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Thread: Need help with composition and and criticisms

  1. #1

    Question Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Hi all,
    I took this pic in brisbane just as i was returning to my hotel. I have been been havin trouble with composition and lighting issues with my camera. Somehow, when i see it from my camera, it seems nicely litted, but when i downloaded it on my laptop, it is disappointing dimmer than expected.

    So, this pic, i have use CS2 to increase the highlight, increased the vignetting effect....but it just doesn't seem right.

    Oh, and not to mention, why does my camera constantly take not so sharp pics even though i use ISO 100 and placed my camera on tripod? I find i'm doing too much of post editting...I'm not sure if all those pics out there do that much post editting as well.

    This is what i've done, increased highlights, used dodge tool, burn tool on some areas, sharpened the pic, used vignetting effect under lens distortion.

    Hope the experts out there can assist me....All ur criticisms on my photo is greatly appreciated.

    The comments and criticisms i needed are:
    1. Composition
    2. Does it look natural?
    3. Has it got the wow effect?
    4. When sharpness is pushed to MAx in 40D, why is pic still not sharp like nikon cameras?...using this pic as reference?
    5. Things i've not mentioned that u might like to enlighten me?

    Thanks!

    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    actually it looks like a cartoon pic..... not natural at all... like a drawing i like this colorful pic.personally i feel the compostion is almost perfect,i wud have preferred less space on the left side of the frame none of the three cars are suiting the pic.maybe the red car cud be ok,but the other 2 cars need to go well i dont know about others, but ur pic got my wow effectslightly low angle cud have been good too,but then again every location can be shot in different ways

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    It sure looks like a drawing. But the composition is ok. Probably could cut out the black areas a bit.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by newlife View Post
    actually it looks like a cartoon pic..... not natural at all... like a drawing i like this colorful pic.personally i feel the compostion is almost perfect,i wud have preferred less space on the left side of the frame none of the three cars are suiting the pic.maybe the red car cud be ok,but the other 2 cars need to go well i dont know about others, but ur pic got my wow effectslightly low angle cud have been good too,but then again every location can be shot in different ways
    hi newlife,

    thanks for ur comments. hmm..the original pic did not differ much from the pic above. There isn't much shadows on the church as the sun is directly shining onto it, so causing it to look flat.

    hehehe..regarding the cars, i waited and waited and waited but no nice car came along. This shot was taken when i was abt to leave for my plane...so all in a rush..

    ur comments are taken regarding the low angle...which is what i should have done..

    thanks!
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by blackpearl View Post
    It sure looks like a drawing. But the composition is ok. Probably could cut out the black areas a bit.
    hi again,
    what do u mean by cut out the black areas, if u dun mind me probing further? do u mean the vignetting effect?

    Btw, is it ok or not when one's pic turn out to look like a drawing....?

    thanks.
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by charmingorion View Post
    Oh, and not to mention, why does my camera constantly take not so sharp pics even though i use ISO 100 and placed my camera on tripod? I find i'm doing too much of post editting...I'm not sure if all those pics out there do that much post editting as well.

    This is what i've done, increased highlights, used dodge tool, burn tool on some areas, sharpened the pic, used vignetting effect under lens distortion.

    Hope the experts out there can assist me....All ur criticisms on my photo is greatly appreciated.

    The comments and criticisms i needed are:
    1. Composition
    2. Does it look natural?
    3. Has it got the wow effect?
    4. When sharpness is pushed to MAx in 40D, why is pic still not sharp like nikon cameras?...using this pic as reference?
    5. Things i've not mentioned that u might like to enlighten me?
    1) try to shoot with natural settings as much as possible, everything else *is* supposed to be tweaked during post production. if your camera has any noted flaws that a lot of people complain about, which i do not think i have seen for 40d - compared to k10d (where raw file seems to have a lot more detail than jpg due to compression issues).. leave sharpening at 0, leave everything at 0.

    2) define "too much post-editing".. that is not for anyone doing the post-editing to judge.. but rather people looking at the end result.. certain photographs require a lot more work than others.

    3) here you are increasing highlights way too much, cartoonish effect as others have pointed out. did you not meter for the scene outside?

    4) the composition is fine here, can certainly see what you are trying to achieve, even the tilt can be forgiven as it is less consequential here to me

    5) wow effect - not really, wow effect comes when you have something very dramatic, or something very emotionally provocative. either scenario, is a mixture of luck and effort - either you chase the light, or you are at the right place, right time and you SPOT the emotion/story to tell, and lastly, tell it well. all require hard work and some form of understanding to achieve, a mixture of factors. these days, we work too hard at getting the wow factor for everything - do not forget that sometimes record shots which are technically and compisitionally sound would work just as well as part of an entire series, which would then accumulate to give a wow factor. don't place too much emphasis on this for individual photos, you will end up missing a lot of the forest for one tree everytime. it took me a while to realise this.

    6) sharpness - is not a brand problem, all pictures out of camera usually have to be sharpened by hand and photoshop because in-camera sharpening algorithms are half-past-six. in general, after finishing what you ahve done to the photo, leave sharpening as the last step - that is my practise because it can degrade detail.. use USM, as i told you before. when your exposure is incorrect and you have to do highlight recovery, softness will appear. also when you use hdr.

    hope this helps .

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by charmingorion View Post

    Btw, is it ok or not when one's pic turn out to look like a drawing....?

    thanks.
    it depends, there are many camps on this, but the general agreement is that an unnatural effect is probably still less preferred than a much more natural looking one.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    1) try to shoot with natural settings as much as possible, everything else *is* supposed to be tweaked during post production. if your camera has any noted flaws that a lot of people complain about, which i do not think i have seen for 40d - compared to k10d (where raw file seems to have a lot more detail than jpg due to compression issues).. leave sharpening at 0, leave everything at 0.

    2) define "too much post-editing".. that is not for anyone doing the post-editing to judge.. but rather people looking at the end result.. certain photographs require a lot more work than others.

    3) here you are increasing highlights way too much, cartoonish effect as others have pointed out. did you not meter for the scene outside?

    4) the composition is fine here, can certainly see what you are trying to achieve, even the tilt can be forgiven as it is less consequential here to me

    5) wow effect - not really, wow effect comes when you have something very dramatic, or something very emotionally provocative. either scenario, is a mixture of luck and effort - either you chase the light, or you are at the right place, right time and you SPOT the emotion/story to tell, and lastly, tell it well. all require hard work and some form of understanding to achieve, a mixture of factors. these days, we work too hard at getting the wow factor for everything - do not forget that sometimes record shots which are technically and compisitionally sound would work just as well as part of an entire series, which would then accumulate to give a wow factor. don't place too much emphasis on this for individual photos, you will end up missing a lot of the forest for one tree everytime. it took me a while to realise this.

    6) sharpness - is not a brand problem, all pictures out of camera usually have to be sharpened by hand and photoshop because in-camera sharpening algorithms are half-past-six. in general, after finishing what you ahve done to the photo, leave sharpening as the last step - that is my practise because it can degrade detail.. use USM, as i told you before. when your exposure is incorrect and you have to do highlight recovery, softness will appear. also when you use hdr.

    hope this helps .
    hi!

    Regarding point 3 from ur comments. Err...what do u mean by meter for the scene outside? As in what exposure settings it turned out or...?

    Thank u for taking time to answer my questions one by one..i sincerely appreciate it. U have given me a clearer idea of how things run and the right way of looking at post processing, pic concept and logic behind it all.

    Thanks again !
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by charmingorion View Post
    hi!

    Regarding point 3 from ur comments. Err...what do u mean by meter for the scene outside? As in what exposure settings it turned out or...?

    Thank u for taking time to answer my questions one by one..i sincerely appreciate it. U have given me a clearer idea of how things run and the right way of looking at post processing, pic concept and logic behind it all.

    Thanks again !
    meter such that the exposure is correct outside here either you have to bracket using center weighted/multi segment metering, or if you like spot metering, and know how to use it in yoru camera (don't know how to use 40d, but it should have spot metering).. use it to meter for the scene outside. center weighted/multi segment metering is very easily fooled by scenes. when less than half of the scene is very bright, the rest is very dark, most of the time it will seek to give you the details on the darker area. likewise for when most of the scene is very bright and the rest is very dark, if you shoot sunsets following in-cam metering and multisegment they will always give you silhouettes.

    the reason why you need so much highlight recovery is that your camera happily took in the whole scene, thought that oh, maybe you want to take the shadow detail (the darker parts) so it leads to overexposure and you have to do aggressive highlight recovery

    in any case, if you have something in mind - i.e. what you churned out above.. then when you are shooting you must think of what your pre-production photo should look like.. the details it must have, the histogram you should be getting when you review (since lcd is not accurate, it is NEVER accurate) it will defer from camera to camera because of parameters like dynamic range la, etc.. but if you keep using the same camera and seek to understand it will be very easy in the long run

    if you ahve the original photo still, it would be more certain whether the camera indeed do what i predicted it had done, i am basing on yoru description of aggressive highlight recovery and the end result that seems to confirm what you have said
    Last edited by night86mare; 16th April 2008 at 05:31 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Regarding composition, I think it depends a lot on whether you see the big black frame as part of the picture or not. At the top and the left side, the photo and the black frame visually merge, so you have effectively a big, dark picture with a small sunlit scene in the centre. On the other hand, if you just take the photo by itself without the frame (as is suggested by the bottom and right edges, which are clearly discernible), it leaves a markedly different impression. Maybe one could be less ambiguous on how to interpret the picture by making either all the edges blend into the background, or none.

    Given the emphasis on nice, rectangular structures created both by the outline of the photo, the outline of the frame, and the straight lettering, I feel the overall picture would look more consistent if the camera tilt had been corrected for. But I'm not sure how feasible this is in this particular case.

    The colours do look quite unnatural to me - too saturated. Contrast and saturation are closely related; if you try to reduce the contrast but force the saturation to stay relatively high, you introduce inconsistencies, and the result will almost inevitably look somewhat artificial. I notice this a lot in pictures which have been processed by so-called "HDR" software (although this processing has nothing to do with HDR proper). On the other hand, it depends a lot of how your perception is conditioned by other pictures you've been looking at - others may find the colours quite ok.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    meter such that the exposure is correct outside here either you have to bracket using center weighted/multi segment metering, or if you like spot metering, and know how to use it in yoru camera (don't know how to use 40d, but it should have spot metering).. use it to meter for the scene outside. center weighted/multi segment metering is very easily fooled by scenes. when less than half of the scene is very bright, the rest is very dark, most of the time it will seek to give you the details on the darker area. likewise for when most of the scene is very bright and the rest is very dark, if you shoot sunsets following in-cam metering and multisegment they will always give you silhouettes.

    the reason why you need so much highlight recovery is that your camera happily took in the whole scene, thought that oh, maybe you want to take the shadow detail (the darker parts) so it leads to overexposure and you have to do aggressive highlight recovery

    in any case, if you have something in mind - i.e. what you churned out above.. then when you are shooting you must think of what your pre-production photo should look like.. the details it must have, the histogram you should be getting when you review (since lcd is not accurate, it is NEVER accurate) it will defer from camera to camera because of parameters like dynamic range la, etc.. but if you keep using the same camera and seek to understand it will be very easy in the long run

    if you ahve the original photo still, it would be more certain whether the camera indeed do what i predicted it had done, i am basing on yoru description of aggressive highlight recovery and the end result that seems to confirm what you have said
    hi,
    ok. i've attached the pic which i took from my camera uneditted for comparison to the one that was editted to show u how my camera took this pic.



    in this pic, i was trying to capture a well lited foreground which is the green wooden door frame with the words on it and yet a well balanced color in the background which in this case is the church and and the cars.

    In fact, i took 3 shorts of this. When i did HDR of 3 different exposures (-2, 0, +2 EV), the result of the HDR did not turn out well. The colors turn out rather faint and not even presentable. I dun know why but the more i try to make it look natural by creating softlight layers, boost up the highlights a bit, introduced vignetting effect under lens correction, the worse it becomes.

    Do u think it is a good idea if i send u the 3 pics and maybe u can show me how i can produce the effect i wanted?

    thanks.
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    oh btw, just for your infor, i did not meter the church. In fact, i aimed at the KEEP and set my F-stop to F8, place it on tripod and let it take 3 shots consecutively. ISO was set at 100.

    I didn't aim at the church becos if i do, the signs will be blur. So, as u can expect, the shots with 0EV and +2EV has got clearer and brighter signs and more and more overexposed church.
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    Regarding composition, I think it depends a lot on whether you see the big black frame as part of the picture or not. At the top and the left side, the photo and the black frame visually merge, so you have effectively a big, dark picture with a small sunlit scene in the centre. On the other hand, if you just take the photo by itself without the frame (as is suggested by the bottom and right edges, which are clearly discernible), it leaves a markedly different impression. Maybe one could be less ambiguous on how to interpret the picture by making either all the edges blend into the background, or none.

    Given the emphasis on nice, rectangular structures created both by the outline of the photo, the outline of the frame, and the straight lettering, I feel the overall picture would look more consistent if the camera tilt had been corrected for. But I'm not sure how feasible this is in this particular case.

    The colours do look quite unnatural to me - too saturated. Contrast and saturation are closely related; if you try to reduce the contrast but force the saturation to stay relatively high, you introduce inconsistencies, and the result will almost inevitably look somewhat artificial. I notice this a lot in pictures which have been processed by so-called "HDR" software (although this processing has nothing to do with HDR proper). On the other hand, it depends a lot of how your perception is conditioned by other pictures you've been looking at - others may find the colours quite ok.
    hi, thanks for your remarks. I had the black frame integrated with the pic so as to draw the viewer's eyes right to the church and then the lettering on the wooden door. I thought by doing so, it could create a more "it's as if i'm standing there and looking at the sign on the door". Point taken...maybe i should create a white border to separate the pic from the frame.

    Hmm..regarding color balancing on HDR pics...It is damn difficult without over saturating the pic to look cartoonish. I realised that is many HDR pics look that way too and didn't like it. AS u can see from my original uneditted pic, it's not too far from what i've created.

    Maybe from my original pic, u can comment on what i've done wrong and should do...?

    thank you for taking the time to analyse my photo.
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    which hdr program did you use?

    i have pmed you my email address - trust you not to spread it around, these days i do feel that i would get a lot of hatemail.

    the 0 ev exposure has the outside scene overexposed.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by charmingorion View Post
    hi again,
    what do u mean by cut out the black areas, if u dun mind me probing further? do u mean the vignetting effect?
    thanks.
    Yes, I meant the vignetting effect. But after seeing the original picture you posted, I think your edited(vignetting effect) one has a better feel and it draws attention to the subject with less distraction.

    I think the black border works too.

    Quote Originally Posted by charmingorion View Post
    Btw, is it ok or not when one's pic turn out to look like a drawing....?

    thanks.
    I think it is quite subjective. If you intended to achieve the effect, you have done well.

    Given the scene and circumstance, I like the effect that you achieved. (after seeing the original)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by charmingorion View Post
    Maybe from my original pic, u can comment on what i've done wrong and should do...?
    I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I don't think there is an objective right or wrong, just subjective expectations/interpretations that I tried to share with you. It is up to you to draw your own conclusions.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    mrcharmingorian ur edited pic is miles ahead of ur original pic still i believe a well composed original pic deserves more credit than a tinkered pic,in the comfort of our homes or studioswell composed original pic shows the passion of a photographer,that includes patience,attitude,physical fitness,alertness,etc

  18. #18

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by blackpearl View Post
    Yes, I meant the vignetting effect. But after seeing the original picture you posted, I think your edited(vignetting effect) one has a better feel and it draws attention to the subject with less distraction.

    I think the black border works too.



    I think it is quite subjective. If you intended to achieve the effect, you have done well.

    Given the scene and circumstance, I like the effect that you achieved. (after seeing the original)
    Hey, thanks for your comments!
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf View Post
    I'm not saying you did anything wrong. I don't think there is an objective right or wrong, just subjective expectations/interpretations that I tried to share with you. It is up to you to draw your own conclusions.
    Hi, yes.... pictures liking is very subjective. YEs, u are right in this sense. However, i didn't achieve the effect i really am looking for. My pic turned out like a cartoon or a pencil colored pic. So....am learning a lot still to train my eyes to know how natural colors do look.

    Thank for your comments! Your points are very well taken.
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Need help with composition and and criticisms

    Quote Originally Posted by newlife View Post
    mrcharmingorian ur edited pic is miles ahead of ur original pic still i believe a well composed original pic deserves more credit than a tinkered pic,in the comfort of our homes or studioswell composed original pic shows the passion of a photographer,that includes patience,attitude,physical fitness,alertness,etc
    Hi,

    I think it is very hard for one to judge one's work. A lot of times, it takes a hell lot of criticisms before one will know what does the majority look for with their eyes. However, at this point, i'm a very very beginner who still need all of your points of view to gain better indepth of a secular well-composed, natural, wow picture.

    Hey, thanks for taking the time to give me your comments. I appreciate it.
    Canon, cAnon, caNon, canOn, canoN....Simply Loving IT!!

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