Back Modifications (1)
Views: 64 (25 Unique)  Award Shortlist   


By oldhand
Chess set, ready to start a game.

Medieval board and set inside.

Just practicing

Tags: General Humour and fun

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


Sooty_1 8 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
17 Feb 2013 11:33AM
It seems a little over lit to me, and there are a lot of very bright windowlights, particularly on the black pieces. The light needs to be more diffuse, such as with a net curtain or a diffuser between the window and subject. As a product shot it's ok, but not particularly exciting, though as a practice exercise you maybe wouldn't expect it to be. Maybe there are some more dynamic compositions to be had with some experimentation.

The board looks slightly wonky on the base, and the colour balance is quite cold too. Small things, but with set ups and still lifes, everything is under your control and you have to be ultra critical at the taking stage.

The blue carpet is a bit incongruous for the subject, and maybe better on an old wood table or something more rustic.


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ErictheViking 5 124 102 Scotland
17 Feb 2013 1:50PM
This is an interesting still life, but I have to agree with Nick about the window reflections on the black pieces.

I also agree about the blue carpet it seems to stand out as the main focus with the chess set almost sinking into the carpet, however in my mod I used a hue adjust to remove cyan from your image and this makes the carpet grey allowing the chess set to stand out. Removing the cyan also removes the colour cast reflected from the carpet and gives the black pieces a more black contrasty look and to increase this effect I used levels to increase the shadow and mid-tone contrast more.

Composition wise its not the most exciting and a shot like this has to be perfectly square to avoid looking as Nick said "Wonky". Certainly a better surface like a table or a dark reflective surface and changing the angle to place some of the pieces more to the fore-front could make this a more interesting image.

Overall as an exercise it is good and I would like to see you attempt another series of shots with some diffused light and some experimentation with the angles etc. so if you still have the chess set why not give it a try?

Eric Grin
paulbroad 10 123 1250 United Kingdom
17 Feb 2013 6:07PM
Reasonable record, but a heavy cyan cast obvious on the black pieces. Remove cyan or add red in the colour mixer. Might then need brightening. See you have gone for a tiny f stop and your zoom will not perform at it's best at such a small aperture. About f16 would be enough.

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2024 United Kingdom
17 Feb 2013 7:34PM
Hello, David, and welcome to EPZ.
I like your subject very much, especially the ornate base, and that has to be a feature in your pictures of this chess set.
For a shot like this, you would do well to attempt to achieve perfect symmetry, and if you find it isn't quite right, it can be corrected in editing.
Your horizontal lines are perfect until you get to the stand, then it starts to slope down to the right. Also, you have more space on the right than on the left.
However, if you choose to be a bit more creative and try different angles, the symmetry won't be important.
I wondered if you had considered turning the board 90degrees and having the rows of pieces on the left and right sides, as seen here . Then, using the same perspective as here, the rows would take on that perspective nicely, and you would have the same view of both blacks and whites. Again, I am talking about a symmetrical shot, but it's just another idea for you to consider. But maybe you felt that by presenting it as you have, the viewer would feel as if he were about to play the game, which isn't a bad idea.
Another interesting technique would be to go in close on the pieces and perhaps have the background ones blurred, as here .
If you are interested in getting more ideas and becoming more creative, just Google for "chess pictures" or the like.
Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
17 Feb 2013 9:16PM
Pamela's ideas are probably the way forward, I think.
If you were to set the pieces up as if they're in mid game, you could then shoot from various angles and heights without being concerned about symmetry.
You might also like to try using some directional light. A torch laid down next to the board would be subtle and do the trick. Another free and very effective light source is your mobile phone. Most phones these days offer an app. that allows you to convert it into a variety of types of light.
Just some thoughts.

oldhand 6 1 England
18 Feb 2013 10:02AM
Thank you all for your help
iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
18 Feb 2013 1:13PM
Interesting image. Good advice above.
To make a photo of a chess board more interesting some people set up moves, say leave one move remaining before check mate, or something like that. Keeps chess players interested.

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