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Full Critique Pug Portraits

CauseNEffect

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Classicbiker

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Snips

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We're getting better!! Well done! And, if truth be told, it's good to see someone trying out the techniques being suggested.

Next steps. How's about trying to be even better?!

Pricked ears? Tick

Eyes in good focus? Tick - well, just about. I aim between a dog's eyes to try to avoid having the nose in focus and the eyes out of focus.

Background nice and simple? Ah. These are rather busy. You don't really want a studio background but if you get the DoF (depth of field) correct and the distances (look up DoF calculator to get an idea of this) you can blur out the background. You don't always want to blur out the background though, it's not a hard and fast rule.

Photograph editing? Another Ah :) Editing (or post processing) is all part and parcel of digital photography. With these, I'd be looking at cloning out the drop beneath her(?) eye in the first and the couple of hairs and bits below her mouth in the third.

Now - this is being really picky and is particularly nit picking critique. I'm only suggesting these things just to try and show you how you can begin to stand out from the crowd. These are perfectly good photographs and what is encouraging is that you are improving too from your original images. I sincerely hope this doesn't sound patronising as I'm hoping to sound more encouraging.

For me these are 4/5 - I'm trying to indicate how you might achieve 5/5.

Richard says, "Nice set" and he's right - it is! I'd go a little further and say they're cropped well and the exposure is good.
 

CauseNEffect

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We're getting better!! Well done! And, if truth be told, it's good to see someone trying out the techniques being suggested.

Next steps. How's about trying to be even better?!

Pricked ears? Tick

Eyes in good focus? Tick - well, just about. I aim between a dog's eyes to try to avoid having the nose in focus and the eyes out of focus.

Background nice and simple? Ah. These are rather busy. You don't really want a studio background but if you get the DoF (depth of field) correct and the distances (look up DoF calculator to get an idea of this) you can blur out the background. You don't always want to blur out the background though, it's not a hard and fast rule.

Photograph editing? Another Ah :) Editing (or post processing) is all part and parcel of digital photography. With these, I'd be looking at cloning out the drop beneath her(?) eye in the first and the couple of hairs and bits below her mouth in the third.

Now - this is being really picky and is particularly nit picking critique. I'm only suggesting these things just to try and show you how you can begin to stand out from the crowd. These are perfectly good photographs and what is encouraging is that you are improving too from your original images. I sincerely hope this doesn't sound patronising as I'm hoping to sound more encouraging.

For me these are 4/5 - I'm trying to indicate how you might achieve 5/5.

Richard says, "Nice set" and he's right - it is! I'd go a little further and say they're cropped well and the exposure is good.
Hey, thanks a great deal for both the kind comments, and the critique. I'd have to say this is actually a very well-done critique, not to put down any others that have done it, but I guess this is just how I'd do it.

Yeah, if people are more experienced and make suggestions on how to get better, I'll definitely, at least, try them. I don't have anything at my disposal, just yet, that can give a simplistic background. I did attempt to edit the top one on my Flickr account, using its built in editor, to blur the background out a little more. Maybe not the best, but it's at least an attempt. I did think about taking the hair off of the bottom one (this one is a boy, btw.)

So yeah, thanks for your comments. :) I've been trying a lot out with my new camera. It takes some getting used to, but I love it. Its picture quality is the most detailed I've ever had (I know it's not the most high-end camera, but it's pretty good for what I have my hands on currently) But it makes me realize I have to be careful about some things BECAUSE it's more detailed, and high quality. I'm used to my camera blurring things out, or nullifying things because the quality is low, but this one actually shows shirt seams and thread lines, and any flaw that is present is shown a little too well. Hell, I can make out well how my facial hair is shaven with this camera. LOL
 

Snips

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I don't have anything at my disposal, just yet, that can give a simplistic background.
First, thank you for your generous response. Critique when given face to face is much easier than on an internet forum where the facial expressions aren't seen. Like everyone else on this particular forum, we do our best to be friendly with the comments but sometimes they don't appear so in the first instance, not that I'm suggesting you were put out on this occasion. It does happen though which is why I thought I'd mention it. Please, if it does happen, don't take it personally! We're just doing our best to help and words come out wrong sometimes.

On to the background, this where the depth of field comes into play, especially when blurring out the background (bokeh is the word for this). Without going into the mathematics which I don't know anyway - I just know how my camera and lenses work - if you photograph him(!) at about 8-10 feet away with a wide aperture (e.g. f/4) and have the background at least 50 feet away, you should get the background out of focus. The further the background is away the more it will be out of focus.

And, slightly more advanced, with a 200mm lens, if you focus at about 20-30 feet away and down at the ground with the background a good 200 feet away, preferably getting on for a mile, you will isolate him so everything is out of focus apart from the small area he is occupying. I'm not 100% confident of my distances with this as I work by eye with my technique.

There will be various tutorials on YouTube which is a great source of nuggets of photographic techniques.

In the meantime, keep posting! :)
 

the durkarian

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The positives: They are sharp, in focus, and well exposed. That being said, you need to focus on the eyes and not the dogs nose.

The negatives: The backgrounds are very distracting. A very easy solution is to hang a sheet or blanket over the back of a chair or something similar. Preferably of a plain pale colour.
In the last image, for me, it is too tightly cropped, and you have clipped the top of its head.
 

CauseNEffect

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First, thank you for your generous response. Critique when given face to face is much easier than on an internet forum where the facial expressions aren't seen. Like everyone else on this particular forum, we do our best to be friendly with the comments but sometimes they don't appear so in the first instance, not that I'm suggesting you were put out on this occasion. It does happen though which is why I thought I'd mention it. Please, if it does happen, don't take it personally! We're just doing our best to help and words come out wrong sometimes.

On to the background, this where the depth of field comes into play, especially when blurring out the background (bokeh is the word for this). Without going into the mathematics which I don't know anyway - I just know how my camera and lenses work - if you photograph him(!) at about 8-10 feet away with a wide aperture (e.g. f/4) and have the background at least 50 feet away, you should get the background out of focus. The further the background is away the more it will be out of focus.

And, slightly more advanced, with a 200mm lens, if you focus at about 20-30 feet away and down at the ground with the background a good 200 feet away, preferably getting on for a mile, you will isolate him so everything is out of focus apart from the small area he is occupying. I'm not 100% confident of my distances with this as I work by eye with my technique.

There will be various tutorials on YouTube which is a great source of nuggets of photographic techniques.

In the meantime, keep posting! :)
You are very welcome. As for getting me down, well, somewhat, but not really. More of what I prefer is having people critique my work by telling me both what I need to fix, and what I don't need to fix so I know what to change, and what to keep with. Like a review. I did ask that once on here, but I felt like I sounded like a demanding jerk, and I can be bad at expressing myself, so it might have made people think I was being thin-skinned, so I removed it. I do want the first for certain, so I know what to fix. But, again, I'd like to know what not to fix as well. I almost feel rude now, like I'm potentially badmouthing others that might do it this way, but it's what I mean. But, at the same time, I don't fault them, as they are just trying to help, and sometimes their method of critique is telling them what to fix, maybe feeling the subject might infer what doesn't need fixing. But I'm one of those that like to be sure. Thanks for the help from everyone, though. Needless to say, I have learned and applied this advice, so it was worth it, and I am thankful for it. :)

On to the other stuff. Thanks, again, for the words. It is something I can try. I wasn't in a location where I can stand that far. I wasn't super far away from these dogs anyway (just to clarify, the one on top is a she, and the one on bottom two is a he) I am planning on upgrading my lenses soon for a better zoom and view, so I might be able to move on to the rest better as well. Yeah, I don't bother with math and all that, either. LOL I just like to look at what I get on the screen, and judge it by that, see what looks the most pleasing to me.

So yeah, thanks again. :)
 

CauseNEffect

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The positives: They are sharp, in focus, and well exposed. That being said, you need to focus on the eyes and not the dogs nose.

The negatives: The backgrounds are very distracting. A very easy solution is to hang a sheet or blanket over the back of a chair or something similar. Preferably of a plain pale colour.
In the last image, for me, it is too tightly cropped, and you have clipped the top of its head.
Just now saw your post. I am still getting used to how my camera works, and how to point it. I think Snips described it best when he said point it in between their eyes, which should help a lot. And yeah, I am noticing the theme with their heads getting cropped. I am actually starting to notice how it detracts from how the subject can be presented.

Thanks for the advice, again. I do plan on stepping up my game a bit, and finding materials to put behind them, because I am definitely interested in doing portrait work. But for now I am mastering how I point and focus my camera. I'd like to do people more, but I'll have to discuss that a bit more, and find the right person for this, and those who are willing to do it. But dogs are not a bad start. I got them to look at the camera through the magic of auto focus, actually deciding to use it. It makes this loud noise, which actually directs their attention toward the camera, where before it was almost impossible to get the female brindle one to look at the camera, while the male fawn one would. It also keeps a more sharp and clear image better. Seems the camera is pretty good at knowing how to do it.
 

the durkarian

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I think Snips described it best when he said point it in between their eyes, which should help a lot.
Sorry, but when you are taking tight close up portraits like these you need to focus on the eye closest to the camera. No ifs, no buts.
 

CauseNEffect

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Sorry, but when you are taking tight close up portraits like these you need to focus on the eye closest to the camera. No ifs, no buts.
That was just in response to Snips saying he aims there to avoid having focus on the nose.
 

winchestergoose

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Great shots !!!
 

CauseNEffect

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I think I am getting a grasp on focusing on the eyes here.Daisy16.JPG
 

Snips

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That’s a good one with, as you say, eyes well focussed. Also ears are pricked which gives more interest.

A good/poor background can make or break a decent photograph and because it’s white, that piece on the left is distracting but the background generally is quite busy and this takes the eye from the subject quite quickly. You can Photoshop it out but much better is to capture it in frame in the first place. Also the image is a little dull looking with regards to exposure.

If you check out this link, you’ll see the difference the background can make. Granted we’re lucky where we live but we (the customer and me) took advantage of this. Also note the angle of the sun which, on the whole, shines on to the dogs:
https://www.photography-forum.org/threads/top-quality-labradors-pic-heavy.162243/

More important though, you are definitely improving.
 

CauseNEffect

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That’s a good one with, as you say, eyes well focussed. Also ears are pricked which gives more interest.

A good/poor background can make or break a decent photograph and because it’s white, that piece on the left is distracting but the background generally is quite busy and this takes the eye from the subject quite quickly. You can Photoshop it out but much better is to capture it in frame in the first place. Also the image is a little dull looking with regards to exposure.

If you check out this link, you’ll see the difference the background can make. Granted we’re lucky where we live but we (the customer and me) took advantage of this. Also note the angle of the sun which, on the whole, shines on to the dogs:
https://www.photography-forum.org/threads/top-quality-labradors-pic-heavy.162243/

More important though, you are definitely improving.
Hey, again, thanks for the comments. I also appreciate you giving me guidance, showing me examples with backgrounds so I have some idea of what to go by. I don't have any pro by my side to personally direct me in real time, so this is a good way to do it here. I admit, taking photos of dogs is not my main interest, here but I guess it can be a good exercise? I'm also, currently, somewhat limited to what I can photograph where I am, and what time I can. (that will change soon, of course) I am more interested in doing portraits of people with as little background as possible. I might just ask people around me if they are willing to it, and willing to have me show it off. Probably will, but I would rather ask, of course.

Also, thanks for the kind comments on my improvement. Hearing a thing like that is always good and encouraging enough. :)
 
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10asen

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Great shots of good looking pugs. They are so snuggly, funny, stubborn, devoted and smart. My pug has been watching our Boston and learning as he goes, like fetch and going in the kennel when needed. Sit and stay is on the agenda
 

CauseNEffect

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Great shots of good looking pugs. They are so snuggly, funny, stubborn, devoted and smart. My pug has been watching our Boston and learning as he goes, like fetch and going in the kennel when needed. Sit and stay is on the agenda
Thanks. And yeah, ain't that the truth? LOL Pretty much every word you described describes ours to a tee.
 
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