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25/08/2015 - 12:43 PM

Brigde too heven

Brigde too hevenHello Harald - welcome back to the critique gallery Smile You haven't said what aspects of this image you'd like feedback on, but I will tell you that I like it very much, pretty much as it stands.

I think you've done very well indeed to remove virtually all traces of the vegetation and the water underneath the bridge. Yes, it's give you a very dark image, but that's what I like so much about. However, I do think that your editing has made the tones a little flat and lacking in contrast. I can understand why, as in order to get rid of the unwanted elements, you needed to go this dark. What I'd personally like to see is a little more detail in the central walkway itself, and perhaps a little more focus on the looping rope down the sides of the bridge.

One other thing that I think would suit this image enormously is a square crop. This is all about formality, straight lines and linear shapes. The only deviation from that really is the loops of the rope - like a little piece of rebellion in amongst all that rigidity and formality Smile

So my mod helps this feeilng along a bit - a square crop, some adjustments in Levels to bring up a little more mid-tone detail, and I've also brought out the red of the rope more, to catch the eye and take it forward along that wonderful bridge.

I don't know why, but looking at this image while doing the mod made me think of the game Chess ... whether it's because the shape of the bridge as it disappears into the distance is reminiscent of the shape of the rook (or castle), I don't know. But I do like it Grin

Anyway, have a look at my mod and see what you think. It would also be great if you can let us know what you wanted to achieve with this image, and whether you think you did that?

I hope you're enjoying the site so far Smile

24/08/2015 - 4:54 PM

Did you want something ?

Did you want something ?
Quote: Just to say that i have never before been tempted to describe buttocks as epic. Or architectural...

Er, no ... neither have I, although I have used the term 'perky' before ... but epic? architectural? Nope Grin

I've just noticed Pitter's comment above about the chest and gone and had another look ... and he's right. There's a definite case of under-side-boob going on there! If you look at the cleavage line down the middle of the chest, and then look at the arc of the breast side behind the elbow - the scale's wrong. Not something I noticed before.

Have you changed the way you do hair? When I look back at, for example, this one - the hair's much more flowy and natural looking. Here, it has a texture that is different, a bit translucent and see-through both in the wispy fly-away bits, and the plaits themselves, but I'm not sure it's natural looking?

23/08/2015 - 5:32 PM

i don't do selfies

i don't do selfiesLexi, just out of interest, where did you place the reflector? As far as I can see, it's actually not doing a lot to help any residual shadows in the face, although it has lit the neck area quite nicely ...

Your eye sockets are still quite dark (and yes, I know you're wearing eye shadow, but that's not what I mean) and if you look closely underneath the nose, there's a fairly deep shadow coming away at an angle, towards the left of the image (as I'm looking at it).

Brollies, although good, aren't as flattering as using a softbox because (a) brollies, by their very nature, scatter the light across a broader range and (b) the light is then less controllable. You can get a softbox (among other things) for your speedlight (google the ExpoImaging Rogue range of accessories) and that would be much more flattering. The other thing, if you've got a second flashgun that you can set to 'slave' and dial in a lower power output, is to use that on the other side of the main light. If you can't adjust the power output that much, just physically move it further away.

Your skin smoothing is good, but be wary of going too far and making the skin look plastic (I know you know that, but I'm still saying it Tongue). With the right lighting, you won't need to do much softening at all ... if you get a moment, google Strobist: Lighting 101 - lots of good advice on there about using speedlights as the main source of lighting. (It's something I'm currently getting into myself, so I did find lots of good info on that site.)

And on top of that ... none of us like 'criticism' on our images, especially if they're of our good selves, but ... cheer up a bit?!! Grin To say you look nervous and like you really don't want to be there is an understatement!!

Feel free to tell me to get knotted any time around now ... Wink

21/08/2015 - 1:14 PM

Kayla Sr. Pic

Kayla Sr. PicI personally love the pose - it's relaxed, it's chilled (a youngster's word, that one!) and I think your setting is lovely and natural. She's got some great shapes happening in the limbs, none of which look awkward at all.

She also has the glowing skin associated with youth - even if it is bruised in places because she plays sport - and a twinkle in her eyes. She's obviously very comfortable around you, and this shows beautifully in the relaxed feeling in the image Smile

My mod is similar to the others', although I've gone for a slightly squarer look and although I've reduced some of the space above her head, I've retained some of that space on the left as I think it balances the image overall - it also shows a context, which is very nice indeed in your original shot.

I took the yellow tones down a touch (hopefully not too much) and did a little cloning on some of the bruises and marks on her face. I removed the branch sticking into her back (which Parob pointed out above) and that was about it. I don't mind the level of clarity in the background at all, and I personally wouldn't blur it any more than it is already. It's unobtrusive enough to not to distract.

I think it's a great shot and hopefully she will too Grin

Blowin in The Wind - (Bob Dylan)I was about the press the 'Vote' button, then realised it wasn't there!! (Which I suppose is a comment in itself ... Smile)

I think this is simply beautiful. If I had to suggest anything, it would be for a fraction more space on the left, to equal what's above that lonesome petal, and perhaps a touch more exposure.

My mod (not that I really need to do one) has both of these things done - I've added +0.43 exposure, which brightens things up a touch, without (hopefully) losing that wonderful mood of your original.

Bellinzona, Switzerland, night, castleVery sorry to hear about your troubles while travelling, Alexander - it's always horrible if you get your kit nicked like that, and the only real consolation is that it didn't happen while you were walking around with it, and so you remained physically safe.

I love the way the foreground rocks here lead the eye into and then through the image, to that corner tower and beyond. Yes, the little bit of bright tree foliage on the left of the image is a bit distracting, and I like what John's done in his mod by removing it (even though I now find myself wanting to fill that side with something ...).

I'm going to try something weird with my mod, which may or may not work, so if it does I'll pop back in a minute and upload it ...

Welcome back Smile

12/08/2015 - 12:23 PM

Night in Roscommon

Night in RoscommonThis isn't something I've ever tried myself, and in your image above I can see stars, the Milky Way and lit trees so on that score, I'd say it's definitely a success Grin

In terms of the image itself, I'd be tempted to clone out that little stand of dark tree tops in the bottom right corner, and a small one on the left of the image next to the smaller lit portion, as I think these are distracting. I really like the way the lit trees in the bottom left and top right corners are framing the stars and Milky Way.

I can't advise in terms of camera settings, having never done this - so hopefully someone else will step in with any necessary advice on that score.

But I like it - it's almost abstract in a way, and that appeals to me Smile

03/08/2015 - 12:50 PM

Nature's subtle beauty

Nature's subtle beautyWith the highlight top left, how much have you already tried to bring it back in post processing? (I notice you shot RAW ...) If you've brought it back as far as you can, without losing some of the delicacy of the light in the rest of the image, I'd say leave it as it is. Unless you're pretty nifty on the PS side of things, fixing that in PS could, potentially, cause more issues than it solves?

It certainly doesn't bother me as it currently stands, and in a way is an integral part of the light shafts across the rest of the image. With it in, there's a reason for the light shafts that the viewer's brain can understand; without it, the brain might perceive 'something' missing in the image and although they might not be able to put their finger on it, something would feel out of kilter Smile

28/07/2015 - 12:53 PM


WeedsHi Sparsh ... so you got the new camera then?! Grin (I've just read back over some of the comments on your previous uploads.) I really hope you're enjoying using it and exploring all that it can offer you.

One thing that would help enormously is that you include all the EXIF data when you upload an image. It might be that you did a 'Save for web' which may well strip out that important information. It's easily added though - go to the Options tab underneath the photo and click on 'Edit photo'. In there, you'll find a tab called 'Exif' ... click on that and you should be able to add the necessary information. Alternatively, add it as a comment here underneath the photo - it helps the critique team by letting us see what settings you used to take the image, and lets us suggest other ways of doing things if necessary.

I like your image above. I really like the simplicity of it, and how you've concentrated on just one flower, allowing the background to blur into a soft supporting act for the beautiful flower in front. I know you say it's a weed, but I've always thought that a weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place! Some weeds are absolutely beautiful Smile

Here, although I like the wider landscape format (i.e. the image is wider than it is tall) I think this one flower could be shown to better effect in a square format crop. So that's what I've done in my mod ... cropped to square. One of the reasons I've done this is that normally, the 'rules' say that a main subject shouldn't be placed in the centre of the image. However, with a square format, you get to do exactly that and it's a format that allows the attention and focus of the image to be about that one thing - the subject. The square format can also help emphasise the shape of your main subject, too ... here, the elongated stalk and delicate flowers are contrasted nicely by the 'formality' of the square frame.

I've adjusted the contrast of your image a touch, to give it a little more drama and also upped the vibrance overall to help the image 'ping' off the screen. A small amount of sharpening as well, as the original was a little soft.

Anway, have a look at the mod and see if you think it improves things at all Smile

20/07/2015 - 5:14 PM

Little Devotee

Little DevoteeI've done a very quick mod for you, where I've cropped to a square format as I feel this adds a solemnity to the image. I've also removed some of the remaining background distractions, the top one simply by virtue of cloning a piece of the ground from the left hand side and flipping it horiziontally to replace that top right corner; the bottom right corner I just used a soft black brush to darken the area down, and then used a lower opacity to help it blend a little more. A small amount of sharpening to finish things off Smile

See what you think, anyway.

20/07/2015 - 5:02 PM

Little Devotee

Little DevoteeIrrespective of who this youngster is a devotee of, that's one heck of a compelling stare!!

I agree about the distracting background but also understand that in a grab shot, it's not always possible to do a visual check in the viewfinder. It's a good habit to get into, but doesn't always happen in the excitement of a great photo opportunity Smile

13/07/2015 - 1:58 PM

Unfinished image

Unfinished imageHiya Nishant - I've had a play, as you'll probably see from the mods Grin I've done you two to have a look at.

I like the original, with the church, although the shape of that tree is wonderfully eerie. I don't know what you were trying to do initially, or what kind of image was in your head, but I've masked out the tree from the landscape image and popped it into the other one with the sky. Resized a little to try and get the proportions right(ish) and added a Levels adjustment layer, darkened quite a lot, but then using a black brush on the layer's mask to bring back some light in a couple of places (the top of the sky is darker than your original, I think).

Mod 2 is basically Mod 1, but with a colour adjustment to take down some of the pinky blues a bit, and try and give a more of a more eerie feeling.

I don't know whether those two mods will give you any ideas or not?

I don't think the amount of stars is too much, by the way - it's the Milky Way, it has stars, what's the problem?! Wink
I also don't know how wedded you are to the idea of the foreground in the tree image - I find it a bit bland, to be honest, and not enough dips and troughs to make it interesting?

Other than that, I don't know!! Have a look at my mods and see if they spark anything for you Smile

Refuge le Repoju, Pralognan-la-Vanoise, FranceHi Sharon - given that it's a camera phone image (even if it is an Apple!) I really like it Smile Okay, it's come up the wrong orientation above, but having downloaded the image to do a very quick mod, I can really get a sense of the scene before you that you wanted to capture.

I love the way the stepped stream provides the route into the image for the viewer and that distant view is just amazing! Blue sky, mountains, emerald green vegetation and a stream that just invites shoes off and feet in after exploring the rest of the vista Grin It's a lovely shot that has immense appeal, for all the right reasons.

I looked at this for quite a while, deciding what I'd do in order to 'improve' it - and came to the conclusion that other than a slight increase in the vibrancy of the greeny-aqua tones in the stream and the blue of the sky, and cloning out that signpost, there actually isn't a lot else I'd personally do. Yes, it could do with a slight increase in contrast, just to give it a bit of oomph and reduce some of the atmospheric haze that's made it seem slightly washed out, but that's rather minimal.

So that's basically all I've done in my mod - have a look and see what you think. I did try a mono conversion, but I decided I liked the colour version more in the end.

10/07/2015 - 1:13 PM

New Friends

New FriendsHi Adam - I think Paul's absolutely right when he says that getting in closer would increase the impact of this shot enormously. I realise it's not that easy at the time, as it's more about catching the moment as it happens rather than worrying about lighting, composition or what length of lens you've got on the front of your camera Smile

You certainly did capture a lovely moment, though - the two dogs are beautifully positioned on the fallen trunk. Yes, there's a bit of branch in the way on the right of the image which does obscure the rear of the right-hand dog, but it's still a great shot!

I've done you a very quick mod where I've cropped in a bit closer (I used a 16:9 format) and also adjusted the shadows and highlights a bit to bring out some more details on the undersides of the two dogs. I did try to burn in the area along the back of the white dog a bit, but I think that area's too far gone to bring much back (or at least as far as my skills go, anyway - someone else may be able to!).

I cloned out one branch that's at the back end of the right hand dog and tried to recreate the rear quarters a bit. Apologies if that's your dog and I've mucked up the tail, but I've got no idea how it should look! Grin

Anyway, have a look and see what you think. Removing a lot of the distracting woodland area around the two certainly does simplify the composition and focuses the attention on the dogs themselves.

Background Annoying or Creative?Does it work with the background at the current level of blur? Yes Smile
Does it also work without the background boat and the same level of blur? Yes as well Grin

It's one of those images that's actually fine exactly as it is, but could also be presented without the boat in the background or alternatively as a square mono version. In theory, the background boat could be a bit more vague, but in a way it adds a context and a counterpoint to the (superbly sharp) hull in the foreground. The details in the hull are so beautiful and clear that I'm finding myself exploring the textures and shapes of that, and not really worrying about the background at all.

However, in the interests of the critique gallery, I've done you two mods - mod 1 is where I've removed the background boat completely (not the best clone job, but it's only illustrative) and mod 2 is a square mono from my mod 1.

Sorry if I sound a bit vague on the "is it distracting?/isn't it distracting?" front, but like I said it actually works well exactly as it is currently.

06/07/2015 - 1:25 PM

The City Below

The City BelowIt is a very pleasing scene, and I love the bright colour accents on the buildings themselves. I really like the feeling of an isolated city in the midst of what looks like a jungle (?). As such, as much as I think that cropping some of that sky as John (Dudler) has done and Keith has reiterated, I wanted to go the other way entirely and crop up from the bottom to remove some of the trees and actually add some sky back in Smile

My reason for going this route is that I wanted to really enhance the feeling of isolation and impending danger through a tropical storm, and the lack of awareness of the humans in the city below the maelstrom of Nature's force. Maybe a bit dramatic, but an image like this one here of yours does lend itself to that treatment in many ways.

So as well as cropping the bottom, adding some space at the top and content-filling it to give more drama to the sky, I also adjusted the colouration a bit too. I took some of the saturated colours out with reducing Vibrance (rather than Saturation) and added some muddy, dark orangy/grey light, which I then reduced the opacity of, and used a layer mask to bring back some of the 'normal' light in the buildings themselves.

Hopefully, even if you don't like my mod, it gives a flavour of how simple things like lighting can really alter the feel of an image Smile

24/06/2015 - 2:43 PM


AlleyWell, I'm no expert but I've given it a go for you Grin

In my mod, I've done the following:

1) I used Photoshop's Shadows/Highlights feature to push and pull different bits of the image around to bring more details out where I could (if you want to know the exact settings, just yell and I'll put them up here, as I did save them just in case Wink)
2) I then used a Levels adjustment layer where I tweaked the midtones a little (to 1.27).
3) I added a black and white adjustment layer, just to take it back to true mono, as your image above has a bit of a purple/magenta cast in some places. (I used the eye droppers in the b&w adjustment layer, to set the black and white points.)
4) Then I smart sharpened (50% at a 0.8px radius).

Et voila!! Grin I did mess around with the perspectives of the two pillars at the front, but didn't end up leaving that bit in the mod as I wasn't sure if that's what you'd want. You may have been going for the "oh my god I'm drunk in an alley" kind of feeling Wink

Anyways, have a look and see if my mod does what you were hoping for.

21/06/2015 - 11:56 AM

Dun n Broke

Dun n BrokeOverall, I really like this. The car's wonderful and the whole image works. There's just one or two tiny tweaks that if it were mine, I'd make. Firstly, there's a hard dark line at the top of her head where (I think) it's the shadow of being under the bonnet? I realize it's not easy when you've got someone's head underneath a bonnet, but perhaps a slightly different head position would have eliminated this?

The other thing is ... well ... the thing I've always found with rubber is that normally talc is needed in order to actually get in and out the damned stuff with relative ease. However, talc really shows up on the rubber afterwards and makes it matt and untidy, when what you want is shiny. So perhaps a wee buff with something before shooting may have taken the obvious talc marks off of the derriere area? Blush

(Mind you, looking at the highlights on the bum from the studio lights, you may well have utilized the talc as a mattifier, to stop excessive highlights?)

21/06/2015 - 11:30 AM

Sily Sunday sidewalk sculpture

Sily Sunday sidewalk sculptureThe glow from those bottles is quite glorious Smile I've done a mod which is pretty obvious really, but it had to be done ... the pavement gives the image context but I so wanted to crop so it's just the bottles themselves!
18/06/2015 - 12:03 PM

Clay Mystery

Clay MysteryIf it helps at all, I used to have that same problem with uploading images here - they always came out darker and more contrasty on here than on my PC at home. However, one thing I did find really useful was using Photoshop's soft proofing feature, and soft proofing for Monitor RGB instead of sRGB. Yes, sRGB is the internet standard colour space and there are a couple of web browsers that do support colour management (Firefox and Chrome, I believe) but I don't think that IE has caught up with that yet (although I may be wrong on that point).

I now softproof for both sRGB and MonitorRGB before uploading - if there's a massive difference between the two, I often adjust the image to something that looks good with either proof space, and go with that Grin

(Mind you, once I'd stopped being an idiot and realised that it wasn't enough to just 'view' the proof setup, you had to toggle the proof colours on and off to actually see the differences ... well, it all became a heck of a lot easier!! Blush)