Photo Feedback

Sometimes as judges, we see subjects that are really small in the frame or hidden away. This is something that is easy to do because the human eye is very good at zooming in on what the brain is interested in. This is especially so when you look through the viewfinder of your camera and what appears to be quite large to you when taking the photograph can end up being relatively insignificant in the final image.

Get in close to your subject with your zoom lens (or just walk in closer) so it’s really obvious what the viewer is supposed to be looking at, or look at the images you have and crop them so the subject is more important. 

Of course, making your subject obvious doesn’t mean it has to be large in the frame – a car in the middle of a flat desert doesn’t need to be large to be obvious. However, a car on a busy city street will be lost with all the other cars unless you move in a bit closer with your zoom, or you crop the image during post-production. 

Cropping an image doesn't automatically make it better, but if cropping your image can remove distracting elements from the frame, then it's probably a good idea!

The 2018 Better Photography Magazine Photo of the Year Award is now on! Entries close on 31 October 2018 and there is $17,000 in cash and prizes available. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be handed out and every entry will receive a short comment or suggestion from the judging panel.

Check out our e-book on How To Win Photo Competitions on our Better Photography Education website - you can find it here.

And, of course, you can enter our current Better Photography Photo of the Year Competition. Entries close 31 October and details are here.

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!

 

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