with Courtney Slazinik
Critique Me – Jill

-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.
-If you would like to have an image critiqued be sure to read How to submit an image for critique.

Thanks to Jill for submitting the following image.
Settings: ISO 400 | SS 1/200 | f/5
IMG_4478 h WM 650

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    What a sweet picture of a cute fellow! It seems like you used natural light, and a very subtle hand with the processing. I like the peaceful moment that you’ve captured here. One thing I notice is that the sharpest focus seems to fall on his nose rather than his eyes. This is very subtle, though. Also, the picture seems just very slightly underexposed. There are several ways to increase the light–I’ve found that indoor shots, especially without a flash usually take ISO 800 or greater, and I would go for the increased ISO first. The other way would be to open the lens up a couple of stops, if possible (some lenses don’t allow for that). I wouldn’t recommend a shutter speed less than the 1/200 that you’ve used here since babies sometimes move! I would also include a little more of the his head in the shot to give the composition just a little bit more room to breath, and to allow a little room for cropping if you print it. There seems to be just a tiny bit of a cool cast, but that might just be my monitor. Good job, and thanks for sharing!

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Beautiful shot. I love how the little guy seems to be looking directly at the logo on his blankie. The photo has a soft and gentle feel to it. The only thing I feel it is missing is that “pop” of warmth and light. I would suggest a higher ISO for more light and possibly adding some warm tones in the editing process. Overall, fantastic photo!

  • Paola
    April 14, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Gorgeous baby and you captured such a peaceful moment! I would have stopped down to an F/2, letting in more light and helping with the exposure. I would have also framed it so his left eye was in that top left cross section when following the rule of thirds. The way, his beautiful eye would have brought in the viewer that much more. Love the sweet color baby blue of the blanket!

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Such a cutie! Seems like a very sweet and gently baby, which I think you captured perfectly in this shot. I love how you captured both his sweet facial expression and his hand – providing even more detail of this special moment in his baby-ness! I agree with Michelle and Benita, it’s a little underexposed. Some more light would have given the viewer a better opportunity to see his sweet face. That being said, I think the shadows add an element of privacy to this moment, like we’re being allowed to look at something that is personal and tender. Great job on the unique perspective!

  • Letty
    April 14, 2014 at 10:32 AM

    Cute photo. I’m not huge about cutting off parts of the person, especially a newborn, though I notice this is becoming a new trend. When I first started out photographing I edited very lightly but found that’s it’s ok to brighten up so it brings out the person more and your eyes are drawn to it. I’m a big fan of Lightroom brushes as it helps to do this easily with newborns. But that if course is my opinion. But good job. We all start out somewhere and later find our style.

  • Radhika
    April 14, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    I love the pic. The expression is captured lovely! I would increase the contrast a bit.

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:40 AM

    Adorable subject! I love the closeness to see his little details like his little dimples on his hand. However I would like to see more. The image feels a little too cropped for me. I would rather see his whole head and a bit more of him snuggled under the blanket. The embroidery on the blanket is also a bit distracting. Otherwise I think it is such a cute photo. It makes me wonder what he is looking at and thinking about.

  • Jenna Melberg
    April 14, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    I really like the picture. I love the baby’s gaze. I think he looks like he is looking at someone he recognizes. Super sweet. I really like the composition. I think that it needs to be exposed a bit more (but I do like that I am not the only one having this problem). I’m wondering if you could sharpen just the eyes, or add a little bit of blur to the whole photo. I believe this photo will be treasured forever. Nice job!

  • Anna
    April 14, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    Such a sweet moment captured. I like the composition, the only thing is the picture is a bit underexposed in my opinion. Maybe increase ISO a bit and use more warm tone and white balance in the post processing

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    I love this image- its so soft and sweet. I would l have bumped up my ISO or lightened it while editing. I would also soften baby’s skin just a little.

  • Melissa
    April 14, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    What a sweet little one! I love all the detail, his chubby fingers and button nose. I do feel it is a little dark. His eyes are so precious. maybe lightening it up a bit may help them pop! Also, I like how you tried to incorporate the logo on his blanket, I might move it so that it is still visible but not quite front and center, as to not distract from the little one. Sweet photo!

  • Cesar Perez
    April 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Great shot overall and lovely baby. I think if this was my shot, i would of used a higher iso or stopped down your aperture for more light, i would also allow more head room, in this case rotate the comp. more to tue right and either get in a little tighter or recompose for more head room and less blanket. I feel as if the blanket and logo compete with the baby’s face and eyes. Great job either way and this portrait is a keeper in my book. Dont be aftaid to lighting it up in post process!

  • Jamie
    April 14, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Love this sweet face. I think the way you included the embroidery on the blanket. It gives the image a sense of place, and I’m guessing it has special meaning to the parents. I would pull back a bit to avoid cutting off the top of baby’s head, and maybe rearrange the blanket and change the camera angle slightly to show more of his face. The image seems a little underexposed. I would either raise your ISO some or open up your aperture to allow in more light. You can also adjust that in post processing if necessary. I know I don’t always get my exposure spot on in camera! I think your focus might be on the embroidery on the blanket and not on baby’s eyes. I always try to focus on the eyes unless I deliberately want the face out of focus. I’m so glad you included his little hand. Those precious baby fingers aren’t little for long!

  • Schanelle
    April 14, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    The sweet look on the babies face and the importance of the logo on the blank are captured wonderfully. I would have lightened up the exposure and made sure all fingers were visible. I also like the natural shadows and how they created depth. Great photo.

  • Elisa Ashley
    April 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    I like his expression and the look you were going for. With babies and children I personally like to either have them looking at the camera if possible or at least capture some catchlights in their eyes. I would move closer to the window and use a reflector for the dark side of his face if I couldn’t turn him into the light more. Also, watch the white balance. Auto white balance makes things too warm or cold usually. Changing it manually can help, and there’s always Temperature in post to warm it up a bit. As some one else suggested I’d also leave more of the baby’s head in the shot. Lightening it and adding a graduated filter in post can help put the focus on the baby without moving away from the logo on the blanket.

  • Annie
    April 14, 2014 at 10:59 AM

    Beautiful baby and such a sweet moment! I love the idea of this shot, but I almost wish it was pulled back just a tiny bit. (Just my personal opinion.) Also, I would agree that it is just a tad underexposed, easily fixable in post processing! Otherwise, a beautiful baby shot!

  • Elisa Ashley
    April 14, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    PS. You have catchlights…I would lighten them a bit in post. :) Now I want to go find a baby….

  • April 14, 2014 at 11:03 AM

    I love the softness of this photo. The baby looks so sweet! I would have tried to brighten it up some with editing or different settings, but other than that looks good!

  • April 14, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    The best infant pictures are natural pictures. I love seeing this baby snuggled in their blanket. I would either bump the ISO, or add/move to get more natural light in.
    Again, natural baby poses are the best. Keep up the good work.

  • colleen
    April 14, 2014 at 11:51 AM

    8 love the moment and the soft colors. But he photograph is under exposed. I am assuming your lens was a fifty and love the fact that you didn’t shoot wide open. If in fact this was a fifty you could have used a shutter speed of 100 and still been safe as the baby was resting and relaxed. That would have given you 2 more stops of light..If needed. And them the ISO could have been lowered one stop to balance. Shooting at a middle aperture like this gives you more focus area in front of and behind the photograph. Had you had chosen to open your lens to a wider aperture, indeed you would have missed the shot because as it stands now baby’s eyes are out of focus and the nose is sharper. Don’t forget the eye must be in focus. So happy to see a baby picture not shot wide open.

  • Jen
    April 14, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    I love how you incorporated the emblem on the blanket, obviously this will be something very special for mom and dad. I think the image is underexposed, I would suggest a larger aperture of 2.8 or 2 and a higher ISO. I find that I typically use and ISO of 800-1250 indoors with newborns. I do really like the crop on this. I like that the emblem has as much prominence as the baby. Good job!

  • April 14, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Love babies! They are my favorite! I think the skin tone is perfect! The image appears to be under exposed IMO and I’d love to see a little more of that darling face! Although this is s great image and nicely focused I think it might look fantastic in B&W!

  • Whitney
    April 14, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Aww he is just so precious!! I like that you used natural light and I like the concept of the blanket and the emblem. It does look a little underexposed so I might have increased the ISO a bit or increased the appeture. I normally shoot f2.8 on single subjects. Another thing I would recommend is to move the blanket a little from his face so it wasn’t covering it. This little guy is too cute and you were able to get some catchlights in his eyes. Good job!

  • April 14, 2014 at 12:54 PM

    I love baby shots, they are just so innocent and beautiful. First off, I love how you were able to capture this in natural light and still get him in this perfect pose. I also love the FBI symbol that is shown also. It stands out without being distracting. Overall, it is beautiful. But I would have lightened the picture some and changed the temperature of it. It seems a bit cool. Brightening the photo would help bring out the catch lights in his eyes.

  • Katrina
    April 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    What an innocent and beautiful picture! Like some other commenters have mentioned, you were able to achieve a look of “softness” about it… perfect for a photo of a little one. The DoJ logo is a great idea and I’m sure has some significance to the family, and it’s perfect to have it on the baby blanket. Maybe you could have cropped it a little differently, getting more of the baby’s head and having the logo a bit more in the corner, and it would balance out more. The only other thing would be the picture looks a little cool to me (as far as tending more to cool/blue than warm/orange, if that makes sense).. but it might just be the color on my monitor is off!
    Really, such a lovely image (adorable little one) and a GREAT idea with the logo being a part of the picture.

  • Shana
    April 14, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Beautiful pic! I would have maybe chosen a higher ISO to lighten it up and tried to bring my camera down lower if possible to try and capture more of his handsome face :,). Good sharp picture.

  • April 14, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Oh, what a little cutie! I love the soft tones in this image. I think that it’s a little but cool and a tad underexposed. I think it needs just a little but of brightening and warmth. Also, I’m not quite sure what the focal point is. I keep looking between his hand and his eyes and down to the logo, when I really want to be looking at his eyes. If you can recrop (or for next time) I would suggest putting his left eye on the top left rule of thirds intersection. There is a little open space below his hand to be able to shift down and show more forehead. But, by doing that you may need to pull back more so that you don’t crop the logo. I think he beautiful eyes should be the focus and while the logo tells part of the story, it should not take away attention from his face. I love the peaceful, quiet moment. Makes me want a snuggle with this little one.

  • Jennifer
    April 14, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    I like his very natural hand positioning when so many babies are overly posed these days. I agree with the previous commenter that the logo is a bit distracting from his sweet face since it catches your eye as the focus but it’s also very difficult to read. I think I might have also lightened up his face a bit and tried to make sure his head wasn’t cropped. Great sharpness though!

  • Chasity
    April 14, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    Such a serene, sweet photo. Raising your ISO a little would have made the image a little brighter. The shutter speed is good for photographing small children and babies.

  • April 14, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    I think this is a very sweet picture and captures the natural pose of the baby. I would have maybe tried to crop is out a little more to get a little more of the baby’s head in the photo and maybe lighten the photo a bit too. I think its great to leave baby photos soft but this maybe could use a little more pop with warmth and color. Great job getting so much detail.

  • Stephanie
    April 14, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    I like the frame of this shot. I would do more editing, maybe make it black and white since it is a simple shot, make it look more timeless. I also like that baby isn’t looking into the camera.

  • Jennifer S.
    April 14, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    This is a beautiful little baby. I like the natural positioning, not overly posed like many newborn images are these days. I think you should have positioned him to allow more soft light to brighten his face or use a reflector. It would also be nice to see a bit more of the top of his head, even if you kept it a close crop. The clarity is great, though!

  • April 14, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    The first thing I noticed is the blanket, not the child. Maybe pull out a bit more to include more of the baby. Its kinda dark, maybe increase the light some. I do love the look in the child’s face, it tugs at my heart so great job on invoking emotion into the picture

  • Angee
    April 14, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    I am impressed with the placement and peacefulness of this picture. I might have had a little more lighting around the sweet face but I am still learning. I am enjoying the comments and learning as well. The image appears sharp too.

  • April 14, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    aww so cuuute! i would move back a little and get more of him in the pic so you’re not cropping off his head. Maybe a touch of brightening and sharpening. Some red removal on his skin and move the blanket a little till you could see his face. Then i would pop the colors and lighten it. Great job. Is he yours? I have a little one around that age too. they can be hard to get!

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    You captured a such a sweet, tender moment- great job! The image seems underexposed, so I would up your ISO next time to have a brighter image & I’d prefer to see a bit more of your little ones face. However, I actually like the crop in this image because I’m assuming you wanted the logo to be an important part of the image & it is with this composition.

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:22 PM

    Dear Jill, I love the fact that the picture tells a story, it includes something that relates to his parents and what was going on in their life at the time he joined them in their journey. As most previous comments go, I personally would have lightened and warmed it more post production. Crop wise, more of the head would have included the baby more in the story as at it’s current cropping the story is more on the blanket logo. I like it and I’m sure his parents love it. Keep up the good work.

  • April 14, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    precious little baby photo! love the FBI blanket. i think that maybe this would pop more as a B&W then you would be able to increase the exposure so we would be able to make out the details of his sweet little face and read the blanket a little better. i do love that you can see his sweet little hand and tiny little fingers as part of the photo.

  • Terri
    April 15, 2014 at 12:02 AM

    Cute picture. I also think the eyes are missing something. Need to add a little brightness and or some warmth. Good job overall.

  • Cortney
    April 15, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    Sweet picture. I like that you are trying to incorporate the logo on the blanket into the frame as I am sure it is something of great importance to you. I would have increased your ISO to brighten the photo some and warmed it up a bit as well. I don’t mind the crop of the top of the babies head, however I would have shown more of the babies face that is hiding behind the blanket. The focus seems to be more on the logo of the blanket instead of the babies eyes, but maybe that was what you were going for in this picture. All in all it tells a story and I enjoyed the image.

  • Tom Savage
    April 15, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Great shot of a cute baby. I really like the composition, including the crops. I tend to agree with others that perhaps you could have used a wider aperture setting, a faster ISO, or some simple lighting adjustments in post-processing to brighten it up a bit more. Overall a great shot! Keep up the good work….!

  • April 15, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    I love the angle and framing. The image is underexposed. I like the sharpness of the image and the concept behind it.

  • Pamela Lewis
    April 15, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    I really like the message the photo conveys to me. Snuggled and warm. I wish his face were a bit brighter and he had catchlights in his eyes. Very cute little guy!

  • Meg
    April 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Such a sweet little baby! I love how snuggled and comfy he looks! You could’ve went into lightroom and made it a FABULOUS photo by adjusting the white balance, exposure, and other things. Cute photo!!

  • April 16, 2014 at 2:44 PM

    Such a sweet photograph. I love the calm look. some suggestions would be to add some warmth to his face and brighten it up a bit. Increase ISO or use a flash with diffuser or bounce it off ceiling. Great moment you captured.

  • rosetta
    April 21, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    I love the sweet expression….I like the light shadows. Not sure I like the logo on the blanket so prominent..nice photo!

  • Marlaina Bair
    May 1, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Sweet little guy. I like the details: little nose, little fingers etc. Does the logo on the blanket mean something? It seems like it might be apart of the little guy’s story. I wish I knew more about the logo on the blanket because it is such a focus in the photo. I would increase the exposure to add a pop of light to the baby’s face. I like that the baby is looking off into the distance. Thanks for the photo.

  • Jocey Marie
    June 10, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    Beautiful baby. I think you had a good idea of what you wanted, just might have not came out. It needs to be a little bit brighter and a little bit more clear…more details. Also, the logo is very hard to read. With pictures of babies, you want the photo to look as clear as possible. It’s the tiny details that really capture people’s attention and bring warmth to the photo.

  • September 26, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    I love the gentle moment that you’ve captured! It looks like the little boy is reading the logo. Also the natural light that you used is great. I just wish the picture was just a little brighter/warmer.

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