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Thread: Hoping to learn something from my flop

  1. #1
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Hoping to learn something from my flop

    I entered this photo in a mini comp... I quite liked the colour, detail and clarity, and my subject but it did poorly. I would appreciate some feedback so I may learn something new.

    The original jpeg

    Hoping to learn something from my flop

    My edit. I used LR sharpening just the goose, curves to increase contrast, and I tried to blur the background, and tone down the bright green.

    Hoping to learn something from my flop

    All C&C most welcome, especially honest and forthright feedback... I'm here to learn!


    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    You have done all the right things but maybe just a fraction to much. Cloning out the log just behind the neck would improve it for me and a just of square portrait crop may look better.

    Nice shot and I like the precious bit of dangling grass.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    1. Not attracting a large response on a Mini Comp does not make it a flop.
    2. What could be better? First thing that strikes me is that the subject is dead centre of the frame. There's a lot of space behind (to the left of) the bird's head. What is adding to the picture? If the answer is, as I think it is, 'Not a lot', then get rid of it. What about cropping it to something like 5:4 with the centre of the bird's eye on the left-hand vertical third? I think that make a different image.

  4. #4
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Thank you. Great feedback to learn from.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Donald beat me to some of the suggestions I would make. A tighter crop, sides and top. I also might desaturate the image a bit; the bird is quite monochromatic, so fighting the green grass for attention; so make the grass less green.

    De-centre the bird in the frame to create more balance.

    This is a 30 second redo of your shot.

    Hoping to learn something from my flop

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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Hi Christina,
    I was thinking the same as Donald, something like this.

    Hoping to learn something from my flop

  7. #7
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Hi Manfred and John,

    Thank you for taking the time to demonstrate the suggested edits of L. Paul and Donald. I prefer both of your versions to mine.. The crop is appealing and nice for me to see. Manfred I adore how you made the grass less green and bright... how did you do that?

    PS 30 second edits sounds perfect!

  8. #8

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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    1. Not attracting a large response on a Mini Comp does not make it a flop.
    Nor does winning a Mini Comp confirm that a photo is well done.

  9. #9
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Manfred I adore how you made the grass less green and bright... how did you do that?
    In Lightroom, in the Develop Module, under the Basic tab, go down to Presence and slide the Saturation slider to the left until you get what you want. As the bird is already rather B&W, you won't notice it there, but the grass sure tones down.

  10. #10
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Thank you Manfred.. I will check that out. Truly appreciated and I expect that I will be using it soon!

    Donald and Mike... Not attracting a large response on a Mini Comp does not make it a flop. Yes, of course... I should not have stated it that way... I've been working hard to improve my photography, and I'm still learning to critique my own photos, and not the best at it, because I get attached to the subject matter which sometimes effects my judgement.

    Anyway, I'm glad I posted this because I learned a ton, as always. Cropping should not be so hard to do!
    Last edited by Brownbear; 25th May 2013 at 09:51 PM. Reason: add on

  11. #11

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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    I get attached to the subject matter which sometimes effects my judgement.
    That's both natural and understandable. Consider putting a photo aside for a week and then critiquing it; time often increases our ability to be objective.

  12. #12
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Christina – What you describe is a pretty common problem when working in post production. It is all too easy to get into a situation where, as they say, “you can’t see the forest for the trees”.


    I use a number of techniques to help me here. Looking away from the screen for a few seconds and then looking back at the image I am working on. The first thing that I see that bothers me is what I tackle next. Sometimes I get to the point where I stop seeing, but still feel that there is something else that needs some work, I will get up for about 10 minutes and wander away from my computer just to flush the image out of my mind. When I come back, I often can focus in on the issue and make progress. Sometimes when I get totally frustrated, I do come back the next day, or even a few days later if I am busy and often the solution has been percolating through my subconscious mind. This is not only for identifying issues, but also on working out ways to fix them.


    I think something you should consider doing as you evolve as a photographer is spend time looking and analysing other people’s handling of similar subjects by surfing the net. Sites like CiC, Flickr, 500px, etc. are virtual gold mines for seeing how other people have approached similar issues. Often we learn just as much from something that we don’t like as we do like. Developing these analytical skills will do a lot for improving your photography; both in-camera and in front of the computer.


    I liken post-production to design work; after all when we look at it, we are designing an image. No one designs a new product in one go, so why do we think as single editing session is going to give us the result we want right away. The design process is iterative and the final product is the result of a number of incremental improvements made over a number of different iterations. The more one practices, the better and faster one gets.

  13. #13
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: Hoping to learn something from my flop

    Hi Manfred,

    Thank you for taking the time to share such wonderful advice. I have to admit that I tackle editing a photo all at once, so it is done with, but I will try your approach.

    Will do!

    Beautifully stated...


    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Christina – What you describe is a pretty common problem when working in post production. It is all too easy to get into a situation where, as they say, “you can’t see the forest for the trees”.


    I use a number of techniques to help me here. Looking away from the screen for a few seconds and then looking back at the image I am working on. The first thing that I see that bothers me is what I tackle next. Sometimes I get to the point where I stop seeing, but still feel that there is something else that needs some work, I will get up for about 10 minutes and wander away from my computer just to flush the image out of my mind. When I come back, I often can focus in on the issue and make progress. Sometimes when I get totally frustrated, I do come back the next day, or even a few days later if I am busy and often the solution has been percolating through my subconscious mind. This is not only for identifying issues, but also on working out ways to fix them.


    I think something you should consider doing as you evolve as a photographer is spend time looking and analysing other people’s handling of similar subjects by surfing the net. Sites like CiC, Flickr, 500px, etc. are virtual gold mines for seeing how other people have approached similar issues. Often we learn just as much from something that we don’t like as we do like. Developing these analytical skills will do a lot for improving your photography; both in-camera and in front of the computer.


    I liken post-production to design work; after all when we look at it, we are designing an image. No one designs a new product in one go, so why do we think as single editing session is going to give us the result we want right away. The design process is iterative and the final product is the result of a number of incremental improvements made over a number of different iterations. The more one practices, the better and faster one gets.

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