kind of out of the way, I can understand it kind of being in the situation, 'cause it might be hard to reach over or something's happening, but it does distract. And then the bright background, I understand that there was probably not enough dynamic range obviously to shoot it, photograph it. But I would highly recommend jumping in and darkening that. Using an adjustment brush or something to kind of paint that in. And the other thing that I would mention, because I am kind of a stickler for details, I always like to say that if you take care of the frame edges, the center will take care of itself. Most people don't pay attention to the frame edges, so if you look in the corner on the left side of this image, you see the frame edge is pretty close to the bull's horn. I was thinking the same thing, yeah. Or the bull's, so that bugs me. Just a little bit more space. Exactly, always, always give your subjects more space than you think they need. You can always easily crop in just a little bit, it's not a big deal to lose a megapixel. Yeah. You can't necessarily easily create a megapixel. It's a careful balance, because you're trying to get as many pixels on your subject as possible. And I encourage, take that tight shot, but then just want a little back up. Back up. That's why zoom lenses can be so nice. Absolutely. All right, we don't have too much time, so we'll go through these relatively quickly. Okay, so screaming fisheye lens. Yes. And I have been a big fan of fisheye lenses for a long time. But I don't know that this is the best use of one. No, I think the scene, this isn't really calling for it. And I think that the subject matter is just, it's distracting. Almost everything about this image is kind of distracting. I think it's just the nature of, you know, how the plants were, if they were some sort of natural frame you could get there in the bottom. Right. That could have changed things a little bit. I think, you know, depending on how you would want to balance out the trees. But there's a lot of elements that aren't lining up necessarily, so the problem is, is that my eye does not know where to go. Yeah, my eye keeps going down to the water, and like, I'm hoping to see a fish looking up at me. (laughs) That's what I want to see down there. Where's the fish? Yes, and so if you can bring a fish with you, it might totally make the shot. Absolutely. Okay, actually, I think this might be the same photographer here. Rainbows, so everybody gets excited with rainbows, everybody pulls their camera out with a rainbow, and getting the first shot of the rainbow get it out of your system, and then I think if you can incorporate something more, some other element. Maybe there's, you know, the perfect, a five-year-old girl in a yellow rain slicker standing in a puddle there. You have that there, right? It's always ready. No, I agree, I mean, I think it's a nice photo, it's nice, I don't really know what to do with it, you know, you might not necessarily want to put it up on your wall. You don't know where it is, it's nice. You know I always, once piece of advice I would say specifically for rainbows is utilizing circular polarizers, because rainbows, literally by definition, are reflected light. Right. So, if you're using a circular polarizer, maybe if this rainbow is like, more enhanced, or maybe if it was, you know, two rainbows, and you pulled it, I don't know. You can also make 'em disappear, so you have to be careful with how-- Exactly, you have to dial it in. Enhance it just a little bit more. Yeah, no I, yeah no exactly. All right, and so, kind of interesting here 'cause, immediately I notice that they cropped the image. Yep. So when it falls out of that one by 1 1/2 aspect ratio, I know they've done a little bit of work on it. Yep. I think it works, square works quite well. I don't mind not seeing the end of the trunk or the end of the legs. Usually I do, in this case, I don't. I think it actually does, as you mentioned, I think it plays well. And I think part of that is not necessarily just the crop, I think it's how they processed it. Yeah. I like the tones. Well, it's black and white obviously. Yeah. And I think this plays well in black and white. Absolutely, I mean, having been to many places that have elephants, I know that sometimes it can kind of just be very earth toney around there, so you don't really know what you can do in terms of processing, and elephants generally have very blue and kind of grayish tones, so you can't really bump up that saturation without them looking like an alien. Yeah, yeah. And so, black and white is very common, and their skin is kind of almost asks for it because of that contrast and that texture that you get. So whoever did this, I'm a fan of it. The only thing again, I would say, and again it's only being a stickler, is just checking out some of those pieces of the tree, where there's holes in it, in that kind of top right frame. Yeah. It's very nit picky, if I had to give some advice, it would be try to use a Clone Stamp tool or something, just to kind of fill in those, it's just, my eye is kind of pulling to it, a little bit. Yeah, your eye is drawn to the brightest element, so that's one of the distractions. Exactly. Now, would you suggest cloning some more stuff up in there, or just bring it down tighter on the crop? That's a good question. Let me just go ahead and do that, 'cause I did say we would actually do this. So I'm going to keep it in the same, it's just a little bit, maybe right there. And so let's go back. Oh, easy, yeah I would do that. We still have enough space above the head. As long as you have, give a little bit of breathing room for your subject I think you can get away with it. If it was down where it was super close, then you'd obviously have to create those pixels, but no. I think that was great. It's trying to go to a before image. And so, if I can, well I guess it's not going to work for me. Okay, so let's go here. The selective color. It's like the comic-- That's kind of a hot topic. It's the comic sans of photography, you know? (John laughs) It's a tough one, it really is. I get the desire. Right. So for those of you who don't know, it's a very common technique, it used to be really common in a black and white photograph. I mean, my parents' wedding photographs were black and white and somebody went in and hand colored them. And they kind of spent more time hand coloring in my mom and my dad than the background, so it kind of, and so the people have replicated that. Right. And it's something that, almost any time it gets used, it tees off a certain level of photographer, it's just like, it doesn't work. And so it's kind of one of those things, it's like, uh oh, you know, it's kind of a cheesy trick. A little bit. I don't think it works well here, because our subject, which, obviously, your eye is drawn to what's colorful in the image, isn't really strong. We're just kind of looking at their butt. Yep. Yeah, if it was something, and the colors, I think also, I think, what they were wearing, whether it was enhanced, or it was just the natural colors, which definitely seems like there was some enhancement, there's just, it's I don't know. There's something that just doesn't scream yes to me. But I think it looks like an interesting place for doing street photography. Absolutely, well it looks like there's a lot of color and action and movement, and things that could play well for you. I'd love to see it in the color version. And so I think their instincts are right for shooting at this time, but I think it just needs more refinement. Absolutely. All right, so, I'm not sure exactly what we're looking at. It looks like we're looking at the bottom of a spiral staircase, but I don't think people are walking on stained glass. I'm a sucker for spirals. Yeah, and colors. I love the colors. And so, and it's also got this weird reflective light going on around it as well. And so, I love this. I think it's great, I mean, I really, I don't see anything that I would necessarily change. I like what they've done, they've obviously added, I think there's definitely been a touch of glow because-- Yeah, you get the glow. Photographing this, you know, there wouldn't be so much glow. So that is a positive post-processing choice I feel. I think that a lot of that accentuates a lot of that light, the color coming off that stained glass. And, the whole, it just leads you through the entire image, which I think is a challenge for a lot of photographers. Yeah, very clean, clean edges and so forth. Yep, yep. Gotta show one of the puppies or the kitties and stuff. Of course. And I know you love your animals. And, this one, I included it because it's got a good look to it. It's got that something, 'cause when you have a picture of your animal, okay, fine, you've got the picture of an animal, but if you can have a little something extra that brings it out, and so I think here, the cropping needs to, needs to be adjusted. Improved, yep. What do you think about the scene? You know, it's kind of, the scene's kind of okay. I mean I'd love to see it if it was in more, it looks like there's more grass behind that obviously. But you can't pose the dog, necessarily, and I understand that. Yeah, you know, it might be something that I, if you had to photograph here, I might process it differently, maybe even try to go black and white or something, just because of so much dirt. Let's just do that old black and white. Yeah, I mean, just a little The dirt, we don't really notice that now. Yeah, and then I'd probably pull down the whites, we have this contrast between the bright whites and then the darker fur, so I'd pull back the highlights a little bit. Just kind of balance out the scene. But I think the most distracting element is still the crop. I think it's just the, part of the dog's head's cropped off, and then the side of the dog's face is just too close to the side. And then that bright thing in the upper right hand corner. Yeah. And so it's just kind of like, I want to back up about six inches to a foot, and then up a little bit to the right. Yep, take a step. And then have a nice clean grass background, and I love the look, so if that's your puppy, and he gives you that look all the time. Take it. Then you've got another shot at it. Absolutely. Okay, I think we're going to wrap it up after this, so I thank everybody for sending their photos in. Hopefully you've got something out of that. We're going to continue doing this every month, so I invite you to join me, to answer questions, and look at photos and do all sorts of other special, fun things as we go along on this, so thanks a lot for coming in. Colby, thank you very much for coming in, 'preciate it, and we'll see you next time on One Hour Photo with John Greengo.

Class Description

Click here to ask John Greengo your questions for future One Hour Photos!

Every month, John gives you an hour of expert guidance and immediate feedback with ten student questions and ten critiques in this exciting new series we're calling One Hour Photo. John will also sit down with one guest photographer who will offer insights, advice, industry knowledge, and participate in a photo critique of student images, and this month's guest is Colby Brown.

In this hour, John responds to questions about lens recommendations for different types of cameras and genres of photography, photography tips for how to get great sharp images in low light conditions, the differences and benefits between auto ISO and manual mode, just to list a few.

Colby Brown is a photographer, photo educator and author based out of Eastern Pennsylvania. Specializing in landscape, travel and humanitarian photography, his photographic portfolio spans the four corners of the globe. Throughout his work, one can see that he combines his love of the natural world with his fascination of its diverse cultures. Check out his CreativeLive classes.

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