We look at the picture 'Granddaughter' by Adrian Johnson to see how it could be improved.

 

Photo: Granddaughter

Taken by: Adrian Johnson 

Fujifilm X20, 41mm, 1/45sec at f/2.2, ISO 3200

Taking ‘natural’ photographs of young children is rarely easy, so I have to take my hat off to Adrian for capturing this lovely natural-looking candid portrait. Everything about it is ‘right’. The exposure is perfectly set for the girl’s face, and camera shake has been ably avoided. An aperture of f/2.2 and a shutter speed of 1/45sec suggest Adrian was working at the limit in terms of getting a sharp result while handholding his camera, so I’ll certainly excuse the slightly noisy result delivered by the high ISO setting. Yes, it limits the maximum print size, but it’s far better to have a sharp and noisy image than one that is noise-free yet blurred beyond recognition.


Photo by Adrian Johnson – Original

Where the high ISO setting has had a more positive effect is in softening the already muted colours. Noise naturally lowers contrast and desaturates colour, and the ISO 3200 setting has really worked in Adrian’s favour. I especially like how the browns and greys of the background echo the girl’s hair and clothing, together forming a neutral coloured frame for her face: nothing in the background draws our eye away from the subject.


Photo by Adrian Johnson – straightened

The ‘pose’ is near perfect, too. I’m glad that Adrian has not attempted to get his subject’s eyeline straight. By keeping her head tilted, a ‘dynamic diagonal’ is introduced into the shot. While it might not be especially aggressive or obvious, it makes for a far more appealing image; we can see this if we compare a straightened (and necessarily cropped) version of the photograph to the tilted (and similarly cropped) original. It’s the same shot, but the titled version is far more ‘exciting’, simply because of that diagonal line.

This is unreservedly my picture of the week.

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