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Dandelion flower

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I am learning flower photography and macro and thoroughly enjoying the challenge.

Camera:Canon Powershot G12
Recording media:JPEG (digital)
Title:Dandelion flower
Username:burridh burridh
Uploaded:22 Jul 2013 - 5:25 PM
Tags:Close-up / macro, Flowers close up
VS Mode Rating 99 (25% won)
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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
banehawi Critique Team 111264 forum postsbanehawi vcard Canada3285 Constructive Critique Points
22 Jul 2013 - 6:08 PM

This is a very good exposure Helen. Youve made the scourge of lawn-keepers everywhere look quite special. Also, yellow is a difficult colour to work with, and easily loses detail, but this is fine.

When I download it, and take a closer look, its apparent the flower can be quite a bit sharper. I wonder if you missed a step in the re sizing process, whereby, after residing and saving at the highest quality, you open the new image. check sharpness, and apply as needed? This one required quite a bit, and I imagine your original looks sharper too.

A crop that often works to show off a single bloom is a square crop, with the bloom in the centre.

I have uploaded a mod cropped this way, with sharpening applied, and Ive suggested some of the red stems be cloned out or darkened. The frame is added to get the shot back closer to 1000 pixels, and it can also show the benefit of the square crop.

Hope this helps, and well done.



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pamelajean Critique Team 9942 forum postspamelajean vcard United Kingdom1763 Constructive Critique Points
22 Jul 2013 - 8:47 PM

I thought I recognised that name. We have another member with the same name. Her portfolio is here. Click on the blue word "here" to find the link.
I'm glad you are enjoying learning flower photography, Helen, and you will find a lot of inspiration in the Photography Gallery here on EPZ.

This is a good close image of the humble dandelion, showing just how beautifully intricate this so-called weed can be when looked at from a macro photographer's point of view. Also, of course, the seedheads are so fascinating that they have been a favourite subject for photography for years.

As Willie says, if you are shooting head-on and the flower is circular, then a square crop does look good.
You have good light on your subject and have handled the exposure well.
You haven't included your camera settings, or Exif data. This makes it difficult to give a more constructive critique.

When starting out, the obvious thing to do when taking flower pictures is to point your camera at the bloom, fill the frame and fire, but there's much more that can be done to add creativity to your pictures, and you will eventually see unusual angles that lift your pictures into the "wow" category. You will also learn, if you don't know it already, that selective focusing can be used to create more interesting flower pictures. Begin experimenting with different apertures and shooting distances to change the overall effect.
Since you are interested in macro work, set yourself a challenge, and forget about getting all of the flower inside your frame (which you have done here nicely, with no clipping of any of the petals), and go in close for detail, like a water droplet on a petal, the centre stamens, etc. A tripod is a good accessory you can use in the home or when out on location and means you can avoid any blur, which is always more apparent in close up images.

I'd like to mention backgrounds. You have this and one other flower picture in your portfolio, and both have "busy" backgrounds. Whenever possible, choose the cleanest and least cluttered background possible. Anything that intrudes into your background acts as a distraction from your subject. Choosing a background that is quite a distance away will give you a nice sharp flower and a blurred background, as long as you choose a fairly large aperture. This gives you a reasonably fast shutter speed, just in case there is a slight breeze that could move the flower and create movement blur.

As a flower photographer, if you do most of your photography outdoors, an essential piece of kit is a clothes peg or two. Use these to pin back anything that is leaning into your frame and that you don't want included. We call it judicial gardening prior to the shot.
Another piece of kit is a selection of coloured card. When it's impossible to find a clean background, use the card to make your own.
It's a great way of bringing the indoor studio look to the outdoors. Sometimes it's possible to shoot from a low angle and you can use the sky as a clutter free background.

Keep up the good work.

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