(Right click to open a larger version of the image for a better view)
I really liked this shot I captured recently at the Treasury Gardens in Melbourne. Although the composition looks pretty nice at first glance, there are actually quite a few flaws that could be improved on. I thought it would be a good example to use for our new column called Image Doctor.
For Image Doctor we will post images and give a comprehensive description explaining why they work as well as what doesn’t quite work. This will include techniques and tips for how the image could be improved.
As part of Image Doctor we will use our own examples to help you learn from real life images as this is a great way to improve your own photography.
We would also like to help you with your own images. If you have a photo that you would like to receive feedback for, you can email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will give you a comprehensive and honest appraisal of what you did well and what could be improved upon in order to achieve the Wow Factor.
A pleasing composition where the elements balance out the image as the rocks, the lake and the plants each take up approximately one third each of the space. The boulders being the lightest point attract the eye initially. Then the line formed by the edge of the pond draws the eye through the image where it continues following the line of coloured trees back to the rocks.
The boulders and rocks contrast with the plants bordering the pond. The rocks are hard and smooth in texture, and consist of neutral colours while the shrubs are soft, irregularly shaped and brightly coloured.
The round shapes of the rocks are repeated in the shape of the lake and some of the shrubs.
The different autumn shades always look great together in an image as they are analogous colours. This means that they sit beside each other on the colour wheel and so are in harmony.
The composition is a little crooked. In order to place all the elements where I wanted them to look pleasingly the background and the fountain are slightly crooked. I could rectify this by reshooting or using the using the Image Rotate function in Photoshop. The latter is easier but would mean having to crop part of the image.
The image is a little soft. As I didn’t have a tripod I was hand holding and wanted to capture the water movement of the fountain. The slightly too slow shutter speed meant the image was a little too soft. You can sometimes sharpen a soft image but this may introduce extra noise as happened with this image.
The background is not in good focus. The light was getting dimmer in the late afternoon and to get enough light in I needed a wider aperture. I focused on the rocks as they were the main element I wanted sharp but in doing so the aperture did not keep the background in sharp focus. To go back and recapture this shot I will most certainly take a tripod.
There is a lot of debris in the lake and so the image could use a cleanup with the spot healing brush in Photoshop.
I took many shots of this location and this was one of my favourite compositions. As a landscape photographer you will often find yourself returning to recapture a location with a composition in mind, only with preferred lighting, or to remedy any imperfections.