Professional reviews of photos are one of the best ways to improve your photographic skills. By studing what works and doesn't work, you learn to shoot more 'winners' yourself.
Curtis Routh has kindly agreed to review the following photos for me. Curtis runs a photography business called LeaveTheCamera.com and his insights are very valued. Click on the photos to comment on the image, or rate it yourself.
Tired of Waiting by tsiklots
Overall: This is a very intriguing photograph. I have looked at it...gone away...came back and looked some more. This is the type photo that a great photographer is happy to get and should be in a "How to" B & W manual.
Summary: I cannot find a thing wrong with this photo. From trying to see what is outside, to the loosely hung curtains, to the pajamas he is wearing...to the half loose blinds....to the leather sofa. It's all there! The lighting is very good. There is major light coming in from the front and minor light highlighting his back and the scar on his arm. His little ear barely comes through and looks as if, even though he is sleeping, he could be listening. The black & white medium sets it off even more. This could be early morning or late afternoon. Either works well. I would love to see the original in color.
I give this picture a 9.9. A little more light might have brought out a few more of his features. Very wonderful shot. I like it very much. Congratulations on a great picture!
Up For Air by MikeK
Summary: I love nature shots. Especially in the raw and up close. The colors are very vivid and the detail is a testament to the glass and camera you are using. The depth of field is very good. I really like the scum bubbles in the water (lends to the fact of where they actually live). His eyes are very clear. You can see he is checking you out as much as you are him. Good exposure, great detail, and the colors are really outstanding. The AWB worked well in this shot. The focal point is his eyes. I like it. I like the title, too. Very accurate portrayal of the meaning of the shot. Overall, this is one of the best nature pictures I have seen on the site.
Improvements; The tight crop is great for detail, but it is almost disappointing not to see the rest of his reflection in the water. A little looser shot might have added a complete head reflection in the water. The shiny spot on his nose draws my eyes. I would like to see this shot after softening the bright spot in P.S. or another editing program. One step up in color saturation (P.S. or custom parameter) would have made the green jump off the page. I feel the colors, although very accurate, are a little flat. Contrast is good. Mood is good.
Overall I rate this picture at a 9.8 Great job. I know these critters don't sit still very long. I give a 10 for catching the shot!
Daisy Kaimai by maryann
The setting for this photo is a stark contrast between light and dark. The flower is very prominent in the picture and the blurred, dark background gives a sense of foreboding drama. Kind of like good verses evil. It looks as if a flash were used to highlight the flower. This provides a definite contrast between light and dark as the flash falls off.
Improvements: I think the picture would be more interesting if the background were in focus ( a least a little). It would certainly make it easier to see where this was taken. Looks like it was taken near a pond or lake. Don't discount detail in the background. It is a little out of focus and I feel the flower would have been better served if it were more centered. I love the different light and dark colors. The blue in the center would have made the flower jump off the page. This would have made a happier picture if the white was more predominant than the dark. A little closer zoom would have brought out more detail in the flower. A tripod, if not used, would have worked well in this light.
Overall: I think this a great shot. The flower shines like a brand new dime in a bucket of old pennies. It says there is light, even in the darkness. I like the deep blue color in the center. It adds yet another perception of depth. I feel the overall rating of 8 is right on. Good picture!
Bobo by girdnerg
Summary: Very nice photograph. I like the tight crop and the big brown eyes. The little shiner tells of recent boo boo. Nice touch. The lighting is good. Good skin color (a little pink). Flash worked well.
Improvements: I can't tell if that is an arm or leg in the photo. I think just her face would have worked better. Nice contrast between the foreground and background. Digital re-touch to remove the little blemishes off her forehead and nose, along with only her face, would have brought my full attention to the black eye(s). Overall a very nice shot. I give it an 8.5. Beautiful girl. Hope the eye gets well soon. Makes me want to say "ahhh".
Me & Grandpa by girdnerg
Summary: Nice photo. Good light and good contrast between the green water and blue inner tube. I like the rugged forest in the background. Good reflection in the water down low. water gives a sense of motion.
Improvements: I would like to have seen the subjects a little closer to the trees in the back. There is too much to look at between the subjects and the background. The bright sunlight gave way to great color and detail, but it also caused both subjects to squint. Looking away from the light source for a few seconds and then looking back into the frame would have made for more natural facial expressions. I would recommend a half step down on the exposure to prevent the washout on the subjects and water. A polarized filter would have deepened the water and added color overall. I would have recommended a 5.6 aperture setting to darken this shot down a little. Overall I think it is a very good effort in very bright sunlight. I like the picture. Looks like fun. I give this shot a 7 overall.
I know all of this is a lot to think about when capturing the moment, but that can be fixed by taking several shots with varying aperture settings. Click, click, click. Pick the best.