Our critics praise and pan your pictures
Adorama Learning Center Editors
February 25, 2010
“High key effects can be cool and fun, but I'm not really sure if it works for this image.” —Jack Howard
© Rakesh Dhiman. Gear: Nikon D40 with 18-55mm kit lens. Exposure: f/5.6 at 1/8 sec, ISO 200, Exposure Compensation -.3 stops.
Photographer’s statement: I must confess, this is an accidental shot. My camera was not set for this particular shot. I chose these settings for some other shot, and I photographed this kid at the spur of the moment. After shooting, I regretted that I overexposed this shot, but when I was deleting the out-of-focus and other shots, I paused for a while at this one. I like its overall ambiance. What do you think?
Our critics say...
Monica Cipnic: This shot may be an accident, but it has an appearance that photographers have been known to strive to create. It certainly has an otherworldly feeling to it, the catchlight in the child's eye and her expression leave us to wonder what she sees. One thing, I would like to see, is slightly more definition of the outline of her face on the right side going towards her chin & in the nose area, so perhaps working with a software program, that could be brought out by bringing down the 'hottest' of the highlights without giving up the overall feel of the picture.
Jack Howard: I'm not crazy about this one. I find the hint of expression to be unsettling, as the subject appears at unease at the moment of capture. High key effects can be cool and fun, but I'm not really sure if it works for this image. If you were to ask me to keyword this with one descriptor, I would have to say "motion sickness."
Mason Resnick: I believe in fortuitous timing and happy accidents, but in this case, I think we simply have a learning moment. Yes, the deliberate overexposure look can be trendy, and I would certainly encourage the photographer to play with high-key portraits, but the photographer’s lack of control over the camera settings and the moment translates into an impressionistic image that misses the mark. Take note of your settings, reverse-engineer the shot to understand how you got the look you like, and try it again with a cooperative model…but this time, do it with the technical knowledge you gained from this shot.