Duncan Rawlinson

These are two very good shots. And as usual your composition is very good. Once again, you also have good color control in your photographs. This is something that is very difficult for many photographers to achieve, but it almost seems second nature to you to see a photograph in terms of its color spectrum. This is a talent that virtually all painters have and all photographers would benefit from having, but unfortunately hasty decision making often leads to photographers neglecting color theory. This is not the case in your examples. Congratulations.

However, this assignment called for you to showcase your lighting knowledge so let me review your photographs from that perspective. For starters, your photograph of the young girl is great. However, I think you tried to achieve a hard lighting effect with this photograph but the sun and light source are not powerful enough to be considered “hard”. It’s not particularly “soft” either, but it lays somewhere in between. You’ve done something, and I’m not sure if it was intentional or unintentional but I want to draw your attention to it because it’s a great effect for portraits.

Your subject face is sufficiently front lit from available light sources (lamps, natural lighting bouncing off the wall etc). However her positioning is such that light is coming in as back lighting from the window and it is causing a ‘highlight” around her hair (on the right hand side).

You can see this “highlight” or “outlining” effect in shots like this


Notice the “highlight” around the subjects hair and in the first case their body as well.

This effect helps add a dreamy and dramatic feel to a photograph and you’ve touched on it in your shot as well. I would like to see you play around with that effect a little more.

The difference between a silhouette and these shots is that your subject is sufficiently lit from the front as well. So, that’s something to think about for your next set of portrait shots.

As far as your flower shot goes, I think it’s wonderful. The composition, the colors, the shapes and your overall tone is beautiful.

I do want to draw your attention to the “blown out” area in the center of your photograph though. Digital cameras have a difficult time handling a wide range of contrast within the same shot. In this shot your white background lost all detail and became what is known as “blown out” or “burnt out”. It’s not necessarily wrong, but you’ll need to be aware of it because it’s a limitation of your camera. Usually by changing your exposure you can bring the “blow out” area back to focus but then you risk underexposing your main object. So with digital cameras it’s usually a decision of “what do I compromise”?

As I mentioned, this is not necessarily wrong, but in my opinion blown out areas should be avoided when possible. This might mean changing the intensity of the light, changing your position or turning down your exposure.

Your camera might have a “zebra” setting on it which would make you aware of these “blown out” areas in your LCD screen, because they are hard to see on that small screen and often only become visible once you put the images on your computer.

Other than that, great assignment!