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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 7: Game Changer

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“Most of us 'see' an image, but often feel the need to explain what it was that we were going after in the picture. If that's the case, we need to do a better job.”—Monica Cipnic


© Jamie Mastrio, Wilbraham, MA. Gear: Nikon D300, Nikkor AF-S VR 70-200 f/2.8 IF-ED lens, monopod.  1/1250 sec, f/2.8, shot in aperture priority, Vivid.

“Photographer’s statement: I chose this shot of the Sudbury, MA Harvest Lacrosse Tournament because it wasn't the usual lacrosse action shot with the girls going for the ball. I liked the way the coach was standing with his arms crossed watching the action.”




Our critics say...


Jack Howard: I’ll start on a positive note: The exposure is right on. But really, even understanding and trying to grasp the photographer's intent doesn't make it work as it is any better. Coaches are a huge part of sports, and it can be challenging to work a field and get meaningful, powerful shots of a coach, but here's a fine example of how not to do it. No one looking at this shot is going to say: "Wow, coach looks focused." More likely, they’ll think: "Wow, the photographer really flubbed focus on the action on this shot!" To try a "coach at work"  shot again, think much tighter compositions, think profiles with upfield action, silhouettes, or interactions between coach and team at Timeouts, or such. This one just doesn't work at all.

Mason Resnick: I give the photographer props for attempting a creative approach, but I agree with Jack: It doesn't work. First, focus missed the mark. The turf a few feet in front of the coach appears in sharper focus than he is. Second, it is very busy. What should I be looking at?  Third, the coach's face is in shadow, and hard to read, so maybe the exposure isn't so great for the photographer's intentions. I sort of like how the players on the field frame two people sitting on the bench. I wish the photographer had gotten closer, used a longer lens for a tighter shot, exposed for the shadows, and focused with greater precision. After all, his intended subject wasn’t moving!

Monica Cipnic: Most of us 'see' an image, but often feel the need to explain what it was that we were going after in the picture. If that's the case, we need to do a better job telling the story visually. The photographer should have moved around the field so that the coach figures more prominently and we could see his facial expressions. Crop to the coach's left (just past the black stick handle in the bag on the ground, and at the brown fence post in the background). Lose the water bottles and edge of a bench on the right side of the photo. On the left, crop out the partial figure on the bench. My eyes are drawn to the man and woman sitting on the bench. They’re, the closest thing to a focal point—but not what the photographer had in mind, apparently.

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