We look at the image 'Street Scene' by Marus Vieth to see how it could be improved.

Photo by Marus Vieth

Street Scene

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 50mm, 1/320sec at f/1.8 ISO 1600

This photograph from Marius has ‘stock library image’ written all over it. I mean that in the most positive way, as very few shots come in that have such a strong commercial vibe.

What is most important in this instance is being in the right place at the right time, both in terms of the moment the shutter was triggered and the time of day. As for Marius’s positioning and framing, everything about this shot is right.

For a start, he has framed the shot from a low angle so thefigure would be on the right-hand thirds line, but rather than have the figure completely in shot he has chopped him off at the shoulders. It’s a bold move, but one that most definitely works in this context.

Note also how the figure’s feet rest on the lower thirds line. While it might not be a ‘rule’ you need to slavishly adhere to, this composition demonstrates how it can work.

 

The timing of the shot is equally important, and to me it’s about as good as it could get. Caught mid-stride, the figure appears to be floating above the pavement, with his legs almost equidistant either side of the kerb.

The shutter speed has allowed a tiny amount of subject movement, which is again ideal. There is just enough blur to prevent the figure from appearing ‘frozen’ in motion, but not so much that it starts to become obtrusive.

This is rounded off by the limited colour palette, which demonstrates the importance of when you shoot. As the shot was taken at around dusk, there’s a cool blue tone to the ambient light, punctuated by the warm oranges of the vehicle lights and building lights in the background. This has certainly been ‘tweaked’ during processing, but the end result is stunning.

 

My only very slight criticism is that there’s a purple fringe along the figure’s front leg. This is easily removed, though, and certainly doesn’t detract from an otherwise stunningly well-observed and executed street shot that has been awarded picture of the week.

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