My first real try for good image

Started Jun 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
mrwilkins Forum Member • Posts: 70
Re: My first real try for good image

Hey, I was trying to offer anything to help the image that doesn't involve reshooting, and specifically addressed what I saw as the image's biggest problem, which are very distracting colors in the background. Obviously, that's a pretty limiting constraint.

I mean, there are two ways to approach someone asking for comment about an image like this that's clearly a first try. One is to offer a single thought or two to address a specific issue, so the OP comes away with SOMETHING to think about, another is to explain to them all the reasons that they need to completely rethink what they're doing and start over.

I figured that others in the forum would have the latter covered.

Edit: Here's a complete critique.

Flower photographs are possibly one of the most difficult types of pictures to make interesting, because they're horribly overdone. That said, I think this particular plant might have enough interest to make a good picture under the right circumstances.

As Fred said below, you should always be considering what the environment or background of your subject will be in the context of the picture. My earlier comment got at the fact (which he expressed pretty clearly too) that the brightness and color of the background is highly distracting and interferes visually with your subject.

Think about where you can move the plant to get a better background. Alternatively, think about from what other angles you might be able to approach it. Another choice might be to place a white card or piece of cloth behind the plant to make it stand out sharply. The graphic look of such a thing might help.

My comment that I didn't mind the composition specifically referred to the placement of the plant in the frame. I think with a different background, it might have worked a lot better.

All that said -- one thing that can help your ability to see what works and what doesn't for an image is to find other people's photographs that you find powerfully engaging, and think about how they draw attention to their subjects. Sometimes it's a matter of contrasts of dark vs. light, or contrasts between colors. Sometimes it's a matter of extreme sharpness vs. out of focus blur (though usually color or light contrast gets paired up with that.) Sometimes excellent photographers will draw attention by including strong lines in the photo (fences or roads, for example) that draw the eye where they want the viewer to look.

The strongest images are the ones that you appreciate instantly, and don't make you hunt around to find a subject.

Here's a randomly-selected flower photo from Flickr that illustrates using a number of those techniques at once to make the subject pop out:

That's just one example. Get on Flickr or Google Images and do a search for "flowers" and you'll see many others that might be inspiration for what you're trying to do.

What you can accomplish will likely be limited by your equipment -- the image I just linked requires a very fast lens. However, the same principles apply even if you don't have the equipment to reproduce a specific picture.

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