Friendly Critique #1: Landscape near Lourdes

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The image we selected for our first online critique was taken by Lou Alegre at the Museum of Lourdes in the south of France in May 2014. It is a landscape, showing a church bell on the left and another church in the distance, surrounded by greenery with a touch of yellow on the right. The light is even and light clouds add texture to the blue sky. The arch with a bell in the foreground adds depth to the scene, inviting us to explore further the hills and the church, as well as the architectural detail typical to the region.

  • Image by Lou Alegre, Original
  • Image by Lou Alegre - Processed

The image is divided both horizontally and vertically to make four almost equal parts. Each part has an interesting detail to look at, whether it’s a bell, a town, a church or the cross against the sky, making it yet another example on how breaking the Rule of Thirds can be justified. The overall composition of the photo is well balanced, and the bell on the left creates a visual tension with the church on the right.

Points to consider to improve the image:

  • A slightly tighter crop would help hide the small triangle of the sky in the upper left corner of the image. Remember to check the four sides of the view finder to see if something needs to be removed;
  • The image looks slightly over exposed and some adjustments could have been made when the photo was taken to avoid this problem. This can be adjusted later in post production, but it is always preferable to get the best possible exposure when taking the photo to avoid any loss of detail in the bright areas;
  • The harsh light suggests the image was probably taken around mid-day. Consider going out early morning or late afternoon to get more pleasing light, especially during the long summer months. The mid-day hours can be used to explore a location and you can then return later in the day or early in the morning depending on the sun's position and the desired effect for the photo;
  • The foliage on the right has many reflective surfaces (white highlights). This could easily be improved by using a polarizing filter that removes some glare and reflection on shiny leaves;
  • The image could be enhanced with just a little more post processing, including minor editing with simple tools. For example, the colours could be made to 'pop' a bit more by adding contrast and saturation, making the image even more appealing.

Overall, it is a strong image that would look good in any book documenting Lourdes and the south of France. Thank you Lou, for sharing the image and continue to enjoy photography!

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography.