with Courtney Slazinik
Critique Me-Ashely at Ashely Neri Photography

Read How to Critique a Photo
Make a critique sandwich – something positive, something you would have done differently, something positive
My rule: no improvement tip = deleted comment
This will benefit the person leaving the critique just as much if not more than the person receiving the critique.

Thank you to Ashley at Ashley Neri Photography for submitting the following image.
Settings: ISO 100, SS 1/200, f/5.6

  • February 6, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Love this pic in black and white. Not too crazy about the poles in the background. Maybe would have shot at a lower fstop to make them more out of focus. Love the binky in the mouth!!

    • February 6, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      I think lowering the f-stop would have created a majorly over exposed image, since it looks like it was shot in full sun.

      • February 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        If you lower the fstop you would have to adjust the iso accordingly.

        • February 6, 2012 at 12:51 PM

          oops. meant shutter speed.

  • February 6, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Personally, I ADORE black and white, so of course I love your photo! BandW is so timeless and classic. I would try and blur the background a bit (next time by using a lower fstop or decreasing sharpness through an editing program). That might help bring the focus back on the subject. I also would decrease the exposure just a tad bit. I also love the way the sharpness in the jacket/hat/pants, you can see every detail perfectly.

  • February 6, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Though I like the b&w used here, I wondered if a desaturated (not quite monochrome) effect may have brought out more contrast between the subject and background. I love the subject placement in the frame just as it is. Nicely done.

  • Sandra
    February 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    What a little cutie. I agree with the other comments about a lower f stop to blur the background as the poles look a little tilted to me. I think maybe the face is a little overexposed. I would also crop or clone out what ever that is on the top left side of the photo. Love the black and white.

  • Amanda
    February 6, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Im new to photography, so i may be wrong in my critique, but please know these are just my opinions :)
    This is a great shot of a little one fascinated with a stick, but i find the posts in the back distracting. Maybe a tighter crop would give the same feel, but remove the posts.
    I like the sepia tone, but find the light very strong, ie bold shadows. If this was your intent, then kudos! If not, maybe getting her turned a bit more out of the sun would have softened it a bit?
    And lastly, does she have a left hand? I know you cant control that, but it stands out above all else to me, the empty sleeve. I do apologize if her hand is gone, i dont know how to minimize that eye draw.

    • Theresa
      February 6, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      I agree with Amanda about the empty sleeve, and hope that her hand is just drawn up into it and not missing. When my husband saw the picture he asked that question, too.
      Otherwise, I do like the composition and the clarity of the subject. I wonder if the color version of the photo would make the stick stand out more? It’s gets a little lost in the B&W. Plus kids’ clothes are so fun & colorful!

  • February 6, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    This shot is so cute! I also really like the black and white. It is a little hard when shooting in open sun, it creates over exposed images and hard shadows. But I think what I may have done is to bump up my shutter so that her little face wasn’t over exposed. I also think I may have cropped to a tighter frame, possibly as a portrait rather than landscape. Other than that I think it looks like a really cute life style shot! Nice job!

  • February 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Like the others, Im a suker for a good black and white and I think you have done a really good job with this one, Though perhaps I would up the blacks a little or recover some detail in the face. I love good sharp eye lashes they make a pic for me.
    Not a dummy/binky lover…Id much rather see bubs face…but if that is something you associate with your little one then you have captured her just as she needs to be. Polls dont bother me so much. Though I do think a lower fstop would have made your little one pop out for us a little more. How cute our our loved ones exploring the complexities of the simple every day that we take for granted. Just perfect.

  • Laura
    February 6, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    I love the black and white decision you’ve made here…I love color, but in a shot like this the simplicity of the color scheme draws my eye right to the subject. I also love the landscape shot. I’m usually a sucker for really tight portraits, but here you get a playful feel from the kiddo running/wobbling toward the camera. Because of that this is a photo I bet mom will treasure to remember fun trips to the park with the wee one. If I would change anything it’d be pulling up the little one’s left sleeve so we can see the hand. Personally I think the background is fine in terms of how blurred it is, but it wouldn’t hurt to use a tad lower f-stop with a faster shutter speed (that’d take care of the over-exposure on the face/binky, too). Such a cute photo…it’s a timeless shot that I’m sure means a lot to this family.

  • February 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Wow, it’s been longer than I thought since I’ve been here! Congrats, Courtney on a great site!
    I like the photo a lot- especially the off center composition and the “candidness” or it (binky, eyes looking down, and even the hand up the jacket). The thing that I would want to improve would be the exposure on the face. It looks like the highlights could be blown- so a higher shutter speed would have helped. It looks like it was shot in full sun- it’s so hard to get good light midday. Sometimes the only solution is to move into open shade. I do like the black and white- it helps focus the attention on the child- not the background. Cute photo!

  • February 6, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    I love B&W photos. Colors can sometimes distract from what’s really going on, and I think Black and white can help the mind create a story a bit more. I would up the shutter speed a bit probably and lower the fstop so the eye is drawn to the child, but without the face being over exposed. Maybe a SS 1/300 (or even a bit higher) and an f/3.5 or 4. I might also up the contrast to give the picture a little bit more depth. I love the binkie in the mouth as she’s outside playing. I think it captures a lot about this little sweetie. I like the overall picture.

  • February 6, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    I like the warm toned B&W. I also like the composition–her position to the left of the frame adds to the sense of motion. What a cutie!
    It looks like it was shot in open sun. The highlights are very bright–it seems that they may be a little clipped, especially on her face. You could either try a lower shutter speed like 1/100 and keep the same aperture, or try a smaller apeture and keep the same shutter speed. Or try the Exposure Compensation dial 1/2 to 1 stop or so to the negative. Directing her to open shade if possible would help give a more even exposure. Another way to emphasize her would be to have her back to the sun and expose on her face. Or, if another person is available to help with the shoot a reflector or a difuser would help with the direct sunlight. I know how challenging it can be to wrangle little ones, though!
    Thanks for sharing such a nice candid portrait.

  • February 7, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    I love the “in the moment” photo you took. Very realistic and not posed. I would love to see this photo in color. I think with the background on the darker side, if she has a colorful coat on it would have just popped! And like some others commented, I too was drawn to the left hand…makes you curious. I like how you offset the subject to the left.
    Great shot!

  • Bethney
    February 7, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    I am a newbie at this so I wouldn’t put much thought into my critique, but here are my opinions. First of all, I love the composition of the photo. I think the way it was shot is very pleasning to the eye. I think the subject and background blend together a bit much. I would rather see a sharper subject with a more blurred background. Also, I think the “shadowyness” of the photo is a bit distracting. I would like to see this in color also. Such a sweet little girl with her paci :).

  • February 7, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    you’ve gotten lots of nice feedback! I too like the playfulness of the photo and the framing here is very nice. I love the little hat and binkie :) and the fact that she is holding a stick in that little paw. Is her coat and hat pink? I find that pink and red convert to b&w with sort of a “flat” tone. I might play with the curves just a tiny bit to create more contrast or adjust the black to a tad darker to give her clothes some more texture and contrast. I’m fine with the background with regards to content and the level of sharpness. There is a small white object (maybe mom’s coat sleeve?) in the top left of the frame… I’d clone that out so as to not distract. It is a very nice tone, but I bet it would also be successful with rich saturation. You can’t go wrong :) well done.

  • February 7, 2012 at 5:20 AM

    You did a great job of keeping the subject in focus…quite a feat when working with young kids! The child’s face appears to be slightly blown out… I might have tried increasing the shutter speed or closing the aperature a bit in order to prevent that. And I loved your use of the rule-of-thirds when shooting the subject or cropping.

  • February 7, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    I love your framing of the picture! I don’t mind the posts in the background – I think between those and the horizontal shadows – it really provide a nice framing for your adorable subject! There is a tiny bit of something to the top left of the screen that caught my eye, just a tiny bit more cropping would solve that. That’s TOTALLY nit picky so I apologize, it just caught my eye first. There was a bit of a debate above about lowering the f/stop vs overexposing the image in earlier comments. I recently was doing some direct sunlight shots and some bright cloud-covered shots of my kiddos and playing with the various settings. I found that 1/500s, f/4.0, and ISO 400 gave me a good background blur and great lighting on the bright cloudy day – and then for the direct sunlight shot 1/750s, f/4.5, and ISO 100 worked well (although the background was a far distance away) That being said.. I love babes in coats! They’re just so darling, and your model is no exception! And I love the missing hand and binky – really helps capture the time of life and personality. :)

  • Tiffany M.
    February 7, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    I like this photograph. Love B & W! The face is a bit over exposed, but I am sure you know how to fix that the next time around. I don’t mind the poles in the background, especially if it is telling a story of where the child is playing at! I enjoy pictures of children being children and I am sure this one hits the nail on the child’s personality. If you were to bring it in a little more(crop) I believe it would take away from the subject competing with the background. Overall it’s precious!!! :) Gotta love those babies!!!

  • February 7, 2012 at 7:42 AM

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    Be sure to follow the three requirements:
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  • February 8, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    Very cute capture of this little one on the move. I love the concentrated expression..adorable. I like your choice of B&W conversion, but I think you would get a more interesting look by bumping up the contrast and increasing the blacks. I agree with what other posters have said about the face being overexposed and the background needing a bit more blur to draw attention to the subject. Maybe try a shady area next time and shoot a little wider, and see what results you get. Watch the missing hands with little ones (hands stuck up the sleeves)…however I know how hard this is to avoid when you are trying to photography a subject that is moving constantly. I get pictures of my son with “missing hands” all the time :) Maybe to take the attention off of the missing hand you could crop in tighter for just an upper body/head shot. I know that’d take away the stick in the hand which is cute compositionally, but you might get a different take on the same photo. I love how you have placed the subject in the frame. Thank you for sharing your image with us, great work!

    • February 8, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      ..and just to clarify..as in “shady area” i mean shaded from the sun..NOT a sketchy neighborhood :)

  • February 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    love black and white! When i look at this photo, my first thought/distraction is, “where is is other hand? I have five kids, i know how hard it is to keep their sleeves up =0) not sure if this was a planned shot, if not, it’s hard and ruins the moment to stop, roll up the sleeve and then proceed! But if you know what feel you want before hand, then just rll up that sleeve just a little. i love how you were able to snap it with the little one closest to the camera, your eyes naturally go there first! great job.

  • February 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    First, I love the composition of the photo. I like the negative space to the right of her. There is something in the upper left corner of the image that is distracting though. Just needs to be cloned out since I think cropping might result in cropping her. Beautiful photo though.

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