Duncan Rawlinson

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  • in reply to: My Inspiration #18725
    Duncan Rawlinson

    What’s exciting for me to hear you say is the word “natural” when you’re referencing portraits. The best portrait photographers in the world are masters not only at the technical components of portrait photography (lighting, poses, backdrops, aperture etc), but they are “masters” because they capture the true “essence” of a person. Portraits don’t need to be manufactured poses with smiles and tilted heads and “this shoulder” being more foreword. The best portraits capture the “real” mannerisms, facial expressions and feelings of the moment.

    I want you to look at a famous portrait photographer at the link I’m providing you below.

    This is the portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh who is best known for his portrait of Winston Churchill. Please read this article below. You’ll learn so much from this photographer and his theories on portrait photography.


    Great assignment. I really enjoyed reading about your experience.

    All the best and keep up the good work.

    in reply to: Beast to Beauty #18724
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hello Kat. You’re off to a great start and you’ve shown your understanding of what was asked of you. You definitely made the unnoticeable hook more interesting by putting a bright red garment on it.

    However, I do have a couple of strong recommendations for you to keep your eyes on. This recommendation will have a dramatic impact on the quality of your work right away. The photographic techniques I’m about to tell you have not been discussed yet but it’s important that I point them out to you now so you can make corrections to ensure they don’t happen again in your future photographs.

    Be very careful about ‘amputating’ parts of your photograph. I noticed that you “amputated” (this means that one of the 4 walls of the photograph ‘cut’ your subject) the bottom of the red top. You decided to include the top of the dress but the bottom edge of the photograph cut the bottom of the top off. Take a look around at photographers you admire and notice how they very rarely ever amputate their main subject unless it’s well thought out or necessary to get other important elements into the photograph. There are strategic amputation techniques, but you should try to make a decision about what makes it into the 4 walls of your photograph. You wanted to bring the red top into the photograph but you didn’t pay attention to the bottom wall of the photograph.

    Pay extra close attention to the 4 walls of the photograph to see if they are cutting anything off. If something is getting “cut” then make a decision to get rid of it all together or bring it fully into the photograph. Unless very well done, it is distracting the viewer’s eye to see subjects with amputation due to one of the walls of the photograph cutting it off.

    But other than that great job! I look forward to seeing your future assignments in the student community

    in reply to: Lesson 3 Assignment Entry #18722
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Wonderful photographs.

    Your first shot with the slow shutter speed is particularly fantastic. You’ve done a great job of capturing the movement within the shot on the right objects while freezing the other elements of the photograph. Technically, as far as shutter speed is concerned it’s very well done. However, I want to bring two things to light.

    It could be argued that the movement you captured should have been more precise. For example, the audience sees movement in the hair dresser’s head, hands, upper body and so on. Focusing in on one area (although very difficult) would have been ideal. For instance try focusing on the movement of the hairdressers hands and hair so it seems planned and not simply out of focus. This is not to say that a photograph should never have a fully out of focus person because this is not the case. However, in this case focusing in on the main element (hair cut / hands / and the process of getting a haircut) would have been ideal. Seeing the hair move, but the body stay sill. Seeing the hairdressers hands move but not her body… etc.

    Secondly, pay close attention to background details. I know you don’t’ always have full control over these elements but try refocusing, changing your position or waiting for an ideal time to make sure you minimize amputation of distracting elements in the background (ie. Door frame, light switch, pictures and something is also on the right side of the picture which I’m not sure what it is). If you can’t get out distracting elements try changing your aperture setting to create a shallower depth of field.

    The night shot is very good as well. It’s composed very clearly and you’ve done a great job of exposing it properly.

    Overall great job on both shots!

    in reply to: Lesson 2 Assignment Entry #18719
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Very well said. The purpose of this assignment was to get you to raise questions about yourself such as “what your style is”. You can often learn more about your own style by analyzing the photographs of photographers you admire. So by saying that you like the “darker side of life” gives me a good indication that your photography portfolio should have the overall look to it. Night photography with vibrant colors is quite hard to achieve both technically and artistically. That being said, as you know, it can also be one of the most pleasant forms of photography to work with.

    Based on the information in this essay, if it’s okay with you, I would like to see a strong slant towards the theme “dark side of life”, in your next assignments. It doesn’t have to be in them all, but it will help you gain experience shooting this type of photography.

    I look forward to seeing your next assignment.

    in reply to: Assignment: Beast to Beauty #18721
    Duncan Rawlinson


    Great shots that show what this assignment was all about: Simplification and photo enhancement. As far as the technical aspects of the assignment go you’ve got it right. However, I would have liked to see a wider variance in the shots. Maybe in your first shot you should have been pulled back a little more to make it look more ‘ordinary’ or unorganized. I wanted to see a stronger contrast between the two photographs. However, what you’ve done is correct; this is just my personal opinion.

    Secondly, in your second photograph you’ve used very “formal balance”. This means that your main object was placed dead center in the middle. If you folded this photograph in half and then looked on both sides of the line the fold created you’d virtually have a carbon copy of each side. While this form of balance can be interesting with some more complex object, often “informal balance” is used when taking photographs of most objects (and it helps enhance simple subjects such as the object you chose).

    You haven’t got to the section on photography composition or framing yet so it’s not as if you’re supposed to know this, but I bring it up now so you can keep an eye on it. For now, try to balance your main object off to one of the 1/3 side of your photographs. You can create balance and harmony through the simplification of objects and colors. Likewise, it will still be obvious what your main subject is. Creating pictures with too “formal” of balance is one of the biggest mistakes of amateur photographers.

    I can promise you, if you change your style to a more ‘informal balance’ approach, you’ll be much happier with the outcome!

    Great start! I look forward to seeing your next assignments.

    Have a great day

    in reply to: Lesson 1 Assignment Entry #18717
    Duncan Rawlinson


    Great work! I really like both sets (but I had to delete one because you’re only supposed to upload 1 set!). I choose to leave your first set, which I found to be more impressive.

    Let me start off by saying that you did a wonderful job of showcasing the power of what careful attention to detail can have. Your first shot looks exactly how I wanted it to: Boring, dull, unimaginative and easily forgettable. The first shot shows various distracting elements and cuts off objects on the 4 edges of your photograph. However, these are some of the biggest mistakes that first time photographers make. They focus too much on the main object (in this case the stereo system) with complete disregard to other important photographic elements. Your second shot however, incorporates some very powerful visual elements which really make it stand out. In fact, this shot is great for 2 main reasons.

    1. It uses informal balance which is often more visually pleasing to the eye. You’ve used the rule of thirds (to be discussed in a later lesson) to organize your photograph and you’ve adjusted your depth of field to help with simplifying the photography and helping to place emphasis on more important elements (In this case the blue light).

    2. Most impressively you’ve managed to color simplify. This is often hard for first time photographers to do. They let in too many colors which leads to an overall unorganized and chaotic look. You have chosen only a few colors which really make the photograph stand out.

    Overall, great job. Exactly what I was hoping for!

    in reply to: Beast to Beauty #18716
    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hello. Good job on completing your first assignment.

    You definitely got the concept right. Instead of keeping your camera zoomed out you moved in closer to get rid of certain distracting elements. You also did a good job of using interesting colors in your photograph.

    However, there are a few major mistakes made in the following photograph. That being said, you haven’t learnt these concepts yet (they appear later in the learning maerial), but you should keep an eye out for them anyway.

    First, you simply moved in closer to get rid of some distracting elements around the edges of yoru photograph. For example you removed cups, creams and the sink from the second shot. However, the second shot still includes distracting visual elements. The reflection of the mirror is still showing items which are ‘amputated” (Cut off at the edges) with no real purpose.

    Secondly, the general organization of your photograph could be improved. While it’s clear that the cup of toothbrushes are the main object, it’s not clear what the purpose of the other objects are.

    Try simplifying even more with both colors and subjects. Remember, you must put as much thought into what shouldn’t make it into the 4 walls of your photograph as you should about what makes it into the 4 walls of the photograph.

    A great start. I look forward to seeing your next assignment! Good luck!

Viewing 7 posts - 1,996 through 2,002 (of 2,002 total)