Giving feedback on a photo to help a friend

Below was my response to a good friend who asked for a bit of feedback. He is just starting out in photography and I was happy to help.

Great effort and how have you been getting on with the new camera?.

Taking pics of sunsets and sunrises is very difficult if the camera is on automatic. (Are you in Auto?) The reason for this is, when the camera sees a very bright subject (sky & sun) it darkens everything down to obtain a good exposer of the sky & sun hence why everything is dark in the foreground. Snow is also a difficult one for this.

A couple ways of getting around this is, pop the camera on a tripod and switch to manual, then lengthen the shutter speed while keeping the ISO as low as possible with a small aperture for a good depth of field. (Do you know about DOF?) Higher ISO's will produce more noise and that will give you lower quality photos.

Secondly, you can take 3 to 5 of the same scene and merge the photos together in Photoshop, this method is called HDR. This will give you the correct exposer across the set of photos but It's not easy. Look up HDR. Below is a link to a sunrise pic.

If your camera can take photos in something called RAW rather than Jpeg use that and your be able to recover some of the shadows. You will also require a programme to read the Raw files as Windows doesn't read Raw as standard. Lightroom 5 is a great programme to start with.

Away from the technical side of things, the composition is good along with the colours. Try to move the horizon away from the centre line, try the top or bottom third of the frame, that is stronger. Also, perhaps without knowing it you have take a photo with some leading lines, from the clouds, this takes your eye through the pic, very well done.

The rule of thirds is always a good starter and take a read of this article. Composition is a good starter and will set your photos apart from snap shots.

I would always take a photo that says something rather than is technically excellent which sometimes can be bland. If your not off auto, start now and if you want a hand I'm happy to help. Also, bare in mind that Facebook compresses photos to a smaller file size which harms the quality as well.

There are loads of free vids on YouTube about photography.

Lastly, in this long winded answer, it's not about your camera equipment , it's what you do with it.

I was chuffed to be asked to review his photograph and I'm a firm believer that if someone is asking for feedback this early in a photography life he will only go from strength to strength.

If want feedback back on your photography I'm happy to help. Call 07584 900938 or email me