Canon EOS 40D
Shutter Speed 1/125
Focal Length 38mm
The overall exposure of the image looks fine. In post processing I would probably bump up the brightness, but it is a well-exposed image.
Next time you shoot something like this you might consider changing your settings for the following reasons.
Since your background isn’t really interesting, you want to blur it out as much as possible. The dumpster could be interesting in terms of color and texture but that is only on the bottom half of the image. The wood post and the cement wall are just kind of blah. With an aperture of f/9 you are basically getting everything in focus. I’m not sure how low wide your lens opens up, but if you went down to 4.0, that would blur out the background a lot more.
By letting more light in the camera with the wider aperture, you’ll need to close it off in other ways. By dropping the ISO you’ll get a slightly crisper image and you can also increase the shutter speed.
The lighting here looks pretty good overall. There are some bright spots of light falling on his face and neck so next time I would move your subject until they are gone. With the fence not coming all the way down to the ground it is letting in light there that I find distracting. If possible, move your subject so that there aren’t really bright areas behind him to distract the viewer.
You composition also looks good. He’s not smack center in the middle of the image. He’s at a little bit of an angle. Next time try to pay attention to the background a little more and you’ll notice things like the green garden hose. I like how he has just enough room around him but not too much.
Image taken with Canon Rebel Xti
Focal length 47mm
Shutter Speed 160
The exposure looks good. If you wanted to brighten this image up in camera you can drop your aperture down a little to 4.0 or you could increase your ISO. Otherwise it can easily be adjusted in any photo editing software.
It can be tricky when you have super bright areas like the sky in this image. If you turn her so that she is facing the sun that could help eliminate the bright area and brighten her face up a little. In general I try to look for dark backgrounds so that my subject stands out from them and I don’t have to worry about bright spots in the image which can be distracting.
If you shoot this type of image a lot I would pull back the next time you do this. I always look at the limbs and wonder what else they are doing. This image isn’t exactly a close up, it isn’t exactly a head and shoulders shot and it isn’t exactly a 3/4 body shot either. If you put your subject a little higher up in the frame you would get the rest of her arms and maybe some of her waist. Maybe her hands are in her pockets or holding something. It just tells a little more of the ‘story’.
Here is the same image brightened up a bit and a suggestion for cropping.
This image was shot with a Nikon D40 and a 1.8 50mm lens at a focal length of 35mm.
Shutter Speed 1/125
This image looks a little under exposed to me. After you take a photo look in the LCD display on the back of your camera and see how the image looks to you. The most important part of this image, in terms of correct exposure, is the boys face. So when you look at the display, look at how well exposed his face is. In this case his face is too dark so you need to let more light into the camera. In your case your shutter is about as slow as you would want it when a child is your subject so you can either increase your ISO or open up your aperture (to a lower number). When opening up the aperture you’ll have to be more careful about making sure you focus on his face (assuming that is what you want in focus). If you accidentally focus on his hand or the airplane then his face could be blurred. Just something to be aware of.
The lighting here is great. It is nice soft light and you have him nice and close to it. If you happen to want him to turn more towards you then you might want to find something to use on the opposite side of him (opposite the window) to bounce the window light into the darker side of his face. You can have someone hold up a white sheet or towel or anything white or light in color.
When composing an image I always think of the photograph as a story. When telling a story you have to think about what to include and what to leave out. What is the story of this image? Boy looking out the window with his toy? If the toy is part of the story then perhaps consider including more of it in your shot. Perhaps a little more of the right arm and hand could be shown. You could consider moving your angle down a little lower or even a little lower than his face and take the shot that way.
Shutter Speed 1/250
Aperture f 9.0
Focal length 90mm
Your exposure here looks good. Scenes like this are tricky because if you let in any more light you will blow out the really bright areas of the image.
If you want the background more out of focus (a shallower depth of field) you could lower your aperture. This will open the lens up wider allowing more light in so you would also have to increase your shutter speed to compensate for letting in more light. You could also lower your ISO if you wanted to since the lower the ISO the crisper the image will be.
Shooting in bright light like this is very tricky. Since you can’t always avoid shooting in this kind of light there are ways to work with it. If you take your subject and turn them until their shadow is fully covering their face this will give you even light this will prevent you from having your subject with shade on part of his face and sun on part.
I personally am a big fan of NOT putting your subject in the middle of the image so I like that about this image. A possibility for next time you shoot something like this is have your subject do something with their hands so that their arms are not hanging straight down at their sides. For little boys it can be to put their hands in their pockets (front or back) or even giving them a small pumpkin or leaf to hold. Or have him sit down in the pumpkin patch with his knees up and have him hug his knees.
Shutter Speed 1/400
Settings: Overall this image looks great. The exposure is perfect. Since you were so close to your subject you have a very shallow depth of field (blurry background).
Lighting: You have your subject facing the nice soft light so you have “catch lights” in his eyes which make them look nice and sparkly.
Composition: Next time I would pull back just a bit to get his entire face in the frame. You could also try the shot vertically to see which you like better.
For you amateur or hobbyist photographers out there who have an SLR camera but are struggling to figure out exactly how to shoot manually I hope these critique’s will be helpful to you.
If you want an image critiqued email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and please include the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. And if you have it the lens you used.
I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and go over ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture as there are at least a hundred different places on-line that do a great job of explaining that.
These posts will talk about settings, lighting and composition and how changing some or all of these things can improve an image.
So the image above used the following settings:
- F5.6 Aperture (often shortened to just the number)
- 125 Shutter Speed (technically it is 1/125 but is typically abbreviated to just the bottom number)
- ISO: 800 (identical to film speed)
Settings: The image looks a tiny bit underexposed to me (which just means a little too dark). That is on my computer. Yours might look a little different.
It might not have even been noticeable in the LCD display if it was checked after the photo was taken. It isn’t a big enough deal to even worry about changing the settings and shooting it again since a minor adjustment in exposure can be made in almost any photo editing system. But if you did want to adjust settings and re-shoot it you could do the following.
- The lens may not have a wider aperture available but if it does you can lower your aperture number ( the smaller the number the wider the opening of your lens which lets in more light).
- The shutter speed is already at 125 (1/125 of a second) and with children I would not go any slower than that. I typically prefer to be at a shutter speed of 250 (1/250 when shooting children and infants).
- If the aperture won’t go any wider and you don’t want to slow down the shutter speed then the only other option would be to increase your ISO to 1000 or 1200 and that should be fine.
- Increasing the ISO means that the cameras sensor becomes more sensitive to the light you have so it can do more with less light.
- There is also the possibility of moving the subjects a little closer to the light source (I’m guessing it is a large window in this case).
Lighting: I don’t see any issues at all with the lighting. Very nice soft front light.
Composition: I would either zoom out to get the persons face all the way in the image or zoom in (or crop in later) to get most of her face out of the shot. By doing this you also crop the drawer out of the image too.
Below I adjusted the image slightly to show you what and increase in the exposure might look like and cropped it in to show you what I mean in my above suggestion.
Thanks to one of my former students for letting me use this image from our class!