with Courtney Slazinik
Critique Me-Kristin at McGowan Monkeys

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 photo critique just as much if not more than the person receiving the critique.

Thanks Kristin at McGowan Monkey’s for submitting the following image.
Settings: ISO 200, SS 1/200, f/3.5

  • Erica
    June 18, 2012 at 9:03 AM

    What a fun idea! You captured a great smile and she seems really engaged. It looks like you have some nice catchlights in her eyes. My suggestion would be to crop this a bit to draw the reader in. Use the rule of thirds to place her somewhere other than dead center. If you’re shooting this again, try to get a little closer – really get up next to her, or try another perspective (like looking down on the bubble back from above). If there were more water on the floor, a nice reflection would be neat, too. The tile “horizon” line is uneven – so maybe rotate a little as well. Still, a cute shot – I hope the clients loved it!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM

      One of the reasons I picked this photo for critiquing was the crop and/or stretching the canvas to reflect the rules of thirds. I’m going to go back and look at that and the uneven horizon (how did I miss that?!)! I really love the idea of shooting above her and the reflection idea–wish I had thought of that!!! :) Thank you so much for all of your input :)

  • Jane Wood
    June 18, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    She’s so cute. love the bubbles, how fun. Like above you need to crop it down more. When taking photo I would try to fill your subject more in the frame. get closer to her.
    Good shot love it.

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

      Thank you! To crop, or not to crop was something I was thinking about too. I generally like to take one cropped in and one not cropped in, but in this situation I was more concerned about her crawling away :) Good thing I can always go back and crop afterwards!

  • June 18, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    Very precious idea! I would have cropped the image or gotten a little closer to the subject. This is just a preference tip, not a necessarily something that has to be done, but I prefer soft images with babies too! I think this is a great creative shot and you are definitely thinking outside the box here!

    • Marie
      June 18, 2012 at 9:15 AM

      Put a little rubby ducky somewhere and a bright yellow bow in her hair :) Adorable pic!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      Thank you! The crop was something I was wondering about! It’s so awesome to get all of this feedback :) I like the idea for a rubber ducky and the yellow bow!! :)

  • Laura Marsh
    June 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    I love how gleeful she is and you caught her looking right into the camera. I think that the background washes her out, having this same picture in a green meadow would have added more color and dimensions. I love that you caught the season and made it a fun summer photo, also putting her in a bowl of bubbles shows how little she is, love that little chubby hand gripping the side too cute!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Thank you! I was hoping to do this shot outside, but the weather didn’t cooperate :) Next time!!! I love her rolls too :)

      • Laura Marsh
        June 18, 2012 at 8:45 PM

        I thought a little more about this one and I thought maybe a bubble machine would have been a good idea? Either way it’s a really good photo you captured her so engaged and so spontaneous.

  • June 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM

    ^^ I meant soft editing with babies.

  • Rachel in NC
    June 18, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    What a cute picture! I love the tub prop. I think I would crop this one closer and straighten it just slightly…I feel like the horizontal line of tiles on the wall is just a little crooked. Beautiful little girl and a great shot!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      Ahh, you are right! I didn’t notice that it was a bit crooked. Thanks for your feedback :) It’s so awesome to learn from others :)

  • June 18, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    I like the moment you captured. The little one is obviously having fun and the bubbles are a great addition! I think I may have composed a little differently with maybe placing the child closer to the front, eliminating some of the ground in front. However, I think the overall photo was done well, allowing a parent to cherish that moment for a long time to come. :) Good job!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Thank you so much :) This was a difficult photo due to lighting, tiny room, etc, but I think I got a pretty good shot! I’ll definitely go back and look at the crop! That was something I was thinking about too :)

  • June 18, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    That is such an adorable setting! There’s something about the lighting that to me is just a little off and making the image slightly flat, but I don’t know what or how to fix it other than it seems like the light is coming from the front, so there’s no shadows. The other thing I think would make this awesome is the angle you are shooting from. I would shoot from floor level with some depth of field on the floor, or from almost right above with her looking up. Either way, adorable model. :)

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

      Yes, the lighting was extremly difficult! I was in a tiny bathroom without adequate lighting. I had to use my speedlight and I thought it gave her wonky shadows, so I lightened them up. Perhaps too much. I’ll definitely go back and look at that. I love the idea of shooting above with her looking up :) I wish I would have thought of that! LOL Thank you!!!

  • June 18, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Kristin! This is a really cute photo. I love the expression you were able to capture on this cuties face. A couple of things I think might help improve the photo:
    – try cropping the photo so that her head isn’t dead in the center, this will also give the view more of the cuteness to look at instead of the photo being dominated by the wall and floor. Or, maybe try getting closer to your subject when taking this shot. I’m sure there are a number of possibilities!
    – I also find the floor some what distracting, I think because it is so close in color to the babies skin color that it makes the baby stand out less. I think one solution to this would be to place the baby and bath on a different surface with a contrasting color. Anyone else have any ideas?
    Thanks for submitting this photo and letting us learn with you! I really love this idea, it is a great way to photograph toddlers! :)

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Thank you so much for your feedback! I had originally wanted to take this photo outdoors, but the weather didn’t agree with me. This tiny room was our best option, but I am definitely going to go back and look at cropping and/or stretching the canvas (this is one of the reasons I sent this image for critiquing). Maybe even checking out how it looks in black and white :)

  • Sam
    June 18, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    I absolutely love the little girl’s face – it’s so sweet! I wish the focus was more on her in the picture though since the background isn’t exciting. Cropping it and/or zooming in on her would’ve drew the viewer into it. I really love how relaxed she looks and how the picture doesn’t look forced!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:17 PM

      She was having so much fun! The most challenging part was snapping the photo before she crawled out! Haha Thanks for your feedback! I will definitely go back and look at how I can crop it. It was something I was wondering about as well :) I’m so excited for everyones feedback!

  • Becca
    June 18, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    What a sweet girl! Great timing getting that beautiful smile :)

    I would definitely fill the frame (by either cropping this photo or retaking closer). The tile could add fun texture to the image if you wanted to place the subject in the top 3rd. You could also get even lower to shoot on her level and make her look larger.

    I love the idea from a previous post about playing with reflections! That could be as much fun for you as for the baby ;) Great job!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Thanks for your feedback! The crop was one of the reasons why I picked this photo for critiquing. I was on my own and I wanted to make sure to get the shot before she crawled away :) When I do this shot in the future I will definitely try different angles and the reflection idea is awesome :)

  • June 18, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    Adorable subject, and I think the background and setup is wonderful! What I would suggest is to either crop or take from a slightly different angle to where her eyes are in the top 1/3 of the picture. There is so much blank space above her head that you are not drawn immediately to the subject. You also did a great job on the color composition. Her skin looks the perfect color which is sometimes hard to do on indoor photos esecially!

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:12 PM

      Thank you! I was super nervous about her skin tone! I’m always overly critical on myself about skin tones!!! I was wondering about the crop too, which is why I picked it for critiquing :) Indoor photography can be such a challenge!

  • June 18, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Kristin, Very sweet photo and cute idea. I agree with a lot that has already been said. I might suggest looking more closely at your light. Maybe look around your house for a time when light is streaming in from the window and put the baby in the bubbly-bowl right where the rays of sun come in. Or maybe back light the photo by putting the baby under or in front of a window of soft light. I think creative lighting could really take this photo to amazing new heights. You really have a great concept, you just need a little
    more shadow and light play. Right now the light is really flat and it doesn’t do much to enhance that sweet moment.

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM

      I could not agree with you more! When I photograph indoors that is normally what I do, but in this situation we shot in a tiny bathroom. My only option for lightning was my speedlight! It did give some shadows that looked awkward to me, so I lightened them, but now I think I’ll go back and take another look. Originally I had planned to do this shot outdoors, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Thanks for your feedback :)

    • June 18, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      If you want to learn or see how professionals find light, the Framed Network show, Film, did a episode about finding light in your home this week (http://framednetwork.com/episodes/film-6/). The pros use film but finding the light is the same for film or digital. They work in a hallway, bathroom, etc. I learned a lot and thought you might find it interesting.

      • June 18, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        Thank you so much for this awesome resource!! Lighting is EVERYTHING when it comes to photography and natural light is just beautiful! I really challenged myself with this photo by using a space that didn’t have any lighting aside from my speedlight, something I don’t use too often and need to learn a lot more about. I didn’t even have space to set up umbrellas, just used my hotshoe. After that photo I did take a seminar on off camera flash. You can never stop learning :)

  • June 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    What a cutie! I love how you captured natural smiles. My advice would be to crop to make her the main point of focus, I feel like she just gets lost in all the background. Maybe follow the rule of thirds and put her in the lower right of the photo. If you were to re-take the shot, I’d suggest changing your angle so you are more eye-level with her. I do like the idea :)

  • Lauren
    June 21, 2012 at 2:39 AM

    Cute picture Kristin! I know you said that weather didn’t allow it, but I would love to see this set up outside in a grassy area! If it was me, I might have skipped the swimsuit or gone with something a little more neutral, I find it a little bit distracting. Also with the flash, I would have tried to bounce it off the ceiling or a wall so that it looks more natural. When I shoot kids, I often end up laying on my stomach so that I am shooting from their level, and I would like to see that angle from this shot. The bathtub and bubbles are a great idea, I might have to try that sometime!

  • rachel
    June 21, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    what a sweetheart! her little suit is so darling, and i loved your watermark, too :). perhaps a different angle/perspective/distance from her would help add interest. you have an adorable subject to work with :). thank you for sharing!

  • Amy
    June 25, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    You have captured the precious joy of the baby girl!!! Something I would have done differently…..zoom in on her more & possibly a solid background (white/black sheet). Love the natural look with her hair being wet & kind of stick out on the sides. :) Cute!!!

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