Weekend Adventures and a Photo Critique

About a year ago, I bought myself a new camera – a mirror-less DSLR (Olympus PEN-2). I’m very slowly starting to get my head around taking better photos, but I’ve fallen into the trap of taking millions (ok, just hundreds), of pretty average photos. My excuse is that I’m practicing, but I’ve decided that I need to be more purposeful in the photographs I take.

How many times can you take the same photo?!
How many times can you take the same photo?!

I am an absolute novice, so all I am sharing here is my thinking process, in an effort to improve. I would love any feedback, especially on the technical aspects of photography.

Anyway, I sat down and had a look at some photos I took a couple of weeks ago when we went to Mary Cairncross Reserve. I was disappointed when I looked at the photos I took, and tried to figure out why. In the end, I realised it came down to what I thought I took a photo of, versus what actually came out of the camera. An example is the photo below.

Exploring Mary Cairncross, SOOC. Overexposed, poorly composed.
Exploring Mary Cairncross, SOOC. Overexposed, poorly composed.

What was I trying to capture when I take a particular photo? It’s a really obvious question, but I think it is the key thing that drives all the decisions that need to be made.

Firstly, this photo is about relationships. I wanted to capture the connection between Alby and Brett – superhero and sidekick, adventuring together. It’s also about their environment, because while I wanted the two of them to be the focus of the photo, their environment also was key to the idea of ‘Adventure’. Finally, I wanted to capture the mood. The day we were at Mary Cairncross was quite overcast, and I was hoping this would translate better in the image. I was hoping the green of the trees, and the moisture in the air would be better captured, but it wasn’t.

If I’m going to be critical, I think the photo is overexposed. If I had my time again, I’d probable play around with the shutter speed to try and reduce the highlights, and to deepen the greens. In the meantime, had a play around with Photoshop to try and fix some of my mistakes!

Before and after
Before and after

I adjusted the Levels and Curves to better represent the mood, and cropped to reduce the distracting lightness of the path, and to better highlight my boys.

My boys, exploring
My boys, exploring

What do you think?

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