Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public

Started Jan 28, 2014 | Discussions thread
tnphoto Regular Member • Posts: 282
Re: Our (photographers) taste in photos vs the general public

Your friends are going to go easier on you than we strangers, especially if you ask for C&C. We also don't know whether you're a working pro or a beginner, and our criticism really should reflect the different standards we need to apply. Lots of pictures shown here for C&C fall into the "nice enough, but" category: technically competent, with interesting but not outstanding subject matter.

In landscape, location is super important. You're not going to get the same killer shots in the woods behind your house as the guys roaming Yosemite. But you're out there, making images and trying to get better, and I give you credit for that. So here are my comments, FWIW:

1. As others have said, the first picture lacks a center of interest. The image is very busy visually. If you squint, you see that the photo has a somewhat dark foreground, a band of light through the middle and a somewhat darker top. Painters say the center of interest should be the area of greatest contrast in the scene. The greatest contrast is probably the wedge-shaped area of snow in the center and the shadowed downed tree to its right. But that has no more interest than the areas around it. Cutting off the snow in the foreground avoids having the c of i fall off the bottom of the picture.

The "purpose" of the photo is to allow the viewer to project him/herself into a lovely place and time.  There's a tension as I want to peek around the curve of the stream in the background.

How would I improve it? You've got to get closer to something and make that the center of interest. My eye is drawn to the hump-like rocks on the right. Move in close, wide-angle perspective, vertical shot. That puts the sun behind me, not so great, so a different time of day would be better. Or move upstream on the far side of the creek (to keep my sidelight) and look for interesting structure for the bottom of a vertical photo.

2. The subject is the red sunrise (or sunset) and the silhouetted trees. The greatest contrast is between the brightest red and the tree in front of it, which is about where you want the viewer's eye anyway. You've taken some care with the foreground, not cutting through any of the tufts of grass. The photo is "nice, but" at this size, but I'd bet it would look great as a wall-sized triptych.

Personally, I'd crop out the small clump of trees on the extreme right.

3. This is another photo the purpose of which is to put the viewer into a nice scene. As I looked at the barn photo I became aware that you'd taken some care with your camera position, showing the corners of the upper windows through the tree branches and positioning the left side tree to show the windows on the outbuilding and the slot windows on the barn without cutting through any of them. The small background tree shows enough trunk to separate from the tree in front of it. Mentally walk two steps left and right, two steps forward and back, and see how that degrades the picture.

The shadowed side of the barn and the silo need more interest, which you can provide with a little digital dodging and contrast enhancement.

It's still a "nice but" image for me, but I think you've done the best you can with it.


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