Critiquing the Details

by | Aug 19, 2010 | Updates & Opportunities | 3 comments

Michael is an energetic, responsible young photographer who attends the same church here in Chicago that I’ve been attending for the past two years. I didn’t know he enjoyed photography until recently, so I was quite elated when I received an e-mail from him requesting that I critique some of his work.  My overall impression of his photographs, when I first saw them, was one of great admiration. Michael knows what he is doing when he is behind the camera.

DSC00897.ARW (Copyrighted; please do not copy)I love how simple this image is! Usually, it’s not a good idea to center things, but considering the fact that the foreground subject is very distinguishable against the background, centering the pine tree actually enhances the impression of individuality and isolation. It’s a bummer that there are tracks in the snow, but I think that because there are no patches of grass and the horizon is uncluttered, the picture is clean enough for them not to be noticed much.

DSC00915.ARW (Copyrighted; please do not copy)I remember the challenge of taking pictures of piano keys a few years ago when I was playing around with my then-new camera. Positioning the camera in a way to keep out distractions in the background was always a problem for me, so how you made the keyboard fade into complete blackness is key to the verve of the composition. However, I do suggest you increase the exposure a bit to make the light areas brighter.

DSC01343 (Copyrighted; please do not copy)This looks like some sample desktop background for a computer advertisement! Here are some things I keep in mind when shooting patterns: First, completely fill the frame, like you did here. Second, keep a prominent, well-defined element on one of the thirds. Third, watch what is in focus; this is especially important when looking straight down at objects of different height.

DSC01445 (Copyrighted; please do not copy)This is another beautiful abstract. I wonder what post-processing went into making those clouds of such a colorful hue. But whether it was none or much, keep in mind that just about anyone can create a picture like this. If you can, search out and include elements unique to your area. Pro’s don’t travel to the uttermost parts of the earth for nothing. And just think, you are one of few real photographers who lives in your corner of the globe!

HPIM3956 (Copyrighted; please do not copy)Hey, I recognize this place! What was I just talking about? 🙂 But on a different note, am I guessing correctly that this picture was taken from inside a car looking through tinted glass while traveling at high speed down the Interstate? Yeah, I do that all the time too because I’m not usually the one driving. But on certain occasions, when the Creator has weaved the natural elements into a tapestry that surpasses splendor that encroaches on utter magnificence, I have succeeded in asking the driver to stop.


  1. Robert

    Nice shots, Michael!


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    • James Staddon

      6 hours . . . wow! I know from experience how time-consuming and frustrating it is to do Internet research. I’m very thankful that you were able to find some answers on my blog; do you have any more questions? What kind of things would you like me to blog more about? Thanks for your comments!


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