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02-23-2015, 01:13 AM   #1
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Why don't my photos look like these photos!?

So I've just been looking through this photo series and I'm wondering, how do I get my photos to look like this? The nice contrast, the 'real' colours, the dynamic range... I can't exactly describe it but the photos look (for lack of a better word) professional.

I realise this can come down to a whole bunch of factors, but I was wondering if there are any particular that contribute to this look? Is it lighting? Are they HDR? Is it just a good camera body and/or lenses?

EDIT: Sorry for the n00b question!

02-23-2015, 01:24 AM   #2
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There seems to be a number of things being used here, he is getting nice sharp images with excellent exposure. He is using light really nicely, with diffused light (some flash, some natural).

And his post processing appears to involve some colour tweaking. (warmer white balance and colour slider adjustments) Additionally going for darker shadows and boosting contrast/clarity a bit.

Edit: This is a style that he has gone for. There are almost infinite styles out there, some may work better for you than others.
Edit #2: I also can't speculate on what your images look like to make the comparison.

Last edited by Chaos_Realm; 02-23-2015 at 01:31 AM.
02-23-2015, 02:16 AM   #3
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Off topic, but I really liked the one of the guy bouncing a soccer ball off his back. That's something you don't see every day.
02-23-2015, 02:25 AM   #4
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Lovely pastel colours in his PP.

But imagine them all B&W and the drama and composition still work - what a wonderful photographer.

His subjects really trust or have gotten used to him.

02-23-2015, 02:29 AM   #5
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thks for the link. worthwhile.

this is indeed a style he has chosen. And it fits the subject really nice.
there are a couple of things here at play: composition, use of light, a fine camera & certainly a nice lens and nice post processing on the colours.
Notice that the "real" colours are desaturated a little, almost cinematic.
real nice..
02-23-2015, 03:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
The nice contrast, the 'real' colours, the dynamic range... I can't exactly describe it but the photos look (for lack of a better word) professional.
Yes, he is talented and yes, he is a professional photojournalist making a living with his camera. He has a very impressive bio and catalog of work as well as formal education at the master's level in fine arts (photography). It is a great thing when talent, opportunity, and personal drive, technical expertise, and experience come together.

As noted above, Mr. Buyckx has cultivated a personal style that works for him and is also appreciated by his clients and the paying public. His quality of work does not happen by chance. Rather it requires a lot of time behind the camera and attention to the craft and the gift of seeing.


Steve
02-23-2015, 03:32 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
He has a very impressive bio and catalog of work as well as formal education at the master's level in fine arts (photography). It is a great thing when talent, opportunity, and personal drive, technical expertise, and experience come together.
I must have been too absorbed in his images to even notice the bio page. The guys credentials form a list longer than my arm. It is individuals like this guy that are fine examples of the photography profession - well, any professional in any field.

Also to the OP: This is not a "noob" question. I dare say you would be lumped into a category of MANY photogs that wonder why their images are not this good.
02-23-2015, 03:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
So I've just been looking through this photo series and I'm wondering, how do I get my photos to look like this? The nice contrast, the 'real' colours, the dynamic range... I can't exactly describe it but the photos look (for lack of a better word) professional.

I realise this can come down to a whole bunch of factors, but I was wondering if there are any particular that contribute to this look? Is it lighting? Are they HDR? Is it just a good camera body and/or lenses?

EDIT: Sorry for the n00b question!
It might be a noob question but it is still a great question.

My immediate response is that it is the sense of place that makes that collection of photos so amazing.It takes you into the world of a bunch of people living their lives without all of the opportunities people like us take for granted.....

Have you considered going and living in a favela for a year or so?

I agree that the photos are technically good but I think that is secondary to the subject matter and the sensitivity with which the photographer has dealt with it.

02-23-2015, 04:28 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I feared to see some overcooked photos but the effect he is going for is fortunately consistent and quite subtle.

I am just going to add one thing: for me the biggest difference between him and me (and I suspect 95% of us here - 99% of those who never stray away from the "rumours" section :-) is that he actually gets out there and invest himself in his subjects life. I have been to a lot of photogenic places with photogenic people but I am painfully aware that I don't spend enough time connecting with them to get behind the facade. That kind of work takes people skills that you cannot put in a rating system.
02-23-2015, 04:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
His subjects really trust or have gotten used to him.
QuoteOriginally posted by H. Sapiens Quote
I am just going to add one thing: for me the biggest difference between him and me (and I suspect 95% of us here - 99% of those who never stray away from the "rumours" section :-) is that he actually gets out there and invest himself in his subjects life. I have been to a lot of photogenic places with photogenic people but I am painfully aware that I don't spend enough time connecting with them to get behind the facade. That kind of work takes people skills that you cannot put in a rating system.

This.
The thing that impressed me the most was how'd hell he got the people to pose for him in such ways? I barely considered technical details of the photos.
02-23-2015, 05:20 AM   #11
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Looks like a lot of editing has been done in RAW using the adjustment brush to bring up the shadows ETC.
02-23-2015, 05:47 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chaos_Realm Quote
Also to the OP: This is not a "noob" question. I dare say you would be lumped into a category of MANY photogs that wonder why their images are not this good.


Yes, agree to you there regarding the "noob" comment. I am sure that I am not alone when I say that I look a lot at other peoples work all the time just to see how they do it so that I can see what I can do to improve my own style. I don't think that is a "noob" thing, we just want to get the best out of what our pics can or will be.


In regard to his pictures, they are really good, but with the right post processing in LR, you can get something close. In some of his work, he looks like he is using a lot of clarity which will give you the sharper character in addition to the deeper contrasts. I think a lot of people take a shot out of their camera and look at it and say "This does not look like a pro picture" and they are probably right. The reason, post processing is needed, just as it was in the days of film where people had to go to the darkroom on their own and experiment to get what they wanted. Now days, it is easier, not so much to say it is easier to be better, I am saying it is easier to experiment. I always shoot in RAW. I will usually choose the select sliders that I always choose in a given mood I am looking for, and I will usually walk away from it for a moment to look again to see if that is what I am really trying to capture. Tone Setting, clarity, vibrance and of course WB. Follow a work flow in the process you use, experiment, and then you will see that some of your pics can look really great.
02-23-2015, 06:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
Why don't my photos look like these photos!?
Because he's a first rate street photographer who has the means to go where the images that favor his style are.
02-23-2015, 07:16 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Billk Quote
It might be a noob question but it is still a great question.

My immediate response is that it is the sense of place that makes that collection of photos so amazing.It takes you into the world of a bunch of people living their lives without all of the opportunities people like us take for granted.....

Have you considered going and living in a favela for a year or so?

I agree that the photos are technically good but I think that is secondary to the subject matter and the sensitivity with which the photographer has dealt with it.
I second this opinion. Subject matter is key. And the photographer makes excellent use of his subject matter by infusing as much of the surroundings as well as the interesting people. I'm guessing he is using something close to a 24-28mm for his shots because for these portraits the environment is just as important as the person he is shooting.
02-23-2015, 08:58 AM   #15
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Good photos in the link. Good composition and subject matter; that's the most important thing. He's obviously using an adequate camera but I don't think the camera is responsible for the results; you can get similar results with any relatively modern Pentax.

I think you can get that general look by processing the black level and white level for dynamic range, boost shadows if necessary, then increase the clarity slider ("clarity" helps contrast and sharpness). Alternatively, don't use clarity but increase contrast and pick a medium or high contrast curve.

Lightroom or other processing software can do that pretty easily. Shooting in raw DNG mode will allow more flexibility for processing. These sample images of mine show a high dynamic range without resorting to HDR.



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