Hi Avery - Overall, this is a very strong image. Your sister looks lovely and that is often the purpose in doing a portrait of someone. The strategies you used throughout (exposure, composition, DOF, finding the light, etc.) were very strong. I would love to see more of your work and if it holds up like this, you will be a strong shooter!! Keep up the good work!!
People always make wonderful subjects. I like how you weren't afraid to come in close and by focusing on her eyes, you really bring me into this person... the point of a portrait. Good job!
Again, I love that you weren't afraid to get in really tight. There is an organic movement within the frame bringing me first to her right (left of frame) eye because it's the most focused point and an eye and then I move to the next eye. The rest of the face adds then rather than distracts by being placed well in the frame.
Use of camera,
Considering you were shooting at noon, you did a great job with light and therefore not having to deal with the extremes of light that noon often brings to a shoot. However, I feel it is a bit over exposed as you lose detail in your highlight areas, mostly along her nose and the hair on the bright side. In digital photography, once you lose your highlights, they are NOT coming back. You are better to expose less and bring in your shadows, which have more infomation and is definitely more saveable than losing your highlights. Another option is to expose less still, but add some fill, if you want to do it all in camera and not do any post to bring back in the shadowy areas. Exposing less will allow you to have detail throughout the entire image, including your highlights.
As I mentioned before, the DOF and having that focus on the eye, brings the viewer right in where you want them to be. You were careful and got the focus precise and using the narrow DOF served to make this a stronger image for you. Great job!!
Since you did the shoot at noon, this is great. You were able to find nice, natural light at that time of day, which is fabulous! Sometimes the shoots happen then and you have to find a way to deal with it. You did that wonderfully! Good job!
Shallow depth of field, making the focus directly on her eye brings me right in to where you want me to be. It's great. More DOF would have made everything sharp and the viewer would be unsure where to look and that could cause other elements, such as her nose (being central) to become a distraction. This use is very directive which is good.
How to improve your photo
Practice with bracketing exposure. This would have been better a little less exposed so you could have kept the detail in your highlights and you could have used fill light or brought the darker part back up in post-processing, keeping a similar look, but having detail throughout. Learn where you lose your highlight detail and remember, once the highlights are gone, they don't come back!!
The image is great, but feel free to play around with your composition. Often if you take several "similar" images - especially of a face like this, you will find that you love some and not so fond of others, by subtle differences in expression or composition. Sometimes playing with cropping can do something similar, but when you shoot tight, like this, it's not as easy. However, I don't discourage shooting tight like this as well. It makes the portrait so intimate.
Keep shooting! You're on the right track!!!
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After a degree in photography, with a major in Photojournalism, I spent about 6 years working for various newspapers. Then in 2001 I gave up the staff position, moved back home to Los Angeles and went freelance. Since then, I've been successfully freelancing, working for prominent clients suc...
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