Your photos (65)
Take Better Photos

Hints and tips
by Philip Grosset

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with comments from Philip Grosset

"Hello Philip, here are some of my recent Holiday photos. I am not that extatic with them, to tell you the truth. I have only recently started taking snaps with an SLR and I would like to give my photos that little extra umpf. I quite like the sunset in Malta but the others seem a little boring. The weather in Rome was overcast most of the time, but I heard that that is supposed to be a good thing. In taking photos in Rome I was trying to capture popular sites with a little twist. In the one in Malta I was trying to capture a pretty sunset and at the same time including my wife in the shot. I think it gives it a reflective feel to it. Your criticism will be very much appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation." (Christopher Pace, Sydney, Australia)

Sunset adapted
Your photo (on the left) of a sunset in Malta would benefit from more dramatic coloring. I've tried experimenting and moving in closer (on the right) so that your wife is more easily seen, although it might have been more pleasing if she hadn't been quite so near the edge of the picture. The best plan with sunsets is often to photograph them when the sun is still a little way above the horizon when the sky is often at its most colorful. See my page of sunset examples.

Cleopatra's needle
Arch of triumph
Both these pictures seem a little bland. You really also need closer views of each to bring out the detail in them. Bright overcast weather is often recommended for portraits, but a bit of sunshine would have produced a more sparkling result, particularly in the photo on the right, which was taken from an imaginative camera angle but needs more detail to bring it to life.

"Philip, Hi. I am an amateur photographer. I work with a Nikon FM 10 and 3 lenses (19-35mm zoom (a recent buy), 35-70mm zoom, and 75-240mm zoom. Have been at this for about 9 months (my first & only SLR), & took me about 6 months to get a hang of a manual camera! :-) Here are 4 photographs, all taken in Singapore. Would really appreciate if you could comment.
In the first one (waterfall.jpg), taken in Jurong Bird park, I tried to capture the movement of the water, using f/22
In the second, (borders.jpg), tried to capture the lights inside the dome in the building.
The third one is my attempt at taking a shot of a flower fallen from a tree. Tried to capture the contrast of the white flower * dark rocks beneath.
The fourth one is a view of the Singapore river & the Shenton Way skyline. Tried to keep both in the shot. Look forward to hearing from you. Regards." (Devjit Sengupta, Singapore)

You've captured the movement of the water very well by using a slow shutter speed. This is a perfectly pleasing picture, but it might have been a more arresting if we could have seen a bit more of the surroundings, or if the stream hadn't been right in the middle of the picture..
Glass dome
Dome cropped
On the left is your dramatically distorted view, showing off the lights just as you intended. As an experiment, I've tried (on the right) masking off the clashing yellow area at the bottom of the picture, and moving the dome slightly off-centre. Take your pick!

Flower cropped
I think there is more background than you really need in your photo (on the left) and it looks as though the flower is falling out of the bottom of the picture. On the right, I've tried moving in closer and allowing more space below the flower than above it.

You sent me too small a version to show much detail, but it looks as though the buildings on the right are about to fall in the water! A less wide angle setting would have reduced this distortion.

Reply from Devjit Sengupta: "Thanks for the comments.... very right & very appropriate. BTW, I do reduce my wide angle setting when taking skyline photos now! Wanted to check with you, can I send more photos for critique? Regards, Devjit."

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