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PhotoZAP: We Critique Your Photos
PhotoZAP 67: Up To Something
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PhotoZAP 67: Up To Something

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

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"The moment is cute, the skintones are right where they are, and it is a commendable exposure for a single speedlite bounced off the ceiling, but I am bothered by the dinginess of the seamless." —Jack Howard


Photo © Karen Blanck, Paola, KS. Gear: Canon 40D, Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II VC lens, Canon 580 EX II Speedlite, bounced off the ceiling, white seamless backdrop. Exposure: f/4 at 1/60 second, ISO 400. Lightened and intensified colors in Adobe Photoshop.


Photographer’s statement: “I picked this photo because it is my grandkids as their real selves.  My blond grandson on the right is always up to something, and I had trouble getting him to look at me and smile.  The mischievous look on his face is his normal everyday look.  He is always up to something!


Our critics say…

Mason Resnick: The photographer did a great job here capturing the personalities of these three young dudes. Their expressions are priceless! The composition, however, leaves much to be desired. The arbitrary cropping of the boy’s foot on the left bothers me, as does all of the white space around them. In the moment, this could have been fixed by simply repositioning the camera or the boy to include his foot. After the fact, however, I would crop tighter, almost to their hands, and at the same time cropping the sides and top for a less rectangular aspect ratio.

Ingrid Spangler: I love the kids’ expressions, especially the small blond child on the right of the frame, and whoever styled these children for the shoot deserves a mention; the outfits are perfect for a portrait like this. I have to go with Mason here; the foot cut off at the bottom of the frame is troublesome, as is the huge expanse of white space behind the subjects. Rather than crop differently, I’d suggest a more artistic background, perhaps one that would pick up some of the blues from the boys shirts. This would also eliminate the distracting shadows cast on the white background.

Jack Howard: Looking at the metadata that says this was shot at 46mm drives me a little crazy because that means it was very possible to zoom out a tiny bit and not have the legs (both the chair and the left child's) intersect the frame edge, which would have grounded the image much more. The moment is cute, the skintones are right where they are, and it is a commendable exposure for a single speedlite bounced off the ceiling, but I am bothered by the dinginess of the seamless. The wrinkles and the grays just take away from the brightness of the moment. I'd love to see this moment reshot a little looser with a studio head and a big softbox (like this economical Flashpoint setup)  and
positioned high to better pull off this uniform lighting style on both the subjects and the background.

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