PhotoZAP 10: Flower Power

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“The vibrant blooms of the azaleas fill most of the picture, especially in the foreground, and overwhelm her face.”—Monica Cipnic

© Patrick McDermott, Silver Spring, MD. Gear: Canon Digital Rebel XTi with Canon 17-85mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens, handheld. Exposure: 1/50 sec at f/5; ISO not recorded.

Photographer’s statement: “I have one daughter.  Half of my pictures are of her, and sometimes they work, often by accident. I think this one worked because her shirt and hair bow were the color of the flowers, evoking that parental sentiment of flower-like beauty in a child.”

Our critics say...

Monica Cipnic: Your daughter should be the center of attention, but not necessarily in the center of this photo. The vibrant blooms of the azaleas fill most of the picture, especially in the foreground, and overwhelm her face. The viewer's eye is drawn to the background of sunlit green bushes and empty branches to her left, the areas that are most different in hue from the pinks of the flowers and your daughter's face. Try bringing her forward. Perhaps she could gently hold down the branch near her chin so more of her face is seen. Move to the right to eliminate the dark branches with no flowers, which would have given her more flowerful branches. With her lovely expression, you would have framed a more pleasing image.

Mason Resnick: This poor kid appears to be drowning in a sea of azaleas! They are in the same plane of focus as her face, and they fight with her for the viewer’s attention. Zoom in, throw the flowers out of focus for a softer, more impressionistic feel. Maybe shoot a vertical. Use the pop-up flash set on low power to fill emphasize her blue eyes (to play up the color contrast with the flowers). Have her sit up a bit higher, so the flowers don’t block her face so much.

Jack Howard: For all the living things in this image, it just looks just a little lifeless. The flowers have great "pop" but the skintones on the subject's face are too cool and blue. Yes, yes, she's in the shade of an azalea, but I want warmth in that skin! I'm OK with the intrusions of the flowers into the contour lines of the face, but am wondering if an in-camera vertical composition might have been better. She looks young and wise with this expression. I'm wondering what a few variations with more mirth and playfulness in her eyes and smile would do to change the feel.

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