Is Beyoncé's Twins Reveal Image Any Good?

Is Beyoncé's Twins Reveal Image Any Good?

When it comes to deciding how good a particular image is, there are three aspects that I think are most important: composition, lighting, and colors. These three properties could be described as the technical attributes of an image. There are those who have compared this image to The Birth of Venus and the Virgin Mary, based on a number of styling choices, one can see some similarities. There are of course so many other reasons as to why an image can be described as being good, such as one that reminds you of a moment in your life or as it is in this case, an image of your newborn twins. From an emotional perspective, there is very little doubt that this image holds value, however, how does it fair from a technical standpoint? 

Composition

At a glance, the composition doesn't look too bad, based on how the veil drapes down and how the dress pools around her feet, a triangular shape can be perceived. This shape is of course, intentional and attempts in some way to mimic the Virgin Mary.

There are, however, a few things that seem rushed about the image, for instance, Beyoncé isn't perfectly centered and the image is a little heavy on the right. The flowers and bushes are also not balanced properly and are again, a little heavy on the right. The biggest mistake when it comes to the composition is the fact that the feet have been cut off. If this image is trying to take inspiration from The Birth of Venus, then cutting the feet off is a major flaw. 

Lighting

The lighting in this image is quite harsh being shot in direct sunlight. Using a diffuser or even strobe lighting may have been more effective. The shadows are quite deep and almost unflattering in certain areas. The highlights could have been better controlled too as there are several hotspots and over exposed areas. The lighting on the twins is also ineffective, the skin is overexposed and lacking color and definition.  All in all the lighting could have been better. 

Colors

The white balance in this image seems a little colder than it should be. The colors in the flowers don't seem to pop as much and the greens are leaning towards the colder end too. The harsh lighting is also not helping in this regard as a lot of the color seems washed out. Doing a very quick adjustment in Lightroom with the exposure and white balance does help, although this image does require a more impactful edit to get the most out.  

From a technical standpoint, this image does fall short in several key areas. The issue is that most if not all of these aspects could have been corrected quite easily or with very little effort. Without knowing the circumstances of how this image was created or how much time was available it's difficult to say why they weren't corrected. It does seem that Beyoncé enjoys the floral look and this specific look and style does, of course, have a strong appeal to it. Regardless of how "good" or "bad" this image is, it is no doubt a very popular image and one that is being praised by many. There are educated professionals analyzing this image and comparing it to great paintings of old. 

Even with its praise and popularity, one can't help but wonder what this image would look like if someone who specializes in floral photography took this photo. Bella Kotak has recently submitted an open letter, stating quite strongly her interest to photograph Beyoncé. Considering her style and talent, the results could be very striking and interesting, to say the least. The otherworldly, fantasy look with princesses and queens may genuinely be attractive to Beyoncé, as she has used similar styles in some of her work. It's also not difficult to assume that companies like Phase One and SmugMug would be interested in working with her on the project too. 

Imagine what would transpire if I could photograph an actual queen, and capture her like a goddess.

Yes, this is ambitious, but it is also within reach. Every photographer had to start somewhere and to see someone have the vision and drive to go out and achieve their dreams, can be inspiring. The risk of failure may be daunting and for this reason, many of us may not reach as far as we should, or do as much as we could. This attempt from Bella can be used as an example of someone moving past their fears because it is really easy to sneer at this. If Bella succeeds, that genuinely would be amazing, if she unfortunately fails, then it's something to learn from in order to make her next attempt, more effective. 

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11 Comments

It's hideous, it's harshly lit, and it's crooked.

Fstoppers, you should, as a photography website, stop disseminating articles like these. It's not only violating the photographer's creative identity, but also pressuposing every photographer's work needs criticism of someone who doesn't understand his art. When he asks our opinion about it, then we talk.

Usman Dawood's picture

Isn't one of the major points of art, to have discussions and question it? There's a difference between discussing or critiquing an idea vs doing the same to a person. I believe in respecting the person but ideas are free terrain to be discussed, critiqued and questioned.

Thank you for the comment, Gustavo.

Usman Dawood's picture

Thank you for the suggestion I think I might just buy and read that myself :)

Andrew Richardson's picture

I would argue (like I did with her last series with this photographer) that these aren't meant to be traditional portraits, they're works of art first and foremost and the medium just happens to be photography.

Usman Dawood's picture

I agree, and when you look at art like the Birth of Venus, things like composition, light and dark and colors are used masterfully. Having said, that breaking the rules does not mean it's a bad work of art.

I agree that this is absolutely not a traditional portrait. What I do not agree with is the photographers use of the extremely harsh lighting and non-use of a defuser. The colors are devine, but because of the extreme shadows and light, parts of the babies are blown out as well as the mothers face. I don't know if any amount of post processing can change that, but at least the photographer got the exposure right. It seems that there was more prep work needed in this shoot. I've learned a lesson from this though. So when asked if its any good, the answer is yes.

Craig Tedeton's picture

I would have preferred shots more about the babies than about her. Just seems like it is saying, "Look at me...look at me, I'm Beyoncé! By the way, I have two babies somewhere in all this dress." :-) IMHO

Usman Dawood's picture

That's actually a very interesting point, I didn't think about it like but now it's very obvious. Thank you for the comment, Craig.

Craig Tedeton's picture

They always say, your subject is where your image should draw the viewer's eye. I'm just saying.... :-)