Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What Would You Have Done Differently?

On my workshops, I am asked to offer suggestions on how to make a photograph better.

Well, I thought I'd turn the tables, so to speak. Here is one of my favorite photographs (long-skirt Miao women) from a workshop I organized to remote China last year. Scroll down on this page to see more images.

So the question is: How would you have posed the subject in this situation? What would you have done differently? Let me know. I really would be interested. (As you will see in the addition to this post below, I actually thought of some of your good ideas!)

If you post your comments here, all can see.

Explore the light,
Rick

P.S. An after-post addition.

Thank you for you comments. Here are a few pictures that address some of the good suggestions - applied to other photographs. Three from China, one from Kenya.

Above: Subject off-center.


Above: Subjects in context.

Above: Head and shoulder shot.

Above: Black background.

Again, thanks to all for playing along.

14 comments:

Luke said...

I would have maybe had her do something else with her hands. I like the colors and how the headpiece is off center but when I get to her hands, it just seems like she wasn't sure what to do with them. Maybe she could have been holding the beads on the bottom of that shirt? Great pic, only thing I could really come up with when looking at it.

Benoit said...

I might have had her at the door frame with the house interior going to black as if she was emerging into daylight looking into the camera assuming i have nothing but a camera at this point so i would have tried that first.

Ruben Ricardo said...

I would watch for the object on the background, it looks like it's on her head. (photo are 2D)

Ruben Ricardo said...

I would watch for the object on the background, it looks like it's on her head. (photo are 2D)

Gary Simmons said...

I'll jump in... forgive me Rick, but you asked!

I feel like this person needs more context. I don't know why she is dressed so colourfully from the shot.... and I think the full-length shot needs it.

So, I would have done 1 of 2 things (or both): 1. fill the frame with her face in a classic portrait shot. And more importantly 2. I wound get her to pose doing the thing that she was dressed to do.

Rick Sammon said...

Rubin... that object IS on her head. It's part of the Miao outfit.....

Rick Sammon said...

Ruben... I am adding a picture just like that to the post now as a PS.

Anonymous said...

I would have zoomed in so that just her head and headdress shows. I think the headdress gets lost in the picture. One thing I was always taught is to intentionally draw the viewers eye to a certain part of the photo. I don't see where that is happening in this image. Zooming in would force the viewer to look directly at her face and headdress.

Michael Seneschal said...

First, it's a beautiful photo of a beautiful subject.

OK, I would have squared myself up straight with the door. The camera position is slightly to the right, which make the lines of the door askew (kind of like the photo is crooked, but not because it's shot at an angle). Squaring up with the door would make the lines of the door semetrical (which acts a frame within the frame).

That'd be the main thing I'd change. Hope all is well and I enjoy your website and podcast. :)


Mike

Rick Sammon said...

Michael - Good eye. The door frame is not level or even or square. It's hand-made and tilted :-)

Again, thanks to all.

Puggle said...

I'd have shot her from the side and have asked her to hold a common artifact or utensil, to show context. The shot would be much better shifted off center, and cropped tighter. This will highlight her mood or expression best.

I'd also try other shots with her standing, to show off her costume, and shots of her interacting with others, or doing something more interesting. She's in costume, so I'm guessing there's some sort of ceremony occurring. Shots of her engaged in an activity would be better.

Puggle said...

I'd have shot her from the side and have asked her to hold a common artifact or utensil, to show context. The shot would be much better shifted off center, and cropped tighter. This will highlight her mood or expression best.

I'd also try other shots with her standing, to show off her costume, and shots of her interacting with others, or doing something more interesting. She's in costume, so I'm guessing there's some sort of ceremony occurring. Shots of her engaged in an activity would be better.

Ivan

Dave said...

Well you asked. My wife and I owned a portrait studio for 15 years. From that experience the first thing I think when I look at the full length shot is she looks likes she is going to the bathroom. I really like the closer crop and the off center image.

Rick Sammon said...

Thank you all for commenting here. Turns out more folks commented on Facebook.http://bit.ly/bzIedC