Expert advice and tips on improving your photography from Damien Demolder. He gives his appraisal of Mostar Bridge by Dejan Vikusic and offers advice on how it might be improved.

Photo: Mostar Bridge

Taken by: Dejan Vikusic

Nikon D610, 24-70mm, 1/80sec at f/7.1, ISO 100

Before: Overhead light is never ideal for photography

Before: Overhead light is never ideal for photography

This is a nicely composed shot of the famous Mostar Bridge in Stari Most, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thankfully it’s in one piece here, but Dejan still isn’t entirely happy with the way his picture has turned out. He says it looks flat and that perhaps the reason is that it was taken at lunchtime. He is correct on both counts.

We can see from the hazy sky that the light on that day was slightly diffused, while the shadows tell us that the light was high in the sky. Overhead light is not always best for this kind of shot. It’s flat because there are few proper shadows and the image is very slightly too bright. What we are really missing is some midtone contrast to add weight to the scene.

After: Contrast has been added within the midtones, and the image is darkened a little

After: Contrast has been added within the midtones, and the image is darkened a little

I’ve created a version that is a little darker – probably by less than 1⁄2 stop – and which has had a curve applied to the midtones to make the tones below the middle a bit darker and those above a touch lighter. This gives it a kick, and to some extent compensates for the atmospheric haze. The curve also adds a little more colour saturation, which again adds body to the elements of the composition.

It is actually a nice shot, but suffers from the placement of light at the time of day it was taken. Dejan was on holiday when he shot this and probably didn’t have a chance to go back to photograph it at a more friendly time of day. The river is in a valley and travels north/south, so there is no classic sunset/sunrise shot to be had. Maybe a non-hazy midday would actually be the best time.