About the Reviews
I am doing these reviews to be of an added benefit to the many photographers that are following me on Google+ and as well as to the regular readers of this blog.
I am writing my posts not simply to the maker of the image but in a fully educational format with tips and concepts that will apply to all.
If there is sufficient response to this set of reviews I will open up another submission phase and do another set of reviews.
I assume there will be as this time I have 17 items submitted on Google+ and many of them seemed very interested, excited and sincere.
They did it by including the phrase Real Reviews Welcomed +Scott jarvie
My reviews are long and in depth looks into the pictures… I don’t simply say you should have done this or that… but I also say having taken the picture as you did you could make the following changes.
Yes I did two extra reviews that I promised… and I’m probably hurting on time because of that. Next time I might do less. But I do want more submitted… because it’s fun.
I didn’t look at any of the reviews that other people might have wrote on the pictures prior to me… except in the sunset picture.
I spent a long time writing these dang reviews… and life needs to continue now… so if you have a problem with grammar or spelling, don’t read my review. Seriously… don’t. You don’t deserve my insights if you’re just gonna get distracted by my faults. I really do need to move along. If someone privately wants to rewrite and send me the rendition, while 100% maintaining my personality in the writing… go ahead I’ll fix it up.
By Janqi Oo – From kampar,malaysia
“Shot this during a cub prix in my hometown.”
Well first off it’s awesome that you have the red biker in the front; certainly the most photogenic of the bunch. Had it been switched up I think the red biker might have been a distraction in the background.
I also love the colors and textures found throughout the picture, specially the textures.
Wasted space on the left. While I can appreciate not cropping into the honda logo on the left it doesn’t help the image, so as long as you’re not shooting for Honda I’d come in. If you were reshooting I would have not given him so much space on the left but since it’s said and done what you can do now is crop… maybe move it over to right after that honda sign.
Also another cropping problem is that the bike did not receive a proper border underneath. You need at least a tad bit more space under that wheel.
A small item to consider that can be easily be cleared up is the white painting in the bottom right. Yes there’s lots of painting on the ground in the picture, but this one is the most in focus, furthest forward and the brightest meaning it will be the most likely to garner attention. It is very easy to clone/heal that out; even in lightroom.
And one last thing about the picture. As much as I like the image… it just isn’t terribly exciting sad to say. Catching them on a turn when they’re laying low to the ground or doing something awesome would have spiced it up.
But as it stands with the background and the moment you’ve been given it did well.
By Ugo Cei from Pavia, Italy
“On my way home from a business trip, I decide to take a detour along the coast. It’s the end of May and I know the sun will stay up till late in the evening.
After a few kilometers of twisting, narrow roads, I arrive in Vernazza, where I easily find a parking spot (had it been July or August, this would have been impossible).
I cross the small town and head up on the steep rocky trail that leads to Monterosso. When I reach the highest point on the trail from which the town below is still visible, I am completely covered in sweat. I find a space to place my tripod, secure my camera to it, with polarizing filter, and catch the last rays of the sun hitting the town as it sets behind the mountain at my back.
Later, I precariously climb down the slope until I come to another point I had previously spotted. There, I wait for the sky and the sea to turn a deep cobalt blue and the town to light up for the night. I take a few more shots, climb down the last steps in almost total darkness and head back to my car.
Nikon D90, Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm @18mm, f/5.6, 2.0s, 200 ISO.”
A quick word
I was excited to review this one because I am a self professed Italio-phile (meaning I love all things Italian) I really want to go back to Cinque Terra … I haven’t been there since 2004 when I wasn’t so awesome at photography.
The subject sits there, specially in travel photography, we see and we take… we don’t pose the buildings. What do we have the most control of in a picture? We can change our exposures, but even still the light is given from above. We do get to choose our framing.
When I look at images from photographers I gravitate first to what framing did they select, what borders around the main subject did they give. Did they seem to get it by mistake or get it from a solid eye for what they’re doing.
I love the colors, I love the time of night it was taken. He mentions it was twilight.
He must have had a tripod to shoot at 2seconds length or propped it up against something.
The dark blues and the streetlights are awesome.
I love the perspective he chose… from above.
If I were to take the picture as it is and work on it I’d say at least put those leading lines in the corners.
You already have one coming from a corner in the bottom left but how about cropping it in a bit on the bottom right and heck you’re already soooo close in the top left might as well just move it down a little bit.
For me the weak part of this image is the sky… compared to the dark blues below the sky just can’t compete… it seems to detract from the main scene ever so slightly.
I hesitate to just say crop it all out because then we’ll loose that leading line that of the hill coming right from that corner. I hesitate… but I’d do it.
Show this city with it’s only backdrop being the water. However there is another problem The top of that building in the distance is just a bit too close to the horizon line… if only it were to have just a tad more space.
A Solution for everything: If we revisited the past… we would have shot from a higher angle. It solves so many things. You don’t get the sky in there and there’s also more room above the top building and you can still get all 3 of those things in the corners as effect leading lines from the corners. AND you avoid those bushes from interfering as much.
Yes the bushes are in the way, I don’t mind them being in the picture … but they are covering boats and part of the most dynamic portion of of the scene.
Other things to have tried were longer shutter speeds for a smoother water… but the problem is the boats would move and not be as sharp. Also it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if a circular polorizer was used… to get a glimpse a bit further into the water. Not saying I’m for sure it would have been better… just saying I would like to see what would have happened.
In the end obviously an awesome picture… and I can’t wait to make my way back there. We’ll hang out there right Ugo?
By Sudarshan Srinivasan from Chennai, India
This picture was taken years ago, way back in 2006. It was taken in UAE, when I was headed to a rocky range in Oman called Wadi Kasab for camping. The sun was just about to set behind the mountains. The picture was shot from a moving vehicle, we could not stop as we were running late and had to set-up our tents before it got too dark.
I do happen to like these types of images in general. Yes they aren’t rare and totally exciting… but I am a fan. I always take pictures of these types of scenes when i see them and in fact I’m gonna post some pretty soon as I just edited some 2 nights ago from a trip to the salt flats.
People like these types of pictures… meaning your friends will like it.
Like +Colby Brown said they probably won’t rush to put it on their wall. But they’ll probably hit the +1.
So what can you do with this picture as it stands now?
Ditch the crop/ratio you have now and up the contrast.
Pull the bottom up above that first part that’s only in the corner … there’s not enough of it to be a strong part of this picture… it has become a distraction to what this picture is really about.
Then you need to decide how important the sky is… it’s beautiful, yes. But do you need it all?
It’s a matter of do you want a panorama type format because you crop the bottom and the top and you’ll create interest in the aspect ratio (panoramic-ish type aspect ratio)
And yes it can work with the sky remaining… but i think it’s clear the bottom has to go. Make sure to maintain a good border under the mountain range when you crop.
Don’t forget the contrast level; if you took it in RAW you have to work on contrast levels it’s just part of what you do to RAWs
He’s fixed it up
By Doug Kaye from Marin County, California
My review will probably be best if you look at it a bit larger
“From last night’s photowalk in San Anselmo, California.”
The picture has character, it has lots going on. Lots of things for the eyes to feast upon. The sign of the diner the fun phrase “Where grease meets organic” and the closed sign. The chairs and tables outside look great and the people inside add a lot.
It was a great choice for a picture.
You’ve cropped it… one can tell from the proportion of the picture. It seems to make sense because we really don’t need anything above and it wouldn’t be better by having more road either. In fact having the road helps give the diner more of a location. The other option would be to go closer to a square proportion and nix the road altogether and just start with the sidewalk… yes you’d loose placing the location a bit, but it would be a strong composed image as the road isn’t necessarily breathtaking. haha
My general concern with the picture comes from when I pull it up large and it just doesn’t look quite sharp. As a small picture it looks pretty sharp, but large everywhere there’s writing is just a bit off for me and I’m not a fan of that. I think more so than anything this picture seems to call out to be tac sharp.
You didn’t write to me whether this was HDR or not… honestly I can’t really tell… and maybe that’s a good thing not to know. So who really cares I guess.
I think a quick solution is to fudge the sharpness in those areas that really count. Anywhere there are words… make it sharper.
For me in lightroom I’d use a brush with sharpness and clarity and go over the words being careful not to go overboard to get that ghosted look. Even by selected very specific and small areas you will make others feel like the picture is sharper than it really is.
Now let’s talk sides of the picture… the picture is not being won on the sides… it’s power is in the middle and the sides are just there. I think you could bring in the left side ever so slightly to get rid of that one thing in the top middle that who knows what it is (up there on the wall) there’s that wood bench that only has part as well… you’d be amazed that something that simple not being there would actually improve the image a decent chunk… but that takes more commitment as it would need to be done in photoshop. (content aware fill?) gotta get the lines right when it’s taken out or it’d be disaster… so maybe just take the hit and leave it in.
The chords up by the Bubbas diner sign are a toss up… because in they give the picture more character… but out the picture might be better by giving more emphasis on the more important areas.
My last observation is… I bet the sign lights up… but I guess the diner was closed and therefor wasn’t lit up. Or perhaps since those lights are there it might not be a lighting sign. Maybe just that thing in the middle which I am not able to read. Oh well
By Bruno Oliveira from Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
This picture was taken yesterday on the beach while playing with my 7 year old daughter, just got the chance and snapped it.
This was one of my last choices for reviewing. I’m not entirely sure what to say about it.
Of course since I did find it challenging I’m gonna take on the challenge and give it a whirl.
Bruno let’s remain friends even when I say I’m not a huge fan of the image.
Maybe me not being a fan of the image is making it hard for me to review.
While I don’t oppose a more silhouette look to the body border I don’t think it works here… maybe because the water around him is too dark to support a silhouette.
I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with the water… was it normally like we see in this image? All dark and then way bright in spots… was it late in the evening?
When I look at it I think a bit over-processed… to dark in areas… like too much of a vignette.
I would also want the man to be more in focus… the light shining on the face granted is Awesome… but the rest of him is lost.
If it were my image and I wanted to salvage it really badly I would crop it to just around the guy… it’d be a great art piece… meaning I think it would look artsy.
Who’s seeing my vision … zoom right in on him with a sufficient border of water around him. Problem with that is i’m not sure the megapixel will support a crop that close. But that close then we won’t mind all that blur from his movement in the water… it would look on purpose.
Now that I think about it… if it still holds up (MP wise) I think it’d actually be a rockin image. I have used my hands with a couple of crops and i’m liking it.
From Blake Beus from Utah
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only photographer that gets fed up or frustrated with their work from time to time. In January I was in that exact position. In addition to photography, I work as a Sr. Web Developer for a large credit union. While attending a web analytics training in Orem Utah, I met+Christopher Pritchard. We ended up going to dinner and talking photography one evening. He may not have known it at the time, but this conversation changed the way that I approach my photographic work.
I’ve spent the last few months experimenting, testing, and in general, trying to more clearly define what drives me. The attached image made me feel like I’m getting closer to what I want to get out of my photography.
I really really didn’t want to do this review either… because I am not sold on my own opinions. I also know Blake so that often makes the review harder.
But hey from what I know of Blake is that he really does want to get better at photography.
The most interesting thing about this picture: Easily the back lighting.
I think many people will look at the picture see the cool backlighting and the shadows and give praise. But interesting lighting does not an award winner make.
I think the girl has a great expression and that’s a big help as well. I even like how she’s putting her hand… it’s natural, it works and you can see the ring.
Now him… nope… he isn’t working the image… I don’t see the connection (don’t share this review with the couple… haha) He’s stiff, no expression I don’t like the way he’s sitting and I specially don’t like where he’s putting his hand.
In my style of portrait photography and dealing with non-models I don’t dictate everything they need to do and where to place every part of their body… but I wouldn’t let them slide with a pose like this. I would say something that would evoke real emotions from them. “Look at eachother like you love eachother”
I would start them farther away and with each picture I would tell them to get closer… even when their heads met I would keep on saying it until they started getting more romantic or giggling. I would let them choose… whatever happened happened. I would make him switch up his hand position… i don’t care where… just somewhere different, and if the next spot didn’t work keep on trying.
Maybe move him back so they both have to lean in towards eachother making the pose a little more dynamic.
Putting him back also does something great… It helps to avoid getting so much of that yellow… it’s too much… it’s steeling too much attention away from the couple, what has happened is the light is lighting it up too much. The yellow of the bike up near the “honda” logo is just fine. But I understand why you put the light there… because she was more important than him, so good call.
The lighting you’ve chosen from him turns the picture more into about her… which isn’t bad by any mean… just means he’s more of a prop to serve to make her look good… but still he needs to be doing something for her to play off of.
Lighting: like I originally said the back lighting is a big draw to the picture… great we can’t see the source. But I would say I think there’s a tad bit too much fall off onto the ground. Maybe angle the light ever so slightly higher and/or put something to block some of that light from hitting the ground (not all of it, but some) I think it’s too light on the bottom half and it’s taking to much of our attention down there… when it should be up near their faces.
I like the background… good textures… nice and dark but not full dark. The wood slab behind the back tire is a bit too light… it would do better to be the same darkness as behind the front tire. (call it spill off from the lights… i understand)
Ok and now the part I have a hard time with… the lighting on them as far as not their faces… maybe it’s the leather jackets (in fact I’m sure it’s the black jackets that’s making it hard) It doesn’t help the position they’re in. I think if they were more separated down below, while remaining close together with their heads, it would have alleviated some of my angst. I guess I’m not for sure until I see it happening.
Maybe we just see too much of his back that a less slouchy look would have alleviated… maybe her back needed a bit more backlight in order to separate her back of her body to be a little more separated from the background.
As it stands… a couple things to help. Darken the yellow of the back of the bike a bit. Use a gradient or hand applied darkening to the bottom half of the image to bring attention higher. Be carefull to not darken neither his pants too much nor her skin on her feet. both things won’t look better darker.
Careful to never bring attention to any edits you do… because then they’ll take away from the couple themselves.
By Meg Fahrenbach from Westfield, NJ
Our third daughter arrived earlier this month, and already it feels like she has forever been a key part of our family unit. As we were awaiting her arrival, I couldn’t help but wonder how adding a third would affect the relationship of our older girls. The two are only 16 months apart in age, and although they are as different as two girls can be (physically and emotionally), they are nearly inseparable.
As I waited for our third to arrive, the big changes that we’d be experiencing in the Fall seemed to be at the forefront of my thoughts. Our oldest would be attending preschool five days a week (up from two days) in a new classroom with new friends, our middle would be going to school for the first time (two days a week), and would be making friends for the first time, and I would be home full time with the baby. New schedules, new experiences, a new dynamic.
Throughout the month of June, I watched T & B search for mushrooms in the backyard, play doctor and detective and dinosaur, jump on the trampoline until their legs felt like jelly, and paint one another’s hands, feet, and faces instead of paper. Most prominently I observed struggles and fights, smiles and fits of giggles. I know that even though our new family unit is bigger, stronger, better, it is bittersweet because the early moments that these two girls have shared together are now going to be altered. I scrambled to capture these little moments that the two had together before their little sister arrived, and worked hard to burn them into my memory. This time is so precious, but frustratingly fleeting.
I mean who has the balls to critique an adorable picture of two precious little girls. To their mother none-the-less. What an awkward position to be put in… but I’m up for it. Honey badger doesn’t care! (haha, obscure reference)
I will however make it a bit more brief.
OK like I said… the subjects are the strong point… and everyone will love the picture because of it. But our job is not solely to pick awesome subjects (only partly that) but to make awesome images of anything we take a picture of.
The star of the show is the girl in yellow… her expression is perfect. The lighting on her adds to the drama.
Ok now for the other girl… You know what I don’t mind her face being cut off (some people will mind) but I think I know what you were doing with the crop.
BUT… the reason it didn’t work… she’s looking straight at the camera. Turn her face to her sister, like a huge or looking down with this beautiful loving look and you have gold with that exact same crop.
But hey it’s a candid moment… what can you do? Yellow looks great and has a great candid expression and white doesn’t look candid at all… look like she’s posing and therefore it doesn’t mix well.
You know what actually will help your image a ton… The Story! Put context around the picture and people start to get invested into the image… there is more feeling, more attraction to the image.
That’s why I waited to read the story until after the review… so I wouldn’t be trapped! mwahaha
You can’t trap me with those tender beautiful moments with those innocent beautiful children… no you can’t… oh who am I kidding. You can. I love looking at the picture… it’s great.
But as photographers we can’t always rely on the beauty of a moment or a subject… we kind of have to do our job too.