Image Critique, 28th April 2021

Tonight, a panel comprising three of the Society’s most experienced members commented on members’ images.  Alan Walker, Bob Given and Keith Snell are all award-winning photographers who also judge club, regional, national and international competitions.

Photographers often find competitions and critiques intimidating and can be deterred from submitting their images, however this can be one of the best ways to improve. To encourage members to participate in tonight’s event it was made less threatening and more friendly by allowing the authors to remain anonymous.  Fifteen members, including novice, intermediate, and experienced photographers, took advantage of this opportunity and in total forty-five images were submitted. Landscapes predominated but there were also images from a number of other genres including people, wildlife, flowers, abstracts, travel and astrophotography.


The majority of images had been taken locally but some were from more distant lands including Sri Lanka and Iceland. The panel members agreed that, overall, the quality of the images was very high.

A number of lovely landscapes were seen during the evening. The authors of these had made a considerable effort to achieve them. Many had risen early to take advantage of the dawn light and in some a mist had further enhanced the image.


Another member had spent the hours of darkness in the cold photographing the Milky Way from Crummock Water.


Others had endured less than perfect weather conditions to create some very atmospheric images.  All demonstrated the important part that the quality of light plays in producing landscape images.


The panel took care to draw out the positive aspects of each image as well as making suggestions on how each could be improved. In the main they were in agreement but in a few cases the three panel members had a lively discussion on their different ideas on how to enhance the image. Overall, their suggestions fell in to a number of different categories. The first of these was to remove any obvious defects such as bright spots, out of focus areas and other distractions.


Cropping was suggested in several of the images, sometimes to eliminate distracting elements, but in others to simplify the image or to emphasise the main point of interest. In several cases square or letterbox formats were suggested.


Another was to add contrast to some images by selectively lightening or darkening different areas. It was also important to ensure that images were sharp but not to over sharpen. The fifth was to ensure that the colour was natural by correcting any colour casts and to avoid oversaturated colours which can be a problem with digital photography. Digital noise and artefacts also need to be avoided.


The evening was both instructive and very entertaining. The panel members worked well together as a team and demonstrated that simple adjustments could be made to most of the images submitted to enhance them.

Our season has been extended until the end of June and we will be meeting via Zoom twice a month until then. Our next meeting will be held at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 12th May when David Clapp, a well-known professional landscape and travel photographer will talk about his work.

Julie Walker