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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,


15/07/2011 - 4:22 PM

Rock Chick

Rock ChickMy 2 cents worth, - or pennies:

I would think that lying on a rock in almost any position is going to be uncomfortable, and will look posed as a result.

What I could see is Megan SITTING on the rock, with her knees pulled up towards her, her hands clasped in front of her legs, facing you, with her head in any number of positions, all of which I think could look very natural.

I think, - just a personal opinion, that you are concentrating way too much on the technical, and not enough on what makes a young girl look just like a young girl. Im sure you do this, - but dont forget to ask her opinion on how she should pose, - and watch her on the rock when you are NOT shooting and you will find your shot.

14/07/2011 - 6:42 PM

I'm off to defend my wife!

I'm off to defend my wife!This is a really excellent shot Ruby. Its sooooo difficult to get this kind of feather detail, and to get it in a charging Cob Swan is even more special! The exposure is very good, - though as mentioned, very slightly under, - but thats what got you the detail.

The overall colour is warm, - which would be exactly right for an evening ot early morning Sun, and I can tell from the light in this that the Sun was quite low. The tweak I would suggest is really only to leave more romm at the top, and in front of the Swan, - so he has more space and is less confined. The negative about doing a mod to brighten the Swan is the risk of losing feather detail, - some mods have managed to get this right, others not, and Ive loaded a mod where I have focused on adding the space, with a very minor attempt at brightening that I hope you like, and I also hope you find this constructive.

One last VERY important point I almost forgot, - its really critical to have a properly calibrated monitor when viewing images, - and especially when looking at differences in mods and techniques. Its also important to use a browser that supports Colour management, - especially with this particular image. The reason for this is that this image is tagged as Adobe RGB, and will not look correct ousing a non colour managed browser, - so viewers will see different colours/casta/tones unless the browser is right. You also need to make sure that for ant Web image you load, - you ALWAYS convert it to the sRGB colour space, - Ive done this in my mod.

I am attaching this hugely useful link for anyone that may want to see if their browsers are actually displaying colours on the Web properly:


I would love to know if anyone tries it and figures out that Microsoft Explorer displays colours incorrectly!


14/07/2011 - 12:44 PM


CharlotteHi Beth,

This is a good shot, especially with that very bright sky right behind your friend. The sky has probably caused a slight underexposure of her face, but just a little, and nothing that you cant brighted in Photosjop, - or you coud tink about using your camera to "force" the flash to fire in any condition where the subject has a bright light behind it. This is fill flash, and is a good technique to practice, as it also produces nice catch lights in eyes.

Ive faked this in the mod by just painting in two tiny white dots using the brush tool in Photoshop; Ive lightened the eyes and face; sharpened the eyes a litte, and cropped to raise her eyes closer to a third. I also removed what looked like one or two blemishes, and toned down te bright area on her nose.

I really wish that lady inpi nk wasnt behind her on the left, - but if you had the time and skill to clone he out it may be worth a try.

I hope this, along with the mod has been helpful.


14/07/2011 - 12:18 PM

don't say good night

don't say good nightIts a nice shot. I like the soft look, and the tone, which suggests candle light. The eyes are good with catch lights. Composition is good, placing her eye on a third

reflections can often work if they are subtle, but this one does distract, and I think it might be because in the reflected image, she has a different look as she is turned away from the camera. It draws my eye as if its a completely seperate image, and Im wondering what is she looking at.

I have suggested some tweaks in my mod. Mainly the removal of the reflection, cropping a little narrower, brightening the whites of the eyes (and addressing the blood shot area), while de saturating slightly. I also removed the shiny spot at the end of her nose.

A beautiful subject, overall a good shot, and I hope the suggestions and mod are helpful.


13/07/2011 - 11:17 PM

street life in liverpool.

street life in liverpool.I like this. Nice gritty shot with a good expression. Exposure a little burned out with the Sun on the top of the head, but nice overall.

It can do with a little more sharpening on his face, - the camera appears to have focused on the left of the jacket.

One thing I would suggest for composition for this type of shot is to compose so that the subject is looking into more space, and is further from the edge of the frame.

Ive loaded a mod with the face sharper, and cropped to compose the face better, - just painted in some black and grey on the right so you can get the idea of the big difference this can make.


12/07/2011 - 3:09 PM

Imagination book

Imagination bookDepending on which Photoshop version you have, you can either warp or transform the size and shape of objects, and the lower opacity, try different layer modes, - I used soft light just to blend into the pages as realistically as possible.

The other effects are free brushes applied on a new layer and the opacity lowered, - Google free Photoshop brushes and add them to you armoury.

12/07/2011 - 1:44 AM

QEII Penang

QEII PenangYouve provided no information on the shot settigs, lens, camera, so theres not a lot of valuable critique to be given.

As it looks, its underexposed, likely due to the bright sky behind; theres a little barrel distortion that makes the right side of the building appear crooked; it can be a little sharper.

I have loaded a mod with these elements corrected for comparison.


06/07/2011 - 8:14 PM


MeganKeep in mind Im viewing this on a laptop: She appears very uncomfortable in that pose Phil, - theres too much weight being carried on her arm pushing her shoulder very high. Her expression is showing this discomfort for me. Maybe if she were more vertical, actuallt pushing herself lugher would help.

Looks like the light was high overhead, and I think some fill flash would hahe evened out the light on her face a little more.

The overall dof is terrific, love the softness of the background and foreground, and the colours are accurate.

From looking at many shots of Megan, she is clearly uncomfortable with formal poses, so maybe you could think of getting in some shots as you "prepare" for a formal pose so she caught unawares, and may look better?