PhotoZAP 23: Prom or Barn?

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“I'm not crazy about the expression—or maybe perceived lack thereof—on the subject's face.”—Jack Howard

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© Denise Marsolek, Wisconsin. Gear: Nikon D90, Nikon Nikkor AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens set at 93mm. Exposure: f/10 at 1/1250 sec, ISO 200, post-processing in Photoshop CS2.

Photographer’s statement: “I was shooting a high school senior photo session. The sky was about as bright blue as you can imagine and the sun was about as bright as it could be. The temp was about 85 degrees, plenty hot to be wearing a huge prom dress. I was looking for a drastic contrast with the pretty girl in the prom dress and the rustic barn with reds and browns. We live in rural community where barns are not a shortage. The girl portrayed in the photo has such a huge variety of expressions it was fun to see them all.”

Our critics say...

Monica Cipnic: I really like this photo, everything from the camera angle to the use of color as a unifying factor (the shades of blue), and especially her expression. My one suggestion is to bring down the highlights slightly--the hots spots on her nose, arm and dress, plus in the large paned window.

Jack Howard: I like the overall color palette: how the blues bounce off the rural reds and browns. I don't mind the diagonal lines of the barn, either. This too works. I'm not crazy about the expression-or maybe perceived lack thereof-on the subject's face. It just suggests boredom, or annoyance, or perhaps a Botox treatment to me. Would like some-any-nuance of expression to shine through here.

Mason Resnick: If, as the photographer said, the girl had many different interesting expressions, this was not one of her better ones. She looks bored, or more likely, given the photographer’s description, melting in the heat. The setting is good, but The dress is hot (I’m talking about the lighting!), with some blown-out highlights that I find distracting. A bit of post-processing could fix that, but a half-stop under-exposure might’ve helped as well.

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