PhotoZAP 35: Tree Hugger

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

“Remember, when shooting portraits like this, to simplify.”—Mason Resnick

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© Julie Shannon, Duncannon, PA. Gear: Nikon D80, Nikon 50mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens. Exposure: f/1.4, shutter speed not reported, ISO 200.

Photographer’s Statement: I’ve wanted to take this type of picture of my daughter with a colorful scarf on, and decided one day on a whim to go outside (right after a snow storm) and take some pictures. I chose to submit this photo because I have only been shooting for about 1 1/2 years as a hobby, and would like to know how I'm doing.

Our critics say…   

Mason Resnick: The photographer’s daughter has beautiful, captivating eyes and a wonderful expression. However, there’s simply way too much stuff around her—light, distracting kinds of stuff—that doesn’t add to this picture. Get closer! Crop tightly to her face—the snow on her scarf is all you need to know that this was shot outside in the winter. Take a look at my crop at right. Remember, when shooting portraits like this, to simplify.
Monica Cipnic: Photographing in snowy conditions can be problematic in getting good exposures, but here the photographer was very successful and captured her daughter beautifully. I agree with Mason that getting a tighter crop to focus the viewer on her daughter's face and eliminate the distracting 'busyness' and bright areas of the background, would be the one improvement I would suggest.

Jack Howard: There's a lot to like about this shot: the engagement with the eyes, the eye color interplaying with the greens on the dogwood bark and in the background, and how the bright blue is still a cool color, but pops against the cool blue-white background, and how that cool palette and sense of cold bounces off the warmth of the skintones and the brighter whites of the eyes. The shallow DOF definitely paints the potentially cluttered background into pure color strokes.


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