Back Modifications (2)
Views: 32 (10 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Snow Painting

By louiserogers      
This is a picture of my little girl painting in the snow. I love the crispness of her face against the snow, but one thing I really struggle with is getting a full crisp image. It will always be perfectly in focus somewhere, but not everywhere.

I would love to learn how to focus properly.


Tags: Portraits and people

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
15 Sep 2013 11:32PM
This is very good Louise. her face, and especially the eyes are super sharp!

Its slighty blue dues to a very slight underexposure, - which is common with snow, and the mod fixes that. Thats the only adjustment Ive made, as it perfect.

So lets look closely at the image. The main, and most important thing in this shot is her face, and it spot on.

Her arms are shaking the yellow container (toy?) so you have captured motion blur, and in this shot, is very desirable to have caught this! So that blur is a good thing; its caused by her arms moving faster than your exposure time, 1/60th second (in 1/60th second, her arms moved), and the blur is enhanced because flash fired right at the very last few milliseconds of the exposure and caught her arms not moving.

So the shutter opens, and stays open for 1/60th second, and the flash doesnt fire until the shutter is just about to close. Flash is an instantaneous burst of light, - very short.

So this is great.

You asked in the last upload about the mod. I sharpened her eyes only in Photoshop. And then I softened her face overall by using a diffuse glow filter in Photoshop.

You mentioned snapping, so you dont have time to think. You have a load more time than you realise in most cases. The key this is to set you camera up as much as possible ahead of time. Select that single focus point. Take a test shot in the environment youre in and make any adjustments you feel ar needed. Then when the moment arises, point and click.

Heres some homework! For the next week or so, or whenever you intend to take some pics, always use 18mm, - dont zoom in, and always set the Aperture to f/5.6. You can do this in Program mode. Set the ISO at A or Auto. Set the single focus point to the centre point and leave it there. Then look at the shots. See if they look blurry or sharp. Then let me know.



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paulbroad 10 123 1240 United Kingdom
16 Sep 2013 8:30AM
Very nicely done. Good composition and a lot of impact. This is family photography with general appeal. It's a portrait. Not sure what you mean about focusing properly? You are spot on here. The blur in the bottle is flash blur. A faint double image caused by one recorded by ambient light and one by flash with a tiny bit of movement between. Bet she was shaking the bottle.

Focusing can be automatic, in which case you must take some control to ensure the camera focuses where you want. Select the central focus point, place it where you want, half press the shutter button which focuses and locks the value. WITHOUT RELEASING THE PRESSURE, recompose quickly and shoot.

Manually, you switch the lens to manual focus and do it the old way.

Depth of field matters. The smaller the aperture, the larger the aperture number, the more you get sharp around your focal point. Roughly 1/3 infront and 2/3 behind with thois depths changing as aperture changes. This is why many people use aperture priority.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2015 United Kingdom
16 Sep 2013 2:23PM
I hope you feel better about this shot after the positive comments above, Louise.
I love that hat, the catchlights in your daughter's eyes, her brilliant smile, and the fun action captured.

I would normally suggest getting down to your child's level before shooting, but this "looking down" shot works well, mostly because she is looking up at you and this angle allowed you to include the bottle and to place it into the bottom right corner. Nice composition.

You say that you struggle to get a fully crisp image, but this isn't necessary. Here you focused on the face and that's where your sharpness lies. A smaller aperture would have seen more of your daughter in focus because it gives you a greater depth of field. So you use aperture to control depth of field, which is the depth, into the shot, where sharpness is apparent. The best way to get your head around aperture is to get your camera out and do some experimenting. Go outside and find a spot where you have got items close to you as well as far away, and take a series of shots with different aperture settings, from the smallest setting to the largest. You will quickly see the impact that it can have and the usefulness of being able to control aperture.

When your camera is faced with a bright scene, such as snow, it tends to underexpose the image, so when shooting in aperture priority mode, use your exposure compensation button to brighten your exposure until the snow looks white but still retains some texture and detail. Also, if you're shooting under a blue sky, you'll end up with blue snow because it picks up a colour cast from the surrounding light, and your auto white balance is unlikely to correct this, so you can try switching from auto white balance to Shade.

In my modification I removed the blue from the snow, then selected the top background area and filled that with snow as well, giving a plain clean background for your subject. Adjusting levels has made the background even brighter.
I also added some canvas to the top because I felt the bobble was a bit too close to the frame edge.

18 Sep 2013 12:40PM
Wow I was not expecting such a positive response! Thank you everyone!

So I can see now from the modifications you have made how it was underexposed so that's something to look out for. I really like the clean background Pamela, it's a shame that the snow loses it's definition though so I might see if I can play with that at some point.

It was snow paint that she had in the bottle so yes she was more than likely shaking it and I got lucky with the shot. This was taken in the first week of getting my first camera so I hadn't quite got that images are much better when you get down to their level but I feel like this one works anyway.

Thanks for all of your advice - quite a lot to work on from those 3 comments! I haven't had a chance to take any pics this week but I will definitely try working with those settings Willie and using those focus techniques Paul. One thing on that - if I focus on the middle then recompose, will my camera pick up if my subject moves which inevitably it will!!

Thanks all


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