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Thread: Facing The Daily Grind.

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    Default Facing The Daily Grind.


    I am relatively new to thematic portraiture (i.e. this here above shot, taken as part of a series for a band called Snooze). I took this picture with the intention to portray how, we typically drag ourselves to work, to school, to face the daily grind, every morning with this reluctance and dreariness, and how we often conform to this routine, albeit with a lack of enthusiasm.

    Reason for conversion to black and white was that I felt it goes in line with the whole mood of the character and the image. The tiles surrounding the mirror also, are a rather eye-catching shade of green, and they might distract the viewer.

    I would like to seek critique on composition. Would it have been better if the actual person had been excluded from the frame, and just the mirror image be included?

    I would also like to seek critique on exposure and lighting. This shot was lit with one off-camera strobe, off to the right of frame, pointed at the reflection of the person, as the reflection is the main subject, not so much the real person in the foreground. Was this a good decision, or should I have pointed it at the subject himself? Also, is the rest of the shot a little too dark, or do you find it acceptable?

    All other comments are also welcome.

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Technically i find nothing wrong with the shot.

    Love the composition and tones. The only thing that i feel could've add more punch to it was to mimmick film.

    Make the tones darker, add a little grain, vignette. Right now it looks really clean which some might prefer but i would've liked it a little more disoriented,dirty and maybe even a little blur is acceptable - as long as the subject in question remains relatively sharp enough for viewers to know what it is.

    Kinda like a sleepy photographer taking a sleepy picture. Lol.

    Just my 2cts.

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by g-khoo View Post
    Technically i find nothing wrong with the shot.

    Love the composition and tones. The only thing that i feel could've add more punch to it was to mimmick film.

    Make the tones darker, add a little grain, vignette. Right now it looks really clean which some might prefer but i would've liked it a little more disoriented,dirty and maybe even a little blur is acceptable - as long as the subject in question remains relatively sharp enough for viewers to know what it is.

    Kinda like a sleepy photographer taking a sleepy picture. Lol.

    Just my 2cts.
    Thanks bro.

    I've been looking at B&W film a lot recently, and yes I agree that this doesn't anything like film. Personally though, I quite liked the clean design of the bathroom. Very minimalistic (Have to see to believe. The sink was taken from a restaurant that was gonna be closed down) and clean in design, so I sought to preserve as much of the cleanliness (pun not intended) of the bathroom in the shot.

    Postscript: I was actually quite sleepy by then, because we were shooting late into the night, way behind schedule. Haha.
    Last edited by calebk; 1st August 2008 at 02:05 PM.

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    Member/Tangshooter g-khoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by calebk View Post
    Thanks bro.

    I've been looking at B&W film a lot recently, and yes I agree that this doesn't anything like film. Personally though, I quite liked the clean design of the bathroom. Very minimalistic (Have to see to believe. The sink was taken from a restaurant that was gonna be closed down) and clean in design, so I sought to preserve as much of the cleanliness (pun not intended) of the bathroom in the shot.

    Postscript: I was actually quite sleepy by then, because we were shooting late into the night, way behind schedule. Haha.
    Wow they have a bathroom in the restaurant? Cool.. Icic. Well i look forward to seeing the rest of the series!

    Oh ya and the cheeks look alittle over. Just a little

  5. #5

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    I think you should have the person himself in there. Or we wouldn't know its a mirror shot unless the mirror is obvious.

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    Member/Tangshooter g-khoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahwei View Post
    I think you should have the person himself in there. Or we wouldn't know its a mirror shot unless the mirror is obvious.
    Er the mirror was very apparent to me.

    The classic over the shoulder bokeh'ed foreground is a very mirror-like shot. *Lol*

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahwei View Post
    I think you should have the person himself in there. Or we wouldn't know its a mirror shot unless the mirror is obvious.
    Um, yeah, it's pretty obvious that this is a mirror shot.

    I was looking at this picture for a long time, and I agree with g-khoo: composition, tones, etc, etc was excellent. In my not-so-expert opinion, technically there's nothing wrong with it. Guess I wouldn't expect anything less from you.

    But there seemed to be something missing from this shot. And I couldn't figure it out for quite some time. But it's similar to what g-khoo brought up, looks too "clean".

    Then I realised what I THINK is missing from this picture: it's supposed to be in the early morning, this guy is supposed to look damn sian to go to work/school, yet this guy doesn't look disheveled enough. He looks WAY too clean cut. Plus it looks like he spent about 10 minutes styling his hair.

    If you had gotten someone who had the "i just woke up hairdo", plus a little bit of a beard or some facial hair to show that he hasn't shaven yet, and take off the glasses (I think you get my drift here), I think it would greatly contribute to the picture. Just my 2 cents worth.
    D∞X, 1-∞ mm F0.17. I like to show off my equipment list because I'm pro. My Flickr

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Basically, I cannot find any technical fault with this shot. Infact it is a nice and clean shot.

    Only one little thing I notice is that there is a small "Wi-Fi" logo somewhere at the man's head ( in the mirror), Should be easily removed in post processing.

    well done bro.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by entropy_h View Post
    But there seemed to be something missing from this shot. And I couldn't figure it out for quite some time. But it's similar to what g-khoo brought up, looks too "clean".

    Then I realised what I THINK is missing from this picture: it's supposed to be in the early morning, this guy is supposed to look damn sian to go to work/school, yet this guy doesn't look disheveled enough. He looks WAY too clean cut. Plus it looks like he spent about 10 minutes styling his hair.

    If you had gotten someone who had the "i just woke up hairdo", plus a little bit of a beard or some facial hair to show that he hasn't shaven yet, and take off the glasses (I think you get my drift here), I think it would greatly contribute to the picture. Just my 2 cents worth.
    Quote Originally Posted by lkkang View Post
    Basically, I cannot find any technical fault with this shot. Infact it is a nice and clean shot.

    Only one little thing I notice is that there is a small "Wi-Fi" logo somewhere at the man's head ( in the mirror), Should be easily removed in post processing.

    well done bro.
    I echo these points above. Plus some suggestions;

    - WOuld it be better in sepia?
    - what about some degree of blur? Since most times just after we woke up, everything is blurr with our eyes half open...
    - what if the camera's angle is from the waist up instead?
    - maybe you can recall Mr Bean series when he woke up, getting ready for dentist appointment?

    Already abused my D40 and D80 for my flickr

  10. #10

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    like others have already mentioned, technique-wise, quite a well executed shot.. good tones and composition.

    however aesthetically i would really prefer a more 'gritty' feel to it, think of high speed b/w films with all the high contrast and grain.


    for an idea of what i'm talking about, you can check out the works of Veronique Vial, who has photographed many famous personalities (before 10am) going about their daily morning routines.

    http://www.cpi-reps.com/Portfolios/V.../VVI01135-049/
    if my camera is there at the right moment, click, all I have to do is accept it.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    i would prefer a shot without all the other elements in the pic like the tiles surrounding the mirror, the cupholder and the suction cup and the cubby hole behind him. as what the rest have said, the shot is way too clean for something so dramatic. u shld go ott with the pp. maybe the model can pose more dramatically as well. some stubble with a disheveled pj and a more ott pose might have more impact as well.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by Patryk View Post
    like others have already mentioned, technique-wise, quite a well executed shot.. good tones and composition.

    however aesthetically i would really prefer a more 'gritty' feel to it, think of high speed b/w films with all the high contrast and grain.


    for an idea of what i'm talking about, you can check out the works of Veronique Vial, who has photographed many famous personalities (before 10am) going about their daily morning routines.

    http://www.cpi-reps.com/Portfolios/V.../VVI01135-049/
    haha. i almost bought this book when i was at the bookstores a few days. very cool.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Agreed with the rest that it's a very good shot technically, except probably for the lighting; and that the problem probably lies with the character / model. Too clean cut in the morning to be believable. I dont wear glasses, not myopic glasses anyway,...but cant imagine anyone that is so sleepy in the morning would put in the effort to wear his glasses so that he could just wash his face

    As for the lighting, would prefer something more diffused. I know this may not be the actual case in real life but a more diffused light would have reminded me more of the morning.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    i think it relates well, considering the band name is snooze. haha!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by flipfreak View Post
    haha. i almost bought this book when i was at the bookstores a few days. very cool.
    yeah, i too almost got them both.. amazing how she got all those intimate shots of them
    if my camera is there at the right moment, click, all I have to do is accept it.
    -edouard boubat

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Thanks all for the very detailed feedback. In fact, there's so much to reply that I just picked a few to reply to (not that the rest are insignificant).

    Quote Originally Posted by entropy_h View Post
    ...
    Then I realised what I THINK is missing from this picture: it's supposed to be in the early morning, this guy is supposed to look damn sian to go to work/school, yet this guy doesn't look disheveled enough. He looks WAY too clean cut. Plus it looks like he spent about 10 minutes styling his hair.

    If you had gotten someone who had the "i just woke up hairdo", plus a little bit of a beard or some facial hair to show that he hasn't shaven yet, and take off the glasses (I think you get my drift here), I think it would greatly contribute to the picture. Just my 2 cents worth.
    Yeah, now that you mention, the glasses do seem a little out of place. We did try to mess his hair up but it was hopelessly short and unmessable.

    Quote Originally Posted by lkkang View Post
    ...
    Only one little thing I notice is that there is a small "Wi-Fi" logo somewhere at the man's head ( in the mirror), Should be easily removed in post processing.

    well done bro.
    Thanks once again, bro, for the positive comments, and thanks to all the bros out there who have given me good feedback.

    As a matter of fact I didn't notice the wifi logo there at all. Had a good laugh when I saw it, now that you pointed it out. I'm sure some PP will fix that.

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheguthamrin View Post
    I echo these points above. Plus some suggestions;

    - WOuld it be better in sepia?
    - what about some degree of blur? Since most times just after we woke up, everything is blurr with our eyes half open...
    - what if the camera's angle is from the waist up instead?
    - maybe you can recall Mr Bean series when he woke up, getting ready for dentist appointment?

    I duno, but I honestly think Sepia is overrated. This comes from my motion film background, where Sepia treatment is generally overlooked/frowned upon, because it was used in the 1880s. Sometimes though, a slight warm tone is added to my monochrome images. It's so subtle you won't notice it, but it is said to psychologically draw a viewer in, because our minds respond better to warm tones.

    When you say waist up, do you mean in terms of camera placement, or in terms of including the waist of the subject? If you're talking in terms of camera placement, generally speaking, anything low angle gives a feeling of a domineering/empowered subject. Doubt the subject really feels very empowered here.

    The Mr. Bean example passes me by...cannot remember. Haha.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    nice photo of expressing your theme ! IMO, the background of the washroom is a lil distracting. prolly you can adjust the model and angle towards the right where you can only some tiles of the washroom below the mirror. >_0

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    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrc0w View Post
    nice photo of expressing your theme ! IMO, the background of the washroom is a lil distracting. prolly you can adjust the model and angle towards the right where you can only some tiles of the washroom below the mirror. >_0
    Yup, on hindsight I wished I could do that. However, if I were to turn my camera right any more, I'd see myself in the mirror already (shooting with a 35mm f/2), so given the tight space, I had to just work with what I have...

    That's the problem with shooting to meet a certain quantity by a certain time. The band is not exactly a small one (8 people + 2 staff i/c of the band), so at times I felt very rushed and unable to be deliberate with each shot.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Facing The Daily Grind.

    Any plan to share the rest of the series?

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