PhotoZAP 65: Spontaneous Glamour

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"The eyes are fascinating and the first impression is that of a formal Hollywood close-up. But the devil’s in the details"—Mason Resnick


Photo © Laura Lehman, Manitowoc, WI. Gear: Pentax K20D with 18-250mm lens, set on Program mode, handheld. Exposure information not reported. Bump on forehead softened in image editing.

Photographer’s statement: “I am trying to get into taking more pictures of people and have struggled with lighting. I have a new camera and really do not know much about it. I have no background in photography; it is all self-taught, yet I have won several awards and contests. I have such a passion for this and would love to hear from someone like you to maybe tell me where I can improve. I hope to be able to take at least one course in NY.”

Our critics say…

Mason Resnick: The eyes are fascinating and the first impression is that of a formal Hollywood close-up. But the devil’s in the details: The mottled lighting ruins her skintones. The light on her face is too bright. Details in her hair are lost in the shadows. The pearl necklace is misplaced and cut off. The tiny corner of her dress on the lower left is distracting. The photographer could have improved this shot by zooming in and using a reflector to bounce light into the shadows. I would encourage her to take a portrait Workshops@Adorama in NYC, because with greater knowledge of how to control lighting this could have been a much better shot.

Jack Howard: I've got to agree with Mason on a lot of the points. For as alive and vivacious as her sunlit eye appears, her shoulder and chest appears downright morguish. This mix of a too-cool palette and a vibrant warm palette in such close proximity creates a sense of confusion and unease in the viewer. That bright eye just pops off the screen, but it feels very disjointed from even the other eye, let alone those blue undertones on her shoulders. I love the background texture, bokeh, and exposure, and would love to see how any of several possible fill-light methods to even out the model's mottled skin tones might give a more unified vision to her disjointed parts.

Ingrid Spangler: It’s easy to see what the photographer was going for in this image, the light on the eyes is evocative of old-style Hollywood glamour portraits. But rather than include so much of the surrounding environment, I would have liked this more if the photographer had actually moved closer to the subject or zoomed in more on her face. As it is, the image is cropped a bit strangely for my taste; a good chunk of the grass is included at the top of the frame, yet the model’s elbow, pearls and dress are all oddly cut off. Her chest and shoulder look bruised, and the whole thing looks slightly over-processed.

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