Friday, July 28, 2006

April (!) Portrait Competition Entry

What is the photo of - Maddy (3), daughter of our friends Pauline and Guy.

When was the photo taken - A couple of months ago.

Where was the photo taken - Cafe, Cambridge Botanical Gardens.

Why was the photo taken - I wanted to capture her enjoying the chocolate ice-cream.

Why was this composition chosen - I wanted to get close-in, to avoid distractions. I wanted her face, covered in chocolate, to be the main interest, but to be sure to get the cone in the picture, so the context was clear.

How was the photo taken - Canon 350D, EF-S 17-85 lens, ISO 100, 1/50sec. Focal length unknown (likely 17mm).

How was the photo processed - Basic levels, curves, colour saturation, cropping and unsharp masking.


Critical Light said...


Impact - 9
Good impact. The eyes grab you, the fact that the head is turned also grabs you and of course that lovely smear of chocolate adds unexpected colour on the face. So, good impact overall.

Composition - 8
A different composition with the head turned to look toward the camera but not directly at it. The ice cream is also very much present but is out of focus so doesn't divert one's attention away from the face. Nice and tight too. If I was to be really really picky I would point to the green vegetation in the background that does add some distraction to the photo but only after the eyes have "settled". One way to have perhaps avoided that would have been to make the ice cream cone and the white issue in focus, but I am not sure whether that would have competed with the face.

Light/Colour - 10
OK. This, I guess, is where my Miksang skills help me out. I really like the pink top just emerging into the photo but not dominating it. Nice and subtle but very much present. I like that alot. I also like the chocolate smeared on the face. In fact, this photo is very much "Miksang". I can imagine the kid turning toward me, seeing the pink top and the chocolate and wanting to grab my camera to capture that moment. The light on the face is also nice and bright as are the eyes.

Technical skill - 7.5
It looks as though light was difficult since at ISO 100 the speed is 1/50th and yet the depth of field is narrow since the cone is out of focus. I may have increased the ISO to 200 or 400 and attempted to make sure the cone was in focus, but I am torn as to whether that would work. The face is sharp, the moment was captured, the composition good and with kids that is a good result. Photoshop adjustments were basic but the technical skill in this photo, I think, lies more with the use of the camera.

Originality - 9
I see originality here in the composition and the capture of a happy "moment".

Total score of 8.7

Ivan said...


Thanks for the scoring! I like the image, and it's clear you do too. Her Mum liked it very much, and I've sent her a copy by email. Although there is an element of luck in getting the pose you want, I did persist, and fired off a bunch of shots until I got the one I wanted.