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This Month’s Writers’ Critique – Add Your Advice

This month’s DPS Writer’s Critique comes to us from Carrie Marshall, a member of the community here at Digital Photography School.  As with the previous critique, the format here is meant to be instructive and informative and not so scientifically analytical and thus it doesn’t matter much whether the photographer is a professional or amateur.  We can almost always learn something new from reviewing our own and others’ work.

Carrie’s photograph was taken on the main island of Maokung while touring through the Penghu Islands of Taiwan and is featured on her travel blog My Several World.  It was taken with a Canon Digital Rebel 400D XTi and the 18-55mm kit lens.  She admits to slightly adjusting the saturation, a little sharpening and a minor crop, but that is all.

Temple Guardians in Penghu

This Month's Writers' Critique - Add Your Advice Helen Bradley – I really love the composition of this photo, in fact I thought it was a collage piece when I first saw it it was so compelling an image. Congratulations on capturing it. My comments relate to post production aspects only. I’d like to see a bit more of a color boost in the temple details behind the central statue and a little less of the vignette effect which I think is perhaps a little too heavy. I also wonder if, by working with the midtone contrast and performing some subtle shadow detail recovery on the statue you might crisp up the detail there a bit. This would be a perfect composition too to use for HDR processing if you had the shots to do it with.

This Month's Writers' Critique - Add Your Advice Jim Goldstein – Carrie’s image has great visual appeal. The statue and architectural detail are visually engaging particularly combined with the saturated colors. While I am a fan of using vignetting to highlight a photo subject,  I do find the amount of vignetting a little heavy handed. Other than the vignetting I would recommend that Carrie experiment with using both deep and shallow depth of field settings with such subjects and composition. Everything in this photo is in focus which most would think is a good thing, but considering how busy this photo is use of shallow depth of field would help guide the viewer to focus on what the photographer thinks is the most important part of the photo. Vignetting can accomplish this, but for objects in the center of the frame. Shallow depth of field allows focus to fall on a photographed object no matter where it falls in the frame. Two different tools for a similar effect, but employed for different areas of a photo. Food for thought. Keep up the great work Carrie you’d definitely got an eye for engaging photo subjects.


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Peter West Carey
Peter West Carey

leads photo tours and workshops in Nepal, Bhutan, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and beyond. He is also the creator of Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure & 40 Photography Experiments, web-based tutorials taking curious photographers on a fun ride through the basics of learning photography.

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