Good morning everyone!

Just wanted to share a couple photos I've received for image review. I truly feel that we can all learn from each other. I usually do a review of just one photo but the two I received recently can both be helped by the same suggestion. 

When I take a photo, these three things go through my mind. It's how I was trained and it rules my photography to this day.

  • What is my subject?
  • How do I focus attention on my subject?
  • How do I simplify the photo?

Perhaps the most difficult one to master, is the last one...simplify the photo! What your subject is, can usually be self explanatory. A waterfall, a flower, a beach, a mountain, a sunrise, a sunset...   Focusing attention can be done by many methods that I discuss in my e-book, Composition for the Landscape Photographer such as framing, leading lines,  or complimentary colors. Simplifying, however, takes some skill and practice. Backgrounds tend to be the most distracting element in photos. Things in the image that take your eye away from your subject rather than helping it. 

So here are a couple photos that I feel can be greatly helped...with a better background or simply by getting closer or cropping. With this first one, the subject is pretty obvious. It's a gorgeous hibiscus flower. The photographer did a good job getting in close to this subject. The background, however, is taking my eye away from the image. Particularly the divide between the greenery and the sidewalk. That divide runs right through the middle of the flower. When photographing flowers in the field, moving a little to the left or right, up or down, can completely change the background behind it. 

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Here is a simple crop of the image. I would still like to deal with the white sidewalk/road behind the flower and what looks like a manhole. They're not much, but they're taking away from the beauty of the flower itself. 

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In the second photo, I really love the uniformity of the background. There's green all around it. But it still has some distracting elements within it. Off to the right as well as the left, a couple bright spots. The human eye is drawn to areas where light meets dark, so places that have light and dark will take the eye away from the subject. There also seems to be an out of focus stick in front of the flower itself. That also takes my eye away from the subject or breaks the line of the subject.  I do love the light on this subject. Overcast light is really great for flower photography. I'm also a huge fan of backlighting. 

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A simple crop helped remove all the distracting elements. I did nothing else to the photo. The photographer had great depth of field on this flower which is sometimes hard to do when the stamen is so far away from the petals. If the stamen had been blurry, this would not have worked well. Well done choice of aperture here! Thank you for submitting your images. It's brave to put yourself out there and I think it's one of the best ways to learn. 

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