Photo Feedback

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer has presented a well-composed landscape photograph with the curve of the dirt road leading the eye into the distant hills. All the elements are well positioned, including the post on the left in that it is not too close to the edge of the frame to be a distraction.

However, the overall colour balance seems a little on the warm side and perhaps the tonality is a little muddy too. What about going into Photoshop or Lightroom and using an auto colour adjustment – say Enhance Per Channel Contrast for Photoshop? This redistributes the tones and colours to produce a better ‘theoretical’ result and very often it works well. What do you think (see next pic).

 

 

My next suggestion is to darken the photo. Although the automatic adjustment has done a good job, Photoshop/Lightroom doesn’t know what the photograph is of, so it is up to us to make a subject decision. I have darkened the road and the sky, leaving the background hills unchanged.

 

 

So, how do we get a little more mood or emotion? Shooting in the middle of the day with bright sunlight like this has produced a flat result. Maybe that’s what the photographer wanted to show, but imagine this same scene with strong side lighting and some shadows. I have given a hint of what I am thinking of using Photoshop (below), but it’s a lot better to return to this location when the light and weather are on your side. Sometimes the best results are achieved just by waiting or revisiting a location and letting nature do its thing!

 

 

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 not been quite as successful as planned with this image. Exposure is dark and dull and the fence post on the right of the image is very distracting. It is neither wholly in the photo, or better still, wholly out! However, the subject matter is interesting and the grass field creates an interesting horizon line that cuts the building off part way up its facade.

 

So, what do we do? Let's look at the compositional elements within the frame first. If this is the desired angle and focal length, then we need to get rid of that fence post and the easiest way would have been to walk a step or two forwards. We'll use Photoshop to see how it might have looked...

 

 

This is much simpler, but we can also make a stronger composition just by cropping out the fence and slightly reposltioning the building within the frame.

 

 

Next, lighten up the foreground and darken down the sky and the photograph is starting to come together a little better.

 

 

There's lots more we could do to add interest to the foreground grass and get the building to stand out a little more strongly, but at least now there is a stronger composition to work with.

 

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. Full details on the Better Photography website!

The original image as presented for feedback.

 

Our Anonymous Photographer has introduced us to a bleak winter scene. The tree is well-positioned with the road creating a compositional line that leads the viewer into the photograph. It's a beautiful, classic design and the tonalities have been well controlled. However (there's always a 'however'), there are a few distractions around the edges of the frame that take away from the composition's simplicity.

 

Look what happens if we clean up the left edges (using the healing brush quickly and roughly in Photoshop):

 

 

To my eye, this is a lot simpler and cleaner. What about the grass on the right side - should this be removed as well?

 

 

Hmmm. Some viewers might think this is now a little too simple, a little too plain, but we can't really keep the grass where it is because it is so close to the edge of the frame. We could return to the scene and photograph it again with a bit more space to the right, or we could engage Mr Photoshop and move it a little to the left, just to see how it could work:

 

 

That's better! Our aim as photographers is to practice this type of 'seeing' in camera, or at least when shooting the photo, plan to simplify it during post-production. Retaining the grass but moving it to a position of balance keeps the photo's simplicity and now there is a reason for the eye to travel along the road, between the grass and the tree.

 

Request: I am interested in critiquing reader's photographs in this blog - and for a future eBook. The critique will be anonymous (unless you request me to credit you, of course) and will be written with the best of intentions for both the photographer and the wider audience. If you're thick skinned enough to take a little constructive criticism, and are agreeable to me using your photo in both the blog and the eBook, please shoot me through a JPEG, 2000 pixels on the longest edge, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I will be selecting images which allow me to write something of interest, so if your photograph is really good, there's a good chance I won't use it for a critique because there's nothing more to say!

 

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. Full details on the Better Photography website!

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