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Thread: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

  1. #1

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    Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Let's make my first thread as a new member be about an image that I have mixed feelings about. I took this shot at the wedding practice of a family member several years ago. An official wedding photographer was there, using professional lighting and equipment to take all the usual complement of posed shots that every bride wants for her album. I was there to have fun, but I brought my little point-and-shoot with the idea of catching some of those unposed, available light moments which are more my cup of tea. I concentrated some of my efforts on the young, captivating flower girl and ring bearer.

    The conditions were challenging. Light was low, so I had to push the ISO into the danger zone for a small, jpeg-generating camera (Canon G-7). Zoomed out, the best I could do was f/4.8, and the shutter speed was only 1/40. So the resulting image was very noisy, and a little soft due to the low shutter speed. I discarded many of the resulting images.

    But for some reason I was captivated by this one. I really liked the expression on the little ring bearer's face, his juxtaposition underneath the bride's flowers, and the fact that enough of the surroundings were included to add context. However, only slightly more of the flower girl than you see here was included in the original uncropped version--half of her face was missing. At first I thought this was a fatal flaw. I tried cropping severely to remove her entirely, which yielded a reasonably nice image of the boy.

    But I missed the context. Part of me kept saying, the picture is better with the girl partly in the picture, and I like it that way. Other times I say, quit kidding yourself, and give up on this shot--it was a doomed from the start, and no amount of playing with it will change that.

    Time for some other viewpoints. So help me decide--does this image work for anyone but me, or is it a lost cause that I should stop wasting time on?

    (Original JPEG adjusted and cropped a little in Lightroom. Strong noise removed with Noiseware plugin in Photoshop, and a little Gaussian grain added back. Modestly sharpened with Pixelgenius Photokit Sharpener, and converted to B&W using Photokit Color to BW set.)

    Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Original direct-linked size 652 x 852 px

  2. #2
    JohnnyG's Avatar
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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    To me, it is a lost cause, but a great learning experience. I could fill the Albert hall with a ton of "almost" shots; shots at the time I felt were close, but as W.C. Fields was prone to say, "Close, but no cigar."

    It is lost for several reasons. The biggest reason has little to do with the half in, half out bride and far more to do with the direction of both kid's eyes. I can't get past the idea I don't have clue one to what so holds thier interest. That, combined with the danglely ribbons from the bouquet which is too strong an element to be that close to the boy's head; the ribbon tugs at my eye for attention.

    Lastly, though equally important, the focus just isn't there. it is not "soft" focus, but rather, "out of focus" and for me, OOF is always terminal in a shot like this. Something has to be a primary focal point and that primary point has to have a specific focus interest.

    Good try and good intent.

  3. #3

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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Hi Arlen,

    Welcom to CiC - great to have you with us.

    How about an alternative crop?

    Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    I have no idea why but, I seem to prefer sharp images....

  5. #5
    JPS's Avatar
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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Hi Arlen,
    Welcome to CiC.
    I think the main thing here is that you like this picture. I have hundreds of pictures that are not technically 100% correct, but I love them and enjoy viewing them. I think this is one of these pictures.

    I'm not clever enough to to give you too much advice, but many of our members are. All I would say is that everybody I've had the pleasure to meet on this site genuinely want to give advice that will improve your pictures.

    Once again, welcome, I look forward to your future postings.

  6. #6
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Not being an expert, I had the same idea as Colin - since you liked the expression on the face of the little ring bearer, that's the way I would have cropped also. He is obviously the main subject of this shot, no?
    Colin's edit just emphasizes this.

  7. #7

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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the candid feedback. There was never any doubt that the image has shortcomings which we can all recognize, but it's useful to learn that no one else senses much in the way of redeeming qualities. That's what I was trying to find out. It's a subjective thing, and when the photo is of people you know, sentiment may cloud judgement. Good to have a reality check now and then.

  8. #8
    Kris V's Avatar
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    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arlen View Post
    Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the candid feedback. There was never any doubt that the image has shortcomings which we can all recognize, but it's useful to learn that no one else senses much in the way of redeeming qualities. That's what I was trying to find out. It's a subjective thing, and when the photo is of people you know, sentiment may cloud judgement. Good to have a reality check now and then.
    You may want to hold on to it - and show it to him again 10 years from now...
    My grandkids found my old photo albums recently - from when they were little. They made a list of the ones they want scanned - so they can put them on their facebook....
    Go figure!

  9. #9

    Re: Does it work--or is it a lost cause?

    Agree with the above comments, lost cause but a great attempt. The "close-up child with cut off adult" is a shot that works well but in this case the girl being cut off as well plus the softness are just too much. Colin's crop is the best you will get I think.

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