I am trying really hard to improve enough to get some portraits of my children that I would be happy to print and display. What could I do to improve these? Feel free to pick and choose which you CC.
All taken with my 50mm
1. ISO400, SS1/160, F2.0
2. ISO640, SS1/100, F2.8
3. ISO500, SS1/100, F2.5
4. ISO640, SS1/100, F2.8
5. ISO640, SS/1/100, F2.5
You're really doing a great job! The lighting is great on these! They would make fantastic b&w's! Focus looks really good! Nice job!
For 1-3, I would have liked to see you back up a little more. The reason being that I feel like you need to see the rest of the collar of her shirt. I think that it breaks your line of sight when looking at the photo. With the collar in the frame, your eye would go in full circle around the photo. This is being pretty nitpicky though.
Watch the head chop in #4
Was your boy in a slightly different spot? The lighting looks a lot more soft and pleasing in his, and a bit more harsh in hers. I'm wondering if he was away from the window a little bit more than she was.
I'd also brighten his just a tiny little bit. They're looking every so slightly on the darker side. Or...maybe just try warming it a tad. It may be that it's just looking a bit cool instead. Try both and see what looks better.
Now, I'm not one to really talk about this, but I do notice the background needs pulled tighter. It's not wrinkly necessarily, but just kind of wavy. It looks the best in #1.
I love the head chop in #4 :) I think it draws you purposefully in to his beautiful eyes. It's my favorite for that reason.
I love #1 of your daughter because of her sweet, relaxed smiling expression. The background is also the best.
Sorry, I stink at cc, but those are my opinions fwiw.
Steph's already given great CC, but I just wanted to add that I think you're on the right track. The light is fantastic in these, especially with your son! I agree they'd make great B&Ws too!
Jess, you're definitely on the right track with saying that it brings you to his eyes. However, if there's going to be a head chop, you want to make it look intentional. The original looks accidental, because not much was chopped. Here it is again, with more of it chopped, bringing you even more to his eyes. And just because it was screaming b&w to me, I converted it ;) G, if you don't want it up, I can remove it. It's completely private on Flickr.
Love the edit! (sorry in advance for the slight threadjack, BTW)
Steph, I am so glad that you clarified that for me. I've seen you comment on head chop before, and I assumed that you just didn't like head chop in general. Of course, you might not, but I was thinking all of this time that you were trying to say it was a "rule." I tend to like it, generally.
Yeah, I tend to chop the head quite often...most of the time unintentionally ;) I'll usually do a little "fix" and make it look like I meant to do it HA! I do like the look, when there's a nice tack sharp photo. I'll get distracted if it has missed focus or just OOF in general. For this particular one, I think I would prefer if the entire head was in it, just because of the fact that he has his hood up. I find that I'm "missing" the rest of the picture since I can't see the top of the hood. This is super nitpicky stuff though, and getting more into the advanced category.
And it's definitely not a threadjack!
Oops, I thought I had replied to this. Sorry.
Steph, they were in exactly the same spot. The only difference is he is slightly taller. I really like your edit! I'll come back later to reply properly.
Thanks for the CC ladies.
Steph, now that you have pointed it out I get what you are saying about the neckline. I had purposely come in tight as I didn't like the top she was wearing and couldn't get her to change it. So I was doing my best to minimise it. I could have been pulled back though and gotten the nice continuous line without having to see too much of the actual top. I have had a play with his photos and it I brighten them they look strange and if I warm them they look strange (to me) so I did a combination of both (small adjustments) and it does look better. I can upload if you like.
I will have to show you a pull back of the background when I can. It was literally a blanket thrown over our fireguard. Next time I will be sure to pay more attention because, as usual, you are right that it needed to be pulled tighter. What does everyone else use for backgrounds?
Jess, thanks for giving me your opinions. That is what CC is about and we all get better at giving it the more we try. I think it helps with my photography too as I can try and relate what I have noticed in other's images and use that to try and improve my own.
I think the lighting is wonderful on these photos. I have not read the other CC so pardon if its a repeat. I would pull them far from the background, if you cannot, I would fix the background when you are processing, you can burn it. I love #4 but I agree about the head chop being more purposeful... If you had gotten his whole head without chop, I would extend the canvas as seen here so that his eyes follows the rule of third, which would make the photo much stronger.
ETA: And remember to be on the same level as your kids, kneel - bend etc. most of these it looks like they are looking up to you, which makes for an awkward pose.