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04/08/2011 - 4:01 PM


ErinHi Lissa,

This is a nice pose, but very much underexposed. You can probably see its quite dark compared to the mod Ive loaded, - where I can see some evidence of face painting or decoration on her cheek.

I would also suggest, as in the mod, that shes placed higher and more to the left for a better composition.

The cause of underexposure is likely the high speed you selected. the camera was in Manual mode, and you made both speed and aperture settings. When you do this, the exposure meter in the camera will indocate underexposure, so you need to try slower speeds until the metering system indicates a proper exposre, - otherwise you are literally "shooting in the dark", - no pun intended.

You would be better leaving the camera in aperture priority mode, selecting the aperture, and let the camera look after the speed. Just keep and eye on the speed to make sure its not too slow to cause camera shake, and if it is, then increase ISO, or use a larger aperture, - or better still, if available, auto ISO.

Hope this helps


04/08/2011 - 3:25 PM

Model study

Model studyIn addition to the above:

her face needs more light, - its in shade compared to the areas in the background. Either use s reflector, of better still fill flash, and you would also have obtained nice eye catch lights Using 1/5 second, - too slow, hopefully a solid support, - and even then, too slow for a portrait as the subject can move; loaded mods with the face brighter, and some noise removed. It also needs some sharpening.


03/08/2011 - 10:55 PM

Star trail

Star trailIts a decent first effort.

Heres a link to a good site to read up on the technique:


From what I see, youve done a lot right, however your ISO should be the lowest available, 100 on a 40D.

I have never tried to take this type of shot, so you may have another member jump in with some hints, and in the interim, the link seems very useful.


03/08/2011 - 10:45 PM


WistfulI like the shot Pablo, but whether it a representation of Film Noir really depends on what your interpretation of the genre is.

For me, its more about stark, dark images with some harsh highlights, and less about grain.

Ive loaded a mod where Ive made it darker to one side, which is one interpretation of the genre.

Im sure there will be others.

I do like the original though.


03/08/2011 - 1:56 AM

douuble swans

douuble swansHi Suresh.

The idea is nice, but this has turned out quite soft and blurry.

AS you have loaded your exif data, it appears that your shutter speed was very low, which would require the use of a solid tripod. If you didnt use a tripod, then this is the cause of the blur. The general rule for a minimum speed for hand holding a shot is 1/focal length at 35mm, which for your camera and lens would be 1/300th. You may have achieved this with a larger aperture (smaller number), likely fully open. The down side would be limited dof, but the upside would be a good sharp shot of the swans in a nice pose.

Hope this is helpful


03/08/2011 - 1:49 AM


ElkWelcome to EPZ Paul.

really nice shot, and the small size here Im sure doesnt do it justice.

You havent loaded and EXIF data (shot details), and as you are a first time uploader, you may noy have noticed the exif details option you need to click on the load page. If you are using Photoshop to :save for Web" you need to make sure metadata is set to ALL.

So without the details, I can just say its a great moment, good exposure. It can benefit with being a little sharper, and also if the darker areas around the faces are lightened a bit, - I used the shadow tool in CS4 for this.

Regarding sharpening, - another tip, - when you re size you shot and save as, - open the re sized image and check sharpness, - if its lost sharpness due to compression (often happens) then just apply the right amount of sharpening, save and then upload.

Ive uploaded a mod with the changes Ive mentioned, - if you scroll up the page you will see a modifications tab, click, and then you can click the mod to enlarge it.

I hope this is helpful, and dont forget the exif,


02/08/2011 - 5:52 PM

Waters edge again

Waters edge againHi Geoff.

This is of course a variation on the last shot, and initially I was not sure if it worked. I do prefer the person and how its more of a silhouette, with a nice line of lighter area on his face and chest.

However, there are a few small areas if addressed might improve it, and in the mod version, Im inclined to prefer this over the first lighter upload.


Its unlikely you would see the entire horizon on a dark, Moonlit night, so I darkened it, leaving only the foreground sea visible.

Its possible that the Moon may have a area of brightness around it, so it doesnt appear to be dropped into the shot.

The Moon can be a little sharper.

Increase contrast overall for a more realistic cobimation of dark and light.

See mod for comparison.

Hope this helps,


01/08/2011 - 4:02 PM

St Oswalds Church 3

St Oswalds Church 3I have to disagree with this being the best of the three, - in fact I would pick any of the other two. I do like the composition in this and the inclusion of the archway is very good, and totally symmetrical.

This image has a number of areas that I personally dont like compared to the others:

Its extremely over sharpened; its contrast is too high; the colours are over saturated, making it appear to be an attempt at HDR. If I had to guess, I would say that Topaz was used for this?

Ive loaded a mod with some changes, - since the mods are compressed after we load them, it may not reflect exactly what I did.

Bottom line though Phil is that if you prefer it, then its the best for you.


29/07/2011 - 4:29 PM


JenniThis is a really good portrait, very good detail, and a smile makes it even better. The only time a smile is not allowed is in passports and official documents, - and as a photographer, you may want to convey a mood that requires the subject not to smile.

A reminder, - please provide all your exif data for shot settings when you upload for critique, this helps us provide better critiques.

Theres very little evidence if any airbrushing, so it is well done, or very little has been done.

There a couple of small issues that can improve this, some mentioned above.

Too close to the wall behind, - this renders the texture of the wall in detail where its better out of focus, so more space behind her. It also causes a shadow which you may want to avoid.

Its a little underexposed, probably due to the influence of the light coloured wall on the cameras meter, so beter if her fave is brighter.

her eyes are a little too dark, - and look better lighter with small catchlights. You can use you pop up flash, - raise it manulayy to provide fill flash, - will lighten the face also.

The amount of air brushing and softening effects can safely be increased.

The mono conversion looks quite flat, - try using the channel mixer and experiment with different amounts of the mixers colours for a beter effect.

Youve applied a vignette, which for me, doesnt work to enhance the image, - better without it.

Ive loaded 4 mods for comparison. 1 is the orginal brightened, eyes brighter with catchlights, and the wall blurred; 2 is the same with more air brishing applied; 3 is the same with a diffuse gow softening effect applied, and 4 is a toned mono.

Hope this is helpful, and that you like the mods,


24/07/2011 - 2:42 PM


Flattened!The depth of field is a little too shallow, and is mostly in front of the birds. At distance, and using 500mm the dof is extremely shallow, so a smaller aperture (larger number) would have been better, in combination with the focusing method I mentioned yesterday.

The shot itself is quite nice, and likely not often seen with this type of bird. The fact the female is so flattened adds to the impression shes completely squashed!

Shield Bug With A Strelizia Background.This is a very good shot Christo, using a lens thats not designed specifically for macro. I have had some good results with the same lens.

First off though, you need to load your shots settings for us to provide the best feedback we can, - so please do so.

The image is a little soft, - remember to check the re sized image for sharpness before you upload, and increase sharpness as needed.

The background and foreground in this have gorgeous colours which really work.

Apart from sharpness, what can be better is composition, and if the bug is further to the left, and lower, rather than central, the composition looks better.

Ive have sharpened and re composed in the mod.

Hope you find this helpful,


23/07/2011 - 1:56 AM

When I'm calling you ooooh ooh

When I'm calling you ooooh oohNot quite sharp enough Ruby, but a good effort.

The shutter speed used was way too slow for 500mm, and I suspect that since you were in a car, you used the car window/door frame as a support? This can sometimes work, but only if the engine is turned off, and you use something like a bean bag to rest the camera on.

Loaded a sharpened mod, - but still not quite there.


23/07/2011 - 1:37 AM


AcceptanceThis is a difficult shot to critique. Its a nice shot, but has had a lot of modifications done, so it would be great to see what you original was like to compare, as its no longer in your portfolio.

Its appears to me that Im looking through a mist, or very light drapes, so Im not sure if this was intended, or was there originally, or a result of modification.

So looking at what I see, I would increase contrast, especially in the black spectrum, and crop to place the eyes off centre as in the mod.

If you have the original, you can load it as a modification yourself.

Mod2 is the correct mod.


19/07/2011 - 12:10 AM


waitingIt is a very nice image. I agree with a lot of whats been said already, - the blur/softening is overdone around the boys head; its far too yellow. In addition, its over saturated, and the composition for me is too central.

I have loaded a mod where Ive moved him off centre, cropped to place his head higher, reduced yellow and saturation; increased shadow detail to get some expression into the eyes which are too dark; added small catchlights to eyes; sharpened head area only.

I hope you find the feedback constructive, - and I do still like the shot!


18/07/2011 - 11:30 PM

Mayan Warrior

Mayan WarriorIts a very dramatic shot, nice exposure, great pose.

I would suggest a tighter crop, - brighten the eyes a little and add small catch lights; sharpen a little; and try a larger frame as in the mod. I also darkened the area behind his neck which is a little distracting,


17/07/2011 - 4:12 PM


ListeningA very nice image Pablo. I really like the pose, and especially the diagonal composition.

I would suggest that the image is also worth trying in straight mono, rather than with the blue tint; I would also prefer if the torn edge was a straight edge, - it doesnt work well when bpdy parts are at the edge, as it suggests, as commented above pixellation, whereas it is intentional tearing.

I have loaded a mod with the image cropped to lower her head; straight mono; more eye detail; a little less highlights; parts of her hair lightened.

Hope this is helpful as always,


17/07/2011 - 3:57 PM


HappyThis is a lovely shot Julia, and theres a nice connections between the girl and the camera which makes it special.

I would suggest it may look better a little lighter, - the darker look is less suggestive of "happy", and it tends to provide too much skin detail, whereas in a portrait a very slightly softer appearance is nice.

I would also crop as in the mod to focus more on the eyes, placing them on a third.

In the mod Ive cropped; added some diffuse glow to soften all except eyes and mouth; lifted eye detail with the shadow tool on CS4, and enhanced a catchlight in one eye.

Hope you find the feedback and mod helpful,


Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa)A goo9d shot of a very difficult subject, using a long focal length, in what seems to me to be overly bright condition. Its clear you dialled in just enough exposure comp, and perhaps an extra 1/3 might have looked better?

I do like V2, though it doesnt have the vibrancy you expect from these insects. The main issue for me is the glare, or reflection from the shiny body and wings, and the wings, being transparent dont get any help from the bright background.

Ive tried a mod where Ive used a layer multiply at 80% to reduce exposure a little; used the highlight toll to work on the abdomen area, - trid to get it to appear fluorescent without killing the colour; sharpened to add sontrast to the wings abd allow the areas between the black to become visible; cropped and framed. The crop does make the bug look smaller, - thats a negative, but it may be offset by the different composition.

Hope you like the result, - nothings possible without a good basic image.


16/07/2011 - 5:18 AM

Lakes and mountains

Lakes and mountainsNo, - it wont matter. The filter will do exactly the same thing as you would see when wearing polarized sunglasses, - they allow you to see through haze, and reflections on water as they block light waves which are polarized in a particular direction. Its a worthwhile filter to buy, buy the only downside is you may need one to fit each different lens you have if they are different diameters at the front.

15/07/2011 - 6:10 PM


BambiThis is a fabulous shot. The pose and timing are terrific. The exposure is very good.

The weather at the time I would guess was a tad dull, which caused a slight lack of contrast, which when addressed in post processing really makes this image jump off the screen.

Ive made this adjustment in the mod, and have also adjusted the composition, - not something you could do very well in camera, - some post processing trickery by adding canvas and cloning in the background, - but it makes a nice difference I think.

Well done,