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MizBrown

Asking for a critique of my portfolio

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Rebecca,

 

You asked so here is my opinion of the first page of you images that I saw.

 

I love to photo of Belle (Great image in my opinion), I also have a wonderful

feline named Bon Jovi and he was adopted from a shelter.  BJ was abandoned

because his family lost their house during the last downturn in the U.S., 

but who is going to license it your picture of Belle? What cat, how old?

Who, What Why, When and How in the IPTC or captions.

 

You are in a great place in the world to be making images, Wish we could

trade places, I have half a foot of snow on the ground in New England...

 

Please keep in mind that I have over forty years working as a photographer

for publication and I am often surprised by contributors to Alamy that sort

of do this "part time" and do not take making images seriously. 

 

Take a look at this please his pictures and view of life and images are interesting

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/lens/a-year-of-quiet-contemplation-led-to-the-rebirth-of-alec-soths-photography.html

 

Best,

 

Chuck

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45 minutes ago, Chuck Nacke said:

Rebecca,

 

You asked so here is my opinion of the first page of you images that I saw.

 

I love to photo of Belle (Great image in my opinion), I also have a wonderful

feline named Bon Jovi and he was adopted from a shelter.  BJ was abandoned

because his family lost their house during the last downturn in the U.S., 

but who is going to license it your picture of Belle? What cat, how old?

Who, What Why, When and How in the IPTC or captions.

 

 

Thanks.  I've got a couple of both Belle and the new cat Maude and have tried to give them color pattern labels and probably should add what their emotional expressions seem to be.  Belle was a gift of another expat whose house she showed up in, and Maude decided that she wanted to live here and her first owner was the dentist next door.  We discussed what was going on and Belle was allowed to make her own decision.   Maude is original cat color--close to the Libyan wild cats that moved in to help humans with their rodent problems: black bottomed feet, broken tabby pattern, golden brown under the tabby, spots on the belly.  Belle is a calico/tortoise shell.  Maude is around six months old.  Belle is over.a year.   So I should make sure either the caption or the keywords mention these things?

 

I think here is actually hard because the temptation is to do exotic photos.  Taking photos of people is a collaboration between who's being photographed and the photographer.  I've seen some photos taken by Nicaraguan photographers of Nicaraguans that have a directness and bold intelligence that foreign photographs may not get from the people they photograph.  

 

I've also missed shots that stay in my mind's eye: pro-Ortega kids kicking down my block's barricade and black vultures squabbling over a dead cat.

 

I've been taking pictures on and off since getting a Asahi Pentax when I was 16.  Did some photojournalism as part of a reporting job for a weekly in Virginia, didn't have a camera for years, then started in again while living in Virginia in the later 1980s and through the 1990s.  Never quite made it my profession, was kinda afraid of turning a hobby more serious, but decided to start sending things to Alamy.

 

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4 hours ago, Chuck Nacke said:

You are in a great place in the world to be making images, Wish we could

trade places, I have half a foot of snow on the ground in New England...

 

 

Snow makes for good pictures 🙂  I love taking pictures in snow.. maybe I get a bit more excited about it though as we don't get much of it in these parts!

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Good subject matter, you have an eye, but sometimes your backgrounds detract.

 

Use depth of field to make your subject matter sharp, and the background out of focus.

 

If a object is not moving, then I will take multiple images from the same angle with f openings from wide open to closed down. That would be F2.8-F11 on full frame. I then select the ideal image with the ideal depth of field when processing on the computer.

 

If the subject is moving around, like in a casual quick portrait, then preset a f opening to render everything from the ears to the tip of the nose in focus, with the background out of focus. On a full frame semi telephoto shot that would be F 5.6 when focused on the eyes. To include costume in focus as well as face then F8. If F8 renders a background, like a wall with a distracting pattern too sharp, then ask your subject to move closer to you and away from the wall. The wall is still in the image but now it is out of focus.

 

For instance an author portrait taken in their study. You do not want to be able to read the titles of the books in the background. Move the author out from behind the desk into the centre of the room so the head and shoulders are sharp but the books in the library are soft enough to provide atmosphere suggesting occupation, but not sharp enough to interfere with the author.

 

If you are shooting news, and do not have that level of control, then pre visualize as best you can before the action happens.

 

You want to hit that sweet spot where your subject is in focus with the subject outline carefully delineated, but the background is thrown out of focus enough that it does not detract from the subject.
 

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52 minutes ago, Bill Brooks said:

Good subject matter, you have an eye, but sometimes your backgrounds detract.

 

You want to hit that sweet spot where your subject is in focus with the subject outline carefully delineated, but the background is thrown out of focus enough that it does not detract from the subject.
 

 

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm going to try getting out more with the Sony a7 cameras which should allow more control of depth of field.   My main street camera is an a6000 using a 24mm f/1.8 lens, but I have two a7 original models, 35mm f2.8, 55mm f/1.8, and 18mm f/2.8 e-mount lenses, and two adapted lenses -- Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 and a Yashinon 50mm f/1.7 lens (lowish contrast but very sharp).  Plus assorted lenses for the a6000. 

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Posted (edited)

MizBrown be careful of camera weight.

 

My walk around Canon full frame outfit weighs 12.2 pounds. The weight gets in my way after 2-3 hours of walking.

 

So I am thinking of buying a lightweight walk around Sony a6400 with a full frame equivalent 24-105 zoom lens to use instead of my Sony DSCRX100 version 1, and sometimes instead of my heavy Canon outfit. The DSCRX100 is the right light weight, but often has too much depth of field for my purposes.

 

No perfect, one fits all solution, I guess.

Edited by Bill Brooks
clarity

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I don't see any images of Granada in your portfolio. You need to go there if you haven't already. It's a beautiful town, probably the most photogenic one in Nicaragua. Along the way, stop at Masaya and take some photos at the markets. San Juan del Sur is also worth a visit.

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6 hours ago, John Mitchell said:

I don't see any images of Granada in your portfolio. You need to go there if you haven't already. It's a beautiful town, probably the most photogenic one in Nicaragua. Along the way, stop at Masaya and take some photos at the markets. San Juan del Sur is also worth a visit.

 

All those places are on the other end of the country from where I live.  I've been to Granada and just don't get it.  Not as interesting as Harper's Ferry or some of the little historic towns in Virginia.  Boaco has been, so far, the most photogenic town in Nicaragua.  I took more photos there than in Leon, which I liked quite a bit, too.

 

So far of the six photos that were licensed, one was taken in Virginia when I lived there, one was taken in a museum in Mexico, one was taken of a Mexican oregano plant in my patio, one was taken of a historic style of rifle taken while photographing an expat's arms collection, one was of a local fruit (black zapote) on my counter, and the other was a pattern of different paving materials used in front of my house. So, I dunno.   I've had zooms on my Nicaraguan deaf children signing, but no sales, so I should go back and take better pictures of those.  Zooms on a photo of two Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.  

 

The trick might be to do photos that are not specific to Nicaragua per se, but of more general interest -- craftsmen making things, construction work, etc, just with browner people.   I don't have the money to spend time in Granada or San Juan del Sur even if I were attracted to them, which I'm not.  

 

What I'm looking for are things I can shoot in Jinotega, that I can either set up in my little studio with my strobes and reflectors, or that I can shoot walking around town.  We've had brush fires on the mountain ridge to the east of town -- so yesterday was shooting that, and an elderly pug and some of the market and people here.   Today, I was considering going after some leaf cutter ants with a 30mm macro lens on the a6000 and a flash that will work with it.  

 

Bill Brooks, I have an a6000 and two a7 first models and they're quite nice for walking around with.  I carried the a6000 with a 24mm lens around Mexico City when a friend and I were there three years ago.    



 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, MizBrown said:

 

All those places are on the other end of the country from where I live.  I've been to Granada and just don't get it.  Not as interesting as Harper's Ferry or some of the little historic towns in Virginia.  Boaco has been, so far, the most photogenic town in Nicaragua.  I took more photos there than in Leon, which I liked quite a bit, too.

 

So far of the six photos that were licensed, one was taken in Virginia when I lived there, one was taken in a museum in Mexico, one was taken of a Mexican oregano plant in my patio, one was taken of a historic style of rifle taken while photographing an expat's arms collection, one was of a local fruit (black zapote) on my counter, and the other was a pattern of different paving materials used in front of my house. So, I dunno.   I've had zooms on my Nicaraguan deaf children signing, but no sales, so I should go back and take better pictures of those.  Zooms on a photo of two Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs.  

 

The trick might be to do photos that are not specific to Nicaragua per se, but of more general interest -- craftsmen making things, construction work, etc, just with browner people.   I don't have the money to spend time in Granada or San Juan del Sur even if I were attracted to them, which I'm not.  

 

What I'm looking for are things I can shoot in Jinotega, that I can either set up in my little studio with my strobes and reflectors, or that I can shoot walking around town.  We've had brush fires on the mountain ridge to the east of town -- so yesterday was shooting that, and an elderly pug and some of the market and people here.   Today, I was considering going after some leaf cutter ants with a 30mm macro lens on the a6000 and a flash that will work with it.  

 

 

 

 

No doubt you have the right idea. I enjoy photographing architecture, so I found Granada a fruitful locale because of all the restored colonial buildings. I liked Leon as well, but for different reasons. I haven't been to San Juan del Sur since the late 1990's when it was still a sleepy little seaside village. No doubt it has changed considerably and is more of a resort now. I've been in the highlands as well, but not to Jinotega or Boaco. Actually, some of my best selling Nicaragua images are from the mountainous areas.

Edited by John Mitchell

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Posted (edited)

Many of your Nicaragua images look ideal for education use (e.g. textbooks). However, I'd suggest spending time improving captions and adding more keywords. Check All of Alamy to see what search terms buyers are using.

Edited by John Mitchell
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