PhotoZAP 6: The Look

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“I would have pulled back the blanket/towel from covering his left eye.”—Monica Cipnic

Photo © Leroy Walker, Jr., High Point, NC. Gear: Canon 40D with Canon EF-S17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, Canon 430 EXII flash on light stand with shoot-through umbrella. Exposure: 1/20 sec at f/8, focal length 47mm, ISO 200.

Photographer’s statement: “This was test shot. I had just purchased some wireless triggers and was playing with them, and my son happened to be sitting there, so I took a picture.”


Our critics say...

Monica Cipnic: This quiet portrait of a child has a number of good elements. Getting close when photographing a child is sure to get you that memorable image, and in this case the child is poised and seemingly aware of the photographer, while gazing toward the light--and we can see that catchlight in his eyes. While it has a vintage quality, overall I think it's bit too contrasty, and the light could be softer to render the skin in a more flattering, less “bumpy” manner. I would have pulled back the blanket/towel from covering his left eye. And I'd crop in on the right side of the picture, because the arc of light on the wall is distracting--the lightest/brightest area in an image always draws your eye in first, and here we want to focus on the child not the wall or edge of the towel/blanket.

Mason Resnick: This is a very near miss, but a miss nonetheless. I like his “thousand yard stare.”  But the blanket has to go—it adds nothing and in fact puts an unnecessary distraction in the minimalist composition. I disagree with Monica—I think the way the light hits his skin makes it appear very tactile, and I like that detail. But I kind of want the circle of light in the background to be completed on the left side of his face. Perhaps this could be accomplished by his moving back slightly so the circle would appear to continue around the left side of his face for some visual closure.

Jack Howard: Interesting division of space, and great pensive lighting. Mason and Monica are right on about losing the hood/blanket/fabric thing. The light/dark pattern on the background is OK, but the hard line in lower right of frame isn't.  Overall, for a test shot, it's got a lot going for it. Would love to see follow-up shots from Leroy with some of the advice given here applied.


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