Senior portrait

by Melisa Gentry
(New Franklin, Mo USA)

I took this photo of my daughter while we were trying to get her senior pictures shot (my very first try at doing something BIG).

I loved the look on her face because she looked so serious, so I shot it. My camera was set for monochrome and thought I loved it as is.

Then I found your page on Black and White. I adjusted it and I want your thoughts.

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Ahh to be young again.

There was a time when the world was my oyster – oh the dreams I had back then. Sail around the world, race fast cars, and at one point I'm sure I penned a letter of application to NASA.

If I had the use of a time machine and popped back would there be anything that I would change? Not much, apart from my school photos!

There's the one taken on a Monday following an altercation I had had at the weekend; involving myself going rather fast on my bike, and a driver of a parked vehicle who didn't think to check what was behind him before opening his car door.

You can imagine who came off worse. As I wheeled my bike home, desperately trying to "stick" the flesh back onto my chin the last thing on my mind was school photos.

So there I am for evermore – the only kid in the class sporting a nasty facial injury for his school photo.

Luckily the chin healed and no scars remain. And fortunately Melissa had no such bad luck with her photo – great shot!

The composition is always a good starting point with any photo, and here the composition is pretty good. The trees frame the shot nicely.

I'm at a loss to wonder where Melissa's daughter's right arm is going. It looks a bit as if she's making a grab for the camera!

But it doesn't detract from the overall quality of the composition.

So onto the black and white effect. As Melissa stated, this was taken in black and white by the camera – which is not the best approach to a black and white photo - Find out why.

However, the high contrast look is good. Black and white photos often lack "oomph!", and this is usually because they lack contrast.

The effect is a wishy-washy grey photo rather than true black and white.

Even if you have taken your photo in black and white you can still improve it using software. How?

Overall this is a photo that Melissa's daughter should be proud to have – well done!

And if you've learnt nothing else in this critique, when on a bike remember to treat parked cars with caution!

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Looks Great!
by: Joe

I absolutely love the serious look on your subject's face as well.... I did take a look at the examples of the difference of using monochrome on your camera as opposed to taking the photo in colour and then converting it to black and white on your software.

The results are definately better with using the software on a colour photograph, in my opinion. The contrast and the blackness seems to "pop" the image more!

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