Expert advice and tips on improving your photography from Damien Demolder. He gives his appraisal of Night Skyline by Allan Castañeda and offers advice on how it might be improved.

Photo: Night skyline

Taken by: Allan Castañeda

Canon EOS-60D, 18mm, 73secs at f/16, ISO 100

Before

Before

I don’t know where Allan took this night skyline shot, but it is certainly an exciting scene and he had fabulous conditions to shoot in. The sky is the perfect colour, and I love the transition from cool blue to warm orange and the way in which Allan has arranged the coloured areas in the frame. The bursting star of cyan in the extreme right of the picture is a bit distracting but it also looks pretty good, and I like the way the composition slopes upwards towards the top of the skyscraper and down again on the other side. The flashing blue lights in the sky are the candles on the cake.

Allan has committed a terrible crime against composition and visual expectations, though, by not including the top of the building in the reflection. It would have been one thing to cut it off halfway up, as then we wouldn’t expect anything, but he tantalises and teases us with almost the whole height, only to cruelly slice off our excitement by not including the lights. 
It just seems wrong.

Night skyline

After: Including the entire building’s reflection in the water completes the sense of symmetry

I’ve created a quick edit to show what the shot might have looked like with the top of the building reflected in the water as well. It completes the sense of symmetry that we begin to feel, but which is taken from us. No one likes a tease and you’ve led us on, Allan. To keep the viewer happy, you have to finish the job you started.