PhotoZAP 12: Wedding Belle Blues

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“This image...expresses, visually, the opposite of what I think a wedding photo should say: The bride is isolated, lost in an oversized space. Has she been abandoned at the altar?”—Mason Resnick

© Beth Brockman, Katy, TX. Canon EOS 50D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM set at 24mm, external E-TTL flash with diffuser. Exposure: Program AE mode, ISO 400 with Flash EV Compensation +1/3.

Photographer’s statement: "This was one of my favorites among the shots that I took that day. The bride-to-be loved the architecture, and I loved the look of serenity on the bride's face. When I printed an enlargement on canvas of this picture, I moved the bride and the column off center to the right, which I thought was a bit more interesting."

Our critics say...


Mason Resnick: Besides the overdone edge darkening and soft-focus effect, what bothers me about this image is that it expresses, visually, the opposite of what I think a wedding photo should say: The bride is isolated, lost in an oversized space. Has she been abandoned at the altar? Because she is so small in the frame, I don’t see the “look of serenity” that the photography says she captured. The bride is facing away from the camera; In fact, she appears to be posing for another photographer who is off somewhere to the left! I agree that the architecture is interesting and has many frame-within-a-frame possibilities, but here it visually overwhelms the bride.

Monica Cipnic: I'm particularly bothered by the dark patch of grass leading to the archway of complete blackness, as well as the  brightly lit area of the brick building facade--it takes the  viewer's eyes off the intended subject--the bride. To improve this photo, on the left side I would crop out the dark  arch completely (and with it the darkest portion of the grass) right up to the perpendicular wall, and on the right side of the image  crop to the edge of the bride's train so that the grey concrete vertical stones of the building are the edge of the picture. Crop the top to the edge of the ornamental carving of the pillar, and reduce the soft-focus of the bride. A vertical or square composition, without the fighting geometric planes of the architecture, would focus viewer attention on the bride.

Jack Howard: I first thought this was a grab shot at a right angle to someone else's head-on portrait, and not a deliberate composition.  There's no intrigue nor mystique, no quiet moment or gesture framed within the archway. Just a bride looking blankly into the distance while our eyes struggle to find a cohesive focal point. The dark archway on the left drags you in, and the little triangle of concrete on the bottom left detracts. Move around, experiment with a wider angle lens and a closer lens-to-subject distance, or a short tele lens to give the background a more painterly rendering.  But really, looking at this shot, all I think is that there is another photographer positioned somewhere along that line dividing the grass and concrete also working this scene.

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