Signs of Spring Visual Critique
April 2020 by Robert Chaplin

Please keep in mind that, the visual critique was performed on a jpeg.
It will not be perfect but it is intended as a visual aid to express my written critique.

Fledgling Cardinal

Yevette Shapiro

There is a lot of background for this colorful bird. The bird seems almost centered (the least interesting place to put the subject). Whatever he is standing on is brighter than the bird. Keep in mind the eye goes to the brightest area of an image first. The image is not as powerful as it could be if the brightest area is not the subject, or in the case of high-key, not emphasizing the subject. The birds colors do not seem as vibrant as they could be. Compare the visual critique with the original. What do you think?

Spring Time in Idaho

Dustin Quiel-Athanasiadis

There is a lot of foreground and background for what seems to be the subject (the geese). The center of reflection of the geese is a little above center of the image. Symmetry allows us to place the center of the reflection in the middle of the image. This image misses that mark. If the geese are the subject, they are small in the frame and the geese on the left are close to the edge and seem to be leaving the frame. Not sure of the photographer’s intent, but this feels like a “look what I saw” shot. A little time, patience, and perhaps longer lens could have strengthened this shot. See the visual critique.

Springtime in Munich Park

Robert Karafel

This image could have been shot anywhere and the fact that the title says it was in Munich Park doesn’t mean anything to the viewer or judge. Nothing in the image says, “Munich Park”. Notice how the flowers in foreground and background at the top of the frame are brighter than the people in the photo. People should not have to compete with flowers for attention, they should complement each other. Also notice how close the people are to the edges. They feel crowded in the frame and the dog’s head is in a weird place. Special care should be taken when photographing multiple subjects in one photograph to ensure they don’t compete for attention (unless that was the artists intent). See the visual critique to see how the people were made brighter and the flowers were toned down to minimize competing for attention.

Yellow Tips

John Mcknight

The background is brighter than the subject. The lower portion of the flower petals (Yellow Tips) is cut off at an uncomfortable location. A little more room may ease this tension. See the visual critique with the darkened background. What do you think?

April Flower

Jeanette Beatty

What caused you to create this photograph. If I had to guess, it would be the vibrant sunflower. Look at your image; does the upper left corner help the expression? Nothing is neutral in an image and this area detracts from what I perceive to be your expression. Compare the before and after in the visual critique and notice how the processing eliminated the unnecessary so the necessary can speak. Also, see how the flower has been “opened up” to add to the expression of the sunflower?

Springtime in Prague

Robert Karafel

The flowers dominate the scene and diminish the buildings. I think I see the intent, but this image falls short. I can imagine how beautiful it must have been standing there, but it is important to understand a camera does not see the way we do. The light is wrong for what I imagine is trying to be expressed. Notice in the original how the flowers seem a little dark and I am certain the were very vibrant in person. Also notice how washed out the sky is. This may have been a case for HDR. Processing a lo-resolution jpeg can be problematic, but I made the attempt to try and visually articulate the critique.

Heron Inspection Nest

Roger Wyman

Beautiful bird in a static pose. I know the title says there is a nest, but it would have anchored the title if you could actually see the nest. Notice the image seems a little bright and flat, and the sky is brighter than the subject and washed out. Some may say, well that is just the way it was. Perhaps, but a slight underexposing of the scene may have added a little depth and contrast, allowing the statement to be finished in post processing. See the visual critique for comparison. Finally, when shooting birds on nests, spend time with them and photograph them doing something. Flying in, flying out, building the nest, feeding chicks, etc.… The action is a difference make in an image.

Streamside Lupine

Roger Wyman

Lupine have beautiful blooms, so I understand what pulled the photographer to photograph them. Keep in mind there is nothing more important than the subject and there is nothing more important that the background. Good subject with a bad background = substandard shot. Same as a good background with a bad subject. The stream is not important to this shot the way it is composed. The stream is brighter than the subject and notice the way the blooms enter the bottom of the frame. They are cut off in an uncomfortable “feeling” location. Seeing more of where they originate could have strengthened this shot. See the visual critique. What do you think?

First Taw of Spring

Dustin Quiel-Athanasiadis

Good attempt but the image is missing a strong point of interest and foreground anchor. Notice how a foreground stick on the right side is coming out of the bottom of the frame. May have been better to include all of it or eliminate it. The image also seems a little bright and flat (low contrast). The light is somewhat harsh. A polarizing filter could have helped the sky and clouds. Compare the visual critique to the original. What do you think?

Yellow Hibiscus

Frank Jimenez

Yellow is a vibrant and fun color to photograph. This bloom fills the frame to a point it feels crowded. Many subjects have a feeling of movement or view. This bloom feels like it is pointing or looking out of the frame. Leaving a little more room around the bloom may have helped the subject. Also notice how the stone wall is brighter than the flower. This background as framed doesn’t flatter the subject. Look at the visual critiques. Which one has a stronger visual appeal?

Owl Among the Flowers

Ibis Hillencamp

Good shot and it seems the photographer was close to being at the owl’s eye level. The depth of field seems appropriate for this subject. Not everything needs to be tack sharp to have a successful image. A slight underexposing from the metering would have helped this shot. Underexposing can add contrast and saturation enhancing the image. This change in exposure can also be addressed in post processing. Notice the owl’s left eye as we view the image. See the blown out section? A catch light always enhances an animal’s or person’s eye. But there are always exceptions to every rule. The exception is when and animal’s eyes are bright and/or colorful. The segment in this owl’s eye is more than just a catch light. It’s a large blown out area in relation to the size of the eye. Enough about that. The image seems a little bright and flat and the background and foreground are larger than they need to be. The foreground being out of focus does not add interest due to the lack of flowers. See the visual critique. Is the edit a stronger image? Does it emphasize the title of the image? Does a little darkening, contrast, and fixing the blown out portion of the eye (ok, I will mention it one more time) create a stronger image?

Springtime in Salzburg

Robert Karafel

This could be a springtime photograph anywhere in the world. Nothing in the image says “Salzburg”. You don’t get points for where you created the photograph. This image seems to be created midday. The light is harsh and the image seems a little bright and flat (lacking contrast). The body of water does not add to the shot. A different composition could have eliminated the water. Compare the side by side visual critique. Does the post processing for exposure and contrast help the image?

A Miami Spring

Jeanette Beatty

Compositionally strong. Let’s keep this critique simple. Compare the side by side visual critique and let me know what you think. Yours is on the left.

Garden Visitor

Barbara Thompson

Simply stated photograph with an attractive bokeh (pronounced /bōˈkā/). Bokeh is the visual quality of the out of focus area of an image. Truly little to critique with this image. Compare the side by side visual critique/edit for my ideas. Can you see them? Do they matter? Some may say this is picking the fly shit out of the pickle barrel, but I submit that this attention to detail is the difference between a good image and a great image.

The Ice Man has Returned

Yevette Shapiro

I started sweating when I saw this image. I will be right back…need to get a cold drink.
Nice portrait shot that tells a story. A few comments: A different crop could have helped the image. Look at the hand at the bottom of the frame. It would have been a stronger image to include all of the hand holding the wrapper of excluded it altogether. As is sets it feel like it was an oversight. Also the image seem bright and somewhat flat. Compare the side by side critique. What do you think of the crop and color correction (such as it is for a jpeg).

Easter Lily

Barbara Thompson

Simply stated with good focus and detail in all the right areas. My only comment would be to look at the background. Do the bright leaves impact the image? Compare the side by side visual critique. Does the darker background help? Does it even matter? No points were deducted for the comparison. It was simple shown as an idea for controlling the background.

Easter Chocolate

Barbara Thompson

Nice tight portrait. Well composed. Looks posed.
Notice her right hand (left side as we see it) has lost detail in some of the fingers. Exposing for the highlights could have helped this shot. The image also feels a little flat with subdued tonalities. See the side by side comparison. Does the added contrast and color management help the shot? Does it matter? One more thought; the image may have added interest and a little mystery if the young lady was not looking directly at the camera. In other words, a candid shot may have been more interesting.

First One Out

Ivan Prasin

Subject is in the left power point. Image has a lot of contrast (dynamic range beyond what the camera is capable of). There is a bright tree and blown out sky are in the upper right segment of the image. Are they necessary for the “First One Out” statement? Does that area add to or detract from the image? If it was necessary, HDR (High Dynamic Range) would have helped. See the side by side comparison. Does the edit enforce the title? Notice the crop and processing. It is to my taste…does it work with your aesthetic?

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