PhotoZAP 54: Baby Face

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"The pose and even the drool on the chin all add to this wonderful moment."—Mark Lent




Photo © Bradley Coleman, Brookline, MA. Gear: Nikon D90, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D lens, handheld. Exposure: 1/25 second at f/2.5, ISO 200, Aperture priority mode, auto white balance. Cropped in Photoshop.

Photographer’s statement: “I've taken thousands of photos of my son since he was born. In my opinion, this shot, lit only by the light coming through the window behind me, is my best-- but I don't have the practiced eye to say why. Am I right to call it a successful shot?”

Our critics say…

Mark Lent: This is a really well-crafted portrait. I admire the soft, high-key lighting on the subject, which adds a softness and subtle definition to the baby’s skin. The eyes are dominant in the image as well, adding to the success of the shot. I also like that the background is darker than the foreground and is nicely blurred- enough to make the shot appear as a spontaneous environmental portrait. The pose and even the drool on the chin all add to this wonderful moment. If I had to nit-pick, I would say that the cropping is a little tight, particularly the forearm. Yet, the eyes are so dominating in the image that it actually took me several seconds to realize that the photographer had cropped into the subject’s arm. Not a big problem for this image, but noticeable. Overall, it’s a wonderful image.

Mason Resnick: I agree with Mark—this is a successful portrait. The eyes draw you in, and the pose is wonderful. The lighting is nice and open and the background blur and relative darkness is pleasing and uncluttered, drawing your eyes back to the baby. There’s a slight horizion tilt that adds some dynamic (but, because they’re blurred) subtle lines to the composition. I look at this image and wonder how long he was able to hold that position, and the tension of how he was probably flat on his face moments later add to this shot. I like the square format choice, but I agree it’s too bad his hand is cut off, a minor quibble. Well done!

Jack Howard: Great moment, great catchlights in your young son's eyes. As a brand new dad myself with my own experimentations and variations on the tummy time pose, I can say you have totally nailed the moment and the lighting on the face, and the eyes in particular there's no one in your family and circle of friends who won't love this shot instantly, and, well, that's the most important thing sometimes, isn't it? However, looking, as I am trying to do here, with a completely detached critical eye, I'm not crazy about the background variations between light and dark walls and doorways and linens, and the tight crop on the hands and hair. Maybe next time the window light is right you can rig a light colored sheet behind the subject to really make the face and eyes POP from the frame. But most of all, congratulations!


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