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07/01/2011 - 4:25 PM

Bride shot

Bride shotWelcome to EPZ David.

Theres a few issues with this shot, though the pose is quite nice, as is the eye contact.

Its underexposed for her face; theres a distinct red tone to her skin. Underexposure may have been caused by the white dress reflecting light back to the camera and/or flash, and if so, applying a positive exposure compensation would help. If you look at the histogram, you can readily see its underexposed, - so get into the habit of doing this real time, and then adjusting and taking a second shot.

Its quite easy in photoshop to increase the exposure for her face and arms, and this also reduces somewhat the red cast. It also reduces the shadows around her eyes.

The colour cast may be due to white balance, so I have reduced red a little in a mod. Always shoot in RAW, especially weddings, so you can adjust WB in post processing, - ideally having used a gray card for calibration.

I think reducing the height by cropping a little space from the bottom, and adding canvas on the left would place her in a better composition in the frame, also done in the mods.

Ive loaded three mods. First is the original shot with the changes noted. next two have a degree of softening or diffusion applied which is often liked by the bride. All have been sharpened.

A tip for preparing an image for the web: read the guidelines in the site; first reduce you PPI to 72; then size the longest dimension to what the site allows; ensure that the method used for re sizing is set to Bi-Cubic; then "save as", using the compression slider to get close to the file size recommended, - a little larger is usually ok.

Then open the re sized file, and check its sharpness, if it has lost sharpness due to compression, sharpen as needed, and save again before uploading.

Finally, - read the rules for the critique gallery: let us know all you shot settings; your intent with the shot; any modifications you have made; and you have the option to mark any critique as constructive by clicking the named link, - however only do so if you do find the feedback constructive.

Hope this is helpful


05/01/2011 - 3:34 PM

Less is More

Less is MoreIts an attractive scene, with nice light, however I think it might look better if the horizon was a little closer to a third, rather than down as low as it is. The position does speak in a way to the isolation and "smallness" of the islands, but raising them a little doesnt hurt.

Theres little contrast in the shot, - as the light was not great for photography, and adding some contrast can make the image come alive a little more.

Ive cropped space from the top and sides, and added some more sea to the bottom to do this, made a curves adjustment, and sharpened slightly.

Sometimes less can do with a little more!

Hope this helps


05/01/2011 - 3:19 PM

After the Shower

After the ShowerWelcome Janine. You have a terrific lens there, so your setting the bar high with your first shot!

One thing to know as you re size images for the web:

First, reduce the image to 70ppi from whatever the original resolution is; then, set the longest side to the pixel dimension allowed by the site; then save as a new file name; use the save-as dialogue to adjust compression of obtain a file size close to whats allowed, A little over will usually be OK. Also ensure that you have converted to the sRGB colour space if you used something different to take the shot.
Then open the re sized image, and check for sharpness; if the image has lost sharpness in compression, apply an appropriate amount, making sure you have no halos around edges, apply and save.

A reliable method for using Unsharp mask in Photoshop to sharpen:

Set Threshold = 3

Set Radius = 0.8.

Slide the Amount slider all the way to the right, 500%, then slowly side back to the left until the image looks right.

I hope you find this helpful for the future,


05/01/2011 - 3:09 PM

Winter Oak

Winter OakHi Kirsteen, as nice shot overall, - that Oak looks quite nice covered in snow.

When taking shots of a scene thats predominantly white, - which is really most snow scenes, its important to use the exposure compensation function of you camera, and overexpose by approx +1. Its very easy to access this capability on your camera. This scene makes the snow appear slightly blue/gray, as the automatic exposure in the camera will try to underexpose, - hence the need to override this using EC.

When you do this, - as in the mod, the scene takes on a much brighter, white appearance, and with a little use of levels or curves in post processing, you can add a little contrast to darken the tree branches and trunk.

Ive done this ins the mod; cropped a little space from the bottom, and added canvas to the right and cloned in the background, - all to place the tree on a third. Finally a little sharpening.

Hope this is helpful,


04/01/2011 - 6:42 PM


maisyHi Craig,

A good effort, nice pose and smile, and a cute subject.

A few comments.

The shot appears quire red overall to me, and when I download it, it has a Fuji.ICM profile embedded. When re sizing and converting images for the web, you need to ensure to convert to sRGB; and then check that the new image is still sharp, - and sharpen as needed. This is a little soft, likely due to the re sizing process.

I would suggest from a lighting perspective, that you use a main light to illuminate one side of the face more than the other, and a fill light at a lower power placed where the camera is for general fill in. This will give some shadow and definition to her face.

Compose to place the closest eye on a third, both vertically as well as horizontally for a better overall composition.

In the mod Ive done the following:

Re composed by cropping space from the top, and adding canvas to the left, which I filled in with the background, plus a little cloning of her arm; sharpened; adjusted the colour balance to try to get closer to a more natural, less red tone, and also converted to sRGB; applied a little darkening at the right to emulate the effect of less light on one side to illustrate the difference this can make.

I hope you find this helpful,


04/01/2011 - 6:13 PM

Gold Hill

Gold HillA really nice shot, and a lovely scene.

Its a tad flat, - meaning low contrast due to the brigh light creeping in at the top, and the houses are not quite vertical. A few tweaks with a crop, and adjustment with curves to add contrast and reduce the distant glare can make this "pop" a little more.

Hope this helps


01/01/2011 - 4:48 PM

Peace Lily

Peace LilyFirst thing that strikes me about this image Rhys is the background.

It clashes quite a lot with the flower itself, and the image would look better with a complementary colour as the BG.

The flower itself is quite nice, but appears to have perhaps too much softness, bordering on a glow, - which if intentional works, but doesnt work for me. There is also a bright stripeed part of the flower at the back of the stem that draws the eye.

I have loaded 2 mods.

I replaced the BG in both. This is easy to do, - make a layer copy, select image>adjustments>replace colour, and select the background. Use the hue, saturation and lightness sliders to get a background that works.

I also applied some small grunge and crack brushes to the background for some detail.

The composition is a little too central, so I cropped sopme space from the left, and added canvas to the right, and tilted the flower a little.

The rest of the mod darkens the flower a little using a layer/multiply blend. V2 has a soft diffuse glow distortion filter applied.

Hope this is helpful,


01/01/2011 - 3:59 PM


foodIts a really nice shot.

Theres good dof, and the important parts of the squirrel are sharp. One thing to remember - after you re size for EPZ, check the new image for sharpness and apply more sharpening as needed. This does benefit with a little more. Also, make sure you convert the colour space to sRGB for the WEB.

I agree the bottom bar can go, but I would suggest an alternate approach to the crop in that I would either keep the width, as in mod1, or crop to place an eye on a third as in mod2.

Brens mod is good, and using the "auto" functions can often give a good result, though a more accurate approach is to use the Threshold and Curves approach which I have done in the mods.
In addition, when contrast is increased, you may need to reduce saturation to balance colour.

Theres a number of tutorials on correcting white balance and colour balance on the Web using Google.

The tonal range is compressed as you can see with the histogram bunched up in the middle, and results in a flat image with low contrast. This is due largely to poor light conditions at the time of shooting. If you look closely, you will notice the black bar is bot solid black, and the whites are a bluish/gray. The corrections in all mods have addressed this.

Hope this is helpful,


31/12/2010 - 4:03 PM

Chapel door

Chapel doorIt is a wonderfully ornate door Mario.

I like the shot, though its a little underexposed and might look better a little brighter.

You stood to one side of the door rather than diectly in front, so you have the horizintaks diverging from leftto right, which is OK, but for an architectural shot its best to align yourself directly in front to get the geometry right.

Ive loaded a mod to shot the effect of a little more exposure, and opened up the shot with a white border.

Best regards for 2011,

30/12/2010 - 3:59 PM

Wooden Door-Buland Darwaja

Wooden Door-Buland DarwajaHi Guarav,

The image is very soft here. If its sharper in your original, then you need to check the re sized image for the web, and sharpen it before uploading.

I have loaded a mod to show what I mean.

The shot itself might be better if it had been shot from further back, and perhaps a portrait composition to show more of what appears to be a very ornate and lovely door.

Hope this helps,


30/12/2010 - 2:43 AM

Black Headed Gull in flight

Black Headed Gull in flightLooks like shooting into a bright area has caused this to be underexposed somewhat.

Its a decent shot, and looks better when the exposure is addressed, as in the mod.

I would also suggest re composing by adding some space to the bottom and right to move the Gull off centre.
Last suggestion, - sharpen after you re size your image for uploading, - an image can often lose detail due to compression, which appears to have occurred here.

I hope you find this constructive,


29/12/2010 - 4:21 PM

The Onrushing Tide

The Onrushing TideBoth very good shots Barney.

In both, by eye is drawn to the overexposed areas in the sky, and Ive loaded mods of both version with this addressed. For Mod2, I copied parts of the sky from V1 over. Perhaps you need more that two stops for these shots?

Also, - added a Velvia filter to boost contrast and colour a little more, though they are quite vibrant as is.

In V1, there is a very slight white line at the bottom right of the image Ive cloned in, likely due to a crop.

If I had to pick, I would chose V2, as the foreground light is really nice.

Hope you find this helpful,


28/12/2010 - 7:36 PM


frostyHi Laura,

I took a look at the shot and the exif details are embedded, so I now know the details:

f/5.6; 1/50; ISO 100; exposure mode Manual; focal length 30mm.

Manual mode suggests you chose both the aperture and speed, which are both good, and mean either you accidentally did this, or you know quite a bit about what you are doing. You need quite a bit of experience to use Manual mode with confidence.

This would give you a good depth of field - see link: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

It appears that you focused on the upper left area of the shot, being too close to the right to get it in focus.

So for sure crop the out of focus area. If you intend to have more of the near branches in focus, you need to use a smaller aperture setting, and would likely require a tripod. If you use the link as a guide you can see what I mean.
One tip when shooting snow, - use positive exposure compensation, - i.e. deliberately overexpose by approx 2/3 - 1 full stop. You will have an override on the camera to do this. This will make the snow white, rather than gray or blue.

Ive loaded a square crop with exposure adjusted to provide a good snow colour.

Hope this is helpful,


28/12/2010 - 12:45 PM

Stour Tranquility

Stour TranquilityIt is a nice shot Barney. Its not at all unusual for the really deep colours to appear after the sun has set, and many togs miss opportunities as they pack up and leave rather than wait 20 minutes.

Theres no real focal point, though it does convey a mood of peace and tranquility. The composition has the horizon right on a third which is good.

You had a choice here whether the include 2/3 foreground, or 2/3 sky, and I wonder if perhaps it might have been worth taking a second shot with 2/3 sky just to compare, - I cant help thinking that perhaps the sky may have provided a lot more interest, especially if you had pointed the cam more to the right. But I wasnt there, and dont know what was possible, so just a thought.

Loaded 2 mods, first is you original with a Velvia filter applied, with a contrast boost to make it a little more dramatic; mod2 is a quick crop and attempt at showing the 2/3 sky shot for comparison. Also boosted with Velvia

A nice shot overall,


27/12/2010 - 9:12 PM

I Caught it!

I Caught it!A very good capture of a good capture!

That shutter speed should not have produced such a good shot, but it did, so perhaps you used a tripod and the bird remained very still and cooperative! A hand held speed for this would need to be at least 1/400.

Not a lot wrong with this fine shot. It appears to have lost some sharpness and detail in the re sizing process, and perhaps you didnt sharpen it after you re sized? The best way to approach re sizing is to reduce the PPI to 72 first, then the dimensions, then the amount of compression for file size, then save as a new file. Check this for sharpness and adjust as needed.

I would suggest adding some height to the background, and cropping to place the bird on the third for a better composition.

Sharpening and re composing done in the mod. The water drops are more visible with the added sharpening.

I hope you find this helpful,


27/12/2010 - 8:57 PM

Pulling in the catch

Pulling in the catchHi Diane,

Its an image with mood, and some meaning for you. Looks like it was quite calm and peaceful at the time.

A few suggestions to improve it.

Its cropped leaving a white line on the left, check after you crop.

Its a little noisy, but you have provided no shot details at all, so I dont know if its due to high ISO or processing, - either way Ive 4reduced noise in the mods.

The composition is too wide in comparison to height for proper balance. There need to be more sky, which will place the boat lower in the shot, on a third.

I cant really see a horizon, but using the ripples in the distance as a guide, the horizon is not level, - going downhill to the left a little.

Ive loaded 2 mods, - one as per the suggestions with added sky, - and I would also suggest removing that line running out of the frame on the right, as well as the large orange buoy.

The second mod is a very minimalistic mono, which I think suits this quite well.

Hope this is helpful, - and please remember to provide all you shots settings for a better critique!


27/12/2010 - 5:04 PM

A winter scene

A winter sceneYouve done really well with this, - its a really nice image, and would make a very attractive print. Lots of nice winter evening atmosphere.

I looked at some cropping to get the "horizon" on a third, but the balance didnt look right, so Ive suggested cropping it a little narrower, keeping the tree where it is, to make a 1- X 8 format for printing.

Ive jst enhanced it a little by doing more of what you did for mod1, - blacker tree, higher contrast, a touch more vibrancy in the sky; in mod2 Ive thought about darkening the snow while preventing it from being blue, and added a slight warming tone.

Good work, and hope this helps,


27/12/2010 - 4:48 PM

All Dried Up

All Dried UpGood Lord, a 7D! Congratulations, - you are going to have a lot of fun with this.

Nice first shot, crisp and sharp. I prefer it without that vertical piece sticking up, especially as its broken at the top, so I removed it.

Consider shooting at a diagonal for more interest, - Ive cropped it in the mod, added a little more contrast and a slight sharpen. Had to fake some lens blur at the top due to cropping.

Hope this helps, have fun.


27/12/2010 - 2:30 PM


FungiThis is a shot best taken in portrait form John, unless you have a really good composition to support a landscape format.

In this, theres nothing to see, or that adds to the shot for about 50% of the frame. The exposure and colour balance are good, with the snow being white.

The shot itself is a tad soft here, but Im certain the original is sharp. The softness is due to loss of detail during compression when re sizing for EPZ.

Ive cropped, sharpened and added a little contrast, added a small frame, flipped horizontally, as images often appear more pleasing when "read" left to right.

To re size properly:

First check image size; then chamge pixels per inch to 72; then set the longest edge to whatever is allowed (600 pix); then ensure the re sampling mode is set to Bi-Cubic; press enter. Save the show with a new name, and adjust the compression to give the required file size.

Then check sharpness at 100%. If it needs to be a little sharper, use the Unsharp Mask tool as follows:

Threshold = 3; Radius = 0.8; set the Amount slider all the way to the right to oversharpen, and then slide slowly to the left until its sharp, with no halos around edges. Then OK and you done, - but save again.

One addition to Paintmans recommendation for minimum speed for landholding, - its 1/(focal length * crop factor), so at 200mm its 1/(200 * 1.6) = 1/320, or next highest if this is a speed which is not available to you. You can increase ISO if necessary to allow the use of the higher speed.

I hope you like the mod, and find this helpful, and dont forget to provide your shot settings!


26/12/2010 - 8:01 PM


JenHi Dennis,

A good effort. The lighting is perhaps a tad harsh, and those deep shadows on one side of her face can look better lifted a little. You could have also placed a reflector on that side to fill in a little more light.

The composition is better if its not central, as shes looking to the right, so adding more space there, while cropping some space from the bottom makes a more pleasing composition.

Theres an odd red line running down the side of her dress, - right side as I look at the pic, which Ive removed. cant say why its there unless you had done some selecting and replacing, or if its a chromatic aberration from your lens, but its better taken out.

Hope this is helpful,