by Gina Feeback
(Ocala, Florida, Untied States)

My mom took this picture and I am so proud of her, she wants to make a career in photography and I just want to see what’s missing or something she could improve on!!

She was trying to capture the beautiful ocean and the sunset at the time plus I think the picture doubles since there are actual people on the beach.

(For convenience, all links below open in new windows)
The first thing that strikes me about this shot is, well, how can I put this . . . it’s blue!

In fact, it’s very blue. I’m not sure if this was the intention, but there are two schools of thought on this; which I have tackled here many times before.

Basically, there is one school of thought that says you should leave a photograph as you found it – i.e. don’t edit it at all.

Bunkum! That’s my opinion. Photographers have been editing photos in darkrooms for years, now we edit with software.

And editing is easier now too. So instead of being a mysterious dark art, we can all have a go. I see nothing wrong with that.

Back to our blue photo. Clearly this has been edited to get this cool look. And I actually quite like it.

Often with a sunset the automatic reaction (if we’re editing it)is to increase the oranges to make the sunset more sunset-like.

But sometimes it just works to buck the trend. The blue here bucks that trend. It gives the photo a little more interest than the standard sunset shot, so well done there!

There are a few compositional changes I would make though. The first is the wonky horizon.

Here’s a golden rule – never, ever have wonky horizons. Or if you do, make sure they are really wonky when they can add impact to a photo.

Slightly wonky horizons just look careless. This would have been an easy fix in software, the crop tool would be able to do it. Click here for a Photoshop tutorial on using the crop tool.

The other compositional change I would make is to do with the palm tree. Well, the top of it to be precise.

At the moment it’s not really in the photo, and it’s not really out of the photo either. It’s just peeking in.

It would have been better to either use the palm tree as an element of interest (which would mean getting lower down to take the shot), or leave it out completely (which would mean moving to the side a bit).

Concerning the picture quality, this photo is a little overexposed. The most obvious sign of this are the blown highlights in the clouds. (Click to read more about blown highlights)

It is better in situations where there are clouds like this in the sky to slightly underexpose the photo. This preserves more detail in the clouds and makes for a more dramatic shot.

All in all, not a bad effort, and I hope there are a few suggestions here for improvements.


Get our recommended eBook.

Click here to post comments

Return to Digital photography tutorials - submissions, May 2008.