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January Williamson's picture

Critiques please

If you have a minute, would you please take a look at my pics? I'm still learning, so any critiques to help me better myself and my work would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

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Alan Brown's picture

Hi January, I believe we are all still learning and I learned many years ago that receiving (and giving) critical feedback can certainly ramp up the learning curve.
One thing to note - all critiques should be viewed as suggestions only - any edits that result should match your own personal preferences.

This is a wonderful image - I especially enjoy the sharpness/depth of field and the fact you have restrained from way over-saturating/over- sharpening. The image looks natural and pleasing to the eye.

The one thing I could weakly comment on is the positioning of the subject - all of the interest is in the middle-right of the frame. Had you shot slightly more to the right (difficult in the moment) I think the image could possible be better balanced.

You could try cropping from the left (but lose balance created by the background pink flowers), or from the right a little (to lessen the 'weight' in the right).

Overall it is a wonderful image as presented, so please view these suggestions as just something to be used for comparison (I remain unsure myself....)

January Williamson's picture

Thank you! Yes, I really do not like over saturated photos, unless that's the style that person is going for. I do try to keep the "rule of thirds" in mind when shooting, but I had such a small window of time to work with this guy, that I wasn't able to compose it better. Do you think a vignetting look would help the overall look of the image?

Alan Brown's picture

I was going to offer that as a possible suggestion but I'm not sure if it would add or (more likely) detract. Given the image I don't think it is needed.

You can try it and see it it suits your personal taste - I'd say with anything you try let it stew a few days and revisit to see if your opinion changes. Too often have I made changes only to wonder what I was thinking when visiting at a later date.

If you do add be sure to be light-handed.......

Ruth Carll's picture

HI January - you are off to a great start as you accomplished the number one rule of wildlife photograph - if it has eyes, they need to be in focus. Well done!

Just to save my fingers from typing - I agree with Alan on all points. Nice image, well taken, great color, adjust the crop, ... all good feedback.

My only additional feedback is that careful not to chop off wings (or antenna, ..) This is the voice of experience and I have been know to get so focused on the eye of the wings or ... and chop off the other side!

I look forward to see more from you!


Chris Jablonski's picture

Good job, January! I think Alan & Ruth have put it well. You've certainly filled the frame with the butterfly, where people often don't make close-up subjects big enough. A bit like Alan, ideally I'd have the butterfly more off-centre, probably to the right. I would at least try the vignette, but once you find the right width, etc, back off the strength until it doesn't obviously look like a vignette. I do this in the majority of my images.

If you want get in to the more technical aspects at all, I'd consider learning to use aperture priority mode on your camera if you havent' already. Here, a wider aperture, which your lens would permit in this mode, would have blurred the background foliage more, isolating the butterfly & flower more.

But mainly, it comes down to practice and image-making - the more you do, the better you get. And you're off to a great start!

I'd also echo Alan, that others' ideas can be helpful to hear, but aren't necessarily right for you. And indeed, we are all learning - or else REALLY in trouble.

Francisco B's picture

Your composition is good, if anything I'd suggest you work on simplifying your photos. Minimizing the amount of elements in the frame and being aware of leading lines always improves composition. For example, this attached butterfly image is very nice, but the busy background doesn't strengthen the position of the butterfly as the subject and causes visual confusion.