Following on from my suggestion (at the right there) we have a taker! Kirk Miller has kindly sent me a photograph of his daughter Madelaine:

What a beautiful portrait. Together with the perfect catchlights in her eyes, Kirk has captured a wonderful expression, spontaneous and happy with a hint of mischief, which is complemented by the warm colour tone. He got up really close too. This looks like it was taken with a moderate telephoto lens - I'd guess something like 130mm - which is ideal for portraiture.

About the making of it he writes: Madelaine was 90 degrees from the setting sun (shining on her left side) and my other daughter held a gold colored reflector 45 degrees on her right, shining it on her balance the color and create the catch light in her eyes. The gold reflector was very warming, so I turned down the white balance a little in Lightroom. F6.3, 1/250 at iso 200 on a tripod.

It's first class, and a lot of trouble has been taken with it, but I'd make three observations:

1) I'm not entirely certain that the focus is correct. In a portrait (unless you are trying to say something else) the focus should be on the eyes. It looks to me, here, as if it's a little bit forward of that, on the plane of the collar of her jacket:

An eye at 100%:

And the collar of her jacket:

2) The background. Most of it is plain, but there is a distracting tree branch to the left. If Kirk had moved a few steps to his left (I guess) he probably could have got rid of it ...

3) And, finally, it might have been better in horizontal (portrait) format, cutting out the areas of blue on either side. Don't forget, you can turn your camera on its side!

Thanks, Kirk, for sharing your photo. It's beautiful. If anyone else has any constructive comments or observations I'll willingly post them.

And feel free to criticise my images too. We can all learn.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Alistair, this is the first 'professional' (I can use that term, right?) feedback I've had. Very much appreciated, lots, lots, lots to learn. :-))


Alistair Scott said...

My pleasure Kirk. Glad you fond my comments helpful. We've all got lots to learn.


Livia said...

An excellent photo by Kirk, with very useful comments by you. I look forward to seeing more submissions and critiques.

Alistair Scott said...

Thanks for those comments Livia.

I'm hoping lots of other people will join in too ... comment meaningfully on others' photographs (and mine too) and make this a truly interactive blog.