The Digital Photo Guy

Student Photo – It’s a Winner!

by on Feb.21, 2011, under Composition, Monday Morning Tips, Photo Editing, Schedule, Webcast, Workshops

Persistence Pays Off

Butch has taken a bunch of classes with me over the past year. Like many people, he just wanted photos of his grandkids and dog, nothing too strenuous or complex, or so he thought. He bought a Nikon D90, an assortment of lenses and jumped into the deep end. In the beginning, his effors were so painful, I didn’t have the heart to tell him what I really thought.

One thing about Butch is that he’s persistent. He never took offense when, after realizing he had a skin like a rhino, I started critiquing his photos as I would any student. I could essentially tell him his latest attempt sucked as long as I also added why it sucked so badly. He took all my critiques in stride.

Last week, he sent me a photo that knocked my socks off. It’s not perfect but it was head-and-shoulders above anything he had previously sent me. The one thing that really made this photo “pop” was his use of fill flash. Notice how the sun was almost directly overhead. Without fill, the sax player’s eyes would have been lost in the shadow cast by his eye brow. With fill, he has that ever important catchlight to highlight the intensity in his eyes. Combined with the puffed cheeks and furrowed forehead, this is a “decisive moment” in this guy’s day. He’s in the groove and Butch captured that moment.

There are four little things I’d edit in this photo. See if you can spot the four issues and leave a comment below. Otherwise, this is a major milestone for Butch and I applaud his persistence.

Desert Wildflower Photoshoot 2011

I’ve finally set a date for the annual desert spring wildflower photoshoot at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This year, I’ve pushed it back a week due to persistent cold weather. By starting later, I’m hoping cacti will have started to flower in places like Glorieta Canyon.

The big news is lower price for this workshop. The price hs been reduced 33% from $149 to $99 per person. The two day workshop (Saturday and Sunday) is just $149, down from $249. As always, Canon users are welcome to borrow any of my macro gear including Canon 100/2.8 macro lens, Gitzo tripods, Manfrotto focus rail, Kenko extension tubes, close-up filters and a never-ending supply of soft drinks and bottled water. This year, I also have a new Nikon D3100 in my rental stable for folks who can’t decide between Canon or Nikon.

Another Cool Site

MediaChance, one of the sponsors of the ebinars by Rob Sheppard and Gloria Hopkins, has an interesting test and information for LCD monitors. By now, most everyone has an LCD. I haven’t seen a CRT monitor in five years. However, most people know next to nothing about monitors, LCD or otherwise.

If you’ve wondered why your LCD colors don’t match your prints even after calibration and printer profiling, here’s a possible answer. Use this test to see just how good or bad your LCD monitor is and use the information to choose your next monitor. A good monitor will make a huge difference in your photo editing.

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6 Comments for this entry

  • Jill Johnson

    Butch did good. I really like the shot.
    From competition I have been in, I know the Judge would have said to clone out the sign post & other dark spots, & 2 light spots on shirt & blur the background more.
    I would like to see the entire sax in photo ( bottom is cut off.)
    All the whites are overexposed. Can fix all in PSE.
    All in all, Photo of musician is great.

    • Lee

      Hi Jill,
      Thanks for playing. You have good points that I didn’t consider. I guess I should have laid down some ground rules. I wanted to limit edits to crop/levels/sharpen or by reframing a second shot. Cloning a signpost is beyond what I would accept in a competition. The judges in your competitions are being too lenient!

      (For those who don’t know, Jill was one of my first students. She’s now the reigning competition queen of her photo club and goes into a terrible rage if she’s not the monthly competition winner! ;-))

  • Eleanor

    If it was my shot, and I’m no expert-I would lighten the shadows on his face a bit, compose with him more to the right and perhaps increase the contrast a little.

    • Lee

      Thanks for playing Eleanor,
      It’s possible your monitor is a bit dark because, on my monitor, face details are fully visible with a shadow from him leaning forward. You’re right about composing to the right but we have to be careful not to clip the elbow. Contrast was reduced when I resized for web. I should have touched it up after compressing and resizing but I forgot.

  • Lee

    Thanks for commenting Edmund,
    I agree with 2 of your points. I’d argue the other two but we’ll wait to see if anyone else has a comment or two.

  • Edmund

    Great shot.
    1. First I would crop the left side and get rid of those two distracting black objects.
    2. Tone down on the hot spots on the subjects left wrist, watch, white background on left side and sidewalk
    3. Ever so slightly blur the background up a little.
    4. Sharpen

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