Last modified on 20 February 2015, at 19:06

Commons:Photography critiques

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Would you like a second opinion before nominating a photograph of yours as a Quality Image, Valued Image or Featured Picture candidate, can't decide which of your images to enter into one of the Photo Callenges? Or do you have specific questions about how to improve your photography or just would like some general feedback?

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General view of Festos diskEdit

Hellow, can you provide some tips for background choise for items in a museum that are not in a showcase at the wall, eg. one this case. Thank you in advance. --C messier (talk) 21:50, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Hi C messier, that's a tough one and of course it depends heavily on the situation. I haven't shot under conditions like that, but I'd guess that, apart from using a wide aperture, the key for a non-disturbing background would be to find a camera position that 1) shows the subject well and 2) enables you to have something in the background that's as close to an even surface as possible. One thing that might help is to step back from the subject as far as possible and instead zoom in/use a longer lens: This way you can keep the size of the subject constant, but at the same time have less background to deal with, due to the narrower w:Angle of view. Instead of having (for example) three other showcases in the background when using a wide angle lens/zoom setting, with a short tele lens you might be able to reduce that to only one – or maybe even manage to find a small empty spot on the opposite wall that can serve as a background.
Another idea: If you have another person with you, ask him/her to wear something evenly-colored and then place them behind the subject with the back facing in your direction (like a walking backdrop). Don't know if that actually works, but it might be worth a try. --El Grafo (talk) 13:48, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
Do you think as a composition could be promoted as QI. --C messier (talk) 11:28, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
Difficult to say, C messier. I think you've done a good job when it comes to separating the main subject from the background just enough to make it stand out, while at the same time keeping the environment … well … recognizable. Some of the reviewers are a bit picky when it comes to "perspective distortion", so the pillar on the right being broader at the top than at the bottom could become a problem. However, I'd say "no risk no fun", just give it a try at QI and see how it goes. Cheers, --El Grafo (talk) 13:33, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

Shiny book coversEdit

Hi, I am trying to make pictures of shiny book covers. The result is average (I needed a lot of try and error), and it can certainly be improved. Also how to create a small home photo studio? Thanks, Yann (talk) 19:41, 10 December 2014 (UTC)

Hi @Yann:, I guess we both are at similar stages of "studio" development ;-) I don't have time for it now, but I can share some of my experiences later. In the mean time, could you maybe describe your general lighting setup a bit? That could make it easier to make recommendations … --El Grafo (talk) 13:19, 11 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks your message. I used a Yongnuo flash (YN568EX II) in slave mode in addition to the built-in flash on the camera. Regards, Yann (talk) 13:37, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

El Grafo, Yann, Christian, the definitive textbook on lighting is Light Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting. (I see there is a new edition due in March next year, but that is a while away and these things often get delayed as it probably hasn't finished being written -- and the fundamentals don't change). I have this book and it is excellent. Obviously some advanced lighting requires several light sources and elaborate modifiers, though these Yongnuo flashes makes for relatively inexpensive studio setups. The book will teach you pretty much all you need to know. Ask Santa for it. -- Colin (talk) 16:14, 11 December 2014 (UTC)

  • Thanks Colin for the book reference, here there is a link for a french translation of this book -- ChristianFerrer 08:19, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm not a studio photo expert at all, but I think I understand some aspects of it from 3d graphics. In this case (especially for #2 above), I would probably try to put a grey piece of cardboard in the direction in which the spine is reflecting to make sure the reflective part is legible and doesn't have too much variation (at least if legibility is a goal) and then put a white (ideally larger) piece of cardboard/paper behind the camera to make sure the diffuse light is more dominant than the reflective one to keep the highlights in control. Then, if possible, flash onto those with the slave flash. Obviously, they can also both be white and the flash mainly goes onto the latter. And try to keep the built-in flash relatively low in such a scenario. Not sure if that helps, but I have occasionally had some good results with similar setups, imitating multiple softboxes with a single slave flash and large sheets of paper. Clothespins are your friend. :) — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 08:52, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Argiope pulchellaEdit

Recently I photographed a Argiope pulchella courtship moment. The closeup filter was not with me; so not able to capture decent shots of the male and the kleptoparasite on her web. But after reviewing existing FPs (Only 5 Argiope FPs so far), I'm curious whether it worth a try. :)

Dorsal view

Option 1:File:Argiope pulchella at Nayikayam Thattu.jpg This is the sharpest picture I captured; so my preferred choice. But the male is OOF.

Not bad, CAs around the male. -- ChristianFerrer 15:08, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
✓ Done Jee, I could not help but try to improve the details and remove the overexposure at top right, hope this version is good but do not hesitate if you have any over query. -- ChristianFerrer 18:43, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Christian; it looks much better! Jee 02:56, 14 December 2014 (UTC)
Nominated at fpc. :) Jee 07:07, 14 December 2014 (UTC)

Option 2:File:Argiope pulchella around Nayikayam Thattu.jpg Here and male and female are reasonably sharp. If this is preferred choice, does it need to be brightened a bit?

Jee, in the file history or here, I make a try, if you like you can revert on it and/or ask me a modification (less noise in the background...) -- ChristianFerrer 15:08, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Thanks Christian, I like that edit. But detail-wise, option 1 seems better. Or you think that to is over exposed? Any possibility to remove that CA? Jee 16:13, 13 December 2014 (UTC)
Ventral view

File:Argiope pulchella of Nayikayam Thattu.jpg. We've only one FP so far. Does this worth a try?

Too overexposed IMO -- ChristianFerrer 15:08, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Feel free to make any criticizing comment too as they are very helpful to me. Jee 12:20, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Brindled skyEdit

Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building 2014.JPG

Hello, colleagues!

About a month ago I nominated this photo for QI. It wasn’t promoted by reason of “brindled sky” (and for some other reasons, but they are out of the question now). Really, the sky is brindled... The photo was processed (sharpness, contrast...), but the “brindles” can be seen on the initial photo, too... At that time I didn’t pay special attention on this problem, but now, when I was looking over pictures on my computer, I noticed the similar brindles on other photos. All of them were taken under similar conditions: clear sky, ISO 100...200, the exposition 1/100 or less, f=11 or less.

What is a reason for the appearance of such brindles on the sky?

Is it a phenomenon of, so to say, “the noise nature” (as I supposed first)? H’m, but it seems to me the situation isn’t especially “noisy”... What then?.. :-(

I will be very obliged to you, if you provide me with some tips. What is the way to avoid the brindles when a photo is taken? Can the brindles be removed with the processing? What is the main idea of such processing?

Thanks in advance, Dmitry Ivanov (talk) 21:45, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Hello Dmitry, I loaded your image into gimp and played around a little bit. An indirect conclusion is that the sensor must have shown some noise, even at these relatively low ASA values of 100 or 200. But then some filtering must have happened, probably some median filtering with threshold (guessing from the result). The result is that there are these groups of pixels with same colour. Technically due to the ironing out of individual pixel noise one looses the effect of dithering. Due to the removal of high spatial frequencies one instead gets these lower-spatial-frequency effect, these brindles. It does not help that cameras record only into 8 bit per colour, but that is a contributing issue only. And it is not a JPG compression issue, as there are no artifacts visible that hint to too low a quality setting.
Of course the brindles effect can get amplified in post-processing. But then you say it is already in the original image...
Then I looked at your camera name. It says NIKON. I do own a NIKON COOLPIX S6600. With that camera I also observe issues similar to your brindles. It looks like image surfaces are painted, with loss of fine detail within patches. Even on the best quality settings the Nikon camera compares badly with the Canon bridge camera I now mostly use, and the resulting JPG file sizes of the Nikon could easily accomodate much better image quality.
To rule out sensor unevenness, one would need several photos of blue sky. If the structure were exactly the same, then the sensor response would be inhomogenous. But my bet is on sensor noise.
What can you do? You could look whether your camera can shoot in RAW (and with this I really mean unprocessed image data directly stored to card). If not, you cannot do much. You could filter further, with brindles disappearing but bands appearing. But the information you would actually need has been filtered away. You probably would need to switch to a different camera manufacturer, as Nikon has a known track record of damaging image data by design, one example being that in one study a Nikon camera was assessed unusable for astronomical images.
It may sound harsh but this is an honest assessment. Hope your next camera will be better. -- KlausFoehl (talk) 14:43, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
Just a note: The manipulations that Nikon performs that make the images unsuitable for astro imagery aren't usually relevant in normal photography, certainly not in daylight. I agree with the previous assessment that it's probably a problematic interaction of noise, noise reduction, post processing in the camera - probably with some help from compression. Shooting in RAW should fix it and helps to improve the quality anyway. If that's not an option, you might have to look deeper into the image processing option of the camera. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 18:00, 9 January 2015 (UTC)
According to the EXIF data a en:Nikon D3100 was used, so shooting RAW (here: NEF) should be possible. If you want to continue shooting JPG, I'd suggest to try if switching the the noise reduction setting changes something. --El Grafo (talk) 08:55, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, dear colleagues, for your detailed explanations and opinions, they were very useful and gave me some ideas. I looked over photo forums and found opinions (not universally recognized, though) that the noise reduction on Nikon reflexes sometimes works incorrectly: some of photographers advise to deactivate the noise reduction (it is activated on my camera). As well there are an opinion about the poor work of the standard mode of the post processing in the camera and advises to use specialized modes.
So I need some experiments; unfortunately, they cannot be carried out immediately; it is winter and the clear days are rare :-(. And I will think about the work with RAW-files (you are right, El Grafo, Nikon D3100 records them).
Dmitry Ivanov (talk) 17:14, 10 January 2015 (UTC)
One more thing. You can decrease the relative noise contribution if you "expose to the right". -- KlausFoehl (talk) 14:34, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
I read about this method but never used it purposefully. About 2 weeks ago, before my first question here, I took some photos, which were intentionaly overexposed a bit, + 1EV, (sunny day, comparatively dark objects on the snow - I preferred details in objects). Really, I got rather good pictures, and snow is wholly satisfactory, but the noise on the sky can be revealed even on an unprocessed picture. Dmitry Ivanov (talk) 21:03, 18 January 2015 (UTC)
"Exposing to the right" as I understand does not mean to overexpose. It means that that brightest parts of the photo (let's assume numerical values 0..255) have values close to but still smaller than 255. If you look at the intensity histograms for red, green, and blue, you want to have a small gap, but a gap between content and right edge. -- KlausFoehl (talk) 12:32, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

Devices with LEDsEdit

This one was very difficult to me because the LEDs had completely blown the red channel, making them look almost entirely yellow. I had a hard time trying to recover them in post, and I'm still not quite content with the results. I probably should have made multiple exposures and merge them in post, but I didn't notice that at the time of shooting. Also, in hindsight, I'm wondering why I chose that ridiculously slow shutter speed of 3/10. Anyways:

  • Do the LEDs look plausible to you?

Any other comments are of course welcome as well. Cheers, --El Grafo (talk) 09:51, 15 January 2015 (UTC)

El Grafo Not at all :D, what happen here? We have 3 different colours of red LED, could you share the original? Than I could try to fix, or you can take the second in the bottom (I added a note) and then clone stamp it, cause this one is good. -- RTA 10:01, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for being honest, RTA! Yeah, looking at it after some time again makes me realize they look pretty awful. What happened there is basically that I completely overexposed the LEDs – mainly in the red channel, making them look yellow (where only the red channel was blown) to white (where all channels were blown). Here's how I tried to fix this, as far as I can remember it: I did one regular RAW development for the whole device and one for the LEDs. In that one, I pulled the exposure down as far as possible and shifted the color towards red. So everything that was white before would now be plain red. Then I stacked the two developments in GIMP with the "normal" on on top and made that one transparent at the locations of the LEDs, letting the other red layer shine through there (sparing out dots to get the highlights from the "normal" layer). That worked very well for the "11" in the display panel, which was also affected by this to some degree. However, I'm not too experienced in GIMPing around on a pixel level, so I've left some ugly artifacts in other places.
For the record: The top left LED (next to the "33 amps") actually is a different kind of LED (brighter, can have different colors) than the other ones. Also, the big one at the top right is of much lower intensity than the rest – this one didn't need any retouching at all, so I used this as a guide and tried to match the other ones to it.
I suppose someone with better retouching skills could make it look credible, but at the moment I'm really considering re-shooting the whole thing: One exposure for the whole device and a separate one for the LEDs would eliminate the need for messing around with blown channels. I'd also like to try a third exposure for the glow of that vacuum tube, which is far too dim. After all having a real tube in a digital modeler is one the major selling points of this device …
--El Grafo (talk) 11:46, 30 January 2015 (UTC)
El Grafo, if you want, send me the RAW file to, and I could try to solve. :)
And I could fake the lights on, from here: File:VOX ToneLab ST.jpg :P
And just one note, I can see a brighter light in the left, if you gonna take another photo, have that in mind. Maybe Evan-Amos could help in this type of photo. -- RTA 11:57, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

File:Concattedrale di San Giovenale.jpgEdit

Just to not pollute the Commons FP, I bring here some thoughts about the photo File:Concattedrale di San Giovenale.jpg also see Commons:Featured picture candidates/File:Concattedrale di San Giovenale.jpg

Concattedrale di San Giovenale.jpg

Livioandronico2013, I really like the texture in the floor, I like the colours, ..., this image have a better composition then this one File:Cappella della Madonna Del Rosario in St. Mary above Minerva.jpg, the celling in churches are important part of the architecture, but ok... again panorama ;). But the lack of quality remains in another points, as you did not used the sharpest f-stop of your lens, that is ~f/4.0 [1], and in this case, is quite vital cause this lens have a good area of sharpness, and a really bad result in the rest :D . Did you locked the mirror up to take the shoot? And use a remote control or a timer to take the shoot? This kind of thing avoid micro vibrations in photo after you press the shot bottom. And if the f/5.6 did not cover the DOF needed you could focus bracketing also, and tilt a little bit. Maybe Diliff could give more tips :). -- RTA 10:49, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

It is a pity that the composition cuts the central arch. -- KlausFoehl (talk) 11:56, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

Winter photo of a radar domeEdit

La Dôle sommet02 2015-02-07.jpg

Where can the photo itself be still improved, and how to improve the scene if I one happens to be at that location again? -- KlausFoehl (talk) 14:34, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

I think this is a very solid photo as it is. I'm not sure if this helps you, but if the location allows it, I'd probably try three things: 1) Step away a little further (might not be possible) to relax the perspective a little, make the building less threatening, 2) give the subject slightly more room to breathe, and put it off-center and 3) as always, if your trip allows it, be there at a slightly later hour with a little softer light (this one isn't bad at all because the snow softens it) and slightly more contrast because then you have a shadow side and a light side on the dome. Scribble: [2]. Cheers. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 19:10, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestions. I have actually tried several shots, of which I already have uploaded two more. Stepping back is possible, but then the foot-steps in the snow become more pronounced. From that side it is always an uphill perspective, but one could crop the photo putting the building off-center. Also included a photo from a different angle, but then the foreground is busier which might distract from the main building, and the winter effects are less pronounced. -- KlausFoehl (talk) 13:50, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Ah, this one gives a nice overview over the area. I think leaving more space towards the shadow side is not as good as leaving more side towards the sunny side. But from the sommet03-image, I think taking one or two steps to the left and then making a two-photo panorama, with the existing direction being the right frame and an additional one towards the left would, in my opinion, be ideal. The step to the left (and necessarily slightly down) will make the shadows on the right less visible and move them to the very edge of the frame. And open blue space on the left is a great relaxing area leading the eye to the subject. Everything only my opinion though. — Julian H.✈ (talk/files) 19:54, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Well, I have browsed through my photos again. The first two show some shadow on the radome. How do they compare to the previous ones in your opinion? The third one shows a little bit more scenery, and the fourth maybe could be cropped such to have the radome more to the right. -- KlausFoehl (talk) 20:34, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

La Dôle sommet09 2015-02-07.jpg

And I fudged a photo according to your sketched suggestion (you may hunt for stitching errors-they do exist...) -- KlausFoehl (talk) 22:11, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

KlausFoehl, good, good, rule of thirds, interesting sky colour,
Did you shoot raw? This photo have a strong chromatic aberration, this need to be fixed. RAW are better to recover that.
Do you still needs to give more room to the photo, less ground, and more sky, the ground here do not add to the photo, but a little bit of sky could improve your image. [3] [bad photo], but gives the idea.
Be careful with weird shadows, create distractions, but, you seems to know.
This are stars at the sky? You could explore more of that.
Looks like a cold, desert, and high place, but, maybe a golden hour or night be awesome time to shoot. [4] [5] [6], the the last ones are not a great photos, but gives the colour to looking for.
In golden hour, could be better take in the angle of the first one (File:La Dôle sommet02 2015-02-07.jpg).
Measurable elements could also improves our photo, this shows me how big this thing is, looking your photos, I though that it was a smaller place,
And looking other photos, maybe you can improve your ones: [7] [8], or, avoid to create more of the same, and create a unique photo.
Very fast tips. -- RTA 09:04, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, some answers. Yes I do have RAW files as well. I know that my lense has chromatic aberration. If I plan for a stitched image, I can put the hard transitions into the middle of images. How do you correct for them best? In gimp, I know about making a blurred layer, use grain extract, then remove the colour and finally grain merge. Is there a better way?
More blue sky, this time I do not have a shot in the right direction to stitch the proper sky to it. Yes I know it is tight, and it is already wide angle.

No, these are not stars, but snow blowing in the wind. And you see the stichting limit, the second photo I used, first in the gallery below, does not have snow in the wind.

Thank you for your comments. Golden hour at this time of the year, good suggestion colour-wise, but they do not like you going downhill that late in the day. -- KlausFoehl (talk) 18:17, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Well, do not put in the middle, keep the rules of third, it is better.
Try the gimplensfun plugging for gimp, this should fix in a better way the chromatic aberration.
No problem with the snow, a faster shoot speed could freeze a little bit better, but it's ok.
Yeah, could be cold :P.
-- RTA 19:06, 20 February 2015 (UTC)