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A picture of a girl. And a question about it.
Posted By: Snowcat, 12-09-2007, 12:26 PM

Yesterday I've made some shots in the studio again... I have a picture I want to ask you all, fellow pentaxians, a question about. What do you think about the composition of this photo? Is it looks good, or should I crop it otherwise? Make less emptiness above the girl?

If you're curious, the full set is here - Lena and her child album | Snowcat8 |
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12-09-2007, 12:50 PM   #2
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I like the photo very much. The composition is beautiful. The balance between the model and the empty space is perfect. The gradient of the blue shades (due to the lighting i suppose) adds a lot to the picture.
12-09-2007, 01:17 PM   #3
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Take this with a grain of salt as I am no pro or do any studio stuff. I am not so sure I like the pose. Seems like she is leaning forward a little to much. There is also something (Not sure what) happening in the area of mid section. Something about the wrinkles in the shirt caused buy the lean I guess under her chest area. I would say you should remove more from the top. Of course I feel silly commenting on everything else about the photo but what you wanted to know

I did check the gallery and like you have a bunch of good shots from the shoot. SG102050 I think is a more flattering pose. Again just me and my opinion for what it is worth.
12-09-2007, 04:24 PM   #4
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Hey Snowcat, I just added you to my Fotki friends. (so few Fotki users on here; good news, they said they'll be allowing for bigger previews soon)

If I have any thought, perhaps only changing the aspect ratio. The emty space on the right should remain. However not 'all' the empty space above is necessary IMO. It is 4x6 now. I'm thinking a 5x7 if not a 4x5 crop might do. (?)

12-09-2007, 06:23 PM   #5
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The extra blue space adds nothing positive.
12-09-2007, 06:43 PM   #6
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Here are my opinions based on what I've been learning and keep in mind while in a shoot.

Empty space is great as long as there is a reason for it... The shot you've posted here the empty space is really that, empty space. To utilize empty space you'll want there to be a reason for it, like if you had her looking straight up or towards to top right of the image it would at least make some sense. Unfortunately in this pose it makes no sense to me because you've opened the image with open space you follow down to her eyes, which looks out to nothing and you never really enjoy the photo the first time through.

This image shows a pose with a look out towards the bottom left corner and you see the model, you see the look and then you follow out into the void.

What made the above image a success was that you're main subject is still the main subject and doesn't feel lost in the mix of background and foreground.

The pose you picked is good but could be better. That locked right elbow really takes away from the great lines created by the body. A great trick you need to teach any female behind the camera is to suck in chest out shown in this shot to a T:

The technique takes away tummy rolls, removes hunching over and makes the curves of the body stand out more when they aren't all too great. The shot above though also brings me back to the first area I was talking about where the empty space just doesn't work and there it is, I left too much space and the shot looks heavy sided. You can never win them all

You had a lot of great captures in your set so be happy and get back out there, we're all learning!
12-09-2007, 06:51 PM   #7
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Chris knows what he's talking about, so I'd listen to his advice.

However I wanted to point out that when you have a doubt you should use the rule of thirds

Oh, I like the shot in general.
12-09-2007, 06:58 PM   #8
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or is that the golden mean?

12-09-2007, 07:22 PM   #9
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Snowcat, keep in mind that I'm not much of a formal portrait photographer - others know far more about this genre than I do. However, I like the open space - so many (most, in my view) posed portraits seem formulaic to me. I like the shot very much - the expanse of blue plus Lena's red hair make the photo a winner to me.

12-10-2007, 01:34 AM   #10
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Thank you all for your opinions! I really appriciate this.
Yes I know about rule of thirds, and I know about keeping empty space in the direction of the model's sight. However with this particular photo I somehow wanted to do something that does NOT obey both of these rules. I left that space intentionally, not because I did not know what to do, looked nice from my point of view. Like some piece of blue sky above her head.

And knowing that such a composition ruins all the laws was the main cause I asked about it.

Chris, special thanks for your comment!
12-10-2007, 02:00 AM   #11
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Hey Snowcat,
I read once that leaving a lot of empty space above the head of somebody suggests that there is something pondering on (the mood of) this person. Like a heavy thought or something. Especially when this space shows vignetting or darker sky/studio colors.

So if that is what you want to convey: this girl is depressed, look! - the empty background supports your idea.

Maybe that is what another poster meant when he said: it adds nothing "positive".

I like the cropped version much better, and it is because the image feels less heavy.

But that's me.
12-10-2007, 02:20 AM   #12
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I was torn between adding my two cents or not. I think your model is very attractive but the pose and her leaning forward does not do this young lady justice. I think Pat hit on something when he talked about the way the top rolled and this is caused by the pose. I would feel comfortable with a more relaxed pose. I know you said you were trying to create a different affect other then the norm. But in this case empty space is just that. I think Stu is right and gives a very good crop to the subject. Of course Cris is right on in his assessment and his advice is good sound advice.
12-10-2007, 03:19 AM   #13
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i would take a more natural,realistic shot such as this one, over a more elaberate, set up shot anyday.i personally find set up portraits completely boring but i think youre image works very well, however little lakers crop certainly does suit the image more so than than the original. i realise that alot of it comes down to taste, so i wouldnt take every comment/crit to heart, as photography is certainly a personal interpretation isnt it?! the only thing i could mention apart from the crop, is probably suggesting less lean to the left. it apprears to me as if the model is leaning just a little bit too much towards the left and almost seems slightly awkward with the positioning of her hand. in saying that.. i have never attempted this style of photography, so my advice/oppinions are purely that...
hope this helps a bit..
12-10-2007, 11:18 AM   #14
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Ok i got it, seems like it's better to stick to traditional rules when cropping a picture, this way more people will enjoy it.
Though I am glad that some of you liket as a made it

Thanks again, for all the feedback!

m8o, I'll add you to my Fotki frieds also Really it is a big site but so little pentaxians use it, i find it strange, it's rather comfortable to use actually.

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