Photo Feedback

The original image as presented for feedback.

Our Anonymous Photographer has presented us with near perfect rim lighting. By pointing our cameras directly into the light (being careful to have a lens hood on or positioning yourself in some shade so you don't get lens flare) and assuming the light is falling the same way on your subject, the result can be a beautiful highlight all around the subject.

But what does the Anonymous Photographer want me to look at? Is it the kangaroo on the far left in the shadows? I have assumed not. What about the tank and fences up the top? I don't think so. Perhaps the grass highlighted in the left foreground? Again, no.

Surely it is all about those three kangaroos and if so, my suggestion is to crop the image!

There's no single way to crop here, but I encourage everyone to crop when necessary. If you can simplify your photograph by cropping, do so. 

The suggestion I have made above is based on how I reacted to the subject, but there are several different ways we could do this. And I realise that we're losing pixels and resolution, but chances are we have more than enough left over to make a good image. Cropping is good!

The final suggestion is to explore the exposure. I like the light rendition supplied, but I also looked at darkening down the exposure so the rim lighting became more obvious. I don't think this is necessarily better, just a different interpretation.

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to the New Zealand ‘Middlehurst’, Antarctica, Canada, USA, Iran and Bolivia. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

The original image as presented for feedback.

Our Anonymous Photographer has captured some wonderful light and, with the long exposure time, created a beautiful, milky blur which is something I personally enjoy.

However, the subject matter is confusing. The bright rocks on the left are pretty powerful, especially with their warm colours. The eye is dragged there, but I'd suggest these rock aren't the most attractive or interesting part of the scene.

Very often, less is more. Less objects in a photograph create a stronger composition which gets you more likes! (And I realise I should have written 'fewer' objects...)

So, the first suggestion below crops out the red rocks and makes the central rocks the dominant feature. It's stronger, perhaps, but not completely successful in my mind.

The second suggestion below makes the water between the rocks the centre of interest, placing the rocks around it like a frame. I think this is better and simpler, but I'm also aware that I'm cropping an existing photograph. Were I at this scene, I think I'd explore a range of different camera angles as well. Looking at the LCD screen while you're shooting, either in live view or as a review, lets you see your image as a two-dimensional design, whereas looking through the viewfinder you tend to concentrate on what the subject is, rather than how it looks.

Since I have made the water the subject in this crop, I thought I should make the water the subject in terms of exposure as well. My suggestion is to darken down the surrounding rocks and to add a little contrast to the water. However, I realise this is my interpretation - it will be up to our Anonymous Photographer to decide if it works for him or her!

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to the New Zealand ‘Middlehurst’, Antarctica, Canada, USA, Iran and Bolivia. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer was up early, but only one horse paid him or her any attention! There's some rising mist in the middle ground which is full of potential, but the sky is pretty bright and distracting, so our Anonymous Photographer went to work and produced the following:

 

 

The photographer should be commended for balancing the sky down so that it isn't so distracting, but could our Anonymous perpetrator have done even more? 

 

 

Here's my take on the image, beginning with an evening out of the tonal values in both the foreground and background. 

 

 

From here, I have darkened down the top and bottom a little further, and then lightened up the middle ground and added a little more contrast. Not a great difference between my edit and the Anonymous Photographer, so I am in good company, but perhaps mine is a bit lighter. Was the photographer's monitor correctly calibrated I wonder?

 

 

So, where to next? What about cropping a bit more of the sky off? It brings attention down to the horses, but the bright sky is still a distraction.

 

 

What about cropping the bright sky out all together, just keeping the clouds, although this leaves the lone tree to become a distraction instead...

 

 

So, let's crop a bit more and now we have a much simpler image with just the horses and the tree in the mist. I like this personally, but I might have taken my 'feedback' a bit far because now this is no longer the Anonymous Photographer's interpretation. And perhaps the image is a little long and narrow.

 

 

As a penultimate suggestion, the very top of the image was extended (stretched) upwards, just because the previous step looked a little severely cropped. Photoshop was used to select the top 20% and using the transform tool, stretch this section up which I'm sure the casual observer would not object to.

 

 

Now that the sky has been removed, I feel the image is lacking in contrast, so an auto levels was applied to give the final image a little lift.

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