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Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Critique wanted.

Hey everyone, I just uploaded a new image, can you guys give some feedback on how to improve it? Thanks a lot!

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Luke Barrett's picture

Nice work, I like it! Here are my thoughts on improving it:
1) I like the framing, but it does reduce the presence of the castle, which I take to be the main subject. I wonder if a lower position in the valley would have allowed you to frame the castle against the sky? Not sure what is possible at this location...
2) There is a bit too much blue-magenta in it for my tastes - I would warm up the color balance a bit.
3) I'd like to see a bit of sunlight bringing some contrast into the foreground - I wonder if shooting a bit earlier or later would catch a few rays of sun on the trees?

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Luke, thank you so much for your comment! Appreciate it!
1. I actually had the same thought to be lower and have the castle against the sky. But underneath the bridge I was standing on was only a drop into the valley.
2. Awesome! Thanks! I will definitely pull those colors down.
3. That would be nice. But to catch the first sun rays, I would have had to wait pretty long until the sun showed up behind high mountains. By that time the sun wouldn't be low any more and the light would be more harsh.
Maybe a bit earlier would have been it! I thought I had enough time to get there, but I got hold up by another photo opportunity on the way which I didn't want to miss either. Oh well, don't try to chase two at once I guess. :)

Jeff Colburn's picture


Nice photo, but I agree with Luke about warming it up. Also, the castle is pretty much in the center of the image, which makes it static. Try moving the castle with the rule of thirds in mind. Zooming in a little would make the castle more imposing. All the castles I've seen have been imposing.

Have Fun,

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Thanks a lot, Jeff!
I tried to play with the castle position, it's hard to move it cause then I end up with mountain curtain to one side and cut out end on the other. But zooming in sounds like a good idea. I just assumed the more you see, the easier it will be to make you feel being there..
Thanks a lot again, Jeff!

Hi, Stas,
I like this picture a lot. I agree with the other commenters that it should be warmed up a little bit, but not so much that all the magenta and blue is lost - it gives a magical mood to the picture. If you have the capability in the software you are using, you might want to warm up and brighten the castle, specifically, to really draw the eye in. (An adjustment brush in Lightroom or a layer mask in Photoshop would be what you'd need for that.)
There's not a lot going on in the top portion of the picture - it's sort of empty sky. You've obviously cropped it to a wide format, and without knowing what you originally shot, it's hard to give you solid advice, but if I were you (and if it's possible) I would move the horizon up towards the top third of the picture (eliminating some of the empty sky) and showing more of the valley leading up to the castle, to give a sense of how it overlooks the landscape around it.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Thanks a lot, Lis! I appreciate the feedback! I'm only using Lightroom but never used the adjustment brush, I guess it's time to learn. I will try to warm up the castle.
And yes, I did crop the image. I actually didn't want to see the part below. It's dark and not interesting, I thought maybe cropping it and moving it higher so to say is the way to go. I'll keep editing.
Thanks again!

My pleasure, Stas!
Adjustment brushes aren't hard to use - there are hundreds of online tutorials on them and they can make a real difference to your image if there's one spot that you think isn't quite right. Good luck!
I notice that the line of the ridge on the left side of the photo forms a nice diagonal down to the bottom edge. If it continues beyond the crop you've shown us here, you might be able to use it to put some interest into the bottom portion of the image. The darkness of the valley might balance nicely against the bright airy feel of the castle.
I hope you post an update once you've tweaked it a bit. I'd like to see how it turns out!

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

I will definitely. I quickly tried the adjustment brush and indeed it's pretty simple. Thanks for the tip! I can't believe I never used it.

Lovely! I like this crop much better - it really shows the relationship between the castle and the landscape, and how high it is above the bottom of the valley. And the castle captures the eye much better now. (I have to admit that I really liked the cool blue/magenta tones of the sky in the first version, but I can see that a lot of people might find them a bit extreme.)

Dudley Didereaux's picture

I like the framing of the castle. I do believe though that a different time of day would have yielded a better shot with the castle lighted. I also do not like the magenta cast. A bluish cast perhaps as it would be more appropriate, but definitely not the strong magenta. Just looks to faked.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

Thanks, Dudley! I really appreciate it!