Expert advice and tips on improving your photography from Damien Demolder. He gives his appraisal of On The Pier by Elisa Bortolotti and offers advice on how it might be improved.

Photo: On the pier

Taken by: Elisa Bortolotti

Nikon D40,18-55mm, 1/80sec at f/3.5, ISO 200

Before: The Nikon D40's toning modes are much too warm

Before: The Nikon D40’s toning modes are much too warm

This is a wonderfully atmospheric scene, and one that Elisa has shot with great sensitivity. The exposure is perfect for creating silhouettes of the figures on the pier, while still allowing us to see the differences in tones of the snow and the trees on the distant shore. I am very fond of the way she has framed the scene as well, by stepping back from the water’s edge to include some foreground detail.

The pier juts into the shot and draws our eye with its harshly angled corner. Its hard edges contrast well with the natural forms that occupy the rest of the image area.

This is a cold winter’s tale, so the warmth of the toning goes against the grain. I have a Nikon D40, too, and am aware that the colours its internal toning modes apply are not ideal. I suspect this is the source of the reddy/yellow.

After: Cooler tones alter the atmosphere of the image

After: Cooler tones alter the atmosphere of the image

To emphasise the cold we need that tone to be a blue or cyan. I’ve done an alternative to show how those shades alter the image’s feel.

I’ve also fixed some over-sharpened edges that left white halos around the figures, and added a layer of grain to give our eyes something to grip. The Nikon D40’s in-camera processing was a little basic but this is a lovely shot, so well done, Elisa.