Snow Day

by Tammy

I wanted to capture the feeling you get, when it first snows and you are looking at a winter wonderland.

(For convenience, all links below open in new windows)
So it really is winter somewhere in the world!

This is a photo with lots to like. I’ll start with the subject. Usually with portraits we would recommend getting eye contact. However, this is more of an action shot, and capturing the subject side on works well.

The timing is also good. He has a cheeky grin on his face, and eyes wide open. This isn’t always as easy to accomplish as you might think with an action photo.

The trick is to anticipate what your subject is about to do. In this case, the subject looks like they have just thrown a snowball. So, as a photographer, what you do is focus on them as their arm goes back; get ready with your finger on the shutter (pre-focus); wait for the snowball to leave their hands; keep waiting while it flies through the air; when it hits . . . the smile appears and that’s when you press the shutter fully.

Most compact cameras will allow you to pre-focus by pressing the shutter half way down. Do this while they are about to launch the snowball, so the camera is ready to fire when the smile appears. Press the shutter down fully to take the photo. This pre-focussing will result in virtually no delay in pressing the shutter and the photo being recorded.

I like the fact that this photo is closely zoomed in on the subject. It gets us thinking – has he just thrown a snowball? Has it just hit its target? There’s an element of mystery there that would have been lost if the camera were zoomed out to a wide angle.

What else is good about this photo? There’s the focussing itself. The subject is in crisp focus, and the background nicely blurred. Perfect! This can only be achieved with either a digital SLR, or a ‘sub-dSLR’ (those bulky compact cameras).

So is there anything to change? Just a couple of suggestions. The first is the crop. It’s certainly cropped close to the subject, which is good. But I think we can go further. See that empty space behind his head? It bothers me a touch.

Try this, hold a piece of paper up to the screen, to the right of his head, cutting off the last quarter of the photo. It would make it virtually a square photo, and I think it’s an improvement.

I would also like to just boost the brightness a little. This is a bright white scene, and I think we could afford to boost it just a little more. The best way to do this would be in Photoshop (or something similar), using the 'levels' tool. There’s a Photoshop tutorial using the levels tool here.

All in all though, I like this photo – well done, and thanks Tammy for the submission


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Comments for Snow Day

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Feb 20, 2008
by: Steph

Lovely composition

Feb 19, 2008
Very nice
by: Anonymous

Just wanted to give your photo five stars. It's a nice photo.

I like the expression on his face best.

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