Help needed
I have entered two photographs so far for the Lumix competition (with no luck as yet). I have an idea for a third image that I hope will at least get me onto the shortlist. I think that I can see a pattern in the way that the judges are choosing winners (abstract man and machine shots) and have adapted to that. Here is an example of one of my previous attempts& I need a different look to get through to the final stages; for example, here is the link to one of the previous winners images I know that I have very little chance of winning anything, but just getting onto the shortlist would make me a very happy man! Could someone please give me some advice on how to capture this type of photograph (subject, lighting etc). Many thanks Simon..

Comments (8)

My suggestions here are all subjective since I have not read the competetition specs (alth I visted the pics and was not there when you took this pic. Everyone will tell you to do something different but only you know what you feeling you want to create. I would be tempted to get in tighter on a shot like this to bring out driver via a wide angle lens perhaps from a lower view to show height or more front to emphasize man and his great gut against the metal. Cab window is nice frame point for figure and interior of machine. Good expression on man. He is central.

It is easier to drop under and bring ev up. The cab inside is also bit dark (for me) (However in most competetions is the overall concept that will be judged). I was thinking this might look good in partial or full bw with sepia tint or even some grain to bring out some dirty/dusty railroad feel. You have a good start but need to adjust some parameters - exposure, crop a bit (taking care not to remove to much.) You could lose top of cab edge where highlight is blown OR darken or even texture darken this area. Overexposure can work if it adds to the feeling of moment.Only you the shooter can judge that.

Comment #1

Tim, thanks, you gave some great advice there and it was easy for me to understand.... I was so tempted to go with the Sepia tint and have regreted it ever since. Add the grain with the sepia tint? I will try it. I have already cropped the image, and was worried about taking it down any further (just as you mentioned). Thanks again for your help, just off to check your site... Simon..

Comment #2

This is much better. THere are some vertical lines that make it lok an old movie reel. Great! You might want to take sepia up a tad and crop or stamp out the name on bottom which you cant read anyway. Also look at right edge which with balance you have is acting as a heavy border. THis would let get a bit tighter, I wouldnt touch the back as the light seems good and here you play with Photoshop lighting if your into that. I would also adjust the curve (from color) a bit for and then go back with sepia at different levels.

You have some tricky lighting to balance ie the inside of cab against the white shirt so one does not get lost against the other. Also I would be VERY tempted to add texture and or use unsharop mask at a higher level give an even more age effect which is why I pointed you my web site where I do exactly that. I think your seeing the idea of digital and how manipulating post shot can really add to a picture. I assume your not editing in jpg as this breaks down and the quality deterioriates over more edits. Being me I would do stuff like dirty the shirt and add other touches which many "purists" might call cheating.

The real trick becomes of NOT over doing the touch up so it looks touched up. It is shaping up well. I like it. good stuff.... tim smith..

Comment #3

Simon, I've been on Tim's site before and really like his style. Like him, I was not impressed with the winning entry. I don't mind the abstract, sometimes. But somehow a blurry picture doesn't quite cut it. So in this case it goes to taste, not to talent, in my view. I'm NOT a photographer, so weigh what I have to offer accordingly.

Which probably explains why I'm not too fond of the abstract, though I've been moved by some of them. It would also explain why I don't like cheating, unless you're that good that you won't get caught. I find the lines you added do not belong. There are too many tell-tales of a different era: the man's style of glasses, the fuel valve, the short sleeve shirt. But I do like the rustic look of the last shot, though I wished you'd kept it the same size.

The man has a beautiful expression. I like to think that the "art" is not all in the computer. So I'm sure the technique you applied here would work beautifully with some other shots you took. I wished I had your perseverance. I hope it pays off for you..

Comment #4

My "photographers block" seems to have been broken! I have to admit, I do like the shot after the enhancements and I think that the style would definately fit into what is required. I did edit a copy of the original image in jpeg, as it is not going to be used (I know that it's something that I should not get into doing regularly). The bottom line is that yet another door has been opened for me. Cheers Tim, you have been really helpful. Simon..

Comment #5

Thanks for your advice Mike. I think that some of your comments (along with some of Tim's) serve to remind me that it's extremely easy to get carried away when editing images. Just out of curiosity, you mentioned that you were not a photographer? Thanks Mike Simon..

Comment #6

Actually, Simon, I'm a pilot with the CAF, and work at the Trenton Search And Rescue Center... with computers mostly, nowadays! I used to develop and enlarge my own photos, just as a hobby. I was not too good at it, though it was fun for me to try. I bought my digital camera with astrophotography in mind, so I can manipulate the data from the images through my own software, for fun. So far it's been a lot easier than rinsing negatives, etc. But eventually, once my set-up is adequate, I hope to capture some decent pictures of nebulae and such.

So you can tell here that I'm not an artist. I like art "already made", and that of others. When I look at my other pictures, I look at them as "recorded history". Nothing more. I try to apply technique so that I end up with the best pictures I can.

Please, take what I said as comments, not as advice. Mike..

Comment #7

Mike, that's fascinating. Astronomy has interested me for many years, and I would love to photograph some of the wonders up there... It's just a lack of equipment. I would love to see some of you future images. Thanks for the explanation. "Please, take what I said as comments, not as advice"Understood. Simon..

Comment #8

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