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Hello all, I'm looking to improve my photography. I've hit a bit of a wall and cannot think of any more ways to improve myself, so I am looking for advice. Let me know what you think, even the smallest of advice could be a lot of help to me! Feel free to look at my profile and cc any of those pictures as well. I understand manual mode (aperture, ISO, ss) and so on. I can try to find the settings of each photo but I'm looking more for help on composition.

Thank you very much! Hailey

I'll take a crack at a comment on all three, I'm by far no pro, though, so take them with a grain of salt.

Top to bottom:

Top photo: Great capture and facial expression on the dog. The sharpest part of the photo should be the eyes. It looks pretty good, it's hard to tell on this website, because of the size of the photo, but the plane of razor-sharp focus might be just slightly deeper into the depth of field. One way to overcome that is go up one or or more stops in the aperture... if that was at f4, go to f5.6 or from 5.6 to 8... experiment a little. It will help you also get more of the dog's face in sharper focus. There's sometimes a challenge with a subject coming directly at a camera... the time when the auto focus locks to when the image is captured has a small lag... the dog ran closer and a tiny bit out of focus in that amount of time. There's not a ton you can do about that... higher end cameras will have some adjustments you can fine tune, but for the most part, a higher f-stop will get you there. Given the relatively bright lighting, you won't sacrifice your shutter speed... if you can get above 1/800 or 1/1000sec you should freeze the action pretty well. When you don't have as bright conditions available, you may need to use a fill flash or some other light to freeze the action better. Also, I don't see much in the way of hand-held motion blur, but you can help reduce/eliminate visible blur if you can stay at about 1/ 2x the focal length of your lens. For example... if you're hand-holding with a 100mm lens, you get to 1/200sec shutter speed, you shouldn't see much motion-blur, if any. If you can't get exposure right at that speed, you probably should consider a mono- or tripod for stability. As far as the overall processing etc... there's some shadow lifting that seems to have happened... It's tempting to lift shadows to give more detail but this photo overall is a little light/overexposed. You could stand to back down the total exposure a little bit... maybe 1/2 or 2/3 of a stop to help the overall contrast. Lastly... this is a great example of where adding some post-crop vignette (very slight) darkening at the perimeter to give emphasis on the dog's face might help. It might not though too... play around with it. Stay light with the vignette - maybe just a few percent darkening.

Middle Photo: Great emotion and clarity. I wouldn't change much on this one. This is one to look at in multiple different renditions in processing though... true monochrome as a version... maybe some warming of the skin tones. But it is good without either.

Bottom photo: Love it. Great depth of field (the whole dog seems to be in sharp focus) and the background bokeh (blur) is nicely lit and even. Good contrast and highlights. Great action/movement - the dog looks like he's running into the scene in the foreground/right - there's bits of snow flying etc that are sharp. I would work on framing... this one is one where putting the dog on the left 1/3 or 2/5 point of the image so that the dog's action can "run to the other edge". off-center for an image like this can give it more interest/motion. But in this case, you might lose that good "number 7" vanishing point in the background. The trail makes sort of the shape of the number "7" which is one of those "nice to haves" in terms of adding depth to an image.

Again, it's all worth experimenting with - that's the great thing about digital.. you can shoot 10 different shots, throw away 9 and get one awesome keeper... all without spending any money on developing.

Hi Hailey (great photos),

IMO, you have as good an eye (if not better) composition wise than does Joe (just my opinion) after looking at all 124 of his photos.The one portrait of Joe's you might find most interesting is the selfie at the top left corner of page 4. You might want to try that yourself looking in a mirror. Then with Photoshop Elements (or whatever) do a mirror-image reverse so the name Canon is again right-reading. Might want to incorporate it into your business card and letterhead.

What i like most about the 1st photo is that you were on the ground at or below eye level. The focus is spot-on for closeup (head shot) portraiture (nose slightly out of focus and eyes sharp). Any very slight loss of eye sharpness is most likely not the fault of your focus, but more likely fast movement of subject at a closer distance in combination with slight camera movement. Sometimes when in a hurry to get in position one is out-of-breathe making it harder to steady your camera.

I'm going to critique the photo of your brother "The Musician" which is a nice capture, being that the photo is staged and you had time to frame your composition. Wondering why (final cropping) you didn't allow more space below the guitar and less black space above his head? My guess (and it happens to the best) is that possibly you were hurried, so when framing in viewfinder didn't allow for more space below the guitar. Try to keep brighter (white) objects away from the edge or corner of a photo as they tend to distract from the primary center-of-interest. Most likely there was more dark(black) space below the guitar. Also tone down slightly the highlights of face, hands and even more-so the guitar with Photoshop Elements, so it doesn't distract (compete for attention) from the main center-of-interest. Thus is the challenge when shooting subjects under harsh lighting whether with film or digital with the result being washed out bright objects that don't do justice to the subject matter.

Your first-rate "The Mind Struggle" excellent sidelite closeup portraiture reminds me of the photo rule "less is more". Also reminded me of Ansel Adams' B&W Zone System to always maintain some detail in both the shadows and highlights (that said there are always exceptions to every rule (e.g. silhouettes).

Taking some informal Senior Portraits and informal Wedding Portraits would be a good way to further polish your artistic/technique skills. You certainly have the innate talent. That's why taking informal portraits outside on an overcast day or in the shade (using sutble fill-in flash) is preferred by professional portrait photographers. Capture Minnesota wasn't really launched to attract portrait photographers. SO don't be discouraged you certainly have a good eye so keep perfecting your photo interest.