Critique the Community

Submit Your Best "Styled" Photograph

  • Submission Deadline: Fri, 22 Nov 19 17:00:00 +0000

    This contest has ended.

  • Voting is closed.

  • Congratulations to the winners!

    View Results

Community Avg
1.82 - "Needs Work" 

My husband is a huge gamer and I wanted to create a portrait that portrayed his love of games. He's a very strategic player so I was going for a pose and mood that conveyed that seriousness. Since most board games "in progress" don't look particularly great for photographs, we staged the pieces of a game. It's using a single light - partially because that's all I had at the time and partially because I wanted a moody look.

Log in or register to post comments

Hi all - feel free to leave comments on why you rated the image the way you did :) I've got tough skin and would love to learn how to improve it. I'll save you the trouble on the wrinkled shirt. That one even bothers me.

This image is borderlines snap shot. We have some side light, and we setup a scene yes. However the actual capture and composition needs some work. You have competing subjects between the boxes and your husband. Not only are they in the same amount of focus, but they have more vibrant colors. The background you have is also quite busy. There are no strong leading lines either to help make your husband the focus. Placing someone in the center doesn't not automatically make them the focus.


I would lower the angle. This would help use the board as leading lines. Pulling him out away from the background so it can become less distracting, or do another one all together. Change what he is wearing... Even if you did the same look and pose on a more simplistic background, it would be stronger. Also not sure as to why you chose split lighting?

Thanks for your feedback! The games are also part of the focus of the picture, given that it was meant to showcase his love of games. Perhaps darkening them up a bit would help though. Definitely agree about the angle. The backdrop is the board used in the game he designed (a hex map), so I wanted to be able to tell that there were hexes on them, but I can see how it's distracting. I also agree a wardrobe change is in order. Or a different pose that shows off the "Crit Happens" text on it. What kind of lighting would you have used with one light? I put it off to the side to create some drama - should I have brought it forward a bit?

You don't have to have both so prominent to show the love of games. If you see the angle that the Decent game has, If you placed in forward in that line the focus would start with your husband and due to the line outward, your eyes would go to the boxes in a natural line. Not a back and forth. You always want to be creating "lines" in your images that direct viewers.

For lighting, some diffusion would help first. I would bring the light slightly forward and angle in for a more Rembrandt style of light. There are a bunch of great resources on how to produce that. Or if you wanted to stick with split, if you want a super dramatic look. Bring the light closer to subject and adjust camera accordingly. This will quicken how fast the light drops off, increasing the shadows. A great way to visualize this is taking a flash light and putting to your hand. As you move the light closer, the light intensifies and the light drops off much faster, as you pull away you will see a more flat light cast. Same goes with flash. Hope this helps!

Thanks, great ideas. Maybe someday I'll rope him into redoing this shoot 😁

For a friend or loved-one who's a gamer, I can see this working quite well. Though I agree with Kaleb's (excellent) suggestions if you're able to try a second time.