Expert advice and tips on improving your photography from Damien Demolder. He gives his appraisal of Tulips by Marie Brook-Smith and offers advice on how it might be improved.

Photo: Tulips

 
Taken by: Marie Brook-Smith

Canon PowerShot SX400 IS, 12mm, 1/160sec at f/5, ISO 100

Before: The flowers are very tight in the frame

Before: The flowers are very tight in the frame

Flowers are deceptively difficult to photograph well. They require careful and thoughtful lighting, delicate treatment, particular exposure and mindful colour control. And then there is composition.

Marie has managed most of those things very well in this shot of some tulips, producing a dramatic scene with the heads fading gradually across the frame and into the distance. I like the arrangement of the largest and fullest flower in the foreground and the way the tulips become progressively less open as we travel into the frame.

The lighting is also very nice – just soft and diffused so we don’t have hard shadows to peer into and for detail to get lost in. The exposure is also well balanced, so we have a dark background but we haven’t lost lots of detail in the lightest areas.

I note that Marie allowed her camera to control the white balance, and unsurprisingly it got it wrong. There is very little for any camera to work with here, and there are no whites or neutral tones. Consequently, it has used the flower petals as a reference, which has left them too neutral and the rest of the frame too cool.

After: The image with a warmer white balance and more space around the subject

After: The image with a warmer white balance and more space around the subject

I’m struggling to forgive the cut-off petal in the background and how close the right-hand petal is to the edge of the frame – it is all too tight and the cut petal provides an uncomfortable distraction.

I’ve made a new version that includes more space around the subject and a warmer white balance to show what the shot might have looked like.