Underwater Photography Photo Critique
by John St. D
Category: Underwater Photography
Lens: Zoom: Variable focal
Description: Photo taken with Oly C5060 point and shoot w/ underwater housing.
Subject of photo
Composition & Perspective
Use of camera, exposure & speed
Color & Lighting
Depth of field
Turtles are a very charismatic subject and in my experience are very popular with audiences. Your subject looks very wise seems to ask us to take care of our world. If he is indeed an amputee, this also helps to pull emotion out of the audience.
You do not depict the whole turtle, but I do not think is detracts at all - it helps to focus on the face. The right front flipper is is a good position too. The 3/4 profile is a good angle for this chap: the audience and study his eye and mouth and just enough of the right eye is visible at it feels like a complete face which they can connect too. I would suggest taking the shot from further away (less tight) : this would enable you to crop as you did or tighter for a "just a beautiful turtle" portrait shot or crop including a little more of his back end in order to highlight better explain that he is missing a limb. This way you could have both an art shot and a conservation shot.
This extremely sharp - congratulations. A great accomplishment for a moving subject where you are moving or at least suspended yourself
The most important part - the face is well lit by the strobe and shows alot of detail, but the background is presenting a little too dark . The edges of the shell and top of the head are lost against the too dark background. This may been avoided on an underwater rig with two strobes aimed to light the top and the other to light the bottom. Alternately you could adjust the settings to let in more light, but with risk to the sharp focus. A better option is to use software to brighten the the shell (protecting the highlights from blowout) in order to get the definition between the background and edge of the subject.
The strobe used has rendered accurate color without a blue cast or you have done a good job to correct it. As stated before you could benefit from two light sources which would illuminate more of the turtle such as the bottom or top/back portion of the shell. If you are post processing, a little dodge and burn in the eyes makes them pop and connect with the viewer
DOF works fine with this composition - Details on the right fin are visible but the DOF gives the appropriate sense of anatomical size and position away from the camera
A wonderful turtle shot with lots of character, a sense of movement, and lots of detail to help the audience learn about sea turtles. The (presumed) missing limb could be better handled through improved composition - either to play it up or hide it. As it stands it is confusing and detracts from the face and eyes.
How to improve your photo
Take multiple shots which are ranging from very tight claustrophobic shots to wider shots where you can play with different crops. Handicapped world of underwater wildlife photography, multiple tries at composition are not possible so you must "just get the shot" and compose later.
If you love diving and being underwater, invest in more photo equipment. One of your first purchases should be multiple strobes whereby you can experiment with lighting. There are many lighting options which will work with your point and shoot and can be applied to an upgraded camera .
Keep diving and sharing the underwater world with people - if they don't see iits beauty and necessity, they wont lift a finger to protect it - only lift a fork to eat it.
Get feedback on your photos from Pro Gregory Sweeney