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Ah yes, the chaos of the event!
It’s always easy to get caught up in the excitement of whatever you are shooting. Your senses are overloaded with information and there is often just too much going on.
One little trick that I’ve found useful in this scenario is just take a deep breath and ask myself a simple question:
What is genuinely unique and interesting about this particular situation?
The subtext being, what shoot I shoot here that has either never been shot before or will never be replicated again? Often that’s simple enough to make you laser focus on what’s really the good stuff. In almost every environment there is something unique or special.
Do you see how your image with the faces is superior as a photograph. There is a emotion and a a sense of pride on their faces. In your image with just the legs there are some neat shapes and simple lines going on but a soldier’s emotive face is much more interesting…
What’s more, I actually don’t mind the cropping of the flags. I would rather you be tight on a subject and crop something that the viewers brain can just fill in.
Don’t forget to add some lead room if there is a general sense of direction to an image.
Also think about your backgrounds where possible. This is another weird trick or mental tool I use when shooting. I always think about how in the movies the action hero is trying to shoot the bad guys and hes like “I can’t get a clear shot”
I don’t mean to suggest to mentally visualize that you are “shooting” people, but for some reason thinking about “shooting bad guys” makes me always remember to clean up my backgrounds. It’s weird but it works for me!
A final note here would be to take note of the red colors in this photos. Often digital cameras blow out the reds and sometimes you have to underexpose a little so they don’t appear oversaturated.
Alternatively in Lightoom you can use the HSL / Color / B & W section of the develop module and bring things down a little. If you click the little circle in the top left of that section of the tool you can then click and drag right on the image on the color you need to adjust. This is a tool that can be very overused so use this with a light touch.
Play around in there and watch what it does in the luminance section as well.
Keep up the good work!