Photo Feedback

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer, John Summerfield, has given us a challenging situation. He writes about this building being a part of his life as far back as he can recall.

 

“I have been wanting to photograph it for some years, but the face is ugly, dirty and faces south. I recently found that at the right time of day, at the right time of year, the sun shines full in its face, just as I like it. A little later and the sun shines down on the verandah. Late in the day, the sun is blocked by trees.”

 

So, this is a personal photograph with lots of ‘baggage’. And baggage is a good thing. We all have baggage when it comes to family photographs - the photographs transcend being an image or a work of art because of the meaning the subject of the photograph has for us. This appears to be the case with this building for John.

 

John asks how this photograph would go in a competition? What would a judge see in the image? The answer is a very competent architectural study, but perhaps a little closely cropped. While the sky is interesting, the fact there is so little space around the subject gives it a sense of being more of a record shot than an art piece, but this is a subjective opinion.

 

How would we improve it? There’s not a lot that needs improving, but perhaps a little more detail in the shadows would help?

 

 

It’s only a small change, but reveals a little more of the character perhaps. Also, given John has used such a front-on camera position, the building itself doesn’t look quite square. This might in fact be the case, but by using a little perspective control in Photoshop, it can be straightened up, perhaps improving its strength in the frame.

 

 

However, it’s still too closely cropped and too much of a record shot. Looking at John’s signature in the file submitted (was this a darkroom photo scanned perhaps?), we’re thinking there was probably a little more breathing space in his original as well – so we’ve added some in quickly to give you a sense of what a wider angle could have produced.

 

 

And having made this adjustment, a little darkening top and bottom ensures the eye is kept in the middle of the frame where John’s wonderful building sits.

 

 

Is it a competition winner? That always depends on the other photographs that are entered into the same competition, but it’s certainly an ‘acceptance and worthy of hanging.

 

Our e-book on How To Win Photo Competitions isn't just for making better competition entries, it's full of great advice on improving all your photos - you can find it here.

 

And if you're interested in a photography tour/workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to Bhutan, New Zealand, Norway (Polar Bears) and Antarctica. The Silk Road trip for 2019 is booked out. Full details on the Better Photography website!

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer has left us very little to do. The image is beautifully framed and timed with the birds positioned perfectly in relation to the trees (there’s a tiny second bird on the water in the centre). The composition is elegant in its simplicity and no doubt the choice of subject matter and the use of the reflection has added to its appeal. The only thing we’d suggest is a little more room to the right in the framing. Why? If you notice the distance between the trees and the edges of the frame on the top left, compared to the middle right, the right seems a little more ‘squished’. What happens if we add a little space?

 

 

This to our mind is better balanced – but we’re nitpicking we know. So, what about the tonality. Other images of this style are sometimes higher in contrast with a whiter backdrop – like this:

 

 

Many people may prefer this result as being cleaner, but maybe the photographer intentionally wanted to keep some tone in the image, in which case we’re scratching to improve it. Maybe a little colour could help?

 

 

Sometimes when it comes to feedback, it’s better to just say, ‘Great shot’!

 

Our e-book on How To Win Photo Competitions isn't just for making better competition entries, it's full of great advice on improving all your photos - you can find it here.

 

And if you're interested in a photography tour/workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to Bhutan, New Zealand, Norway (Polar Bears) and Antarctica. The Silk Road trip for 2019 is booked out. Full details on the Better Photography website!

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer believes his photo tells a story – and it certainly does. The idea and concept of juxtaposing the diners with the pots of soup behind is a great one and certainly tells the viewer what it’s all about. However, we’re not quite so sure about the framing. The fact that the two diners are so severely cropped at the bottom, while there’s still room at the top and to the sides of the pots, seems a little out of balance and perhaps unintended? A wider angle at the time of capture could have solved this, but given this is what we have, could a tighter crop make the severe framing at the bottom seem intentional?

 

 

As the diners aren’t centred with the pots, the question is do you crop tightly on the diners and have the pots off centre, or crop off the pots and have the diners to the side?.

 

 

We have chosen to crop with the diners centred. This leaves a bit of the background on the right which is a little distracting, so lets darken that down, vignette the edges and lighten the faces.

 

 

Shooting under artificial light is always challenging for colour photography, so one thought was to switch to monochrome. This is a personal choice – not everyone loves B&W.

 

 

Having done all this, does the tight framing at the bottom of the frame now look intentional? We’re not quite sure, so maybe an even more severe crop could do the trick? What do you think?

 

 

Our e-book on How To Win Photo Competitions isn't just for making better competition entries, it's full of great advice on improving all your photos - you can find it here.

 

And if you're interested in a photography tour/workshop in the next 12 months, I have trips going to Bhutan, New Zealand, Norway (Polar Bears) and Antarctica. The Silk Road trip for 2019 is booked out. Full details on the Better Photography website!

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