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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 17: On a Pedestal

Our critics praise and pan your pictures


“The photographer was so focused on nailing the white balance that he forgot about framing the shot tightly and cleanly.”—Jack Howard

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© David L. Flad, New London, PA. Gear: Canon EOS 50D, Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, Canon Speedlite 580 EXII with Gary Fong Lightsphere Cloud bounce hood. Exposure: f/6.3 at 1/60 sec, ISO 400, lens at 24mm, “Faithful” color mode; program AE with evaluative metering, RAW image.

Photographer’s statement: “I picked this picture to critique for a number of reasons.  The lighting in this particular church was from indirect fluorescent fixtures located high up on the walls and one incandescent spotlight over the alter area. One of the church staff told me most photographers disliked it, but I thought it was a good opportunity to highlight the Bride and Groom in a unique way. My challenge was to get the shot I wanted with essentially four different light sources—the ambient light (through Church side windows), the fluorescent indirect lighting, the overhead incandescent spot light, and the fill-flash I used to try and eliminate the shadows created by the incandescent down light.”


Our critics say...

Jack Howard: The photographer talks a lot about the mixed lighting, and all in all, the white balance is OK. The couple seems happy enough, but I'm not happy with the dead space and overall feel. The photographer was so focused on nailing the white balance that he forgot about framing the shot tightly and cleanly: The front pew in lower right should have been cropped out. and the stained glass arch should have been included in its entirety-which is totally possible with the dead space on the floor. And let's not overlook that there's not much sadder in this world than non-illuminated stained in the first place! If the goal was to balance different Kelvin light sources as a technical exercise, there's really not much you can fault the photographer with...but as a wedding portrait, there's so much more to do differently with this scene.

Monica Cipnic: Work within the setting and make it more visually appealing. The photographer could have moved closer to see the couple’s facial expressions better. He also could have shot from a slightly lower angle to crop the bottom of the image almost to the edge of the bride's train and include the top of the stained glass window. Without light coming through it, as Jack notes, you might want to open it up in a photo-editing software program. And the pew railing on the right is distracting.

Mason Resnick: I agree with everything Monica and Jack said. I’m especially bothered by little details: the piece of paper on the floor below his left foot, the cut-off lectern on the right, and the pew railing cut off at the lower right edge of the frame. I also am bothered by the cut-off stained glass. While I think the photographer achieved his goal of reasonable color balance given the varying light sources, the groom’s face is in ominous shadow. For such a symmetrical composition, there are a lot of careless little mistakes here.


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