Your photos (38)
Take Better Photos

Hints and tips
by Philip Grosset

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with comments from Philip Grosset

"Outdoor photography is the hardest for me since its harder to control the lighting and manipulate the exposure. Here's my first attempt at a sunset. I was trying to convey the contrast between the peace, calm and serenity of a sunset to the to the hussle and bustle of busy traffic heading home after a long work day. Any suggestions, ideas for improvement? Please Help !!!! Thank you once again for your comments. And thanks for creating such a useful web site. I'll stay tuned for ideas Best Wishes." (Carmen Thivierge)

Sunset Left: a very imaginative and effective photo. I've experimented below to see if I could add a bit more emphasis to the traffic to further bring out the contrast you wanted to make.
Sunset version 3
Sunset version 2
In the version on the left, I've tried removing the empty space to the side of the traffic, so as to make there seem more of it. On the right, I've tried using a vertical composition so as to link up the traffic and sunset more strongly. On the whole, I think this is my preferred version, as the road now seems to lead you towards the sunset, although you lose out on the colorful sky. Take your pick!

Reply from Carmen Thivierge: "Once again Philip, thank you for taking the time to view and critique my last photo. I really didn't think much of this photo (which is why I welcomed your comments) until I saw your verticle cropping. It really changes the mood of the composition and better conveys the contrast I was looking for. I want to thank you for your comments and ideas on my photos and others as you've helped me to look through the viewfinder in a totally different way. Now I'm looking for ways to crop photos -in the viewfinder- before I snap the picture. It's been helpful. Best Wishes."

"Hey, here are a few photos that I have taken. I'd just like to hear what you have to say about them. I've enclosed one photo, and there are three I'd like you to take a look at that I have placed on the web. Please tell me what you think of them and how I could have improved the lighting or the shots or anything in that nature. I took all the the enclosed shots with a Olympus 140 QD 35mm camera. Thanks for providing your services!" (Mike Lee)

Horses racing
Above left: this photo (almost 5 MB!) took me 20 minutes to unload, so I'm very grateful I could take your other pictures from the web! Concerts are notoriously difficult subjects to photograph (unless you can get in at a rehearsal, or the performers can be posed specially for you). You can't use flash, and you often have to keep yourself inconspicuous. Here the colors are attractive, but, unfortunately the whole picture is blurred. Presumably you had to use a long exposure without the help of a tripod, and weren't able to able to find effective support for the camera. I must say this is one of those times when I might be tempted to leave the camera at home!

Above right: a highly successful picture. It can be very effective to use the tele end of the zoom, and pan along with a fast moving subject. The blurred background that this produces adds to the impression of speed. You have done this very well indeed, getting the framing of the horses just right. This is a lot easier said than done!

Above left: the skyscrapers are certainly impressive, and the b & w photography brings out their shapes, but some bold foreground framing might have added to the picture's appeal by adding some depth to the scene.
Above right: effective subdued coloring but, again, I'd have welcomed some foreground interest to make it all just a bit more memorable.

I am a very new starter, who recently purchased a digital camera. Want your opinion on these photos. I love taking pictures as a hobby." (T Bowman)

I think your photo above is a very attractive portrait, but the bright sunlight on the beam to the right of the girl is a bit of a distraction. It would have been better to have avoided it if possible, or, alternatively, to have used a photo editing program to darken it afterwards!
Cropped girl with doll
Girl with doll
Another very effective picture, but the girl seems to be disappearing out of the left of the picture, so, on the right, I've gone for a tighter composition, leaving more space in front of where she's looking than behind her.

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