Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday: The Ones That Got Away – A New Series

Good Afternoon Everybody,

Las Vegas I can’t believe it, Photoshop World [link] is only a few days away.  We actually are heading to Las Vegas on Saturday and then staying the week.  We’ll have a few days of R&R on the front end and back end of PSW and then on to Phoenix for the start of our Captured By The Light Tour [link].

That explains the super business around the studio. We’ve been working on three big projects that need to be completed by Friday.

Weddings, Seniors, Family Portrait Webcast

We just announced and launched the Weddings, Seniors, Family Portrait Webcast [link] coming up September 26, 2010. This is a not to missed webcast.  The three presenters are top photographers in their fields. 

KPPA Webcast logo w-Disk Our door prizes are now totaling over $1,800 which we will give away during the webcast. It’s going to be a not to be missed educational experience for only $14.95.  Please be sure to check it out right here

Most webcasts cost at least 3x more for only 60 minutes.  This webcast is 4 hours long with a gazillion door prizes – it doesn’t get any better than that!

Photoshop World Las Vegas 2010

PSW10LV2 This is the second BIG project I’ve been working on.  I’ve got a lot of new tips and lighting techniques I’m planning to show at my pre-con this year. And we get to work at a brand new church – WoHo!

I’ll plan to post a few images next week of what we were up to. Also I’ve put together a lot more Lightroom 3 tutorials for my Lightroom  program on Wednesday evening [link]. 

Captured By The Light 2010 Tour

CBTL BH3This is the real biggy I’ve been working on.  Folks have been asking if it is going to be different from last year’s program.  I can promise you it will be totally different! 

You’re going to get new lighting and photography techniques, lots more marketing ideas, and some great new news on LumaPix:FotoFusion! Plus, 9 hours of additional tutorials on Tour DVD, Workbook (being printed as we speak), and $6,000 worth of door prizes given away each night! We’ve tried to make this the most ROCKIN’ tour of the fall! INFO HERE! Don’t forget to use PROMO CODE CBLDPT10

OK, that’s what I’ve been up to lately.  I’m still polishing up the CDTL 2010 presentation but it’s 95% complete – whew!  Anyway, that said, let’s get right on with today’s post – the first in a new series.

The Ones That Got Away

There was a Sarah Brightman CD that was released a few years ago entitled “The Songs That Got Away” [link].  I’m a big Sarah fan and loved the album.  Anyway, the title gave me an idea for this new series.

Here’s the deal.  I’m going to select a “near miss” image taken by on of the class members from a few of my recent Master Classes, point out the “nearly missed” compositional elements, and then list what could have been done to improve it.

Think of it as a print critique.  I’ve been working on this idea for DPT for a while whereby I can critique some of our readers work too. Maybe we could do something over at Flickr – let me know what you think. Here we go…

One Got Away1

Take a look at this photograph.  When I first saw it I loved the setting, the expressions, and the surrounding colors.  I even loved how the bride’s bouquet harmonized with the flowers in the background.

But, it’s a “near miss” shot. Here’s why.

1. There’s a tree growing out of the bride’s head.

2. The bride is leaning in a bit awkwardly to the groom.  It’s not how a “real” bride would be relating to her groom. 

3. The background could be greatly improved upon with a different lens selection or positioning of the couple.

OK, those are a few of the negative aspects of the shot – now how can it be improved?

An Easy Day At Mandalay 2 Mk3 24mm 56 1-25 800 1.  When bringing couples together, be sure the are standing naturally.  That is, the way you would relate to your spouse, mate, partner if you were just hanging out.

Typically I ask my couples to turn about 45 degrees to each other with their body weight on their inside feet and their outside feet coming towards camera.  Here is a shot of a comfortably posed couple.

2. I want to shoot from a higher camera position so that I can have the foliage  provide a complete background.  Basically, I want to lose the white sky, tree, and building I see in the background.

Using a longer lens would have helped too, because it would have compressed around the couple even more.  I’m a big fan of long lenses when shooting outside for just that reason.

3. The off camera lighting coming from camera left looks pretty good, but notice the shadow of the bride’s arm on her dress.  Turning her a bit more towards camera would have alleviated that issue. 

You may suggest that the light be repositioned to camera right, but then the bride’s bouquet would have thrown and ugly shadow of her gown.  The lesson to be learned:  Know where your shadows are falling in the shot.

That’s about it and that’s how we can turn this “near miss” into a home run.

Hey folks, give me some feed back on this kind of posting.  If you think it’s  good idea, I’ll continue the series for a while.  Also let’s figure out how we can bring your prints into the mix too.  I’m thinking DPT Flickr Critique group – what do you think?


Hey gang, that’s it for me today.  It’s back to my CBTL PowerPoint for me and then off on an afternoon, evening shoot.  How about I see everybody back here tomorrow for another addition of Business Day Thursday episode.

See ya’ then, pixel lovers!



  1. Great critique, David. Please do more of them.

  2. David-

    I like this idea. It's a great exercise for your readers to study an image and nice to hear your thoughts, as well.

    If I could add to your critique and suggestions, I would say that the man's posing, with the bent knee, is somewhat feminine. I would have him straighten his leg out. Also, I would straighten his tie/jacket area around his chest.

    Again, great series. I'll be watching for more of them. :)

  3. David, This is great!I think "The ones that got away" is a wonderful segment and that you should keep it in. This will help with posing and learning to 'see' better.

  4. I think an outlet for critique is a fantastic idea! Having a real picture to go with the "thousand words" just reinforces the concepts that much more.

  5. Love the breakdown of that near miss, David! Keep them coming.

  6. I think the critiques are a great idea. They will provide even more insight as to what you think makes a good photo, great!
    Thanks for all your hard work. Keep up the great work!

  7. Absolutely love this idea. I am constantly seeing my errors afterward, and wondering how to see mistakes before they happen. In the moment you can be blinded by all the wonderful things you see, and sometimes miss the subtle mistakes. Especially because we are forced to work so quickly.

  8. I think the Flicker group is a great idea. Looking forward to your CBTL tour in Nashville.

  9. Great post today David. I think it's a good idea.

  10. Some of issues addressed were pretty obvious for those of us who have read your book repeated times. I find critiques of this nature helpful for developing the application skills.

  11. I love this idea for a recurring blog post. It definitely helps to analyze the picture and identify what can be done better. This is the sort of thing that will make us all better photographers and more aware of what is in our viewfinder. Excellent!

  12. The "near miss" critique is awesome, David! It really makes it easy to remember for when I'm out shooting. Keep up the excellent work! Also I look forward to checking out a potential Flickr group.

  13. Great idea - I learn a lot from these types of critiques. Hope to see this series in the future.

  14. Great idea! I'd like to see more of this in the future.

  15. More please! This is an excellent way to help learn how to not only critique a photo after the fact, but also learn some of the tips to correct the situation.

  16. Hi David,

    Great idea to comment on readers photos. I am certainly all for that.

    BUT, I don't like the use of Flickr. Being a professional wedding photographer I don't want client's photos on the "widely known and accessible" Flickr site where it can be stumbled upon and all the negative comments read by my clients.

    What I suspect you may get is amateurs posting images for review more than professionals.

    Good luck with it though!

  17. David
    Thanks for a great post. This is a great concept and one of the best ways to learn...through constructive critique.Please continue with this format.
    Cheers !

  18. Hey I'm late to this party, but found it from your news letter. Another point you could make (that I've heard from you) is while turning the bride more to the camera, also open her arm up to show here waist and drop the flowes a bit, such as in your second example shot. Great series!

  19. Very helpful input!!! Thank you!!!!