Image Review: Gone Fishing
one of my students, Dean McIntosh, posted this image on the group's Facebook page, and I was immediately struck by the background as much as the subject. Beautiful soft lighting and warm pastel colors, which set the mood and sufficient diffusion so as not to be a distraction from the subject. So we're off to a great start, so let's look at the composition now. The title of this shot is gone fishing, but the square crop creates a visually static image, and the position of the implied horizon line created by the branch is mid frame, which gives equal weighting to what is above and below it, which again creates a very static composition. This is a bird more in the mood for thinking about fishing rather than actually partaking in any fishing. So my first suggestion would be to change the framing. I'd go with the standard rectangular format and position the bird in the top left corner. This does two things. First of all, it creates an implied diagonal line from top left of frame the bottom.
Right now, unlike horizontal lines, diagonal lines of dynamic creating a sense of visual energy. So now our bird is more in the mood for fishing. Secondly, it places the implied horizon line in the upper third, which emphasizes everything below it. This makes it more imminent that the bird is about to act to go fishing, so that simple change of framing has turned a static shot into an image full of visual energy, which resonates with Dean's original title. On the processing side, the bird is slightly underexposed, and in contrast, the bright background draws attention as it did mine when I first saw it. So I would selectively adjust the exposure in light room, using the radial filter tall, lifting the exposure just on the bird and adding a bit of contrast by the texture, slider and a bit of vibrancy to lift the colors. A final tweak I'd make is to darken the very top of the frame, just a touch using the graduated filter at all. This is a really small point, but the extra weight just helps push the eye down into the frame and the direction the bird is about to go when it really has gone fishing