Advice Centre by Photography Experts (Part 3) - Canon EOS 5D Mk II & Canon EOS 550D

6/12/2012 4:33:50 PM


Description: a conceptual image of conflict

a conceptual image of conflict

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Lens: Canon 24-105mm f/4L

Exposure: 1/5sec at f/8 (ISO 800)

Andrew says: "My inspiration for this piece came from military sculptures and art, which commonly feature motifs of fists and weapons. I wanted to try to bring these two elements together to create a conceptual image of conflict."

Daniel Lezano: This is a difficult shot to critique as it's a conceptual image - as such, if Andrew feel he's fulfilled his requirements, who are we to argue? Technically, there is very little wrong with it - it's pin-sharp and nicely lit, with a well-selected aperture to provide enough depth-of-field to separate the subject from background but allow the backdrop to retain enough sharpness to be identifiable.

Regarding the props, the belt of bullets are neatly arranged, but, along with the hand, the bayonet and bullets are all too clean and would benefit from some grime. If Andrew did have a chance to reshoot, I'd suggest maybe trying to add a touch more mood with the lighting. Also, I find the image for me works better when rotated 90° anti-clockwise.

Description: Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Verdict: Interesting concept that works to a point, but could be improved a little.

Lee Frost: I'm not sure what I think about this image really. I kind of get it - bullet cases and bayonets are symbols of war and the raised arm/clenched fist suggests victory. Technically, it's of a very high standard; I really like the concept and the smoke effect. But, ultimately, for me it's all rather contrived and a little squeaky clean to communicate anything about what war is really like. The model's hand is spotless and looks more at home in an office than a battlefield. Same with the bullets and bayonet; they look like they've never been close to active service. Andrew needed to rough it up a bit, using make-up or real muck to make the hand and props look like they really had just been through a war. The lighting could also do with being more dramatic. It's too soft for an image of this type; it needs to be bolder. Strong side lighting would work better, creating deeper, darker shadows and revealing more shape and texture in the props. More smoke wouldn't have gone amiss too!

Verdict: A simple and strong idea, but not dramatic enough to really communicate its title.


Description: view over the Mendips

view over the Mendips

Camera: Canon EOS 550D

Lens: Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Exposure: 1/400sec at f/5.6 (ISO 100)

Richard says: We recently visited the Mendips in Somerset. I cropped this shot to place the tree using the rule-of-thirds. In hindsight. I wish I had taken time to exclude the grass in the foreground."

Ross Hoddinott: I think Richard has done something all photographers do from time to time; crammed too much into the image. For me, the composition is overly complex. Paths can create good lead-in lines, but in this instance, all the path does is lead the eye towards the trees on the far right. As Richard points out, there are some distracting out-of-focus grasses in the bottom right of the image. Also, the sky isn't strong enough to warrant being so dominant, and the composition doesn't appear balanced or deliberate. I think Richard needed to think about what his objectives were with this shot. What was his focal point and what result was he looking to achieve? There is clearly potential in this scene. The lone tree in the distance looks like it would make a good focal point and could look great close-up with a good sky behind it. I would revisit this location if you can, Richard, and take more time to consider and construct your shot. Verdict: For me, this image lacks balance, depth and an obvious focal point. The elements within the scene look disconnected. Try again, Richard - the potential is there.

Lee Frost: Composing a successful landscape is rather like completing a jigsaw puzzle; you have lots of pieces to work with, but they need to be arranged in the right order. Looking at this scene, Richard had the pieces, but put them together in a rather unexciting way. Firstly, the obvious focal point is that lovely old tree on the horizon, but it's on the wrong side of the frame; ideally it needed to be over on the right. Secondly, the shot also lacks foreground interest to add scale and lead the eye into the scene. That track cutting across the field could maybe have been put to better use, but it's not distinct enough here and carries the eye away from the tree rather than towards it. I've got no idea if the track heads towards the tree at any point, but a change of viewpoint could perhaps have made better use of it. Finally, there's not enough contrast and drama in the tones. A quick Curves adjustment in Photoshop would solve that. I would also reduce Vibrance so the sepia tone is less chocolatey - just a hint of warmth is all that is needed.

Description:  Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mk II

Verdict: An interesting scene with potential that wasn't exploited to the full.

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