Back Modifications (3)
Views: 57 (23 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Guitar by Candle light*

By Sone  
This was taken as my course homework (Intermediate). Just playing with the light, my first time doing a guitar by candlelight. Much fun, and very hot.

Tags: General Flash and lighting

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


Coast 10 1.6k 292 United Kingdom
11 May 2013 10:10AM
Overall a really nice still-life. The arrangement generally works although I would suggest the tealight holder going out the left side of the frame is not required and going out the edge of frame unbalances the image a little. I would also have not used the oil burner on the other side as it seems out of place with the rest of the candles. Finally the red pyramid which I think compliments the red candles could be moved to give a bit of space between it and the guitar.

I would also consider the position of the main candles versus angle of view - watch for hotspots as you can see on the guitar. Changing the camera angle slightly or moving the camera back will have allowed you to avoid this.

Exposure is fine although the larger candles appear to have a subtle breeze touching them during the exposure as you have lost the flame shape as they have flickered overlay much. Just one to consider with long exposures for naked flames such as candles. If you want to retain the classic flame shape you need a still environment so the flame retains its shape through the exposure.

A very worthy attempt that works well. Keep up the experimenting.

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banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
11 May 2013 2:57PM
In addition to the suggestions above, which Ive included in the mod:

The image is split about 60/40 between the guital, and the candles, and not all of the guitar is included. I can accept the bottom being left ot, but not the pegs at the top of the fret board. So I would change the angle or distance to include it, or better still move the guitar to the left to lose some of the bottom, retain the bridge, and bring in the head of the guitar.

Too many items in the rest of the space. I removed that pyramid piece, - its not adding anything. Shorten exposure time by using ISO 800, which moves shutter speed to 1 second, and gives better candle lights.
Also remove the bottom right partial candle.

detail and colour look good. It will be fine for the project.


pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2015 United Kingdom
11 May 2013 3:58PM
I think you've made a fine attempt here, I like the tones and the subject, and especially the background material, which fits in with the colour theme and also has some nice texture. It's interesting that the bit at the top of your frame has the look of flames, corresponding to your candle light theme.
I, too, feel there are too many items in the frame, and would suggest going for minimal elements and more for the effect of the candle light. Aiming for simplicity is often the best strategy, instead of trying to squeeze lots of subjects into a photo. So instead of dwelling on what you can add to the composition, focus on what can be removed in order to strengthen it. Less is more!
It looks like you have randomly placed the items, whereas you have lots of potential here for arranging them for a neat composition.
Seek for a balance of colour, shapes, lighting and object placement within the frame. A balanced composition is arranged so that the visual elements are pleasing to the eye. With too many elements, the eye doesn't know where to concentrate. I find the two tall candles unattractive, and the flames are not only "bent" but too bright, whereas the multi-holder is very attractive and they continue the gold theme. The red candles introduce another colour, which isn't necessary.
The guitar is your subject and you don't want to distract the eye from it, but complement it. For this balance, look for placement of your main element in your composition against something of equal attraction to the eye. Consider that each element in your picture has a given value, or weight.
The layout of your image influences how visually effective or stimulating your photos will be. As a photographer, your choice of framing is how you indicate what you think is important. Anything that doesnít strengthen your image actually weakens it. So donít try to put too many things into one composition.
Watch those edges. You have part elements at your frame edges. The four edges of your photograph make up its frame, and it is this frame that defines your picture. Careful choice in framing your picture is one of the most important things you can do to strengthen its impact.
I have tried to demonstrate all of this in my modification. I cropped to a square format and have two main elements, the guitar and multi-candle holder, with the oil burner included just for balance (I had to move it). Three is a good number in photography, and falls under the Rule Of Odds, which suggests, whenever possible, framing your pictures with odd numbered objects, and by far the most popular odd number is three. When arranging subjects to photograph and you can control how many are within the frame, as here, then go with an odd number rather than an even one.
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1927 United Kingdom
11 May 2013 4:48PM
I'm a bit late arriving here, it's been mostly said already. My immediate thought was that there are too many lights and bits and pieces, and they are too spread out. This would work much better for me if there was one area of lights, with just a few tea-lights and nothing else, preferably near the upper right part of the frame, and if the guitar was placed more diagonally in the frame. Concentrate on stronger, simpler lines and the contrast of light and shadow. Pamela's square crop works best for me, because of the simplicity it brings.
Watch for those hot spots, polished wood is tricky to light - but just moving the camera a tiny bit can make a big difference.
Watch for wax drips, there are red spots on the fabric.
The fabric you have used is quite reflective, it's an interesting effect but I find it a bit distracting. As is the detail bottom right in the frame, I cannot work out what it is and that really drags my eye and brain away from the guitar. Black cloth would be interesting here as an alternative.

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