Photo Feedback

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer appears to be well off the beaten track! Shooting in poor weather can be challenging, but this is a pleasing scene and the reflections work well. I wonder if a slightly different camera position could have isolated the trees within the reflection, like the trees themselves are isolated against the white sky. Looking at the objects through your viewfinder like shapes on a drawing board and moving them around is part of the art of composition.

 

So, what are the main challenges in the image as presented?

 

 

Overall, I think the image is lacking a little contrast, the grasses in the bottom left are a little light and the white sky very domineering! Some of these issues we can fix, others we cannot.

 

 

Look at how an increase in contrast and a slight lightening of the image has given the foliage a real lift! It has also made the reflection much stronger, if this is in keeping with what you want to do.

 

 

A little darkening of the grasses in the bottom left allows the eye to jump over to the wonderful reflection, but what can we do about that bright sky?

 

 

Sometimes there is no real answer to a white sky. Sometimes a white sky is exactly what the photographer wants. However, my main objection to a white sky is that it allows the eye to easily leave the composition - white areas tend to attract the viewer's eye. One solution is to put a black border around the image, thus containing it. Does this help the image overall?

 

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.

 

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer sent this image to us some time ago and he or she may now be possibly thinking exactly the same way as I do. Living with an image and letting a little time pass allows us to better observe and edit our own work.

 

The composition is strong, colour palette pleasing, subject matter quiet and restful. It's an excellent image already, so my suggestions are only subtle. And the first suggestion is to make the foreground a little darker than the sky because, to my eye, this gives the image more of a base, more solidity.

 

 

Contrast can also be used to bring the foreground forward and send the sky back a little, so the bottom of the image has had a curves adjustment layer applied and the contrast increased slightly. Compare the image below to the first image at the top and compare. Is this to your liking?

 

 

Given the water in the centre of image is so well framed by the rocks and the sun, another adjustment layer has lightened this area of water a tad more, emphasising what I suspect the photographer found appealing. I hope the eye goes there more immediately now.

 

 

So far, all the changes have been very subtle compared to the original, and so are the final adjustments - darkening the sky right at the top, and vignetting the bottom of the image just a little too.

 

 

Sometimes our computer monitors are not good enough to show subtle changes like these and so if this is your challenge, rather than purchasing a new lens, think about buying a better monitor (I use and recommend EIZO). It will make a world of difference to your enjoyment of image editing.

 

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.

 

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer will be very disappointed with this feedback. I wouldn't change anything. Okay, so I'd probably do a few things differently, but only because I could. How many photographers does it take to change an electric light bulb? Fifty, because they'd all do it differently. Don't understand this joke? Me neither!

 

Black and white would be interesting, but the colours in this photo of a tea factory in Sri Lanka work really well. Let's analyse what the photographer has done right, beginning with the colour. Note how the red crates on the ground and the red pipes and frames lead the eye around the photograph, with the oranges and greens acting as supporting colours. Yes, it is colourful, but the palette is quite restricted. Many colour photos work best when the number of different hues is limited.

 

 

Look at how the photographer has framed the image. It has been very carefully stage managed. Everything is vertical, there's similar spacing top and bottom and even just the right amount of space on the left hand side. It all sits together very well within the frame.

 

 

Next, look at the repetition of shapes. I can count over 50 square/rectangles in this frame, and that's in addition to the tiles on the ground. It is a delightful exercise in geometry. But would it be so successful without one more element?

 

 

The diagonal thingymagig or conveyor belt is what holds the composition together. It adds a sense of movement to an otherwise stilted and ordered environment. I think this is a great exercise in seeing.

 

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.

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