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bouquet of flowers

By isti04
I wanted to make a painting-like photograph and I would like to ask for a critique.

Tags: Still life Flowers and plants

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banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4333 Canada
27 Sep 2022 6:25PM
Welcome to the Critique Gallery Istvan! Looks like youve been a member for a long time, and this is your first upload, or your first for critique.

Since its for critique, you dont receive votes, but hopefully some good feedback.

Technically the image is good overall as far as camera settings are concerned; its shot in Manual mode, and the exposure is low, due to a bright light area on the front of the vase. Most of the image detail is in the left third of the histogram. This may well be as you intended, - perhaps when you say painting-like, you are looking for low exposure as part of the effect? Let us know...

IF I expose this a little more and recover shadows, on the flowers and vase only, its quite a bit brighter, and Ive uploaded it as mod1. A painter effect means a wide range of things really, and there are post processing techniques and filters that can help; do you have a good post processing programme that you can experiment with?

I will also upload some additional modifications with some photoshop filters you can look at and let us know iof we are on the right track.

I also restored the crop to the original 2:3. There will be some others who will add useful feecback on the arrangement of flowers and and placement of the vase.


pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2275 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2022 6:32PM
Hello, Isti, and welcome to EPZ and its Critique Gallery.

What do you mean by a painting-like photograph? It doesn't look to me to have been given a painterly filter or anything like that.

In fact, you have taken a very attractive photo, and it's quite sharp overall. The fallen petals on the cloth are a nice touch. I would prefer an image that wasn't so tall and slim, but that all depends on the arrangement you make.

I have done a modification because I feel this image benefits from brightening and a few more small tweaks to bring out its best. I adjusted shadows and highlights and also brightened the whites, especially to show the vase off fully. This was obviously shot indoors, so you could have given a bit more light to bring out the flowers' glory.
You can view modifications by clicking on the blue "Modifications" option just below your picture.

Please join in the comments section here and tell us more about what you wanted to achieve. Are you happy with the result?


PS: Willie and I overlapped with our commenting, I hope I haven't spoilt his run of modifications by throwing in my own.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
27 Sep 2022 8:44PM
Welcome from me, too.

Can I guess that by 'painterly' you mean that it's tonally soft, and possibly quite low key? Generally, you've achieved that.

I have two suggestions, though. First, the vase is the brightest thing in the picture, and that means that it's drawing attention away from the flowers. I suspect a more painterly look would have a less attention-grabbing vase - darker tones, although it might be patterned to some extent.

Still life is an area where it's easy to emulate the working of a painter, because there is nothing in the frame that you don't put there! In every other genre, photographers have to prune an image, while painters can simply omit to include some elements.

Janet, aka Chase, is a member of the Critique Team who specialises in still life, and you could do worse than look at her portfolio, or my interview with her.
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
27 Sep 2022 9:18PM
Welcome from me too. And yes, I see the painterly quality, in the lighting (coming from the left, the classic set-up for Still Life), and the dark, reddish-brown tones. (Although this coloration in Old Master paintings is often down to aged varnish!)

I hope that Janet (chase) will find this as she is the specialist. But my main thoughts concern composition and format.

The vase is tall and rather elegant in shape. It seems so obvious, to place a vertical subject in a vertical frame, but it is difficult to manage successfully, the subject can look cramped and unbalanced. A strong vertical needs a horizontal to balance it. You have that cloth, but I would like to see a broader frame, square or even landscape, to give a more relaxed feel.

Looking at the detail, there are strange dark marks on the vase and there are bits that have dropped onto the cloth. There are a few fallen petals. I would like to see a plain unmarked vase, a clean dust-free cloth; a few more petals on the cloth would suggest a fallen flower, and create a better link between the upper and lower parts of the composition.

Just suggestions for you to consider.
Robert51 14 11 132 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2022 7:42AM
There are many ways and it's your choice which way works best for your image.

The mod is a simple one all in PS.
the 4 things I used was: -
1. Filter/Stylize/Oil Paint.
2. Filter/Filter Gallery/Texture/Canvas.
3. Filer/Filter Gallery/Artistic/Palette Knife.
4. Filter/Filter Gallery/Artistic/Dry Brush.
I would sugguest you put each step on a new layer, which allows you the use of the opacity slider (the best tool in PS).

The mod was done very quick to give you the idea.
Robert51 14 11 132 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2022 3:06PM
I have done a second mod which I use a lot.
1. Open in PS and duplicate.
2. Open the old Topaz Black and White if you have it.
3. Use the Painterly with colour effect. At the bottom of the adjustment sliders move the transparent to far right.
4. Back in PS open Filter/Filter Gallery/Texture/Sandstone (for the canvas).
Don't forget to use the opacity slider where needed.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
28 Sep 2022 5:07PM
A further thought - the perspective is definitely looking downwards from quite close in. A more relaxed look would result from using a longer lens from further away.

Photographers often shoot from too close, and unintentionally get slightly more dramatic perspective than they intend: either go for an extreme effect, or - most of the time - avoid your perspective drawing attention to itself.
chase Plus
17 2.5k 668 England
28 Sep 2022 6:45PM
Hi Istvan and welcome.
This is a lovely display of brightly coloured flowers, the vase is a nice shape but it does need cleaning up somewhat, as does your base, the dropped petals are ok but there are too many little dark bits on the material for me, makes it look messy.

Fo me, a painterly look needs to be lit very differently and probably without the rather strong vignette, it's suggesting to me that the light is coming directly from the front, which it clearly isn't.
The light needs to be less on the vase and the right hand side, more directed onto the flowers.

I did a mod ( mod 8) and attempted a more painterly feel to this.
Cleaned up the vase with the clone tool.
Lightened the left, darkened the right.
I used Topaz to drop on an Impression filter which can look like oil paint, to a point. Dropped the opacity of the Topaz layer to about 25%
Used the dodge tool in Photoshop to drop a little light onto a few of the petals on the right side.
Thin frame added to contain the image.
Converted to sRGB which is the one recommended for ePz and the web.

Painterly looks are all about the light, where it comes from, where the viewer sees it and where it ends up.
You can use all sorts of things around the house to control light, a piece or two of paper, a strip of material or even a shower curtain strung up in the right place to diffuse light.
Directional, controlled daylight ( or indeed any kind of light) is a challenge but you need to stand back from your subjects, look carefully to see if the light, or lack of it, gives you the feeling you are aiming for...before pressing the shutter.

Take your time, the subjects aren't going to run off Wink
A nice start though, I hope to see more from you and please do join in the conversation here, it does help us to know if we have gone in the right direction with comments, mods or critique.

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