Expert advice and tips on improving your photography from Damien Demolder. He offers advice on Richard Cochrane's shot, Rugby in the rain, to see how it might be improved.

Photo: Rugby in the rain

Taken by: Richard Cochrane

Nikon D3, 70-200mm, 1/2000sec at f/4, ISO 500

If your ideal in photography is to capture the atmosphere of a moment, you could do worse than spend some time studying Richard’s image of this rather wet game of rugby. Can you feel what it would have been like to have been there, watching? Can you feel what it would have been like to have played on the pitch during that game? If the answer is ‘yes’, whether you like that feeling or not, you confirm that Richard has done his job very well.

Richard Cochrane-before

Before: Richard’s original photograph with lack of contrast.

What works for me is the lack of contrast that you experience when there is a (net) curtain of rain falling between the eye and the subject. Many photographers would be tempted to add a little curve to give the scene a bit of kick – or, to use the popular word of the moment, to make it ‘pop’.

I’ve made a version with a bit more kick and definition, but you can see that while the players are more visible, the atmosphere takes a back seat to the physical content. And that’s where many of us go wrong – shooting the content instead of the atmosphere.

 

Richard Cochrane-after.

After: The image with more kick and definiton, but the atmosphere takes a back seat to the physical content.

 

I have no idea what crop Richard used, but I’ll let him off this time. The AP art editor might not be so forgiving when he tries to fit the odd-shaped, long, thin box on the page, though!