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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 33: Y-M-C-A!

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

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"Shooting in a photojournalistic style is a great and popular approach for wedding photography, but to do it successfully, a photographer needs to remember the lessons of good composition, and moving your location to capture the action." –Monica Cipnic


 

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© Joanne Jandreau, Rome, NY. Gear: Canon Rebel XT, 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USM zom lens, Canon Speedlite 430 EXII flash. Exposure: f/4.5 at 1/100 sec, ISO 800, flash at 1/3 power

Photographer’s Statement: “This photo was taken at a wedding I shot in August 2009.  I like to shoot in a photojournalistic style, and take pictures that will remind the bride and groom how much fun their wedding day was in the many years to come.  When it comes to dancing at weddings, children always seem to really let loose and have a lot of fun, which was definitely the case in this moment.  The song "YMCA" was playing, and I noticed the flower girl jumping every time she made the "Y", and wanted to capture that.”

 

Our critics say…   

Monica Cipnic: Shooting in a photojournalistic style is a great and popular approach for wedding photography, but to do it successfully, a photographer needs to remember the lessons of good composition, and moving your location to capture the action. Shooting on the diagonal can provide a dynamic addition to a picture, but here, it doesn't add anything. Instead, it detracts. We don't see the girl's face—an essential missing element—and we can’t clearly see that she's jumping in a 'Y' formation. By moving so you’re in front of the girl, or finding a better angle to see her joyous expression, and better framing of the boy and woman as well, you would be able to capture a less busy and distracting background.

Jack Howard: I've got to ask, "Y?"  Sorry for the bad pun, but this photo bothers me because there was so much potential in this moment but it is missed almost completely. If the flower girl is the focus, she should be the focus! It is OK to have some shots from a wedding where the bride isn't the primary focal point (and it's even OK, in the P-J style to have some frames where the bride isn't even there!) Despite the three active bodies in the frame, the dead space dominates because there's just a mess of arms and such between our eyes and the farthest subject that is the only one with any engagement with the lens. If there was a time machine option, this should be re-shot tight and head-on to the flower girl in mid-jump to show that joy and energy.

Mason Resnick: Any Disc Jockey can tell you that the song “YMCA” lasts approximately three minutes, thirty seconds. That means the photographer had three-and-a-half minutes—plenty of time—to work the room, move around the dancers, and find the best angle to capture this girl in mid-air while showing the expression on her face, without a busy background with a cheesy, distracting painting…but she didn’t. The result is a sloppy, poorly composed mess that looks like an accident. Like Monica said, a “photojournalistic approach” needs as much compositional care as any other kind of photography. It’s not an excuse for sloppy shooting.

 

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