Back Modifications (3)
Views: 78 (28 Unique)  Award Shortlist   


By tamasalucy  
how can i improve on this image remember i only have a canon 600D so it limits what the camera can do.

Tags: General Wildlife and nature 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.


mrswoolybill Plus
9 986 1500 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2014 10:16AM
Hi Simon, welcome to the Critique gallery - I think this is your first upload here?

The image is sharp where it needs to be, on the eye. I'd prefer a bit more depth of field, to have the bill sharp, but that's partly a matter of taste.

Two main critiques though. The crop is too tight, the head looks cramped. It needs just a bit more space particularly at the top and bottomm. And there's a very strong blue/mauve cast. I suspect that's down to the Daylight White balance setting, I find Auto much more reliable for daylight of most descriptions!

There are some overexposed areas of feather. White feathers are quite light-reflective... Your information shows this as taken as a jpeg, ultimately to have maximum opportunity to retrieve detail in such circumstances you need to consider shooting in Raw. Camera Raw (it's a word not an acronym) really does what it says on the can it records all the raw data available to the camera, 100%, without editing.

With JPEGs, the camera's 'brain' automatically selects the data that it thinks is important, a relatively small proportion of the total, it edits for you. You have no way of getting at the rest of the data, it hasn't been recorded. In nice, balanced, gentle light this can be fine. But as soon as you hit harsh light, or strong contrasts of light and shadow, or reflective surfaces, JPEGs lose out massively.

I'll try a quick Modification, adding a bit of space and I'll see what I can do to improve the whites. It will appear in due course under the Modifications button below your upload, click on the thumbnail to view.

Back soon, I hope...

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mrswoolybill Plus
9 986 1500 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2014 10:43AM
Two Mods uploaded, with notes. The original file is generally underexposed, but overexposed on patches of feathers - this really was very difficult light! I think your minus exposure compensation was excessive - but do consider Raw, it would help enormously in such tricky conditions.
25 Feb 2014 1:46PM
Thank you for your ideas and knowledge unfortunately I have been called away I will get back to you ASAP Grin
paulbroad 9 116 1064 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2014 2:09PM
I like tight crops usually, but you are touch too tight here. Depth of field is minimal and noticeably less sharp on the beak. You could have done with f5.6 at least. The lens would perform better then too.

You are a touch under exposed, but that is a better choice than over and you can then bring shadows back with the dodge tool

You have a strong overall blue cast. May be partly the under exposure, but blue predominates everywhere. Eyen the whites have a strong cyan cast. I suspect you have been doing some processing and got it a bit wrong, or your white balance is wrong. Leave it on AWB, especially if you use RAW as Moira suggests.

RAW gives the best results if you have the time to use it. However, you must then master RAW processing. Many don't and a badly processed RAW will not be as good as an out of camera BEST JPG>

8 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2014 2:22PM
hi, try flipping the image, we read left to right and this type of thing often looks better the other way around.

i think that you caused yourself a few problems by shooting wide open at f3.5 , the depth was never going to get the bill and eye sharp at the same time and they really need to be.

also why crop so tightly, its so easy to crop on computer later but so much harder to add space and cropping in camera also makes your dof shallower. would have been nice to see the bottom of the bill with droplets of water.

bit of a caste on the head too but that may be my works monitor. if you shhot raw you can sort that out later.

if you do a quick selection around the swan, go filter and sharpen, smart sharpen, up the rad a little and sharpen about 90% and twiddle the rad slider and i think the neck and droplets will sharpen up a fair bit for you.

pablophotographer 5 678 269
25 Feb 2014 3:12PM

I tried a square crop and I think I prefer it , compared with the current one. Unfortunately the new format of the site can not let me enlarge the picture to see it well, then crop it and submit it Sad but you have an idea to work with I guess.

pamelajean Plus
10 969 1833 United Kingdom
25 Feb 2014 7:44PM
A good close shot, Simon, with nice detail on the eye.
That is where the focus should be but, like others, I feel that a smaller aperture/higher f-number would have been a better choice, giving you a greater depth of field and enabling you to have the beak in focus as well.
I notice that in the other swan close-ups in your portfolio, you usually used smaller apertures, and they do look better.

The colour cast has been mentioned. You can use the White Balance settings to deal with the problem of colour casts.
Auto works well in most situations, but is not foolproof. Sometimes the colours will be too cool in Auto, and you may find that things will look much nicer in another setting. But no matter how you set your white balance, check the results of your choices on the camera's LCD and adjust according to your preference.
The Daylight setting is a little bit bluer than usually preferred. Try using your "cloudy" and "shade" settings to get warmer colours. These settings are intended to compensate for bluer light and tend to be a little warmer than the Daylight setting.

I think you probably underexposed on purpose in order to keep detail in the feathers, knowing how easy it is to burn out swan plumage. Personally, I always underexpose swans, then deal with it in post processing. You could try bracketing as an experiment, and one of those shots should prove to be ok.

banehawi Plus
12 1.5k 3533 Canada
26 Feb 2014 12:25AM
Its all been said, so I uploaded a mod. White balance is warmer. Shoot in RAW and you can change it easily in post processing, as AWB can often be wrong.

+ EC is best with swans especially if shooting in RAW; an incorrect exposre can also affect white balance. This is underexposed.

View the mod large,



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