Photo Critiques Images 168 through 197
Okay we've got a floating elbow again. I love her expression. I love her expression, we've got a diamond there, there could be a lot more movement in her body. I'm not quite buying the hand but I'm okay with it. I struggle with this image because I want so much for that hand to look real and I don't believe it. So, I would have loved this image had her hands just been straight down and she was kicking her booty back. I want you guys to start coming back to simplicity. Simplicity is where it's at and it's just something that just makes everything look so good. Don't try so hard to create diamonds if they're not working. Make them simple, just drop them down. And I want you every time you're shooting to try at least 20 hand positions before you change the pose. Or at least five, remember? So remember, on 28 Days there's a five poses, one composition, five poses, and you start moving the hands around before you change out. Other than that, her shoulder is not working to her chin, but her ...
face is absolutely exquisite. It does look very soft up close, like it's had a bit of a Gaussian blur on it or too much portraiture applied. So, button back on the portraiture a little bit if that's what you're using. And just try and give me hands down, simplify. You know, maybe there's other shots in this sequence that are better. At the end of the day, I've got a hand on the belly in the front which leads me straight down the belly line. And I've got no chin to the front of the shoulder. Okay, so I'm not connected. What I do love about it is the background choice. I love that you went straight into those old woods. But if you're going to shoot it, take this hand from here to here. Because that hand is dominating and it's stealing, and it's also taking away from her waistline. And I want her chin to come around just a little more and connect. Okay, this is one of those instances where a hand is gratuitous but it kind of works because she's got a good, soft hand. She's got a nice soft expression and it works well. I think you could have pumped up your contrast a little bit more, made your darks a little bit darker. And this is quite a simple portrait for me. It works, it would work in a sequence. I don't know that it's a wow shot, but it's not something that I can actually complain about. It's got some really good simplicity. Yeah, I kind of like it. Unfortunately, these hands that are coming up, I'm seeing them all so much. Just be careful that if you're showing too much of the back of the hand, you can turn it around to here. Something that I don't see used enough is this sideways hand on the shoulder. And sometimes I think that with the hair, it could be here and it could be moved around a little bit. So, you can try a little bit of movement with the hand. And sometimes this really works, to just have the floating hand here, or even have the hand into here. So that can work. Just try a few different hand movements. But, otherwise, it's a good portrait.
2MissLisa asks, "When posing short, curvy girls "who don't have long limbs, what do you do with the arms? "I'm finding that short, curvy girls are finding it "really hard to hug elbows or move arms around the body."
But they can hug their elbows under their boobs, like that, because it's a really lengthening shot. Then they can drop their chin down. So, look at the curves, 28 Day curves for that. Because pulling the boobs in, and pulling the elbows back, and putting the elbows out to space, all work incredibly well. Just don't bring hands up to the face. Very rarely would I bring a hand up, just like this one, it's cropped to the side. But this is beautiful because this is a beautiful, soft hand. Although do I need the hand there? Look at this dress and look at this expression. This is being nailed on every level. She's got a good taper on her waist, and it's a perfect crop from the top of the head to the belly button. Just watch that the hand is there for a reason. Had it been turned sideways, I'd give that a perfect. But that front on is just very strong. Because when I look at it and I blur my eyes, a really good way to see where you are lead to in an image is to look at it and blur your eyes and see where you're drawn to. And I am really drawn to that hand. So, if I had taken that out, I'd love it. This is your standard lying down, ottoman shot. It's a classic shot. It sells to all of my clients. It's not as easy to do as you think, because if it was, everybody would do it better. I've got an entire section dedicated to the ottoman in all of my teaching because it is my biggest selling shot. This is really well done and well executed, and I love it. Good expression, good shoulder. Again, good expression, good shoulder, good hands. I mean, that's really beautifully done. You can really bring hands up like that when you've got a long, lean client like this. You can see the length in her elbow, so I can tell how tall and lean she is. She's got beautiful hair and this just really works, so a beautifully executed image. Definitely a very beautiful girl. She could have had a little bit more of a relaxed mouth, but it's a good shot, and I like the hands up. But, you know, with a body as hot as hers I may pulled back and just shot her sitting on her knees on the bed. I would have maybe got a little bit more in there. I would have liked to have either seen her face closer with a really relaxed mouth, or just a little bit further away. But, I mean, she's a gorgeous girl and it's a good shot of her. I actually really love this. Alright, so we've got a good shoulder, we've got a good chin. I love this connection. Very straight look on her face but just enough to be fashion. Incredibly beautifully styled. I like the wrap, I like the back line. I like how this works. This is gonna be a great folio shot, a beautiful voucher shot. It's gorgeous, well done. This is a good shot. It works because she's cute. And it works because she's got a cute body. But the hand is misplaced but it's okay because it kind of works. It could have been a little bit lower, but it didn't have to be moving at all. But I do like that it's pulled back, and I do like that she's against the wall, and not just free styling. I like her expression and I love the way this is being styled. I just feel like the hands just pop straight out there. So, maybe if it was dropped down, it would be better. But, again, good shot, cute. Alright, so this doesn't work for two reasons. One of them is she's a floating heat in the center of the image. And, two, it's because her elbow is going nowhere and it doesn't belong anywhere. You don't see where it comes from, so what is it. It just doesn't look right. But she's got a good expression and she's got a good face. So, if you drop that hand down, I would have believed it more. I like that what you've got going on with her styling and her eyes, all good connections. But it's just misplaced with that arm that's just floating out of nowhere. You've done a really good job of styling her, but I just don't believe those elbows out. So, be really careful with those elbows out. This is a good shot. It's a little bit too retouching software around the face because I can see too much softness. I would like it to be a little bit sharper, but I don't know if it's the face or not. I'm loving the color choice to shoot that yellow mustard straight into the light. The flowers look good. There's been a lot of flowers today, but then I shoot with a lot of flowers and I do a lot of flower shooting. I do a lot of backlight shooting, it looks always good with the flowers. I'm not worried by that. I think it looks really, really good. That hot spot under her arm is a little bit distracting on the screen. So, maybe take that down. But that's good. I'd maybe crop that a little lower under the heat and just show a little bit more bustline. And is she leaning forward or is she lying down? Because if she's leaning forward, I just want it to be a little bit more upright pushing her chin forward and down. It's an interesting crop choice, this one. You could have gone wider on your horizontal or gone to vertical, but you've outset it now, the shot. Her chin is forward, it's beautifully styled, cropped at the top of the head. It could have gone a little bit lower so you could be showing me her bustline, but she's a beautiful girl. She's been well shot. She's been well made over. And I love her expression to the camera. So, it's a great shot. Alright, so this is not retouched in how I would retouch. I think her eye makeup is very dark, but that's okay, that could be her personal choice. The blusher is very strong and it hasn't been retouched under the eyes, which I don't like. But just be careful touching the face. I think this is probably being call of the day, it's about the face touching. It's pulling the hand down so it's not so high, it's not talking on the phone. I want to see more body language and less placed hands. It's like a glamour shot of somebody's bike. But that's okay, it's an interesting choice to put in for my critique. I like what you're going with it. Maybe she came in for a glamour shoot and said I love my bike. I'm assuming it's a bike. But, you know what, she's got so many incredible colors in there, I would pump that up, put a lot of contrast in there. Take off that shadow under her eye, really illuminate that beautiful eye. Because she's a gorgeous girl and those tatties are amazing. Pump up that purple in the background and make it a real vibrant pop of art shot. Okay, this is good but this shot down again. Shooting down on a lean body is completely unnecessary. I don't know what that black line is behind her. But if you had come down lower and shot up, you would have absolutely nailed the shot. It's good styling, it's a good forward shoulder, good connection back. She does look a little bit down in the mouth. She could come up a little bit more in her expression, but that's a pretty solid look-back strong shot. You know, I like that. That's your classic teen or senior. Your hair looks good. You've good movement in her body. Her elbow is pulled back. There's definition in the hourglass. She's connected to the front. You've got good hands, nice and relaxed eye symmetry. She is a little bit too far to the right, you could have brought her back into frame. But that's a pretty standard, good solid shot from there. Alright, a before and after. The first thing I see in this image, sadly, is that big teardrop shadow that comes down from her right eye that makes it look like her mascara has run. Because this is a beautiful shot and you've absolutely nailed the backlight. Put that hand down, it doesn't need to be there. Again, too many hands up over the head with just normal expressions instead of, if you're gonna do the hands up over the head, you've got to do that real supermodel expression. That one that looks like they own their hands up over the head. Otherwise, pull them down. It would have been just as beautiful shot with the hands down. And more importantly, I would have really connected with her incredible eyes, because they're bright yellow. And just watch that your before shot is not too happy. Because she looks like she's having a great time in her before shot, and then not a good time in her fashion shot. But if she was smiling sort of nervously and like look at me getting my makeup done, and then really working it, then you would have absolutely rocked that before and after. So, this is your classic model line where the chin goes higher, and there's no connection to the shoulder because you don't have to. Very rarely in all the years I've been shooting do I get a body line like this. The difference being is because you've posed her like a model and because you've shot it with flash light instead of natural light, it looks like a catalog, not like a portrait or a beauty portrait, because the focus is on her body. To me this looks like she's advertising her dress, not a beautiful shot of her face. Although in terms of her being a beautiful girl, without doubt you've captured a beautiful girl. But this is classic what I see. I see a beautiful shot that to me looks like a catalog or a fashion shot, that to me is not a beauty shot. A beauty shot is when you can't stop looking at her face. I would have loved to have seen this in a more natural light, that's not in a filled light. And I love the movement that you've got in the blowing of her hair. But I just feel like it's just a little bit too catalog for me. Maybe it's the flash that's doing it. And maybe you could play around with some color filters and take them into the blues and pinks and see if you can make it look a little bit more portrait in that way. But I feel like you've taken a beautiful photo of a great dress on a hot body. And see that to me is more of an expression to the face. I love the shoulder, I love how it's working. I love the connection in the dress. You've got a good elbow pulled back. She's got definition, this is a beautiful shot. This is a very well executed moving shot. You know how hard that is to move. One of the most important things you'll do when you start swinging dresses is people swing their elbows out all of the time. So, it's really nice to see a moving shot where she's got a good hair-blowing and she's got elbows in with her dress out. This really works for me. We haven't seen a lot of dancing shots today. We haven't seen a lot of moving, and this has been executed beautifully. Interesting choice to go square. I would have kicked it horizontal, but that's okay. I'm assuming it was shot horizontally. You've got a good 45 connection, elbows forward, slims out the arms when the elbows go. She's got a good, tight expression. And that's your really typical, standard lifestyle portrait shot. And it works for her, so I like it. I wouldn't change anything about it other than the crop. Okay, really classic example. You've done a beautiful job of lining up their hands. You've done a beautiful job of getting her close to her. You've done a beautiful job of sitting them up nice and tall so their shoulders are over their elbows. But they both look terrified of you. They look like they're gonna burst into tears. Both of them need to come out with their chins. And then together so that they're not like this. And both of them look like they're kind of consumed. So, I just love this but the expression, it's very hot on the face in terms of flash light. You didn't need to crop it so tight to the redhead. top of the head. If you had just got a little bit more expression there, I would have really liked it. Be careful with your backdrop, it's very dating. I think it's going to be, it's very boudoir. I don't know that it's very glamour. I feel like it puts you more in the '80s category than it puts you in the 2000 sittings. So just watch that one. And just square up the faces a little bit more, and little bit better expression. But everything else was executed really tightly in this image. If I was to look at this image, I'll be really honest and say I feel like I'm looking at an old school photographer. Because I feel like it's old school executed with old school mistakes.
Ruthie had a question with regarding to skin tone. How important is it to you to get really true skin tones?
Oh, I don't get a true skin tone at all. All of my skin tones are cold. I prefer cold skin tones. I always go away from red and into cyan. It looks more fashion.
But as far as other people that maybe choose the opposite aesthetic, skin tones to you is not the most important thing as far as--
Knock yourself out.
Thank you, that's what I wanted to hear.
Yeah, my choice has always been to go to cold tones. I don't know if you remember shooting in the early '90s, but when we were still shooting film, we were shooting a lot of E6 cross process. So, we were shooting Tranny film cross process in a C41 processor, which gave us this incredibly blown-out white skin, cyan tint, magenta tint through all of our images. What it did give us was that cold look, which was very fashion. It also blew out in the dark so badly and looked really muddy, but in the high key, in the highlight, it was outstanding. Although it is very dating looking. So, what I loved about that cross process was we were always shooting towards cyan. So, as soon as we went to digital, I always had this propensity to go towards cyan when I was Photoshopping. I still do. It takes the red out of images which makes it stop looking like normal photography. To me, it's the only way I can describe it, it's quite weird, it makes it colder which makes it look more fashion and edgy. Very rarely would I cover a model's face and shoot in it. This kind of works. It kind of works and it kind of doesn't. In the context of a folio, the feathers actually kind of look like her eyebrow and hair, which is a little bit confusing. It's actually a really beautiful shot. I would have actually loved it if it was cropped a little lower and with more hand because it's a beautiful mouth and eyes. So, this works for me. But it's just cropped a little high on the face. Like I feel like if you had just shaved the top off it and shown me a little bit more hand, then I would have made that work. Okay, cute shot, young girl, but she looks pissed off. So, she looks like a typical pissed-off teenager. And remember when they're young and they're just getting boobs, you could have just pushed her flat against the wall. She didn't have to be pushed forward. She does look super young, so if her hips were pushed back to the wall, it would be a little bit more age appropriate and just a little bit more of a smile would have just made this a really cute portrait. It's well done, beautifully executed, nice and sharp. She's got her chin forward. She's got such a beautiful mouth. But I would have just liked to have seen a little bit connection to the front and a little bit more expression on her face. Alright, so this is a classic example of moms dominating up in the shot instead of the daughter being higher. So, mom should have been sitting in a chair, daughter should have been standing. They shouldn't have both been sitting, if they are sitting, I don't know, maybe they're both standing. If the mom was sitting, she should have been slightly lower. Let's get this right because none of the posing two's have been working out today. So, I want to see a couple of things. Let's have a look at this. Nikki, you jump in the chair, and you go behind her, Jen. Okay, so this is what would have worked here. See Jen instantly is two inches higher than Nikki. So, straight away this is where we wanna be. We wanna stagger our pose, and the reason we wanna do that is because in this image mom looks bigger than the daughter who's standing behind her. And it doesn't work to be bigger than the person that you're standing behind. Just step back, Jen. Because the mom is down here like this. The daughter is down here behind her and mom's dominating the image. Whereas she should be dominating the image just slightly here. I mean, you can have them almost equal, there and there, chins straight back to the camera, but just not that lower crop. So, what's happening is you're drawing down the mom's frame and not together. But if she's slightly taller than her, then if her hand goes back to here and they connect there, she leans forward and then they bring their chins to the front of the camera there. Then see you connect their body language by tipping her head back this way. Beautiful big smiles, ladies. And there it is. So, right there, just like that we're connecting them. Also, mom is turned side on. So, she's turned side on to the camera this way, and I'd rather see her slightly open 45 degrees and have her body coming around. And that would have been perfect. Thank you, ladies.
Sue, a clarification and question from Frances Marie. Would you always suggest that the daughter stand, or is it just a matter of the size of the person, the larger person stands behind?
I do, I often stand the larger person behind. What happens if they're both large, stand them up. Okay, don't sit them down. Because if there's two large people, the one thing you don't do about curves is as soon as you sit curves down and everything falls in here, I mean, who wants that shot, nobody wants that shot. So, stand them up, tip them on the back foot together and do the beautiful heart shape shot together. And you can do it in two or three different looks and outfits, and it will make a significant difference to how you're shooting and selling.
So, it's not an age thing at all, it's a size thing?
Yes, it's not an age thing, it's the size. You always wanna slim down. So, it just doesn't work. These women are obviously slim. They've got no connection to their hands. Mom looks like she's here, daughter is holding onto her forearm for grim life. Neither of them are connected to the front shoulder, and neither of them are connected to each other. But what you've done is styled them beautifully. The daughter looks significantly smaller than the mother. So, if she was, she should have been in front, and it should have been at the 45. But it's two beautiful ladies with beautiful hair. I just want to see them connected with their face and their expression more. Okay, so if somebody is sending an image from 20 years ago, this is what I'd say this is. At the end of the day, it's Gaussian blur, it's soft focus. It's an old fashioned outfit in style and jewelry. I mean, it doesn't work. If it worked, it worked in 1990. Alright, really good before shot. Let's look at the after shot. This shot works for two reasons. Not because it's a good pose because it's not. And not because it's a good expression, well, sorry, it is a good expression but there's no connection or body language in this image. It works because she's pretty and she's slim. Same with this one. You've flattened her down onto her boobs. She's pretty and she's slim. But neither of these images are winning in body language, pose, composition. They're all shot too high. Now, that tells me that it's a good shot because she is pretty and that's winning. But if you had a curvy girl that wasn't as pretty in there, then this pose is not going to work from there. There's no shoulder, there's no connection. This elbow is projecting forward and she's flat on her boobs. So, I really want you to just push the elbow right back, look up nice and tall. I want to see some shoulder working because none of this shoulder is working, or body language is working towards the camera. Her chin is down to her shoulder. And then she's looking back at the camera but her shoulder is not back up to her chin. So, she should be up here, straighten her head up and bring your shoulder around and connect it this way. Two simple movements and you would have absolutely nailed that. You're also shooting down onto this girl. Make sure you come down lower and get her to lift up nice and tall, and bring in that shoulder, and working that shoulder across. This here is, shru-doot-da-doo-da doo. Too much back, not enough boob. But you would have heard that all day. I definitely like that you've got the elbow going down onto the leg, but I need you to open up this pose just a little wee bit more. So, Nikki, come on in. And bring in the apple box there with you. Okay, this is a really classic pose and I really want you to get this right. I perhaps wouldn't have done this pose with this girl in a taupe shirt, because it's very full and billowy. This is a pose I generally, generally reserve for more fashion quarterly. It's called fashion quarterly because that pose does nothing for her body. It's a very open billowy shirt, so it makes her arm look large. So, let's have a look at this pose. If she was wearing a tight outfit, I'd swap legs. Always have the back leg up and the front leg down. I always come up onto the toes. Because when they come up onto their toes, their legs look longer. Bring your toe right out to the edge, bring your elbow right to the edge there, and then touch down here. Now, we've got two spaces. We've got this big space here and we've got this space here. Both of these spaces create triangles around her body. They do that because she's wearing a tight dress. She's wearing a fitted dress and she's wearing tights. Okay, so if she was wearing a billowy dress, this would fill up the space. The shirt would fill up that arm. She would fill up this space. And it would make her look blocky and chunky, which is what you've done to this girl. So, you've got a beautiful expression, good shoulder, good chin, good look, good connection in the eye, and then you've just blocked up all this pose. So, maybe that would be more about outfit choice. And I wanna see more space. Now have a look at this. Nikki is small but she's short limbed. And a short-limbed person is just as disadvantaged sometimes as a curvy girl because they don't have the length of their limbs to create bigger spaces. So, she can look more blocky than she is because she's tiny in real life. So, what I wanna do is create as many spaces around her body as I can. So, if I put her thumb back to there, I create another triangle here. If I stretch out this apple box, then the elbow comes forward, I get a bigger space here. And if I push this foot down to there, I get a bigger space there. So, from the front of my camera, I work this shoulder forward, I bring the chin all the way around. I get her to sit up and nice and tall and push her chin forward, eyes to the camera. And then you go there. Now, the more space I create around her, the bigger she's going to look, the slimmer and longer she's going to look. It's all about length. Okay, thank you. Any questions for now? Alright, can I keep going? Beautiful image, beautiful girl, good asymmetry. The hands work, she's got her hands in her hair. It would have been such a classic shot if you just lifted her up into a model's chin, but it works. She's a little bit down and droopy in her eyes like this. So, if you had brought her up to here so she's sitting here like this, she's just got a little droopy top lid. If you brought her up to here with a droopy top lid, it would have looked the cover of W Magazine. So, beautiful shot, beautiful girl, just lift it up, straighten that head up. Alright, so watch the shawl. White on black, mmm, be careful here. Two things, one of them is I like her glasses and I like the bangs. I don't know that I would have put the flower with both. I would have probably pulled the back of her hair back and put the flower in lower and at the back. That's a lot of shawl wrapped around her body and it's not doing her any favors. It's executed well but in the sense that it's just a little bit too wrapped up in shawl. It's too big, it's too out there, so you can pull it back. And her hands are locked into her belly, like this, which is awkward. If she was gonna hold on, she could hold on to the bottom of her breast line here, and that would have worked. So, just keeping beautiful hands, making sure we're not locking down into the belly. It's a bit shawl-y. Alright, so I like the polka-dots and I like the blue. I like how everything has been executed. But what I've got is leaning hips, no shape in the body. And I'm looking at this part of the image here. So, I'm more drawn to her mid-frame than I am to her body. And the reason I'm doing this is because her mid-frame is projected up and down in the camera. Whereas I want her back on her back foot. I like how this is being processed and I love the lightness and coldness of it, because I'm always drawn to cyan in my images. But you've just got a bit of a fail on the body shape. There's no shape in this leaning arm. So, had this arm turned a little bit more this way, had this elbow come out so we touch the bottom of the bum with the hand here, elbow forward, we tip down the wall, we engage the chin long, we take this hand back and lift it up, that would have been a perfect hourglass. So, whatever this situation is being photographed in has been beautifully executed. I just want to see more shape and the body away from the camera. Go to 28 Days, go to the wall shaping, all of the wall poses for this one, and nail these wall poses. It's a definite seller in your studio.
Sue, another question from Tuftittle. "Is it valuable to teach yourself how to pose "so that you can better explain it to your client? "Should I spend time learning "and practicing posing myself?"
Absolutely, 100%. You should be able to explain or do the process yourself. Even the guys, when I teach the guys how to shoot, I always say ham it up. Do the pose, show them, just get them to mirror you. It's all about mirroring. All of my posing is about mirroring. Okay, I love this girl, how she's styled. I love her hair, I love her makeup. But it's a passport shot with shoulders at 45 degrees. If you had given me that front arm and connected that shoulder, I would love this shot. Short hair is such an interesting pose because short-haired people often have that little pixie face. I would have loved to have seen her going diagonal across the frame with her chin back like this. I would have loved to have seen her go down with her shoulder working up like this. But she's opened up in a curvy girl pose, and yet she's obviously lean and you're not doing her any favors. You should have given me body language. So, beautifully styled but badly executed in your front shoulder. But if you had created that front shoulder, you would have given me asymmetry, body language, and connection, and expression all in one go. So, the movement of one shoulder is so important. And I really wanna see it shifting, bring up. I wanna see rotation. And why shoot down on a lean body? I want you to get below her, make it look more fashion. I like the tight crop to the head, it should have been right at the top frame looking back this way, or even pulled back straight to the camera, lots of shape. And her body would have absolutely rocked this girl.