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Subject: I am looking to improve my photos, criticism appreciated rss

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Colin Hunter
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I really like photography, well at least looking at photograph. There are so many great photographers on here that have really inspired me to give it a go. I've read many of the great geeklists (like the stuff gamesphoto has done) on how to take photographs and learned a lot through experience, like natural light is awesome I have to admit I am a total newb and I'm not the sort of person who spends a great deal of time normally doing stuff like this, but recently I felt like trying.

I have been fooling about a bit with adjusting color (I think I use this too much) and exposure digitally a little and I am trying to crop photos more, but I still feel like my photos are not what I'd like. I do feel like I'm getting better slowly and some. Anyway I'm hoping to get a little feedback on what people think I need to improve. I may need a new camera, as I find the auto-focus incredibly annoying at times. I try to take tons of photos and just submit the better one. Here are a few photos, so you get an idea, you are more than welcome to look at my profile and see all of them (I have some in a personal gallery as I didn't want to spam the game entries too much). I'll post a few here. I'm not looking for general tips, but specific stuff I'm doing wrong or could improve. All comments welcome *ducks and waits for flaming to begin*.








I don't like this one much

Some photos I have in my gallery, but I didn't upload to gamea


- declined by image mods, a bit out of focus I guess


Thanks for any help provided.
 
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Colin Hunter
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Please note, if you happen to take a look at all my photos, the ones of miniatures are not mine (but I obtained permission to upload them here, they were taken by people I know).
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Well, I do more video than still, but I'll blather at 'cha anyway:

First, my favorite of the ones you posted below is definitely this one:



So comments in general:

*Subject matter. Your photos are all of hex-and-counter wargames. For the most part those sorts of games don't have the aesthetic appeal of many euros and ameritrash games. That's fine of course, but it is going to make it hard to take really compelling photos.

*Depth of field. The photo above really shows that off and I find it is part of nearly all of my favorite "arty" photos. The eye is drawn to the focused subject and everything else recedes into the background. Auto focus can be a pain in the ass here as you've noted.

*Subjects. Again this is part of the challenge with these sorts of games, but many of the photos are showing multiple subjects (counters) and as a viewer I'm not sure what I'm "supposed" to be looking at. The photo above makes that quite clear. I also like this one:


While we're seeing a bunch of counters, we're far back enough that what we notice is how the battle lines are set up. The light is also interesting.

Apologies if you are looking for more technical stuff vis a vis lighting and bringing out color. This is just what struck me composition-wise.
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Colin Hunter
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Thank you,

Commenting on composition is absolutely fine. I want to get better at everything. Yes hex and counter wargames, don't make the best subjects, I'll get to other games I'm sure
 
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Alex

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I feel your pictures maybe lack a little contrast. Take this picture:

one reason why it's interesting is because of the deep wooden table, and the bright blue chit against a paler background.

If you take pictures in color, it's fun to play with colors and to make them pop, blend or contrast.

Maybe those wargames are not the most photogenic subjects out there... whistle

But all in all, I think your pictures are of high quality. Maybe try to make them more personal, or emotional. I feel a good photographer can do that with only the components of the game, without adding T&C (Tits and Cats).

P.S. I know nothing about photography.
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Colin Hunter
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Thanks Alexandre. That is very helpful
 
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Kenneth Bailey
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when taking pictures of small things, you might also want to try using a tripod and making sure that you have more light on the subject.
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Colin Hunter
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Hmmm the tripod sounds very sensible. Do you use special lights? Say that give whiter light or is that crazy talk?
 
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Andrew C.
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Think more carefully about how light is used in the scene. Consider how you can illuminate the scene more attractively. The one with sunlight shining on just part of the board is an example of what to avoid. Set the camera on a steady surface (or tripod if you have one) and use a longer exposure. Get closer to the action - shots from top down directly over the board are boring. Create photos that are set up to show just one item or aspect of the game, not an overview of the whole board. Allow that one aspect to take up about 60% of the photograph. If your camera allows manual settings, try to use selective focus (depth of field) to just show the subject sharply focused, with everything else blurry.
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Kenneth Bailey
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Some people will set up what's called a light box. Basically you have a box with white paper on the inside and three (or more holes cut into it so that you can put light anywhere). The white gives you a nice non-distracting background and also brightens the subject from the reflections. You can also try things to diffuse the light on it.

If you are using a camera with adjustable settings, you might want to learn them. For instance, if you can adjust the f-stop, if you want a shallow depth of field, you will set it to the higher f-stops (lower numbers), if you want more things showing, you set it to the one of the lower settings.

And I concur with the other people, make sure that you have a background to set out the subject you are trying to take a picture of.

Also, some photography things suggest that your subject is slightly off center (rule of thirds).
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kSwingrÜber
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Speaking of tripods, check out this outfit: http://joby.com.

My wife bought me one their smallest (cheapest) from Amazon (I think), and it's great!

For close-ups, my trick it to use the tripod (or some other way of getting the camera stable), then set the "self portrait timer" on the camera. This way I can hit the button, then take my hands away, giving the camera a few seconds to quit wiggling before it actually takes the picture... a great way to eliminate the "blurs".

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Kenneth Bailey
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Can I ask what kind of camera are you using?
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Colin Hunter
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Thanks so much guys, I'm learning heaps already. It makes me want to go take a photographic course or something.
 
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Alex Singh
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With still photography, time is not an issue (usually). Make sure that what you want to photograph is in frame and what you don't want to photograph is out of frame. Sure you can crop, but better to get right in camera first. Don't be afraid of getting close. A tripod and macro capable lens helps a lot with this.
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Colin Hunter
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I was given the camera, it used to be my grandfather's just before he died I think. It is an Olympus Camedia C-750 Ultra Zoom. It says 4.0 Megapixel ED Lens on it. I know nothing about cameras, I don't have a manual for it, but I will go look online now and read up about it. I'm sure I'm not using it very well.
 
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